Carrie Westlake Whitney.

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

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tered the emjDloy of the Nichol-Shepard Company, manufacturers of thresh-
ing inachines, at their branch house here in the capacity of clerk. He thus
served about a year when he took up the study of stenography in Spalding's
Connnercial College and on the completion of his course accepted a position
as stenographer to A. A. Whipple, cashier of the Citizens National Bank.
When Mr. Whipple left that institution and organized the Whipple Loan &
Trust Company, Mr. Moriarty continued in his employ and two years later
was made treasurer of the company, continuing his connection with the
business until 1895, when he resigned to engage in the retail bicycle business.
Later he added a line of sporting goods and in 1901 began dealing in auto-
mobiles. Early in 1904 he closed out his bicycle and sporting goods depart-
ments and has since handled automobiles exclusively. The firm of E. P.
Moriarty & Company was organized in 1895 and in 1904 his brother, J. F.
Moriarty, was admitted to a partnership. The business has grown steadily
from year to year and is at present the oldest and best known automobile
concern in the southwest. They have handled the Packard and the Stevens-
Duryea machines for several years and have a large sale for fine motor cars.
Mr. ]\loriarty is thoroughly familiar with the merits of the different machines
and as it is his aim to give satisfaction he has secured a liberal patronage
through his efforts to meet the wishes of his patrons. The business has long
since reached extensive proportions, having been managed in accordance with
progressive business ideas.

In his efforts to advance business interests and promote the substantial
upbuilding of Kansas City, ]Mr. Moriarty has cooperated with the work of
various organizations, being a member of the Commercial Club, of the Manu-
facturers & Merchants Association, of the Business ISIen's Leagiie and of the
Kansa.s City Automobile Dealers' Association, of which he is now secretary
and treasurer. Along more specifically social and recreative lines he is con-
nected with the ]\Iarquette Club, of which he was formerly secretary, was
president of the Kansas City Bicycle Club and a member of the Elm Ridge


Club, while of the Catholic church he is a communicant, his membership
being with the church of the Lady of Good Counsel. His life record is an-
other illustration of the fact that faithfulness to duty mil do more to pro-
mote a man's interests than wealth, advantageous circumstances or influence
and it also proves that prosperity and an honored name may be won simul-


There are few men who follow so closely their ideal or who exemplify so
fully the principles in which they believe as did Judge Charles E. Burnham.
An eminent representative of the Kansas City bar, he was termed "the best
city attorney Kansas City ever had," and he made an equally creditable
record as police judge. It was not alone in professional lines, however, that
he commanded the respect and honor of his fellowmen. In every relation
of life he manifested sterling traits of character that gained him respect,
confidence and love and the death of no citizen has been more widely or more
sincerely regretted than was that of Judge Burnham, the announcement of
his demise bringing a feeling of personal bereavement to all who knew him.

Missouri was proud to number him among her native sons. His birth
occurred in Randolph county, July 27, 1867, his parents being William E.
and Lucy A. (Flournoy) Burnham, natives of Howard county, Missouri, and
of Scott county, Kentucky, respectively. The father, who was of English
lineage, was a successful farmer and progressive business man, who enjoyed
the high respect of all with whom he came in contact. He died at his home
in Randolph county, Missouri, in 1896, and is still survived by his widow,
who now, at the age of sixty-six years, lives with her son, Ernest Burnham, in
Kansas City. She is descended from an old Huguenot family, although the
first representatives of the name in America came in 1665. After living for
some time in Maryland members of the family went to Virginia, later to
Kentucky and during the pioneer epoch in the history of Missouri became
residents of this state.

