Carrie Westlake Whitney.

Kansas City, Missouri; its history and its people 1808-1908 (Volume 2) online

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Arthur, the former of St. Louis, managing a hotel, and the latter of New
York city. The daughter. Bertha, is the wife of Prank A. Barr, connected
with Illinois Central Railroad, living in Chicago.

INIr. Baker's career is notably that of a self-made man who owes his ad-
vancement not to any fortunate combination of circumstances but to the
fact that he has recognized and known how to improve opportunities, and
thus he has made steady advancement in the business world until, long
since leaving the ranks of the many, he stands today among the successful
few.



EDWARD F. TOBENER.

Edward F. Tobener is now practically living retired after years of active
connection with the real-estate and building interests in Kansas City. He
was born in the old Tobener block, at the corner of Fifteenth street and
Grand avenue, on the 2d of March, 1869, and is a son of Henry Tobener,
who was a leading and influential citizen at an early day and who is men-
tioned on another page of this volume. When he had reached the usual age
the boy was sent to school, pursuing his studies in the Humboldt and
Morse schools, while later he attended Spalding's Business College. Early
in his career he engaged with his father in the conduct of a livery stable
and also collected rents and looked after the real-estate interests of his
father for a number of years. As Henry Tobener prospered in his under-
takings he invested more and more largely in property and thus his realty



98 HISTORY OF KANSAS CITY

interests made heavier demands npon the time and attention of Edward F.
Tobener as the years passed by. In connection with his fathor he did con-
siderable building and thus figured in the business circles of the city as a
prominent, enterprising factor. He is, however, now living retired, save that
he devotes some time to the raising of fine pigeons. He has imported a
great many from Germany of the most improved varieties and finds this
work most congenial and interesting.

Mr. Tobener was married in Kansas Citv in 1896 to Miss ]\Iarv Mueller,
who was born in Belleville, Illinois, a daughter of John Mueller, of that
city, and they now have one son, Henry. Mr. Tobener erected a fine resi-
dence at No. 1412 Bales street and it has been his home since its completion
in 1904. He has always been a leader in the ranks of the democratic ]iarty
and believes that in its principles lies the solution of popular government.
His entire life having here been passed, the city and its welfare are dear to his
heart and he gives substantial assistance to many movements which are of
value in the work of public improvement. His life is exemplary in many
respects and his activity and keen discernment in business have constituted
the salient features in a prosperous career that now^ enables him to live re-
tired, deriving a substantial income from his invested interests.



COLONEL GEORGE PEERY GROSS.

Colonel George Peery Gross, a Confederate veteran of the Civil war, a
Spanish war veteran, a member of the National Guard and connected through
ancestry with the War for Independence, being now president of the Sons
of the American Revolution, is a citizen in whom' patriotism has always been
a salient characteristic. He was born at Van Buren, Arkansas, November 21,
1847. His father, George Gross, was a native of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and
a manufacturer of leather. He served in the Confederate army in the com-
missary department, holding a staff" position. The paternal grandfather, Jacob
S. Gro.-;s, was a lieutenant in a Pciiii.-ylvania regiment during the war of
1812, while tlic great-grandfather, John Gross, was a captain of the Third
Pennsylvania Regiment in the Revolutidiiary war. Michael Gro.«>. an uncle
of our .-ubjcct, was also a .soldier, serving with General AValker at Nicai-agua
in the filibustering expedition. All of the above \vere officers and the military
record of the family is one of which its members have reason to be proud.
The mother of Colonel Gros.s, of this review, was Lockcy Pet-ry. a native of
Tazewell, Virginia, who was married, however, in Washington county, Mis-
souri, to George Gross. His death occurred in Kansas City. The mother also
passed away there and both Avere laid to rest in a cemetery at Van Buren.
Arkansas.

Colonel Gross, of this review, accpiircd a limited educatiini in the public
schools of Van Buren. He was but fourteen and a half years of age when
he joined the Confederate army, serving for three and a half years in defense
of the .southern cause. He was with Major Buck Brown's Battalion of Tnde-




COL. GEORGE P. GEOSS.



