Carrie Westlake Whitney.

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

. (page 41 of 65)
Online LibraryCarrie Westlake WhitneyKansas City, Missouri; its history and its people 1808-1908 (Volume 2) → online text (page 41 of 65)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Thompson as general agent and collector. Mr. Wallace and his family attend
the Hyde Park Methodist Episcopal church, of which he is a trustee and in
the work of which they are much interested. He belongs to Triple Link
Lodge, No. 9, I. O. O. F., wdth which he has been identified for fifteen years,
and he is also connected wdth the Modern Woodmen, the Knights of Pythias
and is a charter member of the Modern Woodmen Camp. His political alle-
giance is given to the republican party. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Wallace have
been born three children: Leslie Allen, born October 9, 1895; Alice F.,
February 9, 1897 ; and Marjorie, born June 14, 1900. In 1902 Mr. Wallace
built his home at No. 120 East Thirty-fourth street, and it is here that Mr.
Green resides with his daughter, her husband and their family. For ten years
he has engaged in no business and is spending the evening of his days in
well merited ease. His has been in many respects an eventful career, fraught
with experiences which come to few. He met all of the hardships and trials
incident to military life in the East Indies, know^s what it means to cam-
paign in the jungle and has also lived the quiet, uneventful life of the busi-
ness man who day after day performs the duties which come to him and by


his fidelity and enterprise wins success. ^Ir. Wallace lias made for himself a
creditable name in business circles in Kansas City as a man of energy and
determination and the family enjoy in full measure the respect and good
will of a large circle of friends.


Rochester C. Colgan spent the last years of his life in honorable retire-
ment in Kansas City, previous to which time he was closely associated with
the agricultural and stock-raising interests of Jackson county. He was one
of Kansas City's native sons, his birth having occurred in 1845 upon the
present site of the Fifteenth street power house.

His parents were Thomas G. and Eliza (Campbell) Colgan, both of
whom were natives of Kentucky, and from that state the father removed
to Kansas City, where the family were re.-^iding at the time of the birth of
Rochester C. Colgan. The same year, however, the}^ removed to the vicin-
ity of Lees Summit, where Thomas G. Colgan purchased a farm of four
hundred acres. The land was entirely wild and unimproved, and in its midst
he erected a log cabin, the family beginning life there in true pioneer style.
All around them stretched a wild and undeveloped district, and toward the
setting sun lay the great west, almost entirely destitute of habitations, that
indicated that the white race were reclaiming it for the purposes of civiliza-
tion. The family occupied a little log cabin until 1853, and then the little
pioneer home was replaced by a frame residence. The father died in 1860,
and the mother, long surviving him, passed away January 23, 1893.

Rochester C. Colgan was reared upon the farm, and early bore his share
in the task of developing and cultivating the fields. During the ])eriod of the
Civil war he and liis mother returned to Kentucky, and while there he fol-
lowed the cari)enter s trade. He lived, however, almost continuously u])on the
old homestead for over fifty years, and followed farming and >t<)('k-raising.
always keeping ou liaiid good grades of horses, hogs and shortborn cattle.
His labors proved an cfi'ective element in transforming this properly, secured
in pioneer days, into one of the fine farms of the county, and hi- widow
still has in her po-session the land ])at('nts which were is-ued to Mr. Col-
gan's fathei'. mid were signed by Millard I'^illniore. In the early days of
the family's residence here they made their own candles, and n]ion the
farm raised nearly everything whicb was used by the family. cx])eriencing
all of the hardshi])- and trials incident to pioneer life, and occasion(^d by
the fact that they were distantly remote fi-om centers of eiviliz:ition. wliei'e
supplies could l)e easily ]>rocured.

In 1875, in Jackson county. ^lis-ouri. occurred the marriage of Roches-
ter C. Colgan and Miss Ivnily R. Tniman, a naliv(> of Missoni'i and a d;nigb-
tcr of Anderson Truman. Her father was liorn in Slielby county. Ken-
tucky, but came to Missouri in 1844, settling in Jackson connly. Eater he
removed to Platte countv. and afterward liOUiiht a farm Hfleen miles south




'; a 'k LIBRARY



of Kansas City, where he spent his remaining days. His wife bore the
maiden name of Mary Jane Holmes, and was a sister of Robert Holmes and
a representative of one of the .early families of Kansas City. Her brother
owned a large farm in what is the best residence part of the city. Unto
Mr. and Mrs. Colgan were born two sons and two daughters, Murray Tru-
man, Myra Emily, Fred Chester Rock and Mary Virgil.