Judge Burnham was the second in a family of eleven children but only
four are now living: W. E., an attorney; Ernest, who is in the postal service
in Kansas City; Ralph, on a farm near Moberly, Missouri; and Mrs. George
A. Buchanan, of Salt Lake City. Amid the usual conditions and environ-
ments of farm life Judge Burnham was reared, working in the field from an
early age and receiving but a scant opportunity to attend school until he
reached the age of fourteen. He, however, displayed special aptitude in his
studies and at the time of his parents' removal to Moberly, Missouri, he was
qualified for entrance into the high school. It was no difficult task for him
to pass his schoolmates in this intellectual race and at the age of sixteen he
was graduated from the Moberly high school with second honors in his class,
his older sister standing first. His high-school course completed. Judge
Burnham afterward spent two years in the dry-goods and clothing house of
Ben Levy, of Moberly, a.nd gained a practical knowledge of methods in vogue





in commercial circles. Desirous, however, of further educational advantages,
he spent two years in the Missouri State University at Columbia and in the
fall of 1888 taught a four months' term in a country school.

It was on the 31st of December of that year that Judge Burnham arrived
in Kansas City^ — a young man of twenty-one years with a cash capital of
sixty-five dollars. He had no acquaintances in the city, no experience what-
ever in city life and yet he was confident that he was on the road to success,
for he had come to a realization of the fact that opportunity is open to all
and that determination and unwearied diligence v;ill win advancement. He
had previously read Blackstone and other text-books of law and, continuing
his studies here, he was in IMay, 1889, admitted to the bar upon examination
before Judge James Gibson. After a brief professional association with L. A.
Laughlin he soon began practice alone, with office in the New York Life
building. He wa.s one of the first occupants of that building and remained
there until his death. In March, 1892, he formed a partnership with George
N. Elliott under the firm style of Elliott & Burnham, an association that was
maintained until January 1, 1900.

He had a mind of singular precision and power in judicial matters and
an understanding of legal points that was almost instinctive, yet he was ever
a most thorough student, carrying his researches far and wide into the realms
of legal knowledge. A salient trait of his professional career was manifest
in his handling of a case which old experienced lawyers had abandoned be-
cause they pronounced the point in the case untenable. Judge Burnham de-
clared the point ought to be the law if it was not. He took up the case where
it had been demurred out of court, got a rehearing and reinstatement of the
case, prosecuted it through to a final determination in the supreme court
with a judgment of thirty-three hundred dollars for his client. He has always
been unfaltering in his allegiance to what he believes to be the law and the
rights of his clients and was connected with much important litigation tried
in the local courts.

In April, 1894, he was elected city attorney on the republican ticket
and received the largest majority of any man on the ticket. In 1896 he was
again nominated and elected by an increased majority and he justly merited
the encomium of "the best city attorney Kansas City ever had." Something
of his strength in argument and in the presentation of his cause is indicated
by the fact that' he appealed from Judge AVofford's decisions on city ordinances
seven times and reversed him in the appellate courts every time, and where
the defense appealed from Judge Wofford's decisions, with ^Ir. Burnham
representing the city, the appellate courts sustained the decisions in all except
two cases.

In April, 1898, Mr. Burnham was elected police judge and on the bench
displayed remarkable insight into human nature, with ability to correctly
apply the principles of law. He held that his office Avas a judicial and not
ii ministerial one and made it his aim to administer justice, thus shielding
the weak from arbitrary power and laying the heavy hand of the law on those
who would evade it. He was absolutely fearless, unbiased by public clamor
and undeterred by political or newspaper intimidation. He was a student


of criminology and his understanding of sociological and philosophical prin-
ciples was of much assistance to him in the administration of the duties of
his office.

In 1900 Judge Burnham was candidate for mayor but was defeated, the
entire democratic ticket being elected. In 1901-02 he served as assistant
prosecuting attorney for the state under Herbert S. Hadley and on the ex-
piration of his term of office he resumed the practice of law, forming a part-
nership with R. R. Brewster under the firm style of Burnham & Brewster.
This relation was maintained until the fall of 1905, when Judge Burnham's
health failed. In the summer of that year he took a hunting trip to South
Dakota, returning in September, but on the 28th of October he was stricken
Avith an acute attack of pleurisy and after four weeks his physicians advised
a change of climate. On the 14th of November, 1905, accompanied by his
wife, he Avent to El Paso, Texas, and after five months there spent went to
Deming, New ^Mexico. A month later he proceeded to Albuquerque, where
he continued for four months, when feeling that his health was sufficiently
restored, he returned home in July, 1906.

