Arthur Capper was born on July 14, 1865 in Garnett, Kansas. He became the state’s 20th governor and the first native-born Kansan to be elected governor, and also served Kansas in the U.S. Senate for five terms (1919-1949). Arthur Capper holds the Kansas record for the longest serving senator with 30 years. He retired from office at the age of 83. Capper was a successful writer and publisher. He got his start in the newspaper business as a boy growing up in Garnett. Capper Publishing was once the largest publishing house west of the Mississippi River with one weekly, two daily, and five state farm newspapers, as well as two national magazines. All together, Capper Publishing’s circulation during his ownership reached approximately five million. Also included were two radio stations. During his time in politics, Capper was a leader for farming states and was the first to promote pig and canning clubs, and was instrumental in establishing legislation that created and funded 4-H. Today, there are more than six million young people across America involved in 4-H. He was also a progressive leader while in the US Senate on behalf of the farmer. As a philanthropist, Arthur Capper established the Capper Foundation for Crippled Children, which serves hundreds of children to this day (www.capper.easterseals.com). Arthur Capper died in Topeka on December 19, 1951 at the age of 86. He was buried in Topeka Cemetery in a plot adjacent to Governor Crawford, his father-in-law, who also has ties to Garnett. His parents, Herbert and Isabella Capper, as well as other family members, are buried in the Garnett Cemetery.
While most Kansans and many Americans know of or have heard of the accomplishments by Arthur Capper, the Garnett community wishes to recognize that the success Arthur Capper attained during his life was due to where and how he was raised and aspects of his character, integrity and work ethic were molded by his upbringing in Garnett. Located at the memorial site is a stone monument with brick from the original birth home surrounding a memorial plaque. A kiosk on the grounds provides a glimpse into Capper's life. Visit the location where his birth home once stood and learn more about this great Kansan by exploring the Anderson County Historical Museum, Garnett Public Library and Garnett Cemetery.
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