Carrie Westlake Whitney.

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

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whole family are members of the Methodist Episcopal church at the corner
of IJnwood and Olive and in its work ^Ir. Kornbrodt takes a most active and
helpful part, acting as a member of the building committee at the time of the
erection of the new church and serving since as treasurer. He has also
been a helpful factor in the Sunday school and he does everything in his
power to promote the growth and extend the influence of the church. An
exemplary member of the Masonic fraternity, he is now junior deacon of
Southgate Lodge, No. 547, A. F. & A. M. His political views accord with
the principles of the republican party. He has never had occasion to regret
his determination to seek a home in America, for the opportunities which
he sought and here found have enabled him to advance in the business world
until he has now reached a creditable place.


Amos L. West, who has been engaged in contracting in Kansas City
since 1884, controlling a large and constantly growing business, was born
in Cook county, Illinois, November 27, 1848. His father, John West, was a
native of England and after coming to America wedded Mary M. Allen, a
native of the state of New York. When their son Amos was eight years of
age they removed to Nora Springs, Iowa, and shortly afterward became resi-
dents of Mason City, Iowa, where Amos L. West was reared to manhood, the
public schools affording him his educational privileges, while his business
training was received in the Iowa City Commercial College, from which he
was graduated in April, 1871. He then turned his attention to contracting
in the line of railroad construction and secured contracts with the Chicago,
Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad through Iowa. For several years he was
identified with the building of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad
and the Chicago & North-Western Railroad, building lines through Iowa,
Wisconsin, Minnesota and the Dakotas.

In 1884 he came to Kansas City with the intention of building thirty
miles of track through Kansas but on reaching this city he halted his horses
and equipments and at once began work here. He has since been one of the
prominent figures in contracting circles here and has done much important
work in his line. During the period in which he was engaged in railroad
construction on the frontier he also bought and handled cattle quite exten-
sively, having as high as four hundred and forty head on grass at one time
and the business proved a profitable undertaking.


Mr. West was married to Miss Josephine E. Frye, of Granville, Wiscon-
sin, in 1873, and unto them have been born four children: Emma B., the
wife of Barney Blum, of Los Angeles, California; Mary Estella, who became
the wife of Frank W. Sponable, a banker of Gardner, Kansas; John Orton
and Austin Amos, who are now connected with their father in business in
Kansas City. The wife and mother died in January, 1893, and in 1901
Mr. West was again married, his second union being with Miss Mary W.
Preston, of Kansas City, a native of Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, whose
parents removed to this city in 1884.

Mr. West is a republican in his political views and, as every true Ameri-
can citizen should do, keeps well informed on the questions and issues of
the day but the honors and emoluments of office have had no attraction for
him. His wife is a member of the Presbyterian church and both are highly
esteemed in the city, having here many Avarm friends.


Henry D. Clark, whose life record ended December 31, 1907, was one
of the picturesque figures in the history of Kansas City. While in no country
are there so many opportunities open in the business world as there are in
America, it is yet a sufficiently rare occurrence to awaken interest and ad-
miration when a penniless boy arises to prominence in the business world
and ranks with the more successful residents of the city in which he casts
his lot. Such was the career of Henry D. Clark, who from 1876 until his
demise made his home in Kansas City.

His birth occurred in Brookfield, New York, July 7, 1849, but during
his very early childhood he was taken to Wisconsin, where he was reared.
He was one of the youngest soldiers of the Civil war. He had completed
but six months after the thirteenth anniversary of his birth when he joined
the army, enlisting in 1863 with the Thirteenth New York Artillery, but
he was large for his age and he claimed that he was eighteen. The ''un-
lucky" number of his regiment and of his years evidently had no baneful
influence over his life, for he escaped unharmed and was honorably dis-
charged in 1865. He returned to Buffalo and later went to Milwaukee,
Wisconsin. He was then upon the lakes as a sailor for four years. He next
went to Chicago and for one year was connected ^vith the Independence
Hotel. lie also entered upon his theatrical career there and was manager
of the California Paris Theater on the west side for a time. Mr. Clark went
to Independence, Kansas, from Chicago and purchased a large tract of land,
now known to contain some of the largest oil wells in the country, but be-
coming dissatisfied he sold out at a great sacrifice and came to Kansas City
in 187'6. He was at the time associated with one of the Eddie Foy com-
panies. Believing that Kansas City offered a good field for theatrical at-
tractions, he started upon an independent venture in this direction. This
was during the days of Kansas City's pioneer experience and he received a


