Carrie Westlake Whitney.

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

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remained ,it liei- fatlicr's lionie. at the southwest coi'uei' of Eleventli and Wal-
nut streets. Upon his return. Judge Smart told liini to go out in the pasture
and select a site for a house, horse-lot, garden and orchard. Tie did so,
selecting in the northwest coi-ner of the farm, about four acres, through
which the S;nila Fc trail led from the I'iver to Westport. This was dee.ded
to my fatliei' and mother jointlw at ni\- mothers recniest.


THE r.u

\'I ^ORK






T* - TION^


As was the custom in those days, the neighbors raised a log house of
two rooms, in which my father and mother Hved, and my father opened
his othce and apothecary shop. My mother acted as clerk, and filled all
])re.scriptioiis. In this house were Worn my eldest sister, Sophia, who died
when a child, and my brother, William E. Ridge. The house set at the
southeast corner of Ninth and jNIain streets, and was afterward used as a
blacksmith shop by a ^Ir. ]\Iiller.

Prosperity came to Kansas City with many settlers during the '50s, and
in 1859 my father traded to Solomon and William Smith, the lots at the
southwest corner of Ninth and ^lain streets, for the materials and labor neces-
sary to build a story and a half brick cottage at 910 Walnut street. This
at the time was one of the most pretentious residences in Kansas City. It
was hardly completed at the time of my advent, November 26, 1859.

My earliest recollections are incidents of the Civil war. In 1864, I re-
call the great excitement occasioned by the rumor that Price was on the way
from Jefferson City to Kansas City. In company with a small girl, Agnes
Newell, whose father was serving in the army, I sought the gunsmith's shop
of ]\Ir. Me.'^sick, located then on Main street between Fifth street and Missouri
avenue, to obtain a gun with which to shoot old Price. In recognition of
this marked patriotism, my uncle, George W. Ridge, who had been a theolog-
ical student at Bethany College, West Virginia, until hostilities had closed
the school, after which he made his home with us, presented me with a
soldiers uniform, drum and tin gun. I was thus equipped ^vhen a detail
of German Infantry from Fort Leavenworth wa.s sent to arrest nly father,
Nvho had been reported as aiding the rebels. My patriotism was thus banished
for paternalism, and observing four of the Hessians reclining on the grass
in the shade of a large wild rose bush that grew near the south window of
the sitting room, I recklessly sallied forth and shot the stick from my tin
gun at the head of one of the soldiers. The attack was repulsed, but the
animosity for hirelings serving in the robe of patriotism was fixed forever in
my nature.

At the close of the war, in company with my cousin, now Mrs. Langston
Bacon, I attended my first school, a private one taught by Miss Mollie
Cravens, now Mrs. Leach, who is now teaching in the public schools of Kan-
sas City, and whose memory is worthy of perpetuation. At this school I
learned my A B C's and those renowned gems of poetic inspiration —
"Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," ''Mary had a Little Lamb," etc.

In 1868 our family moved to what was known as the farm, a tract of
eighty-four acres between Nineteenth and Twenty-second streets, Woodland
and Prospect avenue, which my father had as trustee acquired for my mother
and her children, with means provided by my mother from the earnings of
her household darkies and loans from my grandfather. From this home I at-
tended first a private school and afterward the public schools in Kansas City,
until 1873, w'hen, on account of the health of my mother, and the marriage
of my brother, we again moved to the old home at No. 910 Walnut street.
In 1874, having reached the age when boys begin to keep company with
the girls, I requested of my father, a new suit of clothes and received from


him the reply that if I should undertake to earn my own clothing, or the
means to buy my clothing, that I would not be quite so extravagant. This
suggestion was all that wa.s necessary and within one week from that time
I had secured a position, distributing papers before school hours in the
morning, with the result that in 1876 I had not only clothed myself for two
years, but had accumulated in the .savings bank about three hundred and
sixty dollars, which I loaned to my father, to redeem the property which
I understood had been sold for city taxes.

