Carrie Westlake Whitney.

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

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Officers are: William Peet, president; W. James Peet, vice president; Albert
W. Peet, secretary and treasurer.

While residing in Cleveland, Ohio, Robert Peet Avas married to Miss
Sarah J. Gunton, a native of England, as were her parents, Mr. and Mrs.
Richard Gunton, who were born in Cambridgeshire, and were there neighbors
of the Peet family. Mr. Gunton resided in Cleveland, Ohio, for many years
and his wife died there. After her death he came to make his home with
Mr. and Mrs. Peet. He continued to reside here until his demise. There
were two children born unto our subject and his Avife: William James, who
married Miss Katherine Shannon, of St. Joseph, Missouri, and is now vice
president of the Peet ]5rothers ^lanufacturing Company and resides at No.
3766 Washington boulevard; and Eliza, who became the wife of Aubrey G.
Bartlett, of this city, and died here, leaving a daughter, Nettie Estelle, who
is now the wife of Roy J. Gregg, who is engaged in the telephone business in
Kansas City.

Mr. Poet \'otcd with the republican imily. but was never an oflice seeker.
He affiliated with the Masonic fraternity and both he and his wife held mem-
bership in the Episcopal church. They first resided at No. 1016 Charlotte
street and later maintained their residence at the old Peet home at No. 1313
Troost avenue, wiiere ihe death of Rol)ert Peet occurred. Since his death
Mrs. Peet has made her home in Kansas City with her son at No. 3766 Wash-
ington boulevard. She is still interested in the soap business and has much
valuable property here.


The death of Mr. Peet occurred in April, 1900, when he was fifty-
seven years of age. As the years passed he gained a gratifying measure of
success, but he never selfishly hoarded his wealth. On the contrary, he was
a man of charitable and benevolent spirit and gave freely of his means to
aid others and to promote any worthy cause. He certainly deserved much
credit for w^hat he accomplished, as he came to America empty-handed and
won success through the recognition and utilization of opportunities.


William Allen Williams, connected wdth various corporate interests,
including the Kaw Valley Construction Company, the Williams Mining
Company and the Orient Townsite Company, and likewise the owner of
considerable real estate in Kansas City, where he maintains his residence,
was born at Fond du Lac, W^isconsin, June 17, 1857. His father, William
Allen, was a hardware merchant and a native of Wales, whence he came to
America in his boyhood. In 1861 he removed to Sacramento, California,
and in 1872 located at Palmyra, Missouri, where he died soon afterward.
His wife, Mary P. Wheeler, was a native of Pennsylvania.

William A. Williams pursued his education in the public schools of
Sacramento, California, and Palmyra, Missouri, and when his intellectual
training was thus concluded he became telegraph operator on the Hannibal
& St. Joseph Railroad. After a short time he was made station agent, and
subsequently was given charge of the terminal for the Missouri Pacific Rail-
way at Little Rock, Arkansas, there continuing in that capacity from 1880
until 1891. Lie next became general manager and had charge of the con-
struction of the Pittsburg & Gulf Railway, with headquarters at Texarkana
until 1897. In that year he went to Quincy, Illinois, as general manager
of the Stillwell lines between Quincy and Omaha, in which position he re-
mained until 1900, when he returned to Kansas City and organized the Kaw
Valley Construction Company, which secured the contract for all construc-
tion of the Kansas City, Mexico & Orient Railway within the United States.
This company was organized with W. P. Robinson, formerly manager of
the St. Joseph & Grand Island Railway Company, as president, and Mr.
Williams as vice-president. Upon the death of the former in 1904, Mr.
Williams purchased his interest from his widow and is now sole proprietor
and president of the company. He is also president and half owner of the
Williams Mining Company, zinc miner.s of Joplin, Missouri, and president
of the Orient Townsite Company. Lie is largely interested in Kansas City
and other real estate and makes his home on his farm twelve miles south of
Kansas City, where he has placed improvements to the value of fifty thou-
sand dollars. He is a breeder of standard trotting horses, and at one time
owned Highwood, a horse of national reputation and the sire of some of
the fastest trotting stock in America.