On the 27th of November following, however, he again suffered from
pleurisy and, requiring a warmer climate, went to San Diego, California,
where he remained for ten weeks. It was the rainy season on the coast and
this proved detrimental to Judge Burnham, so that he was advised by phy-
sicians to go to Pottinger's Sanitarium near Los Angeles. There in the midst
of most beautiful scenery and all of the comforts that money could secure
and that medical aid could bring he remained for nine months, leaving his
bungalow only occasionally during that time. Mrs. Burnham joined him
there in October and he was advised by his physicians to return home, for
it Avas his desire to do so. They proceeded to Phoenix, Arizona, November 1,
1906, and Judge Burnham seemed to improve there but suddenly grew
worse and after being in a critical condition for several days he expressed a
desire to return home. He rallied greatly on reaching Kansas City and was
active in getting his home and affairs in order for those Avhom he kncAV he
would soon leave. The thought of death brought no fear or dread to him
and at sunset on the 16th of April, 1907, he passed aAvay, his remains being
interred in Forest Hill cemetery on Easter Sunday.

On the 19th of October, 1892, Judge Burnham had married Miss Julia
H. Sebree, a daughter of Senator J. W. Sebree, of Carrollton, Missouri, now
deceased. They have three children : Merial Alva, aged tAvelve years ; Charles
Albert, aged six years; and Willis Sebree, in his fifth year. Judge Burnham
Avas dcA'oted to the welfare and happiness of his Avifc and children and counted
no personal sacrifice on his part too great if it Avould promote their interests.
He was a valued member of the Knights of Pythias and the Odd Fellows
lodges and of the former Avas past chancellor. In many Avays he contributed
to the usefulness and upbuilding of those organizations and Avas in full
sympathy Avith their spirit of beneficence and charity. His tastes were for
a quiet life free from publicity. He Avas, hoAA^ever, very charitable and re-
sponded readily to the need of the widows and orphans, his motto being to
sustain and help the Aveak.


He was always a student and broad reader and his opinions on various
questions of vital interest were ever based upon cool and deliberate investiga-
tion and sound judgment. He never passed criticism' upon a friend and was
at all times charitable in thought. A man of action, he labored diligently
to carr}'- to success whatever he undertook, whether in professional or fraternal
lines, in the church or in the home. He was one of the charter members of
the Benton Boulevard Baptist church and at the time of his death was serv-
ing as one of its trustees. His home is situated at 2501 Benton boulevard
and was erected by him in 1904. In addition to this property he owned con-
siderable other real estate.

The place which he occupied in the city of his residence was no un-
important one. In fact he left the impress of his individuality upon many
lines of public thought and action and to his children he leaves an example
characterized at all times by a thorough understanding of the work which
engaged his attention, by a lofty purpose and a loyalty to the right that none
questioned. He utilized the talents with which nature endowed him, not for
selfish ends but for the benefit of those with whom he came in contact.

The memorial resolutions of the Odd Fellows society to which he be-
longed contain the following: "Though his voice is still and his hand pulse-
less and his fraternal soul gone back to the God who gave it, his influence
will live on and continue to exercise a powerful influence in shaping the
destinies of those with whom he associated. While the memory of those of
us who knew and loved him hold his life and his works in fond remembrance,
we may draw inspiration for the better performance of our duty to the
brotherhood which united him and us to each other from' the full treasure of
his sincere love and faithful service to good citizenship and humanity. And
now that he has fallen out of the busy ranks of life to take his place in the
halls of death, a truly good man has finished his work years too soon and
gone to his reward."


Wentworth E. Griffin, superintendent of the streets in Kansas City, in
which positon effective and able service has won him high commendation,
was born in Dayton, Ohio, December 24, 1872, his parents being Edwin F.
and Anna S. (Wentworth) Griffin, natives of Vermont and New Hampshire
respectively. About 1887 they became residents of Kansas City, where the
father is still living, but the mother passed away August 8, 1906. Mr.
Griffin is connected with the Western Sash & Door Company and for twenty
years has been associated with industrial developments here.