In 1878, my mother died, and in 1879 my sister and myself went to
Columbia to the Christian College and State University, respectively, to com-
plete our education, I having graduated at Kansas City high school, in June

In September, 1879, my grandfather, Judge Thomas A. Smart, died,
and from his estate my mother's children received several vacant lots in
Kansas City and two thousand five hundred dollars each in money. My
father collected the money coming to my sister and myself and began the
im])rovement of four of the vacant lois which we had inherite.d.

In 1881, having reached my majority during the fall of the preceding
year, my father prevailed upon my sister, brother and myself, to make a
deed to him, for the eighty-four acres comprising the farm. As children
we did not know l)ut what this property belonged to him absolutely. Upon his
promise that he would finish the buildings which he had begun, for us, and
deed to us absolutely one-half of the farm, we were prevailed upon to make
the transfer.

I completed the academic course in the State University in June, 1884,
and in the fall of the same year was married to Miss Effie Searcy, the eldest
daughter of Francis M. Searcy, of Columbia, Missouri. For four of the
five years during which I attended the university I had been in the same
classes Avith Miss Searcy and was thereby enabled to intelligently judge of
her merits and qualifications to make me a suitable life mate.

After marrying, I embarked in the hardware and sheet metal business
ill Kansas City with Henry AVeis under the firm name of AVeLs & Ridge. I
built the Ijuilding at No. 1116 Main street, in which we conducted our busi-
ness until 1890. During the same time I enlarged the building occupied
by the John Taylor Dry (loods Company and built a large live story build-
ing at the corner of Twelfth street and Baltimore avenue, besides the resi-
dence at No. 1006 Holmes street, in which I lived for seventeen years.

In 1890, at the solicitation of the stockholders of the Central Bank, I
a.ssumed the presidency of that institution, and in the fall of 1891, upon
my recommendation, its affairs were liquidated. In 1889, I had also re-
tired from the active management of the business of Weis & Ridge, and
had begun to buy and sell real estate for customers on my own account.

In 1902, in connection with Mr. John A. Bryant, I bought an interest
in the insurance business of Mr. Joseph Mariner, and for a time united it
with my real estate business, conducting the same under the firm nanic of
Ridge. Mariner & Bryant. In 1903 we l)ought Mr. Mariner's interest and
united Avith Mr. D. P. Huiifer. who had been foi- nianv vears established


in the insurance business. The firm name then became Hunter, Ridge &
Bryant, and so continued until the spring of 1907. During this connection
I took the active management of the surety and casualty lines, and in 1907,
when I separated from the firm, I individually continued these lines. What
success I have attained in the commercial world is due to perseverance,
energy and frugality.

I have three boys, the eldest, Francis I Ridge, is attending the College
of Physicians and Surgeons in New York city; the other two, Thomas S.,
Jr., and William Searcy, being in the ward schools of Kansas City.

My political allegiance has always been with the democratic party.
Twice I have been nominated for the office of city treasurer. My religious
inclinations have been with the Christian church, or the Disciples of Christ.
I have always taken great pleasure in this affiliation, and have been active
in the work, both in the Bible school and the church. In 1889, in connec-
tion with my other work, at the solicitation of my church, I organized a
mission work in Armourdale, Kansas, now a portion of Kansas City, Kansas,
with the result that a congregation was established, and a church built in

I am also a member of secret and benevolent organizations, among
which are the Masonic bodies and the Pythian order. The Commercial Club,
Manufacturers Association and all other organizations whose motives are
the advancement of our city's interests meet with my hearty support and co-
operation. I have always found a niche in this young and growing com-
munity which I could occupy with credit and profit to myself and without
injury to others. I attribute my position in the esteem of my fellow citi-
zens to my feeble attempts to do what I believe Jesus Christ taught by word
and precept.


James D. Cole, conducting a wholesale business in coal and hay, was
born in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, August 25, 1862, being one of the
five children of Jedediah and Katherine (Dickens) Cole. The mother was
a daughter of .James Dickens, a cousin of Charles Dickens, the famous Eng-
lish novelist. Jedediah Cole was a civil engineer by profession and at the
time of the Civil war put aside all business and personal considerations
to serve his country, joining the Thirty-first Wisconsin Regiment, under
George R. Peck. He served for three years and rose to the command of his
company, being mustered out with the rank of captain. He returned to
the north with a most creditable military record and after the close of the
war removed to northern Ohio, where he is still living. The honor and
esteem in which he is uniformly held there and the confidence reposed in
him is indicated by the fact that he has continuously served as county sur-
veyor of Portage county for thirty-six years. He is a republican in pol-
itics, inflexible in his support of the principles of the party, and as a mem-
ber of the Masonic fraternity is equally loyal to the teachings of the craft.


