Carrie Westlake Whitney.

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

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played many brass and string instruments, including the violin and was a
jDroficient musician as well as a lover of the art. He led his band for thirty
years and when the Civil war broke out the Ijand enlisted as a body and
served for four years as part of an Illinois regiment. At its close Daniel
Baiita held the rank of major. While at the front he was wounded in the
head but recovered from his injuries and at the close of the war returned
to Kansas City, where he resumed trading with the Indians. He had a
large store at the corner of Sixteenth street and Grand avenue and for a
time was in j^artnei-ship with Milton McGee. He not only traded withjhe
Indians but did an extensive business in the shipment of buffalo robes, send-
ing thousands of these to the markets of the east.

He became an important factor in the upbuilding of this section of tlie
country and was connected with the construction of the first railroad — the
Northern Pacific — through Kansas City. After the completion of this line
across the Sunflower state he ceased trading with the Indians, selling his
business to a St. Louis firm, after which he devoted his attention tn his
band interests and to music until 1890. In that year he removed to AVest-
port, where he purchased the Green farm, whereon he made his home until
his dcatli. which occurred March 9, 1905. Some time ])ri()r to hi- d;'nn-o he
purcliased thf old family homestead at Clifton Park near Saratoga, New
York, and this he improved. Following his demise his widow and one
daughter removed to (his home and there Mrs. Banta passed away Octoljer
7, 1908. her remains being interred by the side of her hnsband in Forest
Hill cemetery of Kansas City.

Mr. J^aiila wn< a i-c])nl)lifan in \\'\< political view- and lioih lir and
Lis wife were mcmlirrs of St. Mary's Episcopal church at the corner of
Eighth and Wnlinil sli'ccts. His life in all of its relations and jturjio-es
was actuated by high and honorable principles and was in harmonv with
his pi-of('-sions of religion inid witli all that nieiiibei'ship in the Masonic
fraternity implies. He was likewise a valued memlier of the Grand Ai-my
of tlie Tiei>ublie and of the Old Settlers' Association. His interests were so
closelv connected with tlie improvement of Kansas City from its ])ioneer
days until the latter [)ai1; of the nineteenth century that no history of the
city wonld bo complete without mention of lii- life and a tribute to his mem-


ory. Unto him and his wife were born two children, the daughter being
Hattie S., now Mrs. Clark P. Smith, of Clifton Park, New York.

Verdi I. Banta attended the Franklin public school at Fourteenth and
Washington streets to the age of fourteen years, when he entered the employ
of the government as a letter carrier, but he had scarcely more than become
connected with the service when congress passed a law prohibiting all under
eighteen years of age remaining in the service. Mr. Banta then obtained
employment in the postoffice and remained in the federal building for fif-
teen years, working his way upward by various promotions to the responsible
position of superintendent of the general delivery. He acted in that capacity
for eight years and was one of the most trusted employes in the po.stoffice.
Removing to Westport, he was appointed postmaster at that place by Presi-
dent Harrison to fill out the unexpired term of Postmaster Love. At the
end of two years, however, he resigned and was made deputy sheriff under
Sheriff W. S. Pontius, resigning his position to accept that of city collector
of the Ferd Heim Brewery. In June, 1907, he was appointed manager of
the brewery, which position he has since filled. He is a capable business
man of executive ability and keen discrimination and is giving entire satis-
faction to those w^hom he represents.

Mr. Banta was married in Kansas City, on the 3d of June, 1893, to
Miss Gertrude Putnam, of this city, a daughter of Nathan W. Putnam. She
was bom at the corner of Ninth and Harrison streets and by her marriage
has become the mother of two children : Verdi and Nathan. Mr. Banta is
a republican in his political views, is a member of the fraternal order of
Eagles and a communicant of the Episcopal church. For forty-three years
he has been a resident of Kansas City and Jackson county and as an inter-
ested witness has watched the transformation which has been wrought as it
has emerged from pioneer conditions and taken on all the evidences of
modern metropolitan life.


Mrs. Carrie Westlake Whitney is a Virginian by birth, and a Missou-
rian by adoption ; she w^as born on a large plantation in Virginia, and is
the daughter of Wellington Bracee and Helen (Van Waters) AVestlake. As
customary with southern people, Mrs. Whitney received her education in
private schools. Her parents moved to Missouri, near Sedalia, in her early
years and Mrs. Whitney attended school in St. Louis, where she lived with
relatives. Mrs. Whitney was married December 1, 1885, to Mr. James Steele
Whitney, who died in February, 1890.

