Lt. Governor of Kansas
Kansas State Senator
BG Charles S. Huffman was born in Vincennes, Indiana, October 8, 1865. Doctor Huffman served as assistant surgeon, with the rank of captain, in the Twentieth Kansas Regiment during the Spanish-American and Philippine Wars, having enlisted in April, 1898. He was a member of Colonel Funston‘s staff. He spent eighteen months in the service, and was mustered out at San Francisco, October 28, 1899.
His early youth was spent in the vicinity of old Vincennes, and he attended the public schools there, graduating from high school in 1883. Doctor Huffman was one of the early settlers in Cherokee County, having come to Kansas soon after leaving high school and locating near Columbus, on his father’s farm. While several succeeding summers were spent in assisting his father on the farm, he taught school during the winter months for four seasons, all his teaching being done in Cherokee County. Ambitious for a larger life fitted to his talents, he entered in 1887, the medical department of the State University of Missouri, and graduated in 1890. Doctor Huffman despite his many other interests, was a keen and alert student of medical science and was without question, one of the foremost representatives of his profession in the state at that time.
During the years 1895-1896 he took post-graduate work in the Bellevue Hospital Medical College of New York City. Beginning practice at Columbus, in 1890, he became busy looking after a large general and surgical practice, and was then the second oldest physician in point of continuous residence in that city. Doctor Huffman was a member of the Cherokee County Medical Society, had served as secretary of the Kansas State Medical Society starting in 1903, and also belonged to the Southeast Kansas Medical Society and the American Medical Association.
Over the state at large he was doubtless best known for his active participation in public affairs. For years he was one of the leading republicans in Southeast Kansas. He was first elected to the State Senate from the Tenth Kansas District in 1904 and was re-elected in 1908, 1912 and 1916. He, in many ways, wielded a strong influence in behalf of worthy legislation, and furthered some of the laws which gave Kansas an enviable distinction among the states of the Union. For four years he was chairman of the important Ways and Means Committee in the Senate, and later served as the chairman of the committee on military affairs, where his membership was in the nature of a fitting tribute to his long and active interest in the National Guard. He introduced and secured the passage of the 1907 Pure Food and Drug Act. This was a piece of advanced legislation which placed Kansas among the forefront of the states that were safeguarding the health of the people by securing the purity of foods and drugs. Doctor Huffman introduced and was instrumental in the passage of a number of laws relating to the protection and safety of miners engaged in the mining industries of the state. This was a subject of long continued study for him, and he was equally zealous on behalf of the maintenance of the educational institutions at a high standard. He was one who lead the movement for the reorganization of the old board of regents, formerly composed of six members for each institution, into the board of administration for the educational institutions, comprising three members and concentrating all power and responsibility in their hands, a change that resulted in great benefit and improvement in the administration of the educational institutions of Kansas.
Those who were in a position to know, say that Doctor Huffman deserved as much credit as any other member of the State Government for the construction of the splendid Memorial Building which adorns the capital city and stands a tribute to those brave soldiers of the Union. Doctor Huffman was chairman of the Ways and Means Committee in the Senate when the appropriation for that building was made. He concerned himself with every phase of its construction from the time the original appropriation was passed until the hall was opened for the public use. The feature of the building which more than any other makes it unique among the public structures of Topeka, is the beautiful white marble employed on a generous scale both inside and out.
The Huffmans originated in Germany, but members of the family came to Pennsylvania in colonial times. Doctor Huffman’s grandmother’s ancestors were from England. His grandfather, Solomon Huffman, was born in Pennsylvania, in 1800, and was one of the early settlers in the old French Town of Vincennes, Indiana. He came in the early days before the improved methods of transportation were in vogue, and made the trip down the Ohio River in a flat boat, and then voyaged up the Wabash until he arrived at his destination. He was a cabinetmaker by trade, a vocation he followed in his younger days, but most of his active life was spent in farming near Vincennes, where he died in 1877. In politics he was first a whig and later a republican, and was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Solomon Huffman married Fannie Purcell, who was born at Vincennes, in 1810, and died there in 1873. She was of a Virginia family.
William P. Huffman, father of Doctor Huffman; was born at Vincennes, Indiana, on April 4, 1834, was reared and married there, and became a farmer. In 1882 he moved to Hallowell, Kansas, and continued farming until he retired. He died at Hallowell, April 19, 1914. He was a republican and a member of the Presbyterian Church. William P. Huffman married Mary Williamson, who was born at old Vincennes, June 11, 1841, and died at Hallowell, in Cherokee County, Kansas, July 24, 1907. The children of this worthy couple were: Dr. Charles S., Alvin, who was born October 1, 1867, a supervisor of bridges and the building department for the Missouri Pacific Railway; William P.; who was born September 26, 1869, and was a stockman at Ordway Colorado; Minnie L.; who was born February 9, 1872, and died in Cherokee County, Kansas, July 20, 1901, had resided until a short time before her death in Cheyenne, Wyoming, being the wife of Ray Cook, a resident of California; Lulu M., who was born September 13, 1879, and lived at Oswego, Kansas, the widow of Thad Rodenberger, a farmer.
Doctor Huffman was married at Columbus, Kansas, in 1893, to Miss Minnie Cowley, a daughter of W. R. and Florence (Smith) Cowley. Her father, though a resident of Columbus, Kansas, was general attorney for the Long-Bell Lumber Company, of Kansas City, Missouri. Doctor and Mrs. Huffman had one daughter: Mona Clare, who was born November 21, 1895, attended the University of Kansas, at Lawrence, and was an active member of the Sigma Kappa Sorority and was president of the Woman’s Governing Association of the University. Senator Huffman had one of the most attractive homes at Columbus, at 634 East Maple Street, and a farm of 240 acres in the southwest part of Cherokee County. He was a director in the Columbus State Bank, and for five years served as president of that institution. He had many associations with the social and business life of his home city, was active in the Columbus Commercial Club, was a prominent Mason, belonging to Prudence Lodge No. 100, Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons, at Columbus; Columbus Chapter No. 223, Royal Arch Masons; to Columbus Lodge No. 12, Uniform Rank Knights of Pythias; the Modern Woodman of America; and the Ancient Order of United Workmen.
He was appointed Adjutant General on October 1, 1917 as served in that position until January 27, 1919. BG Huffman served as Lt. Governor of the State of Kansas from 1919 to 1923. He retired from the Guard on January 23, 1920.
He died May 6, 1960 in Colombus, Kansas.