Albinus Nance, Governor
of Nebraska, was born at
La Fayette, Stark County,
Illinois, March 80, 1848.
He is the eldest son of Dr.
Hiram Nance, who for many
years has been one of the
most successful physicians in
The ancestors of Governor
Nance, on his father's side,
were French Huguenots, and
were driven from France by
the religious intolerance and persecutions that followed the revocation of the edict
They came, with many others, to the New World, and formed a prosperous
community in the State of North Carolina. Their descendants moved north-
ward and westward, as the frontier settlements advanced, and in 1836 Dr.
Hiram Nance located in the then new State of Illinois, the "far west" of that
The Governor's ancestors on his mother's side were of English origin. His
mother's maiden name was Sarah K. Smith, and she was born in the State of
At the commencement of the late war the subject of this sketch was too young
to enlist, but at a later period in the struggle, when less care was observed in
recruiting for the Union armies, he enlisted in the Ninth Illinois cavalry. At the
date of enlistment he was only sixteen years old, and it is one of the traditions
of the family that the young soldier was mustered in contrary to the wishes and
earnest protests of his parents.
He continued in the service until the close of the war, and participated in
the following-named battles: Guntown, Hurricane Creek, Tupelo, Columbia
(Tenn.), Spring Hill, Franklin, and Nashville. In the last-mentioned battle he
was slightly wounded.
When the war ended and his regiment disbanded he became a student at
College, Galesburg, Illinois; taking a part of the classical course. Soon
college he commenced the study of law, and in 1870 was admitted
to the Bar by
the Supreme Court of Illinois.
Impressed with the belief that the West would afford a more promising field
for the employment of his youthful energies, he went to Nebraska in 1871,
homestead in Polk County. There he devoted part of his time to
farming, and gave
some attention to the profession of law. Finally he removed
to Osceola, the county
seat of Polk County, and soon established a lucrative
In 1874 his friends submitted his name to the Republican Convention of the
Thirteenth District for Representative in the State Legislature. The Convention
was the scene of an exciting content. Seven candidates were in the field, and the
friends of each aspirant worked with great energy for their favorite. Finally, after
a number of ballots had been taken, Albinus Nance received the nomination by
a majority of only one vote. This was the commencement of a remarkable series
of political victories. His principal opponent before the Convention refused to
abide by the result, and promptly entered the field as an independent candidate.
Great efforts were made to defeat the regular candidate, but without success.
He was elected by about two thousand majority, and during the ensuing session
of the Legislature made a good record as a member of the House.
September 30, 1875, he was married to Miss Sarah White, of Farragut, Iowa.
In 1876 he was one of the delegates elected by the Republican State Convention,
held at Fremont, to represent Nebraska in the Republican National Convention
at Cincinnati, and was elected Chairman of the delegation. He was re nominated
for the Legislature that year, and was re-elected without opposition
the Thirty-fifth District under the new apportionment of 1875. When the
Legislature convened, in January, 1877, he was elected Speaker of the House.
The splendid record that he made as a presiding officer prepared the way for
In 1878, when only thirty years old, he was nominated for Governor by the
Republican State Convention, and was elected by the usual Republican majority.
His administration was very acceptable to the people, and in 1880 he was re-
nominated by acclamation, and was re-elected by an overwhelming majority,
receiving a larger vote than any other candidate on the State ticket.
The distinguishing feature of his administration has been an unassuming but
inflexible determination to execute the laws with fidelity to the best interests of
the people of Nebraska.
Governor Nance's second term will end January 4, 1883.