The family continued to reside upon the farm until 1895, when they
removed to Kansas City, Mr. Colgan desiring to give his children the better
educational advantages there offered. He then lived retired until his demise,
having in the meantime accumulated a handsome property through his
well directed efforts and industry. He passed away March 27, 1902, and in
his death his wife and children lost a most devoted, faithful and loving hus-
band and father. He never sought to figure prominently in public affairs,
but was content to do his duty day after day as it came to him, and by
reason of his fidelity and his honesty of purpose he gained the respect and
confidence of all with whom he came in contact. He had many friends in
that section of the county in which he so long resided, and where the name
of Colgan was ever honorably and favorably known from pioneer times. After
her husband's demise Mrs. Colgan purchased a beautiful residence on Santa
Fe place, but now leases that property. She and her children are still resi-
dents of Kansas City, Avhere they are well known in social circles.


Among those men who in banking circles are custodians of the public
funds, which represent the vast business and private interests of Kansas City's
residents, is numbered Gilson Berryman Gray, the vice president of the
National Bank of the Republic. Born February 1, 1861, in Kansas City, the
family home at that time being situated in the district bounded by what are
now Main and Delaware, Sixth and Seventh streets. The business district
was then on the river front and extended as far south as Fourth and Fifth
streets. His father, James L. Gray, a native of Pennsylvania, and a pioneer
resident of Jackson county, was serving as sheriff at the time of his death in
1872. He was descended from Scotch ancestry, although the family was
established in Pennsylvania at an early day. His wife, Mrs. Harriett Rebecca
(Thomas) Gray, a native of Kentucky, is still living, at the age of seventy-
six years. Her ancestors were Virginians and several members of the family
served with distinction in the Revolutionary war.

Gilson Berryman Gray was educated at Woodland College in Independ-
ence, Missouri, and following his school days became associated, in 1880, with
banking interests and his entire life has been spent in or near Kansas City
with the exception of a brief period of three years, when he sojourned in the
south. In 1883 he became connected with the Citizens National Bank and
there continued until 1898, when he became associated with the National
Bank of Commerce. In 1899 he accepted the cashiership of the American


National Bank and after eight years' service resigned in 1907. In Jnne of
that year he as.-istcd in organizing the National Bank of the Repnhlic, of
which he has since been vice president, and is also interested in several in-
terior banks.

On the 6th of April, 1886, Mr. Gray was married in Aberdeen, Missis-
sippi, to Miss Catherine Strong. Mrs. Gray is interested in nuisic, art and
literature, and many evidences of taste in those directions are seen in the
Gray residence. Their home is situated on Gladstone boulevard, one of the
finest thoroughfares in the city. They have three children, Catherine, Re-
becca and Gilson B., Jr., aged respectively eighteen, sixteen and ten years.

Mr. Gray is a member of the Kansas City Club and of the Evanston
Golf Club and his enjoyment of the sport furnishes him needed recreation
from business cares. He is, moreover, deeply interested in the moral develop-
ment of the city, is a director of the Young Men's Christian Association and
was instrumental in the erection of its new Ijuilding. He is likewise a member
of the Independence Boulevard Christian church, in which he is serving as
deacon and in its membership is known as a most active and zealous worker.
Kansas City's welfare and upbuilding are matters Avhich lie very close to his
heart, for who does not take jiride in what is accom])lished in one"'^ native


Frederic Collins .lohnson, ])resident of the Kawino Wholesale Grocer
Company of Kansas City, was born in Berkshire, Tioga county. New York,
June 1, 1865. He was the second in a family of three sons and three daugh-
ters, and at the usual age began his education in the district schools of Tioga
county. In 1884 he accepted a clerkship in the general mercantile store of
Horatio Clark at Berkshire, New York, and in 1887 went to Beloit, Kansas,
as accountant in the First National Bank, going from there to St. Joseph,
Missouri, in Sej)teniber of the same year, Avliere he took a position as bill
clerk with the Nave & McCord Mercantile Company. In 1888 the company
sent him dut as traveling salesman, assigning to him northwest Missouri and
southwest Iowa as a territory, Avhich position lie held until 1902. when he
resigned and. accompanied by his wife and daughter, went to Enrope. travel-
ing in Gei-many. Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Franet- and England.