Mrs. Whitney was appointed librarian of the Kansas City Public Li-
brary March, 1881, and has since held the position continuously, beginning
as custodian of a thousand volumes, to-day she has charge of ninety thousand
volumes. Mrs. Whitney has been a member of the American Library Asso-
ciation since 1889, attending the conferences every year; she is also a mem-


ber of the Missouri branch of American Folk-lore Society; and associate
member of the Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis.

Mrs. Whitney's years of service as librarian have made her name fa-
miliar in every household; her greatest achievement as librarian has been
her influence Avith children. The reference department has been the foun-
dation of the library, of which Mrs. AVhitney is the head, and thus has
developed one of the foremost institutions in Kansas City. While the growth
of Mrs. AMiitney's work has not been marvelous, the library has advanced
step by step until to-day it ranks among the advanced libraries of the

Mrs. Whitney's biography is the history of the Kansas City Public


James Yates, who for a long period figured in business circles in Kansas
Cit}'^ as a man of enterprise, practical ideas and force of character, met that
.measure of success which always follows intense activity, intelligently di-
rected. For a quarter of a century he was connected with the ice trade and
later was president of the Economic Asphalt Repair Company, but spent
the last year of his life in honorable retirement from labor. He was born
in Fonda, New York, in 1844, and was reared and educated in the Empire
state and became a student in Union College at Schenectady, New York,
from which he was graduated in the class of 1863. Soon afterward he w^ent
to the west and became connected with railroad interests and was employed
by the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad for a year as purchasing agent,
with headquarters at Burlington, Iowa. About 1865 he located in Atchison,
Kansas, where he established a retail lumber business and afterward broad-
ened the scope of his activity by becoming connected with the ice trade
as Avell.

In 1878 Mr. Yates returned to the state <if New York and was there
married to Miss Margaret Ilesler. of Fort Plain, a, granddaughter of Gnulean
Verplanck, of Holland descent. He then retui-ncd to the west with his bride,
establishing their home in Atchison. As a dealer in lnnil»ei- and ice he met
with success, his business developing along .substantial lines, and in 1S,S2
a branch was established in Kansas City. Two years later the original olliee
was discontinued and Mr. Yates came to Kansas City to reside, organizing
here the Yates Ice Company, dealers in natural ice. He built large ice
houses at Bean Lake, with a capacity of sixty-five thousand ton.-^. and e<tal)-
lished business in this city, lb' was one of the fir.^t to engage here in the
sale of ice and gradually his trade inerea.-ed to exteii.-ivo ])iT)|)ortion-. until
he was employing seventy-five men and utilizing twenly-live teams va eany-
ing on hLs business. In 1897 he sold ont his retail business to the People's
Ice Company and carried on a wholesale ice hn-ine.-s nnfil l'.)(ll. Pi-o.-itcrity
attended him in this branch of the trade and he eoniinne(l sneee.~sfnllv for
seven years, when he disposed n\' hi.- ice house- :nid retired from tliat line of







commercial activity. He then became connected with the Economic Asphalt
Repair Company as president, with D. H. Bows as vice-president and man-
ager, and W. H. Seage.r as secretary and treasurer. The company was organ-
ized for the purpose of repairing asphalt pavements in Kansas City and
employed twenty-five men, and from the beginning the business was a
profitable one. In 1907 this company sold out to the Metropolitan Asphalt
Company and Mr. Yates retired from active business, save that he was a
stockholder in the Union National Bank.

Mr. Yates built a home at Thirteenth and Madison streets, where he
resided until 1905, when he purchased and remodeled a beautiful residence
on Sunnnit street. In February, 1908, he went abroad, spending three
months in touring Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Egypt. He passed away
on the 23d of August, 1908, and Kansas City thus lost one of its substantial
residents who had never figured in public life, but who in his business actions
and social relations had ever enjoyed the fullest respect and confidence of
those with whom he was brought in contact. He was always active in the
interests and welfare of Kansas City, doing much to advance its upbuilding
and as the years wejit by he gained a most creditable record as citizen and
business man. He was always energetic, formed his plans readily and was
determined in their execution. There was no esoteric phase in his career.
On the contrary, he based his business principles and actions upon the rules
which govern strict and unswerving integrity and unabating energy, and
therein was the secret of his success.