The removal of the family from Ohio to the west during his early boy-
hood enabled AVentAvorth E. Griffin to acquire his early education in the
public schools of Sedalia, Missouri, and to continue his studies in the public
schools of Kansas City, whither he came with his parents at the age of
fifteen vears. He afterward attended the Kansas City School of Law, from


which he was graduated in the class of 1905, and in June of that year was
admitted to the bar. For about a. year he was in the legal department of the
city, acting as claim agent, and in April, 1903, he was appointed to his
present position as superintendent of streets by Mayor H. ]\I. Beardsley and
is now serving for the second year. This is a position the importance of
which can scarcely be overestimated, so closely does it affect the sanitary con-
ditions as well as the appearance of the city. He has supervision over all
public highways and has discharged his duties with entire satisfaction, for
under his control the streets are kept clean and in good order. He has re-
cently completed the new street headquarters — a credit to any city. He has
extended the flushing system and installed the push cart service as used in
other cities and is as rapidly as possible securing every available accessory
which is used in keeping good streets in other cities. ]Mr. Griffin devotes his
entire time to this service and, is now working upon plans to install district
stations where the equipment will be kept for that district, so that each dis-
trict will practically have its own department, thus facilitating the work.
He is also attempting to install the ''block" system, which he believes to be
the only practical way of keeping clean streets. He is also an ex officio
member of the board of health, and his knowledge of street conditions
proves of much service in advancing the work of the health board.

On the 14th of August, 1901, Mr. Griffin was married to Miss Dora
Nagle, who is one of the graduates of the Kansas City high school, and both
are well known here. Mr. Griffin belongs to Gate City Lodge, No. 522, A.
F. & A. M., and has attained the thirty-second degree in the Scottish Rite. He
belongs to the Modern Woodmen of America, and in 1903 was a delegate to
its national convention, held in Indianapolis. Mr. Griffin is a man of genial
manner, of cordial disposition and sterling W(»rtli. qualities which have made
him popular. He regards a public office as a public trust, and in the dis-
charge of his official duties his cour-c has been sucli a- to W'in liini high


Michael Ryan has passed the eighty-second milestone on life's journey.
He was born in County Cork. Ireland, ii) 1S2(), and foi- many years has re-
sided in Kansas City. He wa- a young man of twenty-one years when he
bade adieu to friends and native country and saik>d for America, attracted
by the broader o])])ortunitie.s of the new world. He arrived in T)Oston in
1847 and thence went to Virginia, where he remained until after his mar-
riage. It was in tlie Old Dominion, in 1S52, that he wedded Miss Mary Mur-
phy, wlio was born in County Coi-k, Ireland, and is still living, so that they
now have traveled life's journey together foi' fifly-six years, l^nto them wa<
born eleven children, eight of whom are living: Helen, Alfred, Jeremiah,
Mary, Bridget, Martina, Katherine and Teressa.

The year 1857 witne<~ed the arrival of Mr. Ryan in Kansas City. He
made the journey l,y boat and it reciuired two weeks to complete the trijt.


While on the way he met Father Donnell}^, and their friendship long con-
tinued. It was a. difficult thing for Mr. Ryan to obtain work here in an early
day, but he made the best use possible of his opportunities He first lived
in a little house which he rented for fifteen dollai*s per month, and ui order
to provide an income he joined Mr. Dehoney and Mr. Murphy in renting
from Mr. Lockridge a tract of land, on which they engaged in raising pota-
toes, devoting six acres to that crop. For three years Mr. Ryan was engaged
in raising vegetables for the market, after which he and two business asso-
ciates purchased one hundred and fifty feet of land at the corner of Fifteenth
and Locust streets, for which they paid three hundred dollars. Lumber at
that time sold at so high a figure that they went down on the west bottoms
and cut cottonwood trees, from which they built log cabins on their lots.
When the hou^\es were completed they lived there in comfort for some time.
At the time of the great "boom" in Kansas City, Mr. Ryan was engaged in
bricklaying, working in that way for six years, and upon his little place he
kept cows, hogs and chickens, so that he was able thus to provide his family
with meat and other food products. At a later date he sold his place and
purchased property on Charlotte street between Seventeenth and Eighteenth
street, building a. house there during the period of the Civil war. While the.
country was engaged in hostilities Mr. Ryan acted as one of the Home Guards
in Kansas City until mustered out when peace was restored.