On the 8th of October, 1896, Mr. Williams was married to Adele
M. Dally, a daughter of William Dally, of New Orleans, and they have
three daughters, Willa, Adele and Allene, all yet at h(»nie. ^Ir. Williams
is a Knight Templar and a member of the INIystic Shrine. He likewise be-
longs to the Royal Arcanum and to the Elm Ridge Club. HLs political
preference is for the republican party, l)ut he is not active in its ranks.
He holds membership with the Presbyterian church at Westport, and is in-
terested in the moral and intellectual progress as well as the material devel-
opment ajid upbuilding of the community in which he resides. Any one
meeting Mr. "Williams would know at once that he is an individual embody-
ing all the elements of what in this country we term a ''square" man — one
in whom to have confidence, a dependable man in any relation and any
emergency. His quietude of deportment, his easy dignity, his frankness
and cordiality of address, with the total absence of anything sinister or any-
thing to conceal, foretoken a man who is readv to meet anv obligation of
life with the confidence and courage that come of conscious personal ability,
right conception f)f things and an habitual regard for what is best in the
exercise of human activities.


George J. Eyssell was numbered among those of foreign birth who,
coming to America, have found in the business conditions here the opportu-
nities for a successful and progressive career. For a long period ^Ir. Eyssell
was prominently associated with mercantile interests in Kansas City and main-
tained ii ])().-iti(»ii ill public regard which caused his death to l)e deeply re-
gretted when on the 17th of February, 1908, he passed away.

A native of Germany, he was born at Rinteln. on the 28d of December,
1855. His father. Otto Eyssell, was also a native of that country, where he
spent his cntii-c life. He wedded Marie Boedeker and following her hus-
band's demise she came to America in 1880, settling in Kansas City. There
were ten children in Iheir family, eight sons and two daughters, and seven of
the sons arc now engaged in the drug George J. Eyssell helped to
educate them all and l»ring them to this country. Tlic mcnibers of the fam-
ily are: Hugo. Fred. August. \\'illiam and Otto, all of whom liave gained a
creditable ])lace as druggists in the business circles of Kansas City: K]\\\\. who
is living in T'ortland. Oregon: Moritz. of St. Loiii^: I'Jinna. the wife of D. G.
Landes: and Mathilde.

George J. Eyssell |)ursued hi< education in tlie .-c1i(»ols of the fathci-land
and served lii.- appi'eiiticcsliip in ;i drug -tore in Urcnicn. (ierniany. He lost
his father in .binuiU'v. IST:!. He wa- at that tim<' seventeen years of age and
was the eldest of the family of ten cliildrt'n. <o that hi- hrother- and <i<ters
all looked to him for guidance and his motlu^r depended hirgely upon him to
take his f;Uhei""< place in the household. 'IMiinkinu that he miuJit find bet-
ter oi)portunitit's in tlu' new woi-ld and more rapidly acquire a competence,


. ' ■ ORK i



he emigrated to the United States, landing in New York on Decoration Day,
1873. Hi^ first stop was in Dayton, Ohio, and later he went to Hannibal,
Missouri, and from there to St. Louis. In the fall of 1874 he landed in
Leavenworth, Kansas, where he clerked for nearly two years. Coming to
Kansas City at the end of that time, he was employed as clerk in the drug
store of Ford & Arnold at the corner of Fifth and Main streets from 1878
until 1878. Ambitious to engage in business on his own account and feeling
sure of success, his mother managed to make a loan of two thousand dollars
on their home, having his promise to forward this amount to the next brother
to establish himself in business. This sum has wandered down the line of
eight brothers. With this start George J. Eyssell ventured into business in
April, 1878 at 1038 Union avenue, one week before the first train ran into the
Union Depot, and later he jDurchased the building which he occupied, devoting
all of his life to the drug trade, his close attention, unremitting diligence and
careful management enabling him to build up and carry on a most success-
ful commercial enterprise. In addition to this he was never unmindful of the
dutv which he owed to his faniilv and in fact was most generous in the assist-
ance which he rendered to his younger brothers and sisters. He sent to each of
his brothers the money necessarj^ to pay their passage to America and aided
them in their business careers. His mother and the two youngest children came
to Kansas City in 1883. As time passed and his financial resources increased
Mr. Eyssell purchased other property beside his Ijusiness block and as he
never invested for speculative purposes but always kept the property which
he bought, he owned at the time of his death some good income paying
realty. In 1885 he erected the residence which the family now occupy at
No. 1744 AVashington street. At the time it was built it was considered a
good ways out Ijut the city has since developed so largely that it is now con-
sidered within close distance of the business district.