Charles E. Kearney, deceased, was one of the pioneer wholesale and retail
merchants of Kansas City, and belonged to that class of representative Amer-
ican men who, while promoting individual success, also contribute to the
substantial upbuilding and prosperity of the community in which they live.
He was a native of Ireland, born March 8, 1820. His parents both died on
the Emerald Isle Avhen their son Charles was comparatively young. He was
a youth of nine at the time of his mother's demise and at the age of sixteen
he determined to seek a home in America, for he had a brother residing in
Texas. His father had been an army officer and Charles E. Kearney had been
afforded good educational advantages in Ireland. On the day that Queen
Victoria was crowned he sailed for the United States, landing in New York
city, whence he made his way direct to his brother's home in Texas. There
he was engaged as a Mexican trader and continued there during the period of
the Mexican war. He afterward began making trips to the w^est, carrying on
business, however, as a trader all the time. He crossed the plains on fourteen
different occasions and was familiar with all of the experiences of freighting
and of pioneer life in the west when the seeds of civilization had hardly been
planted. The first few times he made the journey across the plains he traveled
with burros, or mules, and later wath wagons. In 1852 he settled at West-


]3ort, now a part of Kansas City. The now populous metropolis of western
Missouri was then a small town of little industrial or commercial importance
and Mr. Kearney became identified with its business interests in pioneer times
and advanced with its develoiDment as the years passed by. He began
merchandising here, selling goods to the INIexican traders. There were still
man}^ evidences of pioneer life, with its dangers and hardships and also its
picturesque elements.

In the same year (1852) ^Ir. Kearney was married in Westport to Miss
Josephine Harris, a native of Kentucky and a daughter of John and Henrietta
(Simpson) Harris, both of whom were natives of the Blue Grass state, whence
thev came to Kansas Citv in 1832, when ]Mrs. Kearnev was onlv two months
old. Mr. Harris settled in what is now Hyde Park, a part of Westport. The
district, however, was then all farming country, and purchasing much of
this farm land he carried on general agricultural pursuits for a few years.
He afterward bought from ]\lr. McGee, the first settler here, a hotel, changing
the name to the Harris House, by which it is still known. It is located at
No. 430 Westport avenue and here Mr. Harris engaged in the conduct of
his hotel through the period of the war, it becoming the soldiers' headquarters.
In early days he also invested in land in various parts of Westport. The
price of the goods advanced through the growth and development of the
country and added much to his financial resources and assets. He continued
in the hotel business until, on account of ill health, he was obliged to retire
from that field of activity. During his remaining days his time and energies
were given only to the supervision of his property which had become quite
valuable. He continued to reside with his children until called to his final
rest, and his wife also died in this locality. Of the children born unto Mr.
and Mrs. Harris four are now living and are residents of Kansas City, namely:
Julia, who is the "widow of John J. Mastin and resides at 3500 Main street:
Elizabeth S., who is the Avidow of Thomas H. ^lastin and is also living at
3500 Main street; Mrs. Seth Ward, of Kansas City; and ^Mrs. Kearney.

There were six children born unto Mr. and Mrs. Kearney, of whom four
yet survive: Mary L.. the eldest, is a teacher in Allen school and resides here
with lier mother and sister. .lulia is tlie -wafe of Frank C. AVornall. a traveling
salesman living at No. Ill East Thirty-ninth street. Lizzie K. is the widow
of Joseph L. Nofsinger. who was boi'ii in Indianapolis. Indiana, in 1864. and
came to Kansas City in 1880. He was a leading business man here and
for several years served as assistant postmaster, after which he engaged in
the real-estate business for some time. Subsequently lie bogan dealing in
men's fnrnisliing g0!)ds at No. 803 Wahuit street, wlici'c lie carried on tlie
business siicccs-fnlly and continuall\' nnlilhis deatli. which occurred on the
27th of February. 1000. He was a man well known and highly respected in
business circles and in priNate lil'e. ;nid his loss was therefore deeply mourned
by many frien(l< a- well as hi> immediate family. I'nl) him and liis wife
were born three children, Elizabeth. Lewis E. and Cliarles W. Charles E.
Kearney, the youngest surviving member of the Kearney family, married
Rollena Gilluli, and is a traveling salesimm for tlie Centr;il Coal X' Coke Com-
pany, residing in Kansas City. The two son-^ of (he family now deceased


