Carrie Westlake Whitney.

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

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Mrs. White owns a beautiful home at No. 2114 Independence avenue,
where she now resides and her grandson makes his home with her when in
the citv. He is a member of the Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks.


John B. Priddy, who passed from this life in October, 1894, was a native
of Floyd county, Virginia, where his birth occurred April 26, 1832. He had,
therefore reached the age of sixty-two years when called to his final rest. His
father, Burke Priddy, was also a native of Virginia, and there married Miss
Catherine Zentmeyer. They became the parents of five children, all of whom


were born in the Old Dominion, and during the early boyhood of their son
John they removed from Virginia to Ohio, the family home being established
in Warren county. The father owned a plantation and a number of slaves in
Virginia, but followed the profession of teaching in Ohio.

John B. Priddy, of his review, was largely reared in the Buckeye state
and was indebted to the public school system for the early educational priv-
ileges he enjoyed. His more advanced intellectual training was received in
the Turtle Creek Academy and in the Lebanon (Ohio) Normal School. He
afterward engaged in teaching and the time which is usually spent in recrea-
tion and social enjoyment by those who are in business life after the cares of
the day are over, were devoted by him to the study of law preparatory to
becoming an active member of the legal profession. That he had mastered
many of the principles of jurisprudence was indicated by his admission to the
Ohio bar. He then engaged in practice in Washington Courthouse, Fayette
county, and was very successful in his legal career, his ability wdnning him
a large and distinctively representative clientage He served as mayor of the
city for two terms, and later as prosecuting attorney there for sometime, and
was afterward judge of the probate court for twelve years. He was well
known in legal circles from Columbus to Cincinnati, and while he displayed
few of those dazzling meteoric qualitias that sometimes distinguish the lawyer,
he possessed the more substantial qualities which shine with continuity and
can always be depended upon. At length his health failed him, and because
of this he removed w-estward to AVichita, Kansas, where his sons were then
engaged in business.

Mr. Priddy had been married in Rutland, Vermont, in 1866, to Miss
Lora Rockwell Mortrom, of Pittsfield, Vermont, a daughter of Moses and Lora
(Rockwell) Mortrom, both of whom were natives of the Green Mountain
state. The father was superintendent of marble quarries at West Rutland,
Vermont, where he continued in business until called to his final rest. Unto
Mr. and Mrs. Priddy was born one child, Bruce Mortrom, who is now engaged
in the real-estate business in Kansas City.

In his social relations Mr. Priddy was connected with the Independent
Order of Odd Fellows, was a past grand master and, in fact, was almost con-
tinuously in some state office in connection with the lodge, for he was very
prominent in the organization. In politics he was also widely known as a
stalwart advocate of the repul)lican jiarty and an active worker in its ranks.
He frequently attended the state conventions as a delegate and his opinions
carried weight in the councils of his party, for they recognized in him an
unswerving champion of its interests and imc whose patriotic citizenship wa-
above question. His last days were spent in Wichita, Kansas, where he passed
away in October, 1894.

Mrs. Priddy now lives in Kansas City Avith her son, their home being at
No. 3521 Forest street. Bruce M. Priddy has been continuously connected
with real-estate interests here since his removal to the city in November, 1903,
not only engaging in the purchase and sale of property, but also in speculative
building, erecting many cottages and bu.siness houses. He is secretary of the
Real Estate Exchange. Mrs. Priddy is a member of the Colonial Dames and


also belongs to the Westport Baptist church, and in the membership of both
has gained many warm friends by those who appreciate the womanly qualities
of culture and kindliness which she displays.


Rev. AVilliam James Dalton, rector of the Church of the Annunciation
in Kansas City, was born August 12, 1848, in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of
Richard and Bridget (Delaney) Dalton, who were natives of Ireland. The
father, a well educated man, was a prominent merchant of St. Louis between
the years 1839 and 1864, and was one of the first to introduce Irish linen into
that city. He died in 1877, his wife surviving him for ten years.