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liberal patronage in the Coliseum from the typical residents of the frontier.
In his house appeared many who have become known to fame, including
Eddie Foy, Mclntyre and Heath, Murray and Mack and score.? of others.
The Newmarket theater was ejected by him on Walnut street near Fourth
street, and he leased it for a term of years, while he turned his attention
to the real-estate business. He also built the theater at the corner of Ninth
and May streets, a combination theater, which he leased for six years to
Judge & Hedson. At the end of that time it was destroyed by fire and he
then rebuilt what was known a& the new Ninth Street Theater, with a seat-
ing capacity of twenty-five hundred. It was prettily decorated and became
an attractive house. Mr. Clark conducted this theater for five years, after
which he leased it to the Orpheum Theater Circuit Company, which still
operates it. It was for a long time the only exclusive vaudeville theater in
the city and it remained the property of Mr. Clark up to the time of his

Mr. Clark was also well known because of his building and real-estate
operations. He erected many residences and business blocks in the city.
He put up a number of residences at Thirty-third and Broadway and also
at Thirty-ninth and Genesee streets, from which he derived a good rental.
He erected altogether about thirty houses in the southern part of the town
and found these to be a good income paying property. In his real-estate deals
he manifested keen discrimination concerning the valuation of property n.nd
its possible rise or diminution and his carefully conducted real-estate interests
gained for him a place among the more substantial residents of Kansas City.

Mr. Clark was married in Kansas City, at the age of thirty-tv:o years,
to Delia R. Clark, of Oneida county, New York, and they became the par-
ents of five children: Goldie A., now the wife of J. B. Shinn, of Seattle,
Washington; Henry D., a druggist located at Thirty-ninth and Genesee
streets; Palmer J., Hazel and William, all at home. The death of Mr. Clark
occurred after a brief illness when he was in his fifty-ninth year. He left
to his family a handsome competence, acquired by his own toil and careful
management through an active business career, in which he gained for him-
self a creditable place in business circles as theater owner and real-estate


Sidney powell Allen, financier and promoter of Kansas City, was
born in Daviess county, Missouri. Febmary 24, 1867. His father. Dr. J. T.
Allen, who was born near Fredericksburg in Botetourt county, Virginia,
came to Missouri in 1856. The mother. Harriett A. (Wynne) Allen, was a
native of Tazewell county, Virginia, anl both were representatives of old
families of Scotch -Irish stock and came to Missouri during their minority,
being married in this state.

In the public schools of Gallatin, Missouri, Sidney P. Allen pursued
his education and in 1899 entered business life as a dealer in loans and


real estate at Cameron, Missouri. After eight years there passed, during
which time he loaned several million dollars for life insurance companies
and individuals, he came to Kansas City in 1898 and established an office
for continuance in the same line here. Four years ago he practically with-
drew from the loan business and turned his attention to the colonization of
the southwest through the sale of farm lands. Until three years ago he
handled principally Kansas and Missouri lands but the prices of property
in these states became too high and he formed a company for the lea^e and
purchase of lands in the Chicksaw and Choctaw nations, and ultimately
organized the Bankers Trust Company, of Ardmore, Indian Territory, now
Oklahoma, with a paid-up capital of two hundred and fifty thousand dol-
lars, to act as a guardian for minors and transact a general trust company
business. It will thus be seen that after his initial step in the business world
he soon passed on to positions of executive control, subsequently bending
his energies largely to organization, to constructive efforts and adminis-
trative direction. Possessing broad, enlightened and liberal-minded views,
faith in himself and in vast potentialities for the development inhered
in his country's wide domain and specific needs along the distinctive lines
chosen for his life's work, his has been an active career in which he has
accomplished important and far-reaching results, contributing in no small
degree to the expansion and material growth of the southwest and from
which he himself has also derived substantial benefits.