are Francis E. and William Bernard, both of whom died at the age of two

Following his marriage Mr. Kearney engaged in merchandising at West-
port for several years, after which he sold out and made a trip back to Ireland
to visit his sister. When he returned to the new world he embarked in the
wholesale grocery business on what is called the Levee in Kansas City, selling
to the ^Mexicans and others. He continued in trade for some years, after
which he dis^DOsed of his wholesale grocery house and went to New York city,
w^here he conducted business interests for a few years but was not very suc-
cessful there and again came to Kansas City, where he began operating in
real estate. He was thereafter connected with the real-estate business up to
the time when his health failed and he abandoned all business interests, prac-
tically living retired until his death. He, however, owned a considerable prop-
erty and gave jDersonal supervision to this.

Ml'. Kearney did much for Kansas City's improvement and upbuilding.
He was instrumental in the extension of the Cameron Railroad through Kan-
sas City, this being the first line here and in it he invested much capital.
He was chosen its first president and continued as the chief
executive of the company for several years. He Avas likewise a mem-
ber of the Board of Trade here for a considerable period and acted
'as its vice president for some time. His political views accorded with
the principles of the democracy and his fraternal relations connected him
with the Masonic order, while in his life he exemplified its beneficent and
lielpful spirit. Both he and his wife were members of the Baptist church
but since his death Mrs. Kearney and Mrs. Nofsinger have united with, the
Christian Science church. Mr. Kearney passed away January 3, 1898, leav-
ing behind an untarnished name and a record well worthy of emulation. He
had attained the age of seventy-eight years. His life was a benefit and stim-
ulus to the many with whom he came in contact and a lesson to all. He achieved
success by reason of indomitable perseverance and close application and gained
an honorable name because of his fidelity to a high standard of commercial
ethics. Beside other property Mrs. Kearney owns a nice home at No. 2019
East Eighth street, where she and Mrs. Nofsinger and the latter's family


In the days of Kansas City's early development and business progress
Henry Tobener cast in his lot with its representatives of commercial and
industrial life and became probably the largest tobacco merchant of Kansas
City. He also invested in real estate and in other business enterprises, the
scope and extent of his activity proving a valuable element in the city's
growth and upbuilding. A native of Germany, he was born February 20,
1830. of the marriage of Henry and Sophia (Sodei) Tobener. His father
was engaged in the hotel business in Germany until he sailed with his family
for Arnoriea duriuL!. the earlv bovhood davs of his son Henrv. Thev settled


ill St. Louis, Missouri, where the father died in 1849, shortly after his arrival
in the new world.

Henry Tobeiier had already begun his education in the public schools
of the fatherland, continuing his studies to the age of fourteen, when he
came with his j^arents to the United States. Settling in St. Louis he th'ere
purchased a college course and completed his education. His first step ia
business life connected him with the tobacco trade, with w^hich he was as-
sociated throughout his entire business career. He opened a retail tobacco
store in St. Louis and almost from the beginning enjoyed a good trade. In
fact his business increased so rapidly that he changed from a retail to a
Avholesale business and was thus engaged for a few years. At length retir-
ing from that field of activity he conducted a saloon in St. Louis for a short
time, after which he became a grocer, conducting a wholesale store, where
the Union depot now stands. He remained in St. Louis until 1864, when
he came to Kansas City. In the meantime he was drafted for service in the
army but sent a substitute and it w^as at that time that he removed to Kan-
sas City. Here he was again drafted and served as a member of the Home
Guard here until the close of the war.