In 1880, in Hannibal, Missouri, occurred the marriage of Mr. Eyssell
and Miss Emma Boedeker, who was born in that city, a daughter of Moritz
Boedeker, a native of Germany, who came to America in 1852 and located
first in Dayton, Ohio. He afterward removed to Hannibal, Missouri, in 1880
and there lived for many years but spent his last days in Kansas City, where
he died in 1907 at the advanced age of eighty-two years. His wife bore the
maiden name of Catherine Rott, is also a native of Germanv and is now a
resident of Kansas City. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Eyssell were born two children:
Mathilda, the wife of William H. Wittig; and George, who is still in school.

Mr. Eyssell was always deeply interested in the welfare of Kansas City
and did everything in his power to promote its interests and upbuilding.
He belonged to the Elks Lodge, was a member of the Turn Verein and was
■one of the founders of the German Hospital, in the work of which he was
greatly interested. In fact he did nuich along charitable lines and was a
man of broad humanitarian principles, who responded readily to any tale
of sorrow or distress. Throughout his entire life he manifested a spirit of
helpfulness, not only to his family and his kindred but to many with whom
he came in contact. His acts of charity were always performed most unos-
tentatiously and there were many occasions when he quietly rendered aid that


was known only to himself and the recipient. He leaves to hi? family a
memory that is sacredly cherished and which is as a blessed benediction to
those who knew him.


Among Kansas Citv's busine&s men .none are more closelv identified
with the growth and best interests of the city than Edward Lowe Martin,
who has made his home here for forty years, a period within which Kansas
City has attained her present proud position, fighting with other metropolitan
centers for leadership in the world of commerce, science, art and letters. For
many years Mr. Martin has been known for his sterling qualities, his fearless
loyalty to his honest convictions, his sturdy opposition to misrule in municipal
affairs and his clear-headedness, discretion and conduct as manager and leader.
Hls career in business has been one of success, and he has also given some of
the best efforts of his life to the purification and elevation of municipal
government. For three decades he has figured prominently in connection
with the city's welfare and wdth the promotion of financial and railway in-
terests here.

A native of Kentucky, he was born in Ma.ysville, Mason county, on the
12th of March, 1842, his parents being William and Margaret (Sheridan)
Martin, who emigrated from Belfast, Ireland, in 1822, and located in Mays-
ville, Kentuck3\ The ancestry is Scotch-Irish, and the paternal grandfather
was conspicuous in the Irish rebellion of 1798. The mother died in 1858, the
father surviving until 1864. He followed the boot and shoe business during
his residence in Kentucky and there reared his family of six sons and two
daughters, all of whom have now passed away with the exception of Edw^ard
L. Martin, of this review, and Anna, now the wife of R. G. McDonald, of
Las Vegas, New Mexico.

Edward Lowe Martin pursued his education in the j>rivate schools and
in an academy in his native city until he had attained the age of sixteen years,
when he entered business life as shipi)ing clerk in a wholesale grocery house.
He rose rapidly, promotion coming to liiin in recognition of his trustworthi-
ness, business ability and nnnbaling energy. When the Civil war broke ont
in 1861 he was placed in full charge of the business, then the largest mercan-
tile enterprise in the city, his employer, Isaac Nelson, having been arrested
and imprisoned in Fort Ijafayette as a Confederate sympathizer. Mr.
Martin then closed up the business and turned over the ))roceeds to Mr.
Nelson's father. This done, he accepted a ])osition as head bookkeeper in
the largest hardware store in that section of Kentucky, continuing in that
capacity until 1864, when he resigned in order to acce)>t a similar position
in one of the extensive wholesale grocery houses of Cincinnati, Ohio. His
business capacity and enterprise won further recognition there, when, after
a year, he was admitted to a partnershi]). contiiming witli tlie honse nntil