James D. Cole was reared at home to the age of seventeen year.- and
acquired a pubUc-school education. In 1880 he removed westward to Chi-
cago, arriving in that city with a capital of but four dollars. There he
took passage on a boat the next 'day for Thunder Bay and thence made his
way through to Winnipeg, Manitoba, and into the wheat fields of that coun-
try, where he engaged at shocking wheat for two dollars per day. Later he
worked in a sawmill and subsequently made his way to Kansas, settling at
Atchison, where he engaged in the wholesale and retail coal business, ^^'ith
this he was identified until 1895, when he came to Kansas City and con-
tinued the business here. In 1897 he organized the Arkansas Fuel Company
and since his removal to Kansas City has confined his attention to the whole-
sale business. For the past ten years he also engaged in the wholesale hay
trade and is sole proprietor of the two interests. He is now one of the well
known business men of the city, alert and energetic, improving every oppor-
tunity with the result that he is today numbered among the men of afflu-
ence in this part of the state.

Mr. Cole was married to Miss Katherine Garside, of Atchison, a
daughter of Joshua Garside, who was prominently identified with overland
transportation in the early days. The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Cole was
celebrated November 1, 1888, and has been blessed with two children:
Francis G. and Katherine D. Mrs. Cole is a member of the INIethodist
Episcopal church and, like her husband, is widely and favorably known in
social circles. His political views accord with the principles of the repub-
lican party and he is a member of the Masonic lodge, loyal and faithfid
to the teachings of the craft. As the architect of his own fortunes, he has
budded wisely and well and his life record illustrated the possibilities for
successful accomplishment to those who have the will to dare and to do.


Edward T. Groves, serving as alderman of Kansas City from the second
ward, has in office and out of it done effective work for the promotion of im-
portant interests bearing upon the progress, development and improvement of
Kansas City. Here he has made his home for twenty-eight years, coming
from Davenport, Iowa, in 1880. He is, however, of English nativity, his birth
having occurred in London in 1849. The first six years of his life were passed
in that country and in LSoo he came to the new world with his parents, Mr.
and Mi's. Walter William Groves, who settled in Diivenport, Iowa. The father
was a hatter in London, engaged in the manufacture of silk hats at Strand
and Regent streets. Ho liad been a resident of Davenport for only a year
when he was called to his final rest.

Edward T. Groves ])ursued his education in the j)ublie schools of Daven-
port, where he lived until nbout twenty-five years of age. He then came to
Kansas City, where he engaged in the general contracting business until 1900.
He met with excellent success in his undertakings and added year by year to
his capital until his accumulations were sufficient to enable him to put aside


further business cares and live retired. He then turned his business over to
his son, Waker B., who had been associated with him in its conduct since
1901. He erected the Jones building, also several store buildings, remodeled
many others and likewise erected several houses in Kansas City.

Mr. Groves was married in Davenport in 1874 to Miss Mary B. Noonen,
of the state of New York, and unto them were born six children : E. W., who
is now in St. Joseph, Missouri; Eugene J., who is with the Western Trafifio
Association, of Kansas City; John A., traveling auditor for the Western Traffic
Association; Maggie, the wife of Charles L. Hogan; Walter B., who is his
father's successor in the general contracting business; and Marie, now a student
in the Sister Loretta school.