HISTORY OF KANSAS CITY 101

pendent Rangers and later was transferred to ]\Iajor General James F. Fagan's
escort company. Subsequently he served with the Missouri troops in a cam-
paign against General Banks' expedition up the Red river, and he also saw
service against General Steele's advance out of Little Rock to Shreveport,
Louisiana. He participated in the battles at Mansfield, Pleasant Hill,
Louisiana, and Jenkins Ferry, Arkansas, and in several engagements in the
Indian Territory. At the close of the war he surrendered at Little Rock and
took the oath of allegiance to support the constitution of the United States,
being at that time eighteen years of age. When the war was over Colonel
Gross engaged in merchandising at Van Buren, Arkansas, becoming connected
with a store there in 1866. He continued to reside at Van Buren until 1874,
which year witnessed his arrival in Kansas City. Here he entered the em-
ploy of the Duncan-Wyeth Hardware Company, which was later succeeded
by the Hall & Willis Hardware Company. He traveled all over the west sell-
ing goods for tho.'^e houses until 1887, when he accepted a similar position
with the Kansas City Hardware Company, continuing with that concern for
a year. He then resigned to engage in business on his own account, becom-
ing manufacturers' agent for several eastern manufacturing companies, which
he represented in that capacity until 1898.

In the meantime Colonel Gross had gained some military experience,
for on the 26th of May, 1891, he was appointed by Governor W. J. Stone
as quartermaster of the Third Regiment of the Missouri National Guard. On
the 22d of December, 1893, he resigned and Avas elected first lieutenant of
Battery B, Missouri National Guard, being commissioned as such by Governor
Stone. On the 31st of March, 1894, he was again appointed and commis-
sioned by Governor Stone quartermaster of the Third Regiment, and on the
10th of April, 1895, he was elected lieutenant colonel of the Third Regiment
followed by election to the colonelcy on the 24th of October of the same year.
At the breaking out of the Spanish-American war he was appointed and
commissioned colonel of the Third Missouri Regiment of the United States
Volunteer Infantry, the commission bearing date April 27, 1898. His com-
mand was attached to the Second Army Corps at Camp Alger and he marched
with his regiment and Second Division of the Second Army Corps to Thor-
oughfare Gap, Virginia, and thence was sent to Camp Mead, Pennsylvania,
to join the army corps. He saw seven months' service and when the country
no longer needed the militant aid of her loyal citizens he returned to his
home.

Colonel Gross then engaged in the business of selling mines and mineral
and timber lands. He is interested in a number of mining properties and at
the present time (1908) he is president of the Manhattan Gold Crest Mining
Company of Manhattan, Nevada. He is also secretary and treasurer of the
Logan Copper Company of Arizona, which properties are in the course of
development, and in their ownership he is associated with several prominent
Kansas City capitalists. His oflRce is at No. 1008 Commerce building. He
has made a close study of the mining conditions, interests and possibilities of
the west and has good reason to believe that his investments have been placed
in valuable mining properties. He owns valuable zinc mining land in



102 HISTORY OF KANSAS CITY

northern Arkansas and he is al<o sole owner and manufacturer of a l)uruer
for fuel oil.

Colonel Gross was married to Miss Martha Vincil at St. Louis, Missouri,
a daughter of Rev. John D. Vincil, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal
church, South, who is well known in his denomination and was for twenty-
one years secretary of the Masonic Grand Lodge of Missouri, which position
he held at the time of his death. Colonel and Mrs. Gross have never had any
children of their own but have reared a nephew, Harry ^Miller, who is a
young man well and favorably known in Kansas City. During the Spanish-
American war he served as a lieutenant of one of the companies in his uncle's
regiment. Colonel Gross and his wife are well known socially in the city.
Mrs. Gross is the president of the Southwest Missouri board of home missions
and president of the board of city missions ; and is also president of the United
Daughters of the Confederacy. In his political views Colonel Gross has always
been a stalwart democrat and upon the party ticket he was placed in nomina-
tion for the office of county collector in 1900. Although defeated, his op-
ponent won the election by a very small majority, Colonel Gross polling a
large vote. He is now president of the local camp of the Sons of the Amer-
ican Revolution and was the first commander of General John C. Bates Camp,
No. 7, of the United Spanish War Veterans, also brigadier general command-
ing the Western Brigade of the Missouri Division of the United (Confederate
Veterans. He is a man of fine presence and soldierly bearing, his appearance
giving evidence of his military experience. Throughout the greater part of
his life he has been connected with some military organization and he greatly
enjoys the association with his comrades of the Civil and Spanish-American
wars and of the National Guard, meeting them as he does at various camp-
fires. Fraternally Colonel Gross is a Mason and an Elk and he belongs to
the Methodist Episcopal church. South.

In 1898 he made [ipplication to the United States government for the
position of colonel in a United States Volunteer Regiment for the purpose of
service in the Philippines. These positions, however, are given to regular
officers, an established rule of the war department, and Mr. Gross was offered
the appointment as major, Avhich he declined. The application was accom-
panied by the following endor.^ements, which show in what high esteem ho

is held:

„ ,, ,, ., , Gallatin, Missouri, March 22, 1899.