After their return Mr. .Tolinson accepted an office position tendered him
by his former em])loyers and so continued until ^lay, 1904, when he resigned
to come to Kansas City, where he purchased controlling interest in the Walker-
Brewster Gi'ocer Company, at that time conducting a coml)ination wholesale
grocery. ]»roduce and commission l»nsiiiess. Disjtosing of his holdings in this
company a year later, he organized the Kawmo Wholesale Grocer Company,
Avith F. C. Sheldon as president and Mr. Johnson as vice president and treas-
urer. In the early jiart of 1908 ]\Ir. Sheldon withdi'ew from the presidency
and Mr. Johnson became president, while Mr. Sheldon remained a director.
]\Ir. .Tohnson's plan on entering the ])U-ines- was to inaugurate a new system


in the wholesale grocery line — one price to all — believing that fair and impar-
tial dealing would insure greater success than the usual competitive methods.
In establishing this unusual policy, the business lost one-tenth of its capital
of fifty thousand dollars the first year, but, persevering, he has succeeded in
building up a large and profitable business and one which enjoys a most
/enviable reputation. The company does an exclusive wholesale grocery
business and confines its attention principally to the city trade.

On the 29th of May, 1894, Mr. Johnson was married to Miss Etta Raw-
lings, of St. Joseph, Missouri. Mr. Johnson is a worthy and exemplary mem-
ber of Charity Lodge, A. F. & A. M.; Mitchell's Chapter, R. A. M., of St.
Joseph, Missouri; also of the United Commercial Travelers. His religious
belief is indicated by his membership in the Central Presbyterian church of
this city. He is a large-hearted, broad-minded man, honorable in his pur-
poses, kindly in his intentions, congenial in his companionship, and fearless
in the administration of what he believes to be correct principles in merchan-


Jacolj L. Lorie, attorney at law of Kansas City, was born in Natchez, Mis-
sissippi, February 18, 1873, a son of Nathan and Sarah (Beekman) Lorie.
The father was an Austrian by birth and in his childhood came to America.
After attaining his majority he engaged in merchandising and when the
country became involved in the Civil war he served as a soldier in the Con-
federate Army. He was also prominent in civic life and was judge of the
county court and also county treasurer of Catahoula parish in Louisiana. In
1881 he came to Kansas City and engaged in the manufacture of furniture at
First street and Lydia avenue until he retired from active business life in
1900. His wife is a daughter of Aaron Beekman, a school teacher, musician
and Shakespearean scholar. The Beekman family is of German descent and
one of the ancestors was a court painter to Napoleon III., while another be-
longed to the regiment of giants organized by Frederick the Great. To this
same familv belongs Bailev Gatzert, mavor of Seattle.

Jacob L. Lorie is the eldest of a family of three sons, his brothers being:
Percy S., western representative of A. S. Valentine & Sons, manufacturers of
cigars in Philadelphia; and Walter S., who is with the Abernathy Furniture
Company of Kansas City. Brought to this city in early manhood Jacob L.
Lorie pursued his education in the grade and high schools and was graduated
with the class of 1891. He afterward entered the University of Michigan and
completed a four years' literary course in 1895, winning the degree of Bach-
elor f)f Arts. The following year he w^as graduated from the legal depart-
ment with the Bachelor of Law degree, having completed six years' work in
five years. While a high school student he was managing editor of the Lu-
minary, the school paper, and for two years was president of the Central
Literary Club. While at college he held various positions on the daily paper
published by the university and during the last year was managing editor.


