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Thomas L. Kane papers on the Mormons, 1846-1884

Identifier: Vault MSS 792 Series 3

Scope and Contents

Contains material dating from Kane's initial meeting with the Mormons in 1846 through his relationships with various Mormons throughout his lifetime. Includes key materials relating to the call of the Mormon Battalion in 1846, the settlement of the Mormons on Indian lands in Nebraska during the winter of 1846-47, the establishment of Winter Quarters and Kanesville, their westward movement, Kane's public defense of the Mormons, the Utah War period, and later work with individuals like George Q. Cannon.


  • Majority of material found within 1846-1884


Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from Kane family papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Coordinating Committee.

Biographical History

Thomas L. Kane (1822-1883) was a lawyer, abolitionist, Civil War soldier, frontiersman, and Mormon advocate.

Thomas Leiper Kane was born January 27, 1822 in Philadelphia to Judge John Kintzing Kane and Jane Duval Leiper. He attained the bar in 1846, after studying law with his father. He served as clerk in his father's court until 1850, at which point he resigned due to a moral conflict with the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. He went on to become an active member of the Underground Railroad. Kane became interested in the Mormon migration to the West, and was crucial in securing government aid for the movement. His friendship with Brigham Young is credited with the non-violent resolution of the Utah War. At the advent of the Civil War Kane organized a volunteer Union Army regiment known as the "Bucktails" and served as lieutenant-colonel of that outfit. He later was brevetted the rank of major-general for his service at Gettysburg. After his military service he retired to found the town of Kane, Pennsylvania. In 1853 Kane married Elizabeth Dennistoun Wood, and together they had four children: Harriet Amelia Kane (1854-1896); Elisha Kent Kane (1856-1935); Evan O'Neill Kane (1861-1932); and Thomas Leiper Kane, Jr. (1863-1929). Kane died of pneumonia in Philadelphia on December 26, 1883.


5 boxes

Language of Materials



Arranged in fourteen subseries: 1. Correspondence from early Mormon contacts. 2. Correspondence regarding Winter Quarters. 3. Note and orders for Mormon Battalion. 4. Legislative drafts on Utah statehood. 5. Address to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 6. Papers on Utah Expedition. 7. Brigham Young correspondence and other material. 8. Correspondence with George Q. Cannon. 9. Correspondence with other Mormons. 10. Letters and notes from visit to Utah, 1872-1873. 11. Account of visit to Utah, 1877. 12. Correspondence and other material on Mormon business ventures. 13. Manuscripts, correspondence, and other material on Mormons. 14. Newpaper clippings on Mormons.

Other Finding Aids

File-level inventory available online.

Related Materials

See also the Elizabeth Wood Kane papers (Vault MSS 792 Series 6) for materials she produced as her husband's secretary, which help document his activities.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States