To the President : —

Geo. P. Gross, Esq.. late Colonel of the Third Mo. Vols, in the recent
war with Spain, desires an a{)[)ointment as Colonel under the army reorganiza-
tion act. Col. Gross i.-^ an accomplished gentleman, a splendid soldier and I
am sure will acquit himself with credit in the [)osition he seeks. He saw
four years of active service in the war of 'Gl-TrS and is therefore peculiarly
well fitted for the comniand of a regiment. His ap))ointment I am sure would
be very agreeable to the citizens of Missouri, and f sincerely hope you may
see your way clcai' to ninkc if. With best wishes.

Very tiuily y(»urs,

Alex. ^r. Doekery,
(Member of Congress 0th Di.strict.)



HISTORY OF KANSAS CITY • 103

SAMUEL H. CHILES,

Manshal of Jackson County.
Kansas City, Mo., March, 1899.



Hon. Secretary of War,

Washington. D. C.



'&^



Dear Sir: —

I take pleasure in recommending Col. Geo. P. Gross, late commander of
the 3rd Mo. Infantry for the appointment of Colonel of the Mo. U. S. Vol.
Infantry to be raised in the Missouri field.

Col. Gross is a gentleman of military culture, courageous and expe-
rienced in the art of war, having done service in the Civil War on the side
of the Lost Cause, during which his service was commendable as evinced by
those who served with him in that struggle. His appointment to that posi-
tion would meet the hearty approval of the whole state of Missouri and more
especially of his comrades of Camp 80, U. C. V. of Kansas City, Mo.

S. C. Ragan, Capt. Comm'd'g Camp 80, U. C. V., K. C, Mo.

(United Confederate Veterans.)

EAGLE MANUFACTURING CO.

Kansas City, Mo., March 28, 1899.
The Hon. Sec'y. of War,
Sir:—

I am informed that Col. Geo. P. Gross contemplates the organization
of a regiment of Infantry, under the late act of Congress for the increase
of the Army.

The Colonel has had extended experience in that of the Civil War,
Colonel of the 3rd Mo. National Guards, which he reorganized at the call of
the President for troops, and commanded the same, until the close of the
Cuban War. He is in full vigor of manhood, and seems to be born for ]\Iili-
tary service. His recognition by you, would gratify not only Kansas City,
but his extended acquaintance of friends. Your department would be sure
of an efficient officer as well. Hoping we may be recognized in him by
you, I am,

Verv respectfully your obedient servant,

^ H. F. Devol,

Late Col. 36th Ohio Vol.
(Brevet Brig. General). Gen. Russell A. Alger, Sec'y of War,

Washington, D. C.

KANSAS CITY POSTOFFICE.

Otfice of the Postmaster.
Kansas City, Jackson Co., Mo., 3, 16, '99.

To the Honorable Secretary of War,

Washington, D. C.
My Dear Sir:—

Colonel Gross, of this city is an applicant for the appointment
to the Colonelcy under the new Army Bill and I desire to express to you



104 HISTORY OF KANSAS CITY

my sincere and unqualified endorsement for Colonel Gross and beg to acquaint
you with a few facts pertaining to this matter.

He is a man of fine intelligence and splendid physique and of good
character and a host of friends in the state of ^Missouri, and particularly in
this city. He was a private in the Confederate army, he afterwards became
the Colonel of the 3rd Regiment of Missouri National Guards and took his
regiment as Colonel into the Spanish American service and all Army Ofhcers,
I think, will agree that he presented one of the best regiments that was
called into the service and they made a splendid showing under all circum-
stances, although they never got into attual fighting.

After the war was over his regiment w^as mustered out at Kansas City and
thereafter Colonel Gross resigned his commission as Colonel to the Governor
of the state under the National Guard service.

He is strongly supported by not only Democrats but also by Republi-
cans, all of whom have, and do yet, thoroughly appreciate his military quali-
fications. He is a man capable of commanding, and possessing that judgment
which would justify the assertion that he could be relied upon to make no
mistakes for his government.

I take great pleasure in commending him to your favorable considera-
tion and trust that when Missouri's interests are taken up in reference to
these appointments that Kansas City may be represented by Colonel Gross,
in the position above indicated.

I have the honor to subscribe myself.

Yours very truly,

S. S. Scott.

I join the other friends of Colonel Gross in recommending his appoint-
ment.

William Warner.

FARRAGUT-THOMAS POST, NO. 8.

