1872 Nebraska gubernatorial election

The 1872 Nebraska gubernatorial election was held on October 8, 1872.[a] Three-term incumbent Governor of Nebraska David Butler was impeached and removed from office on June 2, 1871.[3] Because Nebraska's Constitution at the time did not have an office of lieutenant governor, Butler was replaced by Nebraska Secretary of State William H. James as acting governor, filling out the remainder of Butler's term. In 1872, James decided not to seek election to the governorship. The election of 1872 thus featured Republican nominee Robert Wilkinson Furnas, a member of the University of Nebraska board of regents since 1869, defeating Democratic nominee Henry C. Lett, a lawyer from Brownville, Nebraska.[4][5]

1872 Nebraska gubernatorial election

← 1870 October 8, 1872 1874 →
Nominee Robert W. Furnas Henry C. Lett
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 16,543 11,227
Percentage 59.6% 40.4%

Governor before election

William H. James (Acting)

Elected Governor

Robert Wilkinson Furnas

General election





Nebraska gubernatorial election, 1872[4][11]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Robert W. Furnas 16,543 59.57%
Democratic Henry C. Lett 11,227 40.43%
Total votes 27,770 100.0%
Republican hold


  1. ^ The Nebraska Constitution of 1866 specified in Article III, Section 1, that the governor and all executive officers were to be elected on the second Tuesday in October.[1][2]


  1. ^ "Nebraska Constitution of 1866, Article III, Section 1". 1866. The Executive Department shall consist of a Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor and Treasurer, who shall be chosen by the electors of the State on the second Tuesday of October....
  2. ^ State of Nebraska (1873). Senate Journal of the General Assembly of the State of Nebraska: Ninth Regular Session. Journal Company. p. 36. Retrieved June 21, 2023. Abstract of Votes Cast for State Officers at the General Election, Held October 8th, 1872
  3. ^ "Gov. David C. Butler". National Governors Association. Retrieved December 26, 2022.
  4. ^ a b Addison E. Sheldon, ed. (December 1918). The Nebraska Blue Book and Historical Register. Nebraska Legislative Reference Bureau. p. 440. Retrieved May 13, 2023.
  5. ^ "Col. R. W. Furnas and Hon. H. C. Lett". Omaha Evening Bee. October 4, 1872. Retrieved May 13, 2023.
  6. ^ State of Nebraska. 2020-21 Nebraska Blue Book (PDF). p. 311. Retrieved May 13, 2023.
  7. ^ "Robert Wilkinson Furnas". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved May 13, 2023.
  8. ^ "H. C. Lett, Come Into Court". Nebraska Advertiser. October 3, 1872. Retrieved May 13, 2023.
  9. ^ "City and County". Nebraska Advertiser. November 14, 1872. Retrieved May 13, 2023. H. C. Lett, Esq. has been...
  10. ^ "Democratic State Ticket". Omaha Herald. August 7, 1868. p. 2. Retrieved June 22, 2023.
  11. ^ Harrison Johnson (1880). History of Nebraska. Henry Gibson Herald Printing House. p. 52.