That year witnessed the arrival of Mr. Martin in Kansas City, where he
embarked in the wholesale liquor business, building a large distillery and
conducting it under the name of the Kansas City Distilling Company. Later
he consolidated his business with that of the Distillers & Cattle Traders
Company and retired from that field of activity. At a later date he organized
the Merchants' Bank, Avhich he conducted for a time and then closed out the
business, paying off every depositor in full. In the meantime Mr. Martin
had become a recognized leader in political circles and has ever stood for
reform and improvement in municipal life. In 1873 he was elected mayor
on the reform ticket and his administration rescued the city's affairs from
ring rule and fraud management and placed the municipal interests on an
honest basis that has since been mantained, his course receiving the endorse-
ment of all public-spirited men having the welfare of the city at heart. While
mayor he inaugurated the present waterworks system and signed the franchist
for the building of the plant. He also secured from congress the charter for
the bridge now used by the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad Com-
pany. He remained one of the most prominent and active members of the
Democratic party here until recent years, when he has retired from politics
to devote his time to private business affairs. For twenty-one years, however,
he was a member and organizer of the board of education, this being the long-
est term served by any member. He acted as district delegate to the first Chi-
cago convention which nominated Grover Cleveland for the presidency and
was a delegate-at-large to the democratic national convention at St. Louis.
He was once offered the nomination for congress, but refused to become a
candidate on account of the pressure of his private business affairs.

Aside from the business alreadj^ mentioned as claiming the time and
attention of Mr. Martin, he has figured in connection with other important
lines of industrial and financial activity. He Avas the originator and one of
the builders of the Kansas City Suburban Belt Railway and the Kansas City,
Pittsburg & Gulf Railway, and of both he served as president for many years.
That he is a man of resourceful ability, unwearied energy and keen discern-
ment is a uniformly accepted fact, and hLs services have, therefore, been
sought in the conduct and management of various important business in-
terests. He has been a director in several Kansas City banks and vice pres-
ident of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Trust Company, now the Guardian
Trust Company. He was formerly interested in the Metropolitan Street Rail-
way Company, but has sold his stock in this. He became one of the origi-
nators of the Kansas City, Lawrence & Topeka Railroad Company, which
built that part of the Santa Fe System between Kansas City and De Soto,
Kansas, changing the terminus from Atchison to Kansas City. He is a
charter member of all commercial organizations framed in Kansas City
since 18'68, in which connection he has done much to promote trade relations
and thereby promote the growth and prosperity of the city, which always
depends upon its commercial and industrial interests.

On the 10th of December, 1861, was celebrated the marriage of Edward
L. Martin and Miss Mary Elizabeth Ricketts, a Caughter of R. M. Ricketts,
of Maysville, Kentucky, and a representative of one of the oldest families



of the state. Mr. and Mrs. Martin have a daughter and son: Luki M., the
wife of Thomas E. Gaines; and Edward P.. who is treasurer of the Kelly
Milling Company of Kansas City. j\lr. ^hirtin 1ul< been very liberal to charit-
able and i3hilanthropic movements and is in vital sympathy with young
men and with the cause of their advancement, and his life is a benefit and
stimulus to them and a lesson to all. He has infused into them much of his
own progressive spirit and has stimulated them to put forth their best efforts
in the accomplishment of honorable purposes. In consequence of his prom-
inence in political, business and social life, he has a wide acquaintance and
has gained a host of warm friends, whose high and sincere regard, recognizing
his genuine worth, he fully possesses. He has held, and yet holds, many
advanced ideas on questions of governmental policy. There Ls no doubt that
had he entered into the methods of many politicians he could have filled
almost any office he had da-^ired ; but with him principle is above party, purity
in municipal affairs above personal interest.


Edwin R. Durham, who is serving for the third term as United States
marshal for the western district of Missouri, was born at Canton, Illinois,
August 1, 1853. His grandfather, Adam Durham, was a farmer, living in
New Jersey. He w-as descended from a family of English lineage. Jonathan
M. Durham, the father, came to Illinois in 1850 and located in Fulton county.
He was also a farmer by occupation. He enlisted for service in the Civil
war ill Augu.-t, l.S()2, as a member of the Eighty-fifth Illinois Infantry, and
died in the hospital at Bowling Green, Kentucky, .lanuary 18, 1863. His
wife, Mary N. (Brown) Durham, a native of A^irginia, L- now livinu in
Harrison county, Missouri.

