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Thomas Perkins Kennard, 1828-1920

RG3796.AM:  Thomas Perkins Kennard, 1828-1920

Papers:  1865-1871
Lincoln, Lancaster County, Neb.:  Secretary of State
Size:  1.0 cu.ft.


Thomas Perkins Kennard was born December 13, 1828, near Flushing, Ohio, a son of Thomas and Elizabeth Perkins Kennard. At the age of seven Kennard moved with his family to Henry County, Indiana. He received no formal education, working as an employee of a woolen mill, which he and his brother later purchased. At this time Kennard began the study of law by borrowing books from a law firm in Newcastle, Indiana, and studying under their direction. At age 25 he sold his interest in the mill and moved to Greensboro, Indiana, where he began a law practice. Just prior to the Civil War Kennard and his brother Levi came to Nebraska and settled in DeSoto, Washington County, where Levi operated a mercantile store and Thomas began the practice of law. As the question of statehood arose, Kennard was pushed to the forefront. As soon as Nebraska became a state, Kennard was nominated by the Republicans as a candidate for Secretary of State. The election brought all Republicans into office. Kennard was the first Secretary of State for Nebraska serving two terms. Kennard, as a member of the capital locating commission, was instrumental in locating the capital at Lincoln.

On the expiration of his second term, Kennard returned to private law practice, as well as engaging in private banking and afterward merchandising. In 1875 he was elected to the state senate and before the expiration of his term was appointed by President Grant as a member of a Board of Appraisal of Indian lands. Kennard soon resigned this position and returned to Lincoln to become local attorney for the Union Pacific Railroad. He organized the Western Paint and Glass Co. in 1890 and continued as president of that firm until his death. In 1896 he served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention serving as Vice President of the Convention. In 1898 President McKinley appointed Kennard receiver of public moneys at the U.S. Land Office in Lincoln and special disbursing agent for the government.

Thomas P. Kennard died on June 24, 1920 at his home in Lincoln. He was survived by three daughters, Alva, Cora and Lou.


This collection consists of two boxes of manuscript material arranged in four series: 1) Correspondence, 1865-1871; 2) Requisitions and Receipts, 1865-1869; 3) Business Records of Kennard and Simpson, 1877-1879; and 4) Miscellany.

The material in this collection relates to Thomas P. Kennard's role in location of the state capital at Lincoln, and with the transition from territorial to state government in Nebraska. Also included are materials dealing with Kennard's activity as claims agent for Nebraska, the journals of Kennard & Simpson, Sidney, Nebraska. A complete calendar of correspondence for Series 1 and Series 2 are included in folder 1 of the respective series.

For additional information about Thomas P. Kennard and the Thomas P. Kennard House, Nebraska Statehood Memorial, please visit:

Thomas P. Kennard House, Nebraska Statehood Memorial


Series 1 - Correspondence, 1865-1871

Box 1
  1. 1865 (calendar Series 1)
  2. 1866
  3. 1867
  4. 1868
  5. 1869, Jan.-June
  6. 1869, July-Dec.
  7. 1870, Jan.-June
  8. 1870, July-Dec.
  9. 1871, Jan.-Mar.

Series 2 - Requisitions and Receipts, 1865-1869

Box 2
  1. 1865 (calendar Series 2)
  2. 1866
  3. 1867
  4. 1868
  5. 1869

Series 3 - Business records of Kennard & Simpson, 1877-1879

  1. 1877-1879 (see oversize)
  2. 1877-1897 (see oversize)

Series 4 - Miscellany

Box 2
  1. Deeds (2) to Lots in the city of Lincoln in favor of Levi Kennard, 1868 and 1870
  2. Letters (8) to Joseph L. Kennard (b.1859, d.1951), Thomas Kennard's nephew, 1899, 1900, 1922, 1927



Butler, David, 1829-1891
Carr, Eugene Asa, 1830-1910
Cheyenne County (Neb.) -- Businesses
Cheyenne County (Neb.) -- History
Furnas, Robert Wilkinson, 1824-1905
Kennard and Simpson (Sidney, Neb.)
Kennard, Alva
Kennard, Levi J.
Kennard, Thomas Perkins, 1828-1920
Lincoln (Neb.) -- History
Maxwell, Samuel, 1825-1901
Morton, Julius Sterling, 1832-1902
Nebraska -- Capital
Nebraska. Office of the Secretary of State
Seward, William Henry, 1801-1872
Sidney (Neb.) -- Businesses
Statehood -- Nebraska


08-03-2007   Revised TMM


For additional information about this collection, please contact our Library Staff.

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