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Josiah Lamb

Politician. Born: March 31, 1817, Richmond, Indiana. Married: Ruth Lamb, October 12, 1836. Died: August 11, 1862, Linn County, Kansas.

A Linn County farmer and "millwright" who had been born near Richmond, Wayne County, Indiana, on March 31, 1817, to John and Lydia (Mendenhall) Lamb, Josiah Lamb moved his large family, which included wife Ruth and eight children (ages one to twenty-one) to Kansas Territory from Iowa (where they lived for only about five years) in 1857. He had married his first cousin, Ruth Lamb, on October 12, 1836, and the first seven of their 10 children were born in Indiana. Soon after settling in Linn County, Lamb involved himself in local affairs and was elected justice of the peace for Potosi Township and easily won, along with J. M. Arthur, the contest to represent his county at the Wyandotte Convention. While there Lamb was certainly not outspoken; indeed, he was mostly silent during floor debate, but there were exceptions. On one occasion about midway through the convention, this self-described "common citizen of Kansas" said, "Mr. President, I have kept my seat on all occasions, perfectly willing to listen to older and wiser heads, but now I feel disposed to offer some thoughts." The issue under consideration was the educational opportunities to be given to black children; Lamb expressed the firm belief that if they were to be allowed to "come into Kansas at all, let us give them an education." He believed "a direct vote of the people" should decide the former question-i.e., "whether the black man shall have the privilege of coming into Kansas."

According to early Linn County historian William Mitchell, Lamb was "one of those forceful but unpretentious and modest characters who deserve a much better tribute than they will ever get because of the passing away of nearly all who knew about him." Lamb died in Linn County on August 11, 1862, and is buried in the Lamb Cemetery, southeast of Pleasanton.

Entry: Lamb, Josiah

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: June 2011

Date Modified: January 2013

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.