Father Dalton of this review attended the parochial schools and after-
ward entered St. Louis University, but his studies in that institution were
interrupted by the closing of the school during the Civil war. He then con-
tinued his studies in church seminaries in Milwaukee and Cape Girardeau,
Wisconsin, and was a classmate of Bishops Bonacum, Hennessey, Cotter and
Shanley. At Cape Girardeau he was the youngest member of his class, and
after a rigid examination in the studies of the college he was accorded a
scholarship in the American College at Rome. Two and a half years before he
attained his majority he was ordained to the priesthood by the Right Rev. Jo-
seph P. Machboef, bishop of Denver, by special dispensation procured from
Rome through Archbishop Kenrick. Following his ordination to the priest-
hood Father Dalton was assistant in the Church of the Annunciation in St.
Louis, and on the 29th of June, 1872, by appointment of Archbishop Kenrick,
he became rector of the lately organized Annunciation parish in Kansas City.
In 1894, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of his ordination, a celebration was
held, attended by Bishops Fink, Bonacum, Scannell, Burke, Dunn and Hen-
nessey and about one hundred and fifty priests. Afterward a reception was
tendered Father Dalton in the Auditorium theater and was most largely
attended, Hon. J. V. C. Karnes presiding. Congratulatory addresses were
delivered by many prominent citizens and the occasion was long to be remem-
bered by all. It was a fitting honor to one who had served so long and faith-
fully in developing the interests of Kansas City, not only along moral lines
but also in municipal affairs tending for the betterment of conditions for the
city at large.

Father Dalton has been a most ardent worker for better conditions
among his parishioners and his advice has been sought by many upon busi-
ness and financial matters. He has labored untiringly for the welfare of those
who have come under his guidance, and at the same time his influence is
not an unknown factor for the benefit of the community at large. In 1889
he was one of the freeholders appointed to draft the present city charter. He
was among the first to advocate the park system and held official positions in
several organizations promoting that object. He is a member of the Humane
Society and of the Provident Association and is a stalwart champion of many


measures commanding his interest. He has served as vice president of the
Humane Society from it-s organization and has been a director of the Provi-
dent Association for a number of years. He was a leader in the effort which
resulted in the establishment of the Kansas City Manual Training School
and was prominent among the founders of the Catholic Columbian summer
school, which meets annually at stated points. From the beginning he. has
served as one of its directors and its vice president and is president of its
board of studies, and also president of the Reading Circle Unions, established
in many cities.

Father Dalton has made frequent valuable contributions to the literature
of the period. From 1879 to 1884 he was editor of the Western Banner, the
first Catholic journal published in Kansas City. In 1894 he published a
pamphlet containing a series of sermons and lectures on various topics, and in
1897 issued a series of discourses on Biblical topics under the title of "The
Mistakes That Moses Didn't Make." In the same year, in book form, he
published historical sketches of Kansas City. He has written largely for
leading journals and magazines of the country, but his most important literary
work is a "History of Missouri," which has been in preparation for many
years. In this work in search of material he has searched the libraries of
France, Germany, England and Spain, and has been favored with the corre-
spondence of the Spanish government officials and with photographs of original
documents, from which he has gleaned much hitherto unpublished matter
This work is now nearing completion and will prove a most valued addition to
historical literature of the state. Father Dalton is widely recognized as a
broad-minded man on political, religious and social questions, a tireless worker
and patriotic and zealous citizen, and the warm-hearted congenial gentleman
is loved by all who know him, whether people of his own faith or otherwise.


Edward F. Swinney, president of the First National Bank of Kansas
City and president of the American Bankers' Association, needs no intro-
duction to the readers of this volume, nor would the history of the city be
complete without the record of his life, which had its beginning in the little
town of Marysville, Campbell county, Virginia, August 1, 1857. His early
educational advantages were those afforded by the common schools and later
he attended Blaekburg Military Academy at Blackburg, Virginia. He had
no college training such as is deemed essential as a preparation for life's
practical duties at the present time, but in the school of experience he has
learned many valuable lessons, while reading, observation and experience
have continually broadened his mind concerning those lines of thought and
activity which engage the attention of the world l)ut which have not come
under his direct ol)servation.