While thus serving he always had special wire service from all games of the
university football and baseball teams, which was a new feature in newspaper
publication by the university. He was also one of the founders of a fort-
nightly humorous magazine, called Wrinkle, of which he was assistant man-
aging editor for two years. He likewise acted as one of the editors of the
freshman annual, the Oracle, and was a member and officer of the Press Olub
and a contributor to all the college magazines. Early in life he planned for a
journalistic career but through association with his room mate and others who
were studying law, he became fascinated by the profession and decided to
pursue a legal course although without intending to enter upon active prac-
tice at that time. However, before completing the course he determined to
make the practice of law his life Avork and following his graduation returned
home and was admitted to the bar in Jackson county in 1906. He had
previously been admitted to the bar at Ann Arbor and in Kansas City he
began practice.

Mr. Lorie has been continuously alone in his practice with the exception
of a few years which he spent as assistant to Judge Elijah Robinson, during
which time he was constantly in the court and assisted in trying every case
defended by Judge Robinson for the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company,
thus gaining much valuable experience in corporation practice. He now has
a large general practice but specializes in commercial, real-estate and corpora^
tion law and has made a thorough study of these branches, gaining that com-
prehensive knowledge which is the basis of success, while in his application of
legal principles he displays keen discernment.

Mr. Lorie is prominent in various social organizations. He belongs to
the Progress Club, to the Kansas City Bar Association, to the University of
Michigan Club and the grand lodge of the Independent Order of B'Nai Brith,
an international fraternal and philanthropic organization, serving now as a
member of its executive committee. His political allegiance is given to the
democracy and he has delivered many addresses in support of its principles.
He is also a frequent speaker at public gatherings and is always listened to
with attention and interest. For five years he was a trustee of the United
Jewish Charities of Kansas City and for eight years a trustee of B'Nai Jehudah
synagogue. He represents a high type of the American citizen, keeping in
touch with the trend of modern thought and his usefulness in the world is
widely recognized aside from his professional interests.


John Norton, who throughout his life has followed the occupation of
grading contractor and is now practically living retired, his sons having suc-
ceeded him in business although he still gives supervision to the business,
was born in Europe and came to America when thirteen years of age. He has
lived in Kansas City .since 1876, having come from Lee county, Illinois, where
he had made his home for some time. He was also for a period a resident of


McLean county, Illinois. Throughout his business life he has engaged in
grading contracting and since coming to Kansas City has been connected
with some of the largest contracts of the kind here. When the Chicago &
Alton Railroad was being built he took a contract to grade three miles of their
roadbed near the city. He has done most of the lowering and street grading
for the city since his arrival here more than thirty years ago and until about
four years ago he carried on the business himself but in 1903 he turned it over
to his sons, Daniel D. and Frank F. Norton, who now employ from twenty to
forty men and keep a number of teams for their work. The father still
assists them by overseeing the work and giving to them valuable advice gleaned
from his long years of experience.

Mr. Norton was married in Illinois in 1862 to Miss Margaret Holloran
and unto them have been born ten children. In politics Mr. Norton is a
democrat, having supported the party since he became a naturalized American
citizen. From an early age he has been dependent upon his own resources
and the secret of his success is found in his strong purpose, his unfaltering dili-
gence and his close conformity to a high standard of commercial ethics.


No history of Missouri would be complete without mention of the Chou-
teau family of which William Meyers Chouteau was a member. Moreover,
he figured for a long period as a representative citizen of Jackson county,
living here at a period when there was much that was picturesque and roman-
tice in the history of the west. He was born at what is known as the old
Chouteau Ferry near St. Louis. His father, Frederick Chouteau, was one of
three brothers, Francis Gesso, Cyprian and Frederick, who came to Kansas
City at a very early day. They were sons of Pierre Chouteau, who came from
France to America with members of the Laclede family and were among the
first settlers of St. Louis, the names of Laclede and Chouteau both figuring
in that city. Frederick Chouteau, like his brothers, engaged in the fur trade
during the pioneer epoch in the history of this state, operating in St. Louis
until he came to Kansas City, at which time he settled at what was then
Westport but is now part of Kansas City. Both he and his wife spent their
remaining days here and dispensed a liberal hospitality to the early settlers,
while in the substantial improvement and upbuilding of the community Fred-
erick Chouteau bore an active and helpful part.

