The first Commander-in-Chief of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States not to serve in the War of the Rebellion was Colonel Hugh Means of the Kansas Commandery. Judge Means was veteran of World War I and also an eminent jurist. A native of Lawrence, Kansas, Judge Means lived in that community his entire life. He was born on July 27, 1871 on the family farm in Wakarusa township just southeast of Lawrence and he retained ownership of the farm for most of his life. The family was widely traveled and Hugh lived with his parents in Florence and Paris where his mother studied painting. He once remarked that "I've slept in every state in the Union and in a good many foreign countries." Following the family's return to the United States, Hugh Means studied at the University of Kansas where he received his law degree in 1895. He also took a year of post graduate work at Harvard.
After practicing law in Lawrence for a number of years Hugh Means was elected Probate Judge in 1925 and District Court Judge for Douglas, Franklin and Anderson Counties in 1929. Judge Means served as District Court Judge until his retirement in 1953. He continued his practice of law and served as a reserve judge until just before his death in 1964. Judge Means married Frances Barker on November 8, 1902. His wife died in 1949 and there were no children. At Judge Mean's death he was survived by a niece, Mrs. Lucene Bayles of Lawrence and a grand neice, Mrs. Adrenne Mitchell of San Marino, California.
Judge Means was deeply patriotic and began his military service as a private in the Kansas National Guard. He rose to the rank of colonel and commanded the 130th Field Artillery at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, during World War I. Hugh Mean's mother was Mary Ward Smith, the daughter of Major General Thomas Church Haskell Smith a celebrated Civil War veteran who began his service in 1861 as a Lieutenant Colonel in the 1st Ohio Cavalry. Following the Battle of Shiloh Colonel Smith was appointed aide-de-camp to Major General John Pope when the latter was selected to command the Army of Virginia. After the defeat of the army at the second Battle of Bull Run General Pope preferred charges against Major General Fitz John Porter for insubordination and dereliction of duty. As Pope's aide Smith gave very damaging testimony, much of it later shown to be questionable, at the court martial of General Fitz John Porter. Colonel Thomas Smith was appointed a Brigadier General of U.S. Volunteers on March 16, 1863, and went with General Pope to Minnesota. He commanded the Military District of Wisconsin for a brief period and then accompanied General Pope when the latter became commander of the Department of Missouri. General Smith was mustered out in 1866 and eventually went into government service, first in the Department of the Treasury and then as paymaster with the rank of major in the U.S. Army. He retired in 1883 and moved to Ojai Valley, California, where he became a Companion of the California Commandery Insignia No. 2648.
Hugh Means was elected a Companion of the Kansas Commandery on January 6, 1898 and assigned Insignia No. 12079. He was a very active member of the commandery serving in a number of subordinate offices and eventually as Commander.
Judge Means was an outspoken advocate of the position of the Union in the Civil War. In 1955 when the U.S. Post Office announced the issuance of a commemorative stamp for Confederate General Robert E. Lee, Judge Means strongly objected and in a letter to the Post Master General he wrote, "It seems to me we have come to a pretty pass when it is found proper to honor a rebel and a traitor. Robert E. Lee received his military education at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He took an oath to support the Union. He foreswore that oath and devoted his military knowledge gained at the Academy...in an attempt to overthrow the Union."
As a judge Hugh Means was known for his high standards and impartiality. He once said, "A judge lives in an atmosphere of semi-ostracism. He should be friendly with all members of the bar, but there should not be any intimacy with any one member of the bar. I have tried to preserve that attitude."
As person of some wealth Hugh Means was generous in his gifts to the University of Kansas and other charitable causes. He endowed the Kansas Commandery with a fund which enables it to present a watch to a deserving ROTC cadet at the University of Kansas to this day.
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