On leaving the Blackburg Academy in November, 1875, he sought op-
portunity for the exercise of his industry and energy — his dominant qualities


— in the middle west, starting ont in life on his own account at Fayette,
Missouri, in February, 1876, when eighteen years of age. Not specially trained
for any line of business, he eagerly accepted anything which would give him
a start and at a salary of twenty dollars per month, from which sum he paid
all expenses, he began work as a delivery boy in a grocery store. His hours
of labor were from early morning until late at night, as there were no unions
then to regulate the time nor the wage and Mr. Swinney felt satisfied with
his position. He could not remain satisfied save as it gave him a start, for he
possessed an ambition that could never be content with mediocrity, but must
continually Avork for something better. This has been characteristic of his
entire life and has been manifest in every relation, his entire career being
one of progress. When a little more than a year had passed in the grocery
store Mr. Swinney secured an advance in salary to twenty-five dollars per
month in connection with a clerkship in a dry-goods store, where he re-
mained with increased salary until the 15th of August, 1878. In the mean-
time he had decided definitely that he wished to enter the field of banking
and. learning of a vacancy in a Fayette bank, he applied for and obtained
the position, there remaining until September, 1882. A change of position
brought him promotion at Rich Hill, Missouri, and when a year later a bank
at Colorado City, Texas, was organized with Fayette capital, Mr. Swinney was
offered the position of cashier. He accepted and remained as the chief em-
ploye of the Colorado City institution until March 1, 1887, when he entered
upon active connection with the banking interests of Kansas City as cashier
of the First National Bank. Thoroughness has ever characterized all of
his work.

From the beginning of his connection with banking he made it his pur-
pose to master the business in principle and detail and his unfaltering diligen<;e
and close application won him continued advancement until after a service
of thirteen years as cashier of the First National he was elected to the presi-
dency of what is now one of the strongest financial institutions of the west.
He is justly accounted one of Kansas City's leading business men and conserv-
ative financiers. In matters of business policy his judgment is sound and
reliable and w^hile he does not jump at conclusions he forms his plans readily
and is determined in their execution. He has ever regarded a banking posi-
tion as one of special trust and with the utmost care has safeguarded the in-
terests placed in his hands. He has wrought, too, along modern business
lines for the growth and development of the institution of which he is now
chief executive officer and the increase of its business is attributable in large
degree to his labors, to his keen insight and his ability to combine and coordi-
nate forces. When asked on a certain occasion how best to obtain success
he said, ''To the young man who wants to succeed I would only give this brief
little creed: Show to his employer that he has his interests at heart in every-
thing. No man is so hard that he does not become interested in a young fel-
low whom he knows is interested in him. Make a little and save a little and
you will soon have a capital to start on, though it may be small." Whether
Mr. Swinney had formulated this creed at the beginning of his career is


not known but it Is a fact that its embodiment has been found in his own
life record.

He ha.< not confined his attentions alone to banking, although he has
attained distinguished honors in financial circles, but has been a potent factor
in the control and successful outcome of various other business concerns. In
former years he was one of the directors of the Chicago & Alton Railroad
Company and was on the directorate of the Fidelity Trust Company and the
Missouri Savings Bank.

Municipal progress has always been a matter of deep interest to him
and many progressive movements have won his active cooperation and sub-
stantial aid. For many years he served as treasurer of the Kansas City
school board and has always been prominent in the Commercial Club, an or-
ganization which more than any other has made Kansas City the important
industrial and commercial center which it is today. A well merited honor
came to him in banking circles when in 1905 he was made president of the
American Bankers' Association, being thus chosen as a national leader of
the financiers of the country. Moreover he has never confined his attention
to business interests alone, thereby narrowing his nature to a single groove,
but on the contrary has kept in close touch with the world's thought and
progress. His reading has been broad and of a varied character; he enjoys
sports and is a member of the Country Club of Kansas City. Geniality is
one of his marked characteristics and he accords to all the courtesy of an inter-
view. Men give him not only their admiration for what he has accomplished
but their respect because of the methods he has followed and their friendship
because of the genuine personal worth that he has manifested in every re-
lation of life. His advancement from a humble position in the business
world to one of national prominence has been but the merited and well
earned recognition of his ability.