All through the years Mr. Ryan ha.s embraced every opportunity for
the development of his business affairs, and after the war he made a con-
tract with Judge Boughton for one acre of ground near Twentieth street.
The purchase price was three hundred dollars, and he paid for this in labor.
Cultivating the tract, he also rented six acres from J\lr. Lockridge for three
years, at the end of which time he, sold his property on Charlotte street for
twenty-four hundred dollars. He afterward, in connection with Mr. Mur-
phy, purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land near Blue river on what
is now Breckenridge street, paying thirty-five dollars per acre for this tract,
which they afterward sold at a splendid increase, it bringing one hundred
and twenty-five dollars per acre. Mr. Ryan then bought two brick houses
on Eighteenth street for four thousand dollars, and also invested in his pres-
ent home property at No. 1321 Eighth street, erecting here the house
which he now occupies. Later he was employed for fourteen years by the
government in the postoffice, but in the evening of life has lived retired, for
his unfaltering diligence in former years and his careful investment brought
him an excellent return.

Mr. Ryan has always given his political allegiance to the democracy,
while in religious faith he is a Catholic. More than a half century has come
and gone sincb he arrived in Kansas City, finding here a small town of little
commercial or industrial importance. He has been an interested witnes.-; of
its growth and progress and has lived to see a wonderful change, for the city
has become one of the mo<t important business centers of the west, enjoying
;i rai)i(l and substantial growth. Noting the fact that it was growing with
rapidity, he believed that property investments would prove a source of profit-
able income, and thus he wisely placed his money in real estate and found


that he had made no mistake in judgment. He and his wife are among
the oldest couples of Kansas Cit}', and they have many friends here who have
long known them and recognize their sterling Avorth.


William Julius Brown was the pioneer in inaugurating an industry
which has become an important one in the 'business circles of Kansas City.
He was the first hat manufacturer here and not only engaged in making hats
but also placed them upon the market for sale to the wholesale trade. Al-
ways eagerly embracing the opportunities which came for business progress,
at the same time he found opportunity for cooperation in lines of distinct
value to his fellow-men and to his city and was most public spirited and

He was born at Mount Washington, Ohio, October 17, 1859. The
removal of the family to Cincinnati when he was but five years of age made
it possible for him to pursue his education through the medium of the excel-
lent public-school system of that city. His father was killed by accident
soon after the birth of the son and the mother, w^ho w^as of German parentage,
resided in Cincinnati until her death. After completing school William J.
Brown entered upon an apprenticeship in the employ of Philip Volkert, a
silk hat manufacturer, who took the most fatherly and friendly interest in
the boy, giving him every available opportunity to learn the business and to
work his way upward in manufacturing circles. Mr. Brown remained with
Mr. A^olkert until after his marriage in 1885, w^hen he came to Kansas City
and established the present hat business in August of that year. This was
the first hat manufactory of the city and has always been the foremost repre-
sentative of the industry here. As time passed the patronage grew" in volume
and extent until the trade covered a wide area, and since the father's death
the business has been continued by his son, William J. Brown, Jr., with
constantly increasing prosperity.

William Julius Brown, of this review, was one of the first members of
the Merchants and Manufacturers Association and gave liberally of his time,
labor and means to the support of that interest. Indeed he was one of its
most enthusiastic workers, believing that the organization could conserve the
interests of Kansas City in large measure in tlie promotion of its commercial
and industrial relations. Mr. Brown was very public spirited and active in
development of Kansas City in other lines as well. At the time of his demise
he was a director in the Jackson County Building and Loan Association, of
which he became a charter member and in which he was very active.

On the 29th of July, 1885, in Cincinnati, Ohio, occurred the marriage

Online LibraryCarrie Westlake WhitneyKansas City, Missouri; its history and its people 1808-1908 (Volume 2) → online text (page 46 of 65)