In fraternal circles Mr. Groves is well known and popular. In Masonry
he has attained the Knight Templar degree and he also belongs to the Benevo-
lent and Protective Order of Elks and the Knights of Pythias. In politics he
ha.s ever been an earnest republican. He was one of the juveniles who wore
a uniform in 1860 when Abraham Lincoln was presidential candidate and
took a most lively interest in that campaign. He has since been unfaltering
in his allegiance to the party, for he believes its principles are most conducive
to good government. In 1906 he was chosen to represent the second ward in
the city council and is one of its prominent members. He is now chairman
of the joint committee on the proposed new Union station, is serving on the
gas committee, on the judiciary and rules committee, and is chairman of the
streets, alleys and grades committee. He is likewise a member of the fire
patrol committee and thus is actively associated with various interests having
direct l)earing upon municipal welfare. He is today numbered among the
leading, influential and honored residents here and is regarded as a most
acceptable incumbent in the office in which he is now serving.


Jules Edgar Guinotte. judge of the probate court in Kansas City, was
born August 20, 1855, in the old Guinotte homestead at Fourth and Troost
streets, one of the most historic spots in the city. He is a son of Joseph and
Aimee (Bri chant) Guinotte, the latter a native of Belgium. In the paternal
line he is a representative of one of the old Belgium families, closely con-
nected with what is one of the most picturesque and interesting periods in the
history of the city. His father, a civil engineer, was sent to Mexico by the
Belgium government to supervise the construction of a railroad, but the war
between Mexico and the United States caused the enterprise to be abandoned
and, proceeding northward, he made his way up the Missouri river to West-
port Landing. His prescience enabled him to realize that this was an excel-
lent location for a large city and he purchased twelve thousand acres on the
bluffs in the east bottoms, after which he brought over Belgium colonists and
settled land.


On one of the highest bhiffs was a large log house, which he purchased
from Mrs. Frances Chouteau in 1850. It had been the Chouteau home for
several years and became his homestead, remaining his place of residence
until his death in 1867, when it was sold by Mrs. Guinotte, who intended to
return to Brussels, but on the death of her parents she again purchased the
old Chouteau homestead and there resided until 1889. In 1852 she came from
Brussels to the United States to become the wife of Joseph Guinotte, who met
her in New York city, where they were married, after which j\Ir. Guinotte
brought his bride to the Kansas City homestead. Their home soon gained a
reputation for bounteous and generous hospitality. There were entertained
many notable visitors, including Father De Smet, Bishop L'Ami of Mexico,
Bishop Miege and Bishop Salpointe of Arizona and Mexico, while among the
traders were Captain Bridger, Vasquez, the Papins, Chouteaus, and others.

Reared amid the refining influences of a cultured home and educated in
the private schools of Kansas City and in the St. Louis University, Judge
Guinotte afterward spent several years in clerical work in various offices of
Kansas City, his last position of that character being deputy clerk in the office
of Hon. Wallace Laws, for many years circuit clerk of Jackson county.
Determining to devote his life to the practice of law, he then became a student
in the office of Tichenor & Warner, well known attorneys, with whom he con-
tinued his reading until his admission to the bar. He is recognized as a lawj^er
of w^ide knowledge and one who in the practice of the profession manifested
unfaltering fidelity to the interests of his clients. No higher testimonial of
his service on the bench could be given than the fact that he has continu-
ously held the office of probate judge of Jackson county since 1886, when he
was elected on the democratic ticket by a large majority, receiving the sup-
port <if iiiaiiy of the best known republican.-; of his di-strict. At each election
since he has been again chosen for the office and thus the stamp of public
approval is placed upon a service characterized by thorough understanding of
probate law and by the utmost accuracy and fidelity in the discharge of his

On the 24th of May, 1883, Mr. Guinotte was married to Miss Maud
Stark, a daughter of Dr. John K. Stark, a pioneer dentist of Jackson county.
The family are communicants of the Catholic church. The Guinotte home of
the present day enjoys the same reputation for hospitality borne by the old
parental homestead and in social circles Mr. and Mrs. Guinotte have many
warm friends.


Alfred Toll at the age of seventy-six years. i< a.- active in business circles
as many a man of half his age and the splendid success which he has attained
is the direct outcome of his intense activity, intelligently applied. He has
noted and utilized opporlunities that others have passed by heedlessly and
while the life record of others may have been more spectacular, his has
been none the less essential or iiiij)nrtant. for he belongs to that class of rep-





isl FO'-'N»''


resentative American men who in promoting individual success contribute
also to the public good.