George C. Smitli, who stood a.>< the executive head of the Smith-McCord-
Townsend Dry Goods Company, controlling the most extensive wholesale
dry goods trade of Kansas City, seemed to have accomplished througliout
his busines.s career the utmost possibility of success at any given point. With-
out one esoteric phase, his record was tliat of a man who, with clear concep-
tion and unfaltering determination, works toward the high standard which
he sets uj). A native son of Missouri, Mr. Smith was born August 6, 1848,
in Cooper county, and the experiences of farm life were his in his boyhood
and youth. The country schools afforded him hi.* educational opj)ortunities
and when twenty-one years of age he became a salesman in the general store
of Hoblitzell & Judd at Milton, Atchison county, Missouri, where he continued
for a year and a half. On the expiration of that period he accepted a posi-
tion in the wholesale dry goods store of Lemon, Hosea &: Company at St.
Joseph, Mi.ssouri, and remained as assistant salesman and buyer with the





new firm when the original proprietor sold out to Milton Tootle, John S.
Brittain and John Ovelman. Another change in the partnership occurred
three years later, Mr. Smith becoming a partner in the enterprise under the
style of John S. Brittain & Company. After six years of successful pro-
prietorship he sold his interest in the ""firm and turned his attention to the
wholesale groceiy business in Kansas City under the firm name of Smith-
Heddens & Company. After five years devoted to that enterprise he again
sold out and once more became a resident of St. Joseph, where he entered into
partnership with John S. Brittain in the wholesale dry goods business under
the firm name of Brittain, Smith & Company, which firm succeeded Brittain-
Richardson & Company and also bought out the AVood Manufacturing Com-
pany. Thus in connection with the conduct of a wholesale dry goods estab-
ment the company engaged in the manufacture of overalls and shirts, Mr.
Smith acting as general manager of both concerns. His association with
commercial and industrial interests of St. Joseph thus continued until 1893,
when he disposed of his interest and became a partner of James McCord,
president of the Nave-McCord Mercantile Company of St. Joseph, and John
Townsend of the Townsend-Wyatt Dry Goods Company, under the name
of the Smith-McCord Dry Goods Company. The newly organized company
opened a wholesale dry goods establishment on the 1st of September, 1893,
at the corner of Seventh and Wyandotte streets in Kansas City and such
was the growth of the business during the succeeding decade that in 1903
it became necessary to obtain larger quarters and an extensive block was
erected at the corner of Seventh and Central streets. On moving into the
new quarters, in January, 1903, the name of the company was changed to
the Smith-McCord-Townsend Dry Goods Company. By this time the busi-
ness had taken rank as one of the largest wholesale dry-goods interests of
Kansas City. The partners were all men of wide experience, of progressive
views and firm purpose, and with Mr. Smith in the position of president and
the executive head of the house, the interests were most carefuUy controlled
and the trade constantly increased in extent and importance.

On the 8th of June, 1880, was celebrated the marriage of George C.
Smith and Miss Mattie Heddens, a daughter of Dr. W. I. Heddens, of St.
Joseph, Missouri. Three children were born unto them : Irving H. George
C. and Catherine. The death of the husband and father occurred at his
home at No. 720 Highland avenue, February 4, 1906, after an illness of
several months. He was a man of domestic taste, w^ho found his greatest
happiness at his own fireside with his family around him. He was continu-
ally planning for the interests and welfare of his wife and children and was
equally loyal in his friendships. At the same time he was a citizen whose
public spirit made his service of the utmost value in promoting measures of
general importance. He w^as for several years a director of the Commercial
Club, of Convention Hall and of the Provident A.ssociation. He was elected
to the presidency of the Commercial Club at the last annual election preced-
ing his demise but was compelled to resign on account of failing health. In
his labors for the public good he brought to bear the same practical discrimi-
nation and clear discernment that characterized him in his busines life. He