After organizing the company to operate in the Indian Territory, Mr.
Allen also formed a company, capitalized for one hundred and fifty thou-
sand dollars, to purchase timber land^ in the Choctaw nations. He gave
his attention principally to this work for some time, devoting but little time
to colonization until two years ago, when he resumed efforts in that direction.
At the present time, however, he confines his attention to the handling of
large tracts through colonization companies, dealing extensively in Texas
lands. He is a man of marked insight into business possibilities and oppor-
tunities that others have passed by heedlessly he has noted and improved,
with the result that his individual success has been augumented, while the
districts in which he has operated have also been materially improved

He has promoted various enterprises in con.siderable magnitude, includ-
ing the formation of the drainage district in Bates county, Missouri, under
the state law for the redemption of lands from overflow. This district con-
sists of a tract of forty thousand acres in the Marais des Cygnes river valley.
This land, which is unusually fertile, was worth only twenty-five dollars
per acre on account of the overflow from the river, which took a snake-like
course through that section, its entire distance being seventy-five miles. The
company employed a competent engineer to dig a ditch which covers the
entire distance in a straight line in twenty-five miles and naturally does
away with the overflow, so that the land, naturally productive, has increased
in value to from ono hundred to one hundred and fifty dollars per acre.

Another enterprise which has found in Mr. Allen a moving spirit was
the Socorro Company, of Elmendorf, New Mexico, capitalized for two mil-


lion dollars and bonded for five hundred thousand dollars. This company
owns seventy-two thousand acres in Socorro county, New Mexico, of which
sixty thousand acres, known as the Bosque del Apache Grant, lies seventy
miles south of Albuquerque on the Rio Grande river. One half of this is
in the Rio Grande Valley and is being put under irrigation. It is adapted
to the production of sugar beets, alfalfa, cereals and fruit and will yield an
income of from fifty to five hundred dollars per acre. The sugar tru-st has
agreed to build a million dollar factory for the company as soon as the irri-
gation system is complete. The remaining twelve thousand acres is in small,
well-watered tracts in the mountainous country a few miles west and is sur-
rounded by extensive tracts of public land suitable for sheep raising. Ama-
dous other enterprises have felt the stimulus of the business discernment, un-
wearied industry and substantial cooperation of Mr. Allen, including ex-
tensive mining interests in old Mexico.

On the 13th of June, 1902, Mr. Allen was married at Cameron, Mis-
souri, to Miss Nellie B. Osborn, a daughter of James J. Osborn, of Colorado
Springs, Colorado, and they have one daughter, Helen Jean, who is attend-
ing Kemper Hall at Kenosha, Wisconsin. The wife and daughter are mem-
bers of the Episcopal church. Mr. Allen belongs to the Masonic fraternity
and has taken the Knight Templar degree in the York Rite and the
eighteenth degree in the Scottish Rite. He is also a member of the Kan-
sas City, Commercial, Elm Ridge and Country Clubs, of Kansas City, and the
Union League Club of Chicago, w^hile his political preference is given to the
democracy. He is a public-spirited man and a liberal contributor to vari-
ous charities and benevolent institutions. He finds rest and recreation from
the onerous duties of a strenuous business life in good literature, while
hunting and fishing, to which he has been devoted from his youth, are his
principal pastimes. He belongs to that class of men w^ho have distin-
guished themselves in their day and generation for the posse.?sion in an
eminent degree of those qualities of character which mainly contribute to
the success of private life and to the public stability — men capable of pro-
jecting and promoting extensive interests that are a source of individual
profit and at the same time of public benefit.


V. M. Murphey, conducting business under the name of the Murphey
Coal & Feed Company at Twentieth and Forest streets, was born in Macon,
Mississippi, in 1862. His father, Victor Murphey, Sr., was a native of
North Carolina and died in Mississippi. The mother, Mrs. Leah (Malone)
Murphey, was a native of Alabama.

