Anthony was born in Adams, Massachusetts, one of eight children born to Daniel Anthony and Lucy Read. His older sister was Susan B. Anthony. Anthony first came to Kansas in 1854 as part of the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Company to fight against the extension of slavery to the Kansas Territory. He settled in Leavenworth in 1857 where he founded the Leavenworth Conservative newspaper in 1861. He was also named the town postmaster. Leavenworth at the time was the end of the telegraph line and in 1861 he rode by horseback to Lawrence, Kansas to inform the territorial legislature of the approval of statehood for Kansas.
In 1861, R.C. Satterlee of the Kansas Herald accused Anthony of being a coward. They met on the street and exchanged gunfire with Satterlee being killed. During the American Civil War, in 1861 and 1862, Anthony was a lieutenant colonel in the Union 7th Regiment Kansas Volunteer Cavalry where he saw action in Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi and Alabama. He was elected Leavenworth mayor in 1863 and he enlisted several volunteers to burn buildings of Confederate sympathizers on the edge of town. Union General Thomas Ewing, who placed Leavenworth under martial law during the American Civil War, had him arrested for interfering with martial law (Anthony said they could locally maintain order in their own city).
In 1864 Anthony bought the Leavenworth Bulletin. In 1866 he was removed as postmaster for not supporting Reconstruction policies. He was elected presiding officer of the Republican State Convention in 1868. In 1870-1871, he served on the city council. In 1871, Anthony purchased the Leavenworth Times, the oldest daily newspaper in Kansas. His public stance on issues and his steady acquisition of newspapers raised controversy. In 1875, William Embry, editor of the Daily Appeal, shot him at the Leavenworth Opera House. Because he was not expected to live, his sister Susan visited him. In 1876 he bought the Leavenworth Commercial, giving him a monopoly on local newspapers.
In 1887, after Anthony was horsewhipped by a man, Leavenworth residents paid by “nickel subscription” the $100 fine for a man charged with horsewhipping. In 1891 the town’s mayor was fined $30 for whipping Anthony. Anthony’s childhood home in Adams, Massachusetts, is now a museum dedicated to his sister Susan B. Anthony, who was a leader in the women’s suffrage movement. Anthony’s son Daniel Read Anthony, Jr. edited the Leavenworth Times and served as Congressman from 1907 to 1929.
- August, 22, 1824
- Adams, Massachusetts
- November, 12, 1904
- Mount Muncie Cemetery
- Lansing, Kansas