The boyhood days of AVilliam M. Chouteau were spent in a frontier dis-
trict. For miles around stretched the unbroken prairie, few settlements hav-
ing been made, while the great west beyond was almost an unexplored and
unknown region. The advantages were comparatively few and he was edu-
cated at the Shawnee mission at Shawnee, Kansas. He received from the
government an allotment near Holliday, Kansas, and when only a young
man began farming there, thus contributing to the agricultural development
of the district. While residing there he was married to Miss Addie McFar-


land, a native of Shawnee, Kansas, and a daughter of Oliver and Amelia
(Lovelace) ^NIcFarlaud. The father removed from Boonville, Missouri, to
Shawnee in an early day and conducted l)u-iness there a.< a cabinet-maker
during the remainder of his life. He was also a soldier and served through-
out the war. Both he and his wife died at Shawnee. Unto Mr. and Mrs.
Chouteau were born four children : Laura, the wife of E. M. Skinner, a trav-
eling salesman residing at Vinita, Indian Territory; Bessie L., who lives with
her mother; Jess, who married OUie Witt and is a carpenter living at No.
4012 Mercier street, Kansas City; and Mabel I., at home.

For twelve years after his marriage j\lr. Chouteau carried on general
agricultural pursuits on a farm near Holliday, Kansas, and then removed to
Vinita, Indian Territory, where he engaged in general merchandising for six-
teen years, conducting a successful business there. Becoming ill he was an
invalid during the last eleven years of his life but he continued in business
in Vinita until about 1900, when he sold out and came to Kansas City, where
the last five years of his life were spent in honorable retirement from labor.
His death occurred here February 3, 1905, and his remains were interred
in the Forest Hill cemetery. His political allegiance was given to the de-
mocracy, and he was reared in the faith of the Catholic church. Mrs. Chou-
teau, however, i.s a member of the Westport Baptist church. Since her hus-
band's death she has sold their home on McGee street, and in 1903 built
her present fine residence at No. 3942 Mercier street, where she and her two
daughters reside. The Chouteaus are a most prominent family of Kansas
City, and their labors have been an element in the early upbuilding and sub-
stantia] progress of this part of the country. AVilliam Chouteau was an en-
terprising business man and a worthy representative of an honored pioneer
family, and his memory is yet cherished Ijy many friends as well as the
immediate members of his own household.


Mrs. Emilia J. Edwards is well known in busiiie - and art circles in
Kansas City, for she i- engaged in teaching china paiiiling and is also the
owner of the Edwards cutlery store. These facts and also the further fact
that she is a representative of owv of the oldest families here well entitle her
to mention in this volume. Her grandfather. .Tohii Self, came to Kansas
City from Kentucky l»y wagon in LSoO — oi- rather came to the ju'esent site
of the city, for there was nothing here but a littU' trading i)o-t. wliich al>o
served as a jioint from which the emigrants started over the trails to vari-
ous ])oinls of the west and southwest. Over the great ])rairies roamed
herds of deer, buffalo and antelope, and many tribes of Indians laid claim
to districts as their immediate hunting grounds. .John Self engaged in
trading with the Indians and, seeing the prospect for future development
in this part of the counti-y. he became one of the original owners of the
town site of Kansas City. 11 is landed j^ossessions included a fai'iii wheri-



i ';PJ_J±^- ^- * ATI O N s


the city market now stands, and with the early development of municipal
interests here he wa.s closely associated. He had great faith in the city and
its future and rejoiced in what was accomplished in lines of development and
progress, remaining an interested witness of the city's growth up to the time
of his death, which occurred w^hen he was eighty-four years of age. In early
manhood he had wedded Miss Travis, of Kentucky.

Their son, David S. Self, father of Mrs. Edwards, was born in Kansas
City and pursued his education here. In the early days before the build-
ing of railroads, when all transportation was done by private conveyance,
he freighted across the plains on the old Santa Fe trail, spending several
years of his life in that way. He afterward went to the west, w^here for
seven years he raised cattle on the range, and thus made a good start in the
business world. Having prospered in that undertaking, he returned to
Jackson county and invested his capital in a farm which embraces that part
of the city now bordering Seventy-first street and Prospect avenue, includ-
ing Forest Hill cemetery. With characteristic energy he began to till the
.soil and improve the farm, upon which he continued to spend his remaining
days, while the old home is still in posession of the family, although much

Online LibraryCarrie Westlake WhitneyKansas City, Missouri; its history and its people 1808-1908 (Volume 2) → online text (page 41 of 65)