The son acquired his education in the place of his nativity and upon
attaining his majority in 1883 came to Kansas City, where for fourteen
years he was connected with the Eme^\^ Bird, Thayer Dry Goods Company.
During twelve years of that time he w^as in the office as a trusted repre-


fceiitative of the house. In 1897 he became connected with D. A. Ridge-
way in forming a partnership for tlie conduct of a coal and feed business
and, prospering in that undertaking, in 1903 he organized what is knowm
as the ^lurpiiey Coal ct Feed Company, doing business at Twentieth and
Forest streets, with the following othcers: V. M. Murphey, president; J. C.
Hill, vice president; and V. McBee, secretary. The company deals ex-
tensively in coal, wood, feed and ice. They employ about fifteen men and
utilize about ten teams in transportation of the commodities which they
handle. The business has prospered from the beginning and the success
of the company is attributable in no small degree to the experience, keen
discernment and unabating enterprise of the president.

Mr. Murphey was married in Kansas City in 1887 to Miss Anna E.
Hedges, who was born in Mi.ssouri, a daughter of George Hedges, a farmer
of this state. They now have two children: V. M. and Elizabeth. The
family home is at No. 1209 East Thirty-first street.

Mr. Murphey gives his political support to the democracy and in his
fraternal relations is a Mason, but while interested in various good works
and in the political situation of the country he is not an active participant
therein but concentrates his time and energies upon the conduct of his


In former ages the history of a city or country was the record of its
wars and conquests. Today it is the record of its business development, the
victories now achieved being those of mind over matter, while the leaders
in public life are those who manifest the initiative spirit in founding and
controlling important business interests. In this connection David C. Webb,
now deceased, was well known, having been the president of the Webb-
Frcyschlag Mercantile Company, wholesale dealers in general merchandise
at Nos. 620 to 626 Delaware street. He arrived in Kansas Citv in December,
1893, and thereafter was closely associated with its business development.

A native of LaFayette, Indiana, wdiere his parents resided unlil their
deaths, he was there born April 23, 1834, and w-as educated in the public
schools of that town. His opportunities, however, in that direction were
somewhat limited, for from an early age he was dependent upon his own
resources, being a youth of fourteen when with a brother he w^ent to South
America, locating at what is now Aspinwall on the isthmus of Panama.
There he and his brother l)uilt and conducted a hotel and general store, it
being the first hotel at that ])lace. David C. AVcbb owned a half interest
in both and continued in the dual occupation for some time. Later he en-
gaged in building steamships there and also in shipping cotton, continuing
in business for ten years or until 1858, when he disposed of his interests
in the south and returned to the United States.

Mr. Webb then settled at Decatur, Illinois, where he engaged in gen-
eral merchandising until 1876. During that time, in 1872, he visited Kansas


City. Four years later he removed to Council Grove, Kansas, where he pur-
chased and managed several farms, and was also interested in the banks at
that place and Lyons, assisting in organizing one at Council Grove, of which
he was vice president and a director. He likewise was the owner of general
stores at Council Grove, Strong City, and in other towns in that vicinity
and was interested in banks in several different places. His business inter-
ests thus broadened out and he became a leading factor in commercial and
financial circles in that part of the state.

In 1893 Mr. Webb came again to Kansas City, where he organized the
Webb-Freyschlag Mercantile Company, continuing as its president up to
the time of his demise. They established and conducted a wholesale notion
house which is still in existence — the largest of the kind in Kansas City.
The business is now very extensive and is thus recognized as one of the
leading commercial enterprises here. Mr. Webb continued as president of
the same and also kept his interest in the banks at Lyons and at Council
Grove, Kansas. He was president of the Pague Manufacturing Company of
Kansas City until his death and had large real-estate holdings here. He
seemed to readily recognize the opportune moment and his judgment in all
matters of commercial and financial interest was sound and reliable.