He was born in Schenectady, New York, January 6, 1832. His father,
Phillip R. Toll, w^as also a native of New York and a direct descendant of
Charles Hansen Toll, who sailed from Sw^eden, was arrested by Algerian
pirates and held for bounty, and escaping, swam six miles to a British mer-
chantman which carried him to South America. Thence he made his way
to New York, where he arrived in 1748. He secured large grants of land
around the present site of the city of Schenectady and became a very promi-
nent figure in the early history of that section of the state, his name figuring
conspicuously in its annals. Phillip R. Toll, the father, was married in
early manhood to Miss Nancy DeGraaf, also a native of the Empire state and
a representative of one of the oldest and wealthiest Holland Dutch families
of New York. Her brother, John S. DeGraaf, furnished the United States
government with all of the funds for the equipment of the naval fleet on the
Great Lakes in the war of 1812, which enormous loan was never repaid until
long after his death. He was also one of the organizers and a director of
the first railroad built in America. In the year 1841 Phillip R. Toll, with his
wife and family, left New York to become pioneer settlers of St. Joseph
county, Michigan, where he spent his remaining days. His wiie, who was
born September 17, 1797, died March 27, 1898, at the remarkable old age
of one hundred years, six months and ten days. Two sons of the family are
still living, the younger being General I. D. Toll, of Petoskey, Michigan.

The elder, Alfred Toll, of Kansas City, acquired his education in St. Jo-
seph county, Michigan, and in Fort Wayne, Indiana, returning from the
latter place to the former and there engaging in business as a general mer-
chant. He also conducted a sawmill and flourmill there and was a prominent
and active factor in business life in that locality until May, 1866, when he
removed to Hannibal, Missouri, where for twenty years he successfully con-
ducted a lumber business. In 1873 he assisted in organizing the Badger State
Lumber Company at Hannibal with mills in Wisconsin, and in 1886 organ-
ized the Badger Lumber Company to conduct the retail yards of the former
and handle the products of its manufacture in the North, removing to Kansas
City to make this the headquarters of the business. Through his untiring
energies and skillful manipulation of business interests the enterprise has
in the twenty-two years of its existence become one of the largest and best
known lumber industries of this part of the country. Mr. Toll also organized
the Fort Smith Lumber Company of Fort Smith, Arkansas, which operates
four mills and owns ninety-four thousand acres of timber land. He likewise
built the Central Railroad of Arkansas and at the present time is president
of the Badger Lumber Company, the Fort Smith Lumber Company, the Cen-
tral Railroad of Arkansa,s and the Choctaw Investment Company, beside
being an officer and director in various other financial and commercial in-
stitutions. He is now in his seventy-seventh year but robust and strong and
no man in his employ leads a more active or strenuous life.

On the 6th of Januarv, 1863, Mr. Toll was married to ^liss Marv Lee, a
daughter of Warren and Eliza Lee, of Maryland. They have one son, Phillip


R., Avho was born November 22, 1863, and is now connected with the father
in the lumber business.

Those who have personal acquaintance with Mr. Toll know him as a
man of genial nature, warm hearted and sympathetic, holding friendship
inviolable and manifesting unfaltering loyalty to every trust. Charitable and
benevolent interests have received his generous support and in matters of
citizenship his position is never an equivocal one. He stands always in sup-
port of progress and imi^rovement and in municipal affairs, as in business
life, looks beyond the exigencies of the moment to the possibilities of the
future. He has never sought to figure in public life, however, but has given,
his time and attention to his home and his business. In the latter he has
made a record which any man might be proud to possess. He has gradually
worked his w^ay upward and the attainment of success has been accompanied
by the acquirement -of an unsullied reputation built upon his fulfillment of
every obligation and his straightforward dealings in every relation. It is
seldom that a man of his years shows such activity and enterprise in business
or keeps pace with the modern spirit as he has done and it is more seldom that
a man controlling such extensive and important interests is spoken of in
terms of such unqualified confidence and respect.


Edmund E. Morris, who stands high in the profession of law as one
of the younger members of the Kansas City bar and who is popular with a

Online LibraryCarrie Westlake WhitneyKansas City, Missouri; its history and its people 1808-1908 (Volume 2) → online text (page 11 of 65)