seemed almost intuitively to place a correct vtiluation upon an opportunity
and to look beyond the exigencies of the moment to the possibilities of the
future. The salient features of his entire career were such as to win him
the honor and respect of the general public and the sincere admiration and
trust of his contemporaries and his colleagues. He always took a deep and
helpful interest in the welfare of his fellowmen. being an especial friend of
the voung man, whom he often assisted in various wavs and bv whom he
was deeply loved.


James A. Patton. president of the Bank of Commerce at the stockyards
in Kansas City from January. 1899, until his death, April 30. 1905. was
recognized in business circles as a man of thorough reliability. His com-
mercial integrity was ever above question and his success was based upon
methods which neither sought nor required disguise. He was born near
Indianapolis, Indiana, May 20, 1858. His father, John Patton, was a banker,
and for many years thus represented the financial interests of Thorntown.
Indiana. The son pursued his preliminary education in the public schools
and later attended a business college at Indianapolis prior to entering upon
the study of law, to which he devoted four years. He then returned to Thorn-
town and became associated with his father in the bank, this connection con-
tinuing for a few years. Later Mr. Patton began learning the carriage-making
trade in Thorntown and after a short time purchased his employer's plant
there and engaged in the manufacture of carriages for several years, or until
1886. Disposing of his business in the Hoosier state, he removed westward to
Garden City, Kansas, where he engaged in the banking business as president
of a bank for three years.

In 1889 he removed to Houston, Texas, where for four years he was asso-
ciated with the Planters A: Mechanics National Bank, but on account of ill
health he left the south and went abroad, traveling for four months. He
was greatly benefited by the change of scene and climate, and with improved
health, returned to America, settling in Boston. MassachiL-ietts, where he en-
gaged in the lumber business for three years. On the expiration of that period
\u again removed to the west, settling at Council Bluft's, Iowa, where he
became associated with the First National Bank as cashier. After a short
time, however, he was made president and continued his connection with that
institution for three years, or until his removal to Kansas City in the
early part of 1899. Here he was at once elected to the presidency of the Bank
of Commerce at the stockyards, one of the strong financial institutions of
the city, which, under his capable direction, conducted a flourishing and con-
stantly increasing biLsiness. His long experience in banking, his excellent
business ability and executive force enabled him greatly to promote the in-
terests of the Bank of Commerce and also gained him recognition as one of the
valued additions to business circles here.


In Thorntown, Indiana, Mr. Patton was united in marriage to Miss
Lillie Luring, of that place, who died there in 1885, leaving a daughter,
Ethel L., who is now residing with Mrs. James A. Patton. In 1889, in Green-
castle, Indiana, Mr. Patton was again married, his second union being with
Miss Mary C. Seybold, who was there born. Her father, John L. Seybold,
followed farming near Greencastle throughout his entire life, and his wife
also passed away in that locality. The only child of the second marriage is
Margaret A. Patton. who also makes her home here with her mother. The
death of the husband and father occurred April 30, 1905, and was the occasion
of deep and widespread regret to those who knew him. His life was quiet and
unostentatious but characterized by a genuine worth that everywhere com-
manded confidence, good-will and regard. In politics he was a republican
without political aspiration, and fraternally he was a Mason, being initiated
into the order at Indianapolis. The Independence Avenue Methodist Epis-
copal church found him a devoted and faithful member, and he was every-
where known as a consistent Christian gentleman.


Abraham H. Knapp was for almost twenty years superintendent of the
Osawatomie Asylum, in which connection he took a stand much in advance of

Online LibraryCarrie Westlake WhitneyKansas City, Missouri; its history and its people 1808-1908 (Volume 2) → online text (page 32 of 65)