Department of Missouri, G. A. R.

Kansas City, Mo., April 4, 1899.

Col. Geo. P. Gross,

3rd Regt. U. S. Vol. Inf.,

Kansas City, Mo.
Dear Sir: —

We, ex-Union Soldiers of '61 to '65, entertaining a profound respect for
the fighting ciualitics of the American Soldier, North and South, and having
a firm reliance on the Volunteer Army as the Safeguard of our Republic, do
believe that the Volunteer Soldier should be recognized and encouraged.

AVith that view, and from our knowledge of your character as a man
and citizen, and your experience and actual service as a soldier through two
Avars, and your many years' connection with the Militia of this State as Colonel
of a regiment, Ave regard you as especially fitted for military service, and com-
mand of men, and suggest that you apply, and we most cordially recommend
that you be appointed and commissioned as Colonel of the first regiment of



HISTORY OF KANSAS CITY 105

United States A^olunteers that may be called into service from this State to
increase the Army.

You are at liberty to call upon us, if you please, for further endorse-
ments, or to use this letter as you deem proper.

Yours truly,

W. H. WoRMSTRAD, Post Commander.
Jere T. Dew, (P. P. P.) and Adjt.

D. H. Porter.

Ross GuFFiN (P. p. C.)
A. B. GuNN.

E. B. PIoward (P. P. C.)
Wm. Henry (P. P. C.)

Washington, D. C, March 18, 1899.
This is to say that Colonel Geo. P. Gross, 3rd Missouri Volunteers, served
under my command in the 2nd Division, 2nd Corps, from May 31, 1898,
until the regiment was mustered out of service in September, 1898.

The regiment was one of the most efficient that I have had the honor
to command, and its Colonel was always able, efficient, prompt in all duties,
and thoroughly reliable. His very extensive military experience and train-
ing in two wars, combined with his high character as a man, give him special
qualifications for further service in commanding a regiment of Volunteers
should their services be required.

George W. Davis,
Brigadier General, U. S. Vols.

(Regular Army Officer.)

HEADQUARTERS SECOND ARMY CORPS,

97th Street and Marine Avenue, Brooklyn, N. Y.

March 31, 1899.
The Honorable Secretary of War,

Washington, D. C.
Sir:-

Understanding that Colonel Geo. P. Gross, late of the 3rd Mo.
Volunteer Infantry is an applicant for the Colonelcy of a Provisional Regi-
ment Volunteer Infantry Regiment should a call be made.

I have the honor to recommend this otHcer as an intelligent, faithful and
worthy soldier.

He is well qualified for the command of a Volunteer regiment and if
appointed will in my judgment do credit to the public service and himself.

I am sir, very respectfully.
Your obedient servant,
(Signed) Wm. Montrose Graham,
Brigadier General U. S. A., Retired. (Regular Army Officer.)



106 HISTORY OF KANSAS CITY

DEW, PARKINSON <fe BARNES,

Attorneys and Counselors at Law.

^818-19-20-21 N. Y. Life Bldg,
Kansas City, Mo., :\laiTli 25. 1899.
Hon. Russell A. Alger,

Secretary of War,

Washington, I). C.
Dear Sir: —

It is my special pleasure to endorse and recommend Colonel
George P. Gross, late Colonel of the 3rd Missouri Regiment, U. S. Infantry
Volunteers, for the command of the first regiment of Volunteers the State of
Missouri may be called upon to furnish, to increase the U. S. Volunteer Army.
Honest, honorable and honored citizen, endowed with a strong physique
the martial spirit, and a desire to serve his Country ; with experience as a
soldier through two wars, he is eminently qualified by nature, education and
training to command men, and for the position to which he aspires.

Very respectfully,

Jere T. Dew.



Jas. M. Jones, ^layor,

E. Mont. Reily, Private Sec'v



OFFICE OF MAYOR.

Kansa.s City, Mo., March 29th, 1899.



Hon. Secretary of War,

Washington, D. C.
Dear Sir: —

I take special pleasure in reconnnending Col. George P. Gross,
of our city, for the appointment to the Colonelcy of the United States
Vol. Infantry Regiment, supposed to be called in the near future. The Col-
onel is an honest and honorable citizen and responded to the call for troops
during the late war ; commanding until mustered out in November.

His appointment would greatly gratify his many friends, not only in
Kansas City, but throughout the entire state.

He is a strong, vigorous man, of military l)earing, and has had experience
in two wars, thereby making him competent to fill such a position with honor
to the government and to the state. Yours truly,

Jas. M. Jones, Mayor.
Die. J. M. J.

