State of Nebraska - Genealogy Trails






    Governor Albinus Nance






    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 central Illinois.

    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 of Nantes.

    They came, with many others, to the New World, and formed a prosperous community in the State of North Carolina. Their descendants moved northward 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 period.

    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 Ohio.

    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 Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois; taking a part of the classical course. Soon after leaving 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, taking a 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 practice.

    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 representing 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 further honors.

    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.

    Source:  Public Men of Today - 1882