In Decatur, Illinois, Mr. Webb w^a^ married to Miss Mary A. Seamans,
a native of Zanesville, Ohio, where her parents resided, her father being a
merchant there during the greater part of his life. Mr. and Mrs. Webb had
four children, two living, namely: Minnie and Nora L. The former is the
wife of Edward W. Freyschlag, the president of the Webb-Freyschlag Mer-
cantile Company, and they reside at No. 3800 Warwick boulevard with their
children, Ralph W., Norma E., and Edw^ard Eugene. The oldest married
Kathleen Pague, of the old and prominent Pague family, and is now secre-
tary and treasurer of the Pague INIanufacturing Company of this city. He
and his wife also reside at No. 3800 Warwick boulevard. Nora L. Webb
is the wife of S. G. Puterbaugh, who is engaged in the dry-goods business
at Lyons, Kansas.

The death of the husband and father occurred on Christmas day of
1906 and the interment w^as made at Mount Washington cemetery. He was-
a prominent Mason, having attained the Knight Templar degree in the
York Rite and the thirty-second in the Scottish Rite. He was also a mem-
ber of the Commercial Club and of the Independence Avenue Methodist
Episcopal church and took an active and helpful interest in church work,,
doing all in his power to promote its growth and extend its influence.

Mrs. Webb is well known in the social circles of Kansas City and while
here makes her home wdth Mr. and Mrs. Freyschlag, but spends much of
her time in traveling. She succeeded to the presidency of the Pague Manu-
facturing Company at the time of the death of her husband, who was widely
known as a business man of Kansas City and in the state of Kansas as well.
To those who know aught of his history it may seem trite to say that he arose
from a humble position to become one of the most prominent merchants of
the middle west, and it is only just to say in a history that will descend to
future generations that his business record was such as any man might have


been proud to possess. Starting out in life at the age of fourteen years, he
worked his way upward through the force of character which recognizes no
obstacles that can be overcome by determined and honorable effort. He early
learned that labor is the key which unlocks the portals to prosperity and by
his indefatigable industry and unremitting diligence he won his prosperity.
His life, too, was at all times upright and proved that success and an hon-
orable name mav be won sinuiltaneouslv.


There stands as a monuHK'.nt to the business enterprise of him whose
name introduces this review the large dry goods establishment conducted
under the name of George B. Peck Company, but there is a more endur-
ing monument than this in the love and veneration felt for the man by
many to whom he proved himself a friend in need. His memory is held
reverently in their hearts, the recollection of his kindness is tenderly cher-
ished and his name spoken with gratitude, for great as were his accomplish-
ments in the business w^orld, still greater was his philanthropy. \\e\\ may
his friends breathe the sentiment

"He was a man. Take him for all in all
I shall not look upon his like again."

The natal day of George B. Peck was June 14, 1863, and the place of
his nativity Detroit, Michigan. His father, George Peck, was president of
the Michigan Savings Bank at Detroit and prominently connected with
other important commercial and financial enterprises. The mother is now
deceased. Two daughters of the family, Miss Julia E. Peck and ^Frs. IT. C.
Caulkins, are residents of Detroit, where a brother, Barton T.. P(^ck, also

George B. Peck pui"sued his education in the grammar and high schools
of Detroit and wdien he had completed his studies took a position in his
father's dry goods store. Because of his relationship he made no claim for
favors but. like any employe, set to work to master the business and to gain
promotion because of hi- fidelity, energy and capability. He soon displayed
great adaptability and his advance accordingly was rai)id.. After two years'
connection with the retail trade he determined to oain oxperienc(> in whole-
sale lines and accepted a po-ition with the Burnham. Stoeple Dry Goods
Company of Detroit, with whom he also continued for two years, when he
resigned to take a position with Frederick Loeser & Company, of Brooklyn,
New York. About four years later, in New York, ho met John Doggett. who
was organizing a dry-goods business in Kansas City. Mr. Peck bought some
stock in the project and in October, 1(S89. came to Kansas City, was made
a director of the companv and assumed an active part in the management
of the business, his previous experience well qualifying him for his new


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duties. On the loth of July, 1894, he was elected vice-president, filling the
position for four years. On the 15th of July, 1898, he purchased the inter-

Online LibraryCarrie Westlake WhitneyKansas City, Missouri; its history and its people 1808-1908 (Volume 2) → online text (page 34 of 65)