Edwin R. Durham, having spent the first twelve years of his life in the
state of his nativity, accompanied his mother to Harrison county in 1866
and there attended the country schools until 1871, when he returned to
Illinois, continuing his education in the graded schools and the academy at
Prairie City, that state. He finished his course there in 1874 and returned to
Harrison county, Missouri, in 1875. He afterward engaged in teaching in
the country schools for several years prior to the time when he entered upon
official service as a deputy in the office of tlu' county collector. For two years
he filled that ]»o.<itiou and i'm- tliii'ti'en years was deputy comity clerk. II
also held other township and city offices at Bethany, Hairi-nu county, Mis-
souri, and in 1S!>5 was api)ointed chief clerk of the de])arlnient of education
at Jefferson City, which office he held until .Inly 1. 180S. wlien he received the
appointment from {'resident McKinley to the ])(), - itiou of United States
mar.<hal for the wi'stern district of ^lissouri. He was again appointed by
President Roosevelt in 1902 and unci' more in 1906, so that his present term
will cover a service of twelve years in that oHice — years marked by the utmost
fidelitv in the discharge of his duties.



On the 14th of February, 1877, Mr. Durham was married to Miss Lottie
McCkire, a daughter of Joseph McChire, of Bethany, Missouri. They have
two children: Grace, the Avife of Charles E. Scovern, bookkeeper for the
Long-Bell Lumber Company of Kansas City; and Bertie A^irginia, who be-
came the Avife of L. B. Hanson, of Glenwood, Iowa, and died October 18, 1890.

Mr. Durham holds membership with the Kansas City Athletic Club
and Avith the Masonic lodge. In politics he is a stahvart republican, and in
Harrison county served for several years as chairman of the republican
county central committee, and also as a member of the congressional and
judiciary committees. He belongs to the Christian church and is interested
in many good Avorks done in the name of charity and religion. He is noAV
president of the Kansas City Hospital Day Association, Avhich he aided largely
in organizing. It is a society for aiding Kansas City hospitals in doing
charitable Avork. His broad humanitarianism is manifest in many ways,
while his deep and sincere interest in his felloAvmen finds expression in the
social disposition and genial nature that render him personally popular.


Judge Edgar B. Pfost, of Kansas City, is at the present time connected
Avith the real-estate business and has large mining interests at Joplin, Mis-
souri. He is known throughout the state as one of the promoters of fraternal
organizations, gaining a Avide acquaintance through his labors in this regard.
He Avas born in RavensAvood, West Virginia, May 14, 1863, a son of M. D. L.
and Martha Olive Pfost. The father is still living at Urieh, Missouri, but the
mother died in 1892.

In the public schools of Montrose, Henry county, Missouri, Judge Pfost
pursued his education and afterAvard Avent to Barbour county, Kansas, in 1885.
For five years he Avas there engaged in ranching, and in 1893 he went to
Topeka, Kansas, to accept an appointment as officer in the state reform school,
serving in that capacity for tAvo years. In 1895 he became a resident of
Kansas City, Kansas, and AA'as appointed judge of the city court by Governor
J. W. Leedy, thus continuing in charge of judicial interests at that place for
tAvo years. In 1897 he Avas elected president of the Fireside, a fraternal in-
surance society, and remained as its leading officer for three years, after
which he Avas chosen royal prophet of the Ancient Order of Pyramids, also
a fraternal insurance organization, in Avhich position he continued until the
order amalgamated Avith the American Guild, a similar society, in the early
part of 1905. Judge Pfost was then made manager of the Avestern department
Avith headquarters at Kansas City, ffiling the position until the spring of 1907,
when he retired in order to devote his time to his mining interests. He has
valuable mining properties at Joplin, Missouri, and their development and
control make extensive demands upon his time and attention. He also OAvns
considerable real estate, having made judicious iuA^estment in property, which
noAV returns a gratifving income annuallv.


In 1887 Judge Pfost was united in marriage to Miss Amanda E. Fossett,
at Medicine Lodge, Kansas, and unto them were born two children, Alpha and
Gladys. Judge Pfost was again married on the 1st of September, 1903, his
second union being with Josephine Zellery, of Kansas City, who was born in
Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, March 17, 1879. Both Judge and Mrs. Pfost are
members of the American Guild, and he is also prominent and popular in
various social and fraternal organizations, holding membership with the
Masons, the Elks, the Odd Fellows, the ]\Iodern AVoodmen of America, the

Online LibraryCarrie Westlake WhitneyKansas City, Missouri; its history and its people 1808-1908 (Volume 2) → online text (page 30 of 65)