HOUSE OK REPRESENTATIVES V. S.

Washington. D. C.
Kansas City, Mo., April lOtli. 1899.

To The President of The United States,

Washington. D. C.
Sir:-

Coloncl George P. Gross, of Kan.'^as City, T\fo., will ])e an appli-
cant for aupoinliiiciit a.- Colonel for one of the A'ohniti'er Regiincnts to bo



HISTORY OF KANSAS CITY 107

raised under the army reorganization act, provided you decide to appoint
the same or any of them from Civil life. Colonel Gross has had many years'
experience in military affairs, having served about three years in the Confed-
erate army during the Civil War. He was for several j^ears Colonel of the
Third Regiment of the National Guard of Missouri, and was Colonel of the
Third Regiment of Missouri A^olunteers during the late war with Spain. He
has received high commendations from all of his superior officer?, and I feel
sure his record w411 be found to be one of exceptional merit. He stands high
as a citizen in this comnuniity, and his appointment would please his many
friends of both parties.

I most earnestly recommend him to your kind consideration, and trust
you may find opportunity to give him the place he seeks.

Yours respectfully,

W. S. Cowheul,
M. C. oth District Missouri.

IT. S. DISTRICT COURT,

Western District, Mo.
John F. Philips, Judge.
Kansas City, Mo., March 17th, 189^.
Hon. Russell A. Alger,
Secretary of War,

Washington, D. C.
Dear Sir: —

In the event of a call for volunteer troops and the organiza-
tion of new regiments therefor, should ^Missouri be entitled to one regiment,
I beg to lay before you for consideration the name of Col. George P. Gross
for colonel. Mr. Gross is a man of decidedly military spirit and taste. He
was colonel of one of the "crack" regiments of the National Guards of Mis-
souri at the outbreak with Spain. He organized the Third Regiment of
Missouri Volunteers for that service and went South, and then was stationed
at Camp Alger; but failed of his ambition to reach the front anywhere. This
was a great disappointment to his ambition. His regiment, in my humble
judgment, was one of the best equipped and drilled in the State, and would
have given a good account of itself had the opportunity been afforded it.
Col. Gross is a fighter, and a man of admirable courage, but of excellent
judgment and self control. I know of no man in the State better suited to a
regimental command than he is. With great respect.

Your obedient servant,

John F. Philips.

St. Louis, Mo., March 26, '99.

To the Honorable Secretary of War,

W^ashington, D. C.
Sir:-

Col. George P. Crross, 3rd Mo. Vol. Infantrj^, reported to me in
June, 1898, immediately after I took command of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Divis-



108 HISTORY OF KANSAS CITY

ion, 2nd Army Corjvs at Camp R. A. Alger and remained under my command
until mustered out in the fall of the same year.

As a regimental commander I consider him one of the be.st in the
Brigade. He is thoroughly etticient and reliable. His practical experience
and training during the Civil War; his long and honorable service in the
National Guard of iMissouri and now added to these his service and experience
in the Spanish War give him special fitness for the command of a regiment.
His character as an officer and a gentleman are above reproach and if any of
the new Regiments of Volunteers authorized are called into service no better
selection for a commander could be made. I endorse his application and rec-
ommend him for appointment.

Very respectfully,

Nelson Cole,
Brig. Gen'l. U. S. V.



THOMAS S. RIDGE.



The subject of this sketch knows of no adequate reason why his biog-
raphy should appear among those representing the important factors of Kan-
sas City, unless it be that there are so few native-born Kansas Cityans left
who are al)le to contribute the amount required by the publishers for the
space.

Recognizing, however, that biographies are often an inspiration, and be-
lieving that there are characters among the citizens, past and present, who
have made Kansas City famous, whose histories should be perpetuated, I am
willing to aid in the good work.

My own career, however, has been so far short of famous, that there
is no one qualified to chronicle the events thereof, truthfully; and for that
reason, this is an autobiography with a recitation of some of the influences
which shaped my life.

My father. Dr. I. M. Ridge, came to Kansas City, then Westport Land-
ing in 1848, after having taken a medical course at Transylvania College;
his acquirements at that time consi.>^ted of a saddle horse which his father
had furnished him, a pair of saddle bags, a limited quantity of staple drugs
and a technical medical education. In 1850 he married Eliza Ann Smart,
my mother (than whom a. better mother never lived), second daughter of
Judge Thomas Smart, a ])ioneer farmer, merchant and jurist. During the
winter of that same year, with the linaneial assistance of Judge Smart, he
attended the .Tofferson Medical College in St. Louis, while his young wife