In 1854, while residing in St. Louis, Henry Tobener was married to
Miss Elizabeth Eotbenbuecher, also a native of Germany and a daughter of
Jacob and Mary Rotbenbuecher. They came to America in the spring of
1837, settling in St. Louis, where Mr. Rotbenbuecher learned the shoemak-
er's trade, carrying on the business there for many years, after which he
turned his attention to the tobacco business, manufacturing all kinds of
smoking tobacco, snuff, etc. His attention was concentrated upon the con-
duct of that enterprise throughout his remaining days and both he and his
wdfe died there. By the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Tobener eleven children
were born: Robert H., who married Minnie Miller, resides in Kansas City
and is a member of the firm of R. H. Tobener & Son, carpet renovators;
William married Katie Walters and also resides in Kansas City; Emma
is the wife of Nathaniel B. Terrill, who for thirty years has been conductor
on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad and they reside at No. 2804
Woodland avenue; Frances is the wdfe of George J. Schoen, who is engaged
with the Emery-Bird-Thayer Dry Goods Company, and they reside at No.
2826 Woodland avenue, her mother spending much of her time with them ;
Frank W., who married Emily Barcoe, is engaged in business in Kansas
City and is mentioned elsewhere in this work; Edward F. wedded Mary
Mueller and is engaged in the real-estate business here; Rose is the wife
of J. A. Ryan, who is engaged in the piano business in St. Joseph, Missouri;
Laura is the wife of Dr. B. W. Lindberg, a leading physician of Kansas
City; Elizabeth is the wife of Edwin Overholtz, a cigar and tobacco mer-
chanl of Kansas City; Henry died at the age of thirteen years; and Charlie
was killed by accident in his boyhood, shooting him.self while out hunting
near Kansas City.

When ]\Tr. Tobener arrived in Kansas City he entered into partner-
ship witli .7. A. Bachman. under the firm style of J. A. Bachman & Com-
pany, iiml lii'Ofin business a- a cigar 7iianufactnror and wholesale and retail


tobacco dealer. Theirs was the first tobacco factory established here. The
firm continued the business until 1867, when Mr. Bachman sold out and the
partnership was then H. Tobener & Brother, the junior partner being Wil-
liam Tobener. They continued in business at the corner of Fifteenth street
and Grand avenue until 1880, after which Mr. Tobener withdrew from the
tobacco trade as he desired to retire. In addition to developing and manag-
ing his extensive tobacco interests he owned and supervised a large farm
at Olathe, Kansas, which is now Olathe park. He also owned real estate
in Kansas City and erected a large building on McGee street, which has
been occupied by the Smith Baking Company. He also purchased one hun-
dred and seventeen feet on Grand avenue at the corner of Fifteenth street
from Milton McGee, for twenty-eight hundred dollars, which he owned until
about fifteen years ago, when he sold at a greatly advanced price, the prop-
erty bringing fifty thousand dollars. He likewise built and owned the old
Tobener residence at the corner of Fifteenth and Oak streets, where his last
days were passed, his death occurring June 28, 1905.

Mr. Tobener had been a resident of Kansas City for only a brief period
when he was elected a member of the school board. At that time there were
only four schools here. Mr. Tobener served on the board for several years
but was never a politician in the sense of office seeking. He gave stalwart
support to the republican party, however, believing that its principles were
best adapted to the promotion, good government and interests of the public
at large. Whatever success in life he achieved was attributable to his own
labors, his prosperity being based upon intelligence, close application and
energy. Mrs. Tobener still owms much of valuable real estate here which
was formerly in possession of her husband, and since his death she has made
her home in Kansas City with her children, living most of the time w'ith
her daughters, Mrs. Schoen and Mrs. Terrill. She is now with Mrs. Schoen
at Xo. 2826 Woodland avenue.


Among the men who are in charge of the different police stations in
Kansas City and by their unswerving fidelity to duty are maintaining a
high .standard among those who stand as the conservators of law and order
is numbered Captain Thomas P. Flahive, of station No. 4. He was born in
County Kerry, Ireland, December 16, 1861. his birthplace being in the
beautiful lake region of Killarney. His parents were farming people there
and the father, John Flahive, still resides upon the old homestead farm on
the Emerald isle. The mother, who bore the maiden name of Nora Carroll,
passed away during the early boyhood of her son, Captain Flahive, who
pui'sued his education in the common schools and was reared upon the home
farm, among the beautiful hills of that section of the country, his home be-
ing in sight of Ballyheigue bay. He continued his studies through their

Online LibraryCarrie Westlake WhitneyKansas City, Missouri; its history and its people 1808-1908 (Volume 2) → online text (page 24 of 65)