Carrie Westlake Whitney.

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

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Broadway and for a time was identified with no business pursuits. Later
she opened up the Boutell at No. 611 West Tenth street and conducted the
same until her health failed, when she was forced to close out the business.
She still makes her home in Kansas City with her son and here has a large
circle of warm friends.


George Collier is an honored veteran of the Civil war who made an excel-
lent record as a soldier and who in days of peace has been equally loyal to
the stars and stripes. He was born February 24, 1836, in Derby, Vermont,
the Colliers being an old family there. His great-grandfather, Thomas Col-
lier, was an Englishman who sailed a merchantman before the Revolutionary
war. During the period of hostilities with the mother country he captured
a privateer for the colonists and at the close of the war he went back to his
former vocation. Finally he settled in Hardwick, Vermont, where he passed
away in the last decade of the eighteenth century. For four generations the
Collier family have been connected with the transportation business, either
on sea or land. Thomas Collier, the grandfather, was also a sea captain in
the West India trade. He sailed from Newburyport, Massachusetts, for many
years and on retiring from the sea settled at Derby, Vermont, where he died
in 1849 at the advanced age of eighty-four years.

Levi Collier, the father of our subject, was born in Newburyport, Mass-
achusetts, June 17, 1802, and when a young man settled in Derby, Vermont,
on a farm, the north line of which constituted the Canadian boundary. For
some time he carried on general agricultural pursuits and later run wagons
and stage to Boston, a distance of two hundred and thirty-six miles — for rail-
roads had not yet been built. He also engaged in raising stock to a consider-
able extent and died upon the home farm in 1878. Both he and his wife
were Congregationalists in religious faith and Mr. Collier gave his early polit-
ical support to the whig party, while later he became a republican. He rep-
resented his town in the state legislature for several years and was a man of
prominence and influence in his community. He married Irena Newcomb,
a daughter of Dr. Luther Newcomb, who was the first physician in all
northern Vermont. A native of Massachusetts, he was born in the vicinity
of Plymouth, his ancestor, Daniel Newcomb, having settled in Massachu-
setts in the sixteenth century, while Lieutenant Newcomb of this family was
a soldier of the Revolutionary war. Mrs. Collier spent her entire life in
Derby, where she died about 1881 at the age of seventy-five years. By her
marriage she had ten children, eight of whom reached adult age.

George Collier was educated in the common schools and one of his early
teachers in Derby was the late Senator Proctor, who died recently in Wash-
ington. Mr. Collier continued his studies to the age of twenty years and dur-
ing vacations and his leisure hours he worked upon the farm. In 1856 he
left home and came west, having at that time a capital of but one hundred


dollars. He stopped at Chicago, which was then a struggling town and re-
mained there for a short time, after which he made his way to Minneapolis,
then containing but one brick building. He was employed there with Louis
Harrington, United States government surveyor', who was laying out the road
from Fort Snelling to Fort Ridgely, and spent six months in that way. Mr.
Collier afterward went to Hutchinson, Minnesota, which town was laid out by
the Hutchinson family of Massachusetts. He continued there for six months
and then once again went to Minneapolis. The city which is today the flour
center of the world had then but one flour mill with a capacity of twenty
barrels. During his residence in Minneapolis, Mr. Collier voted for a dele-
gate to the constitutional convention. He saw the state in its formative per-
iod and although he remained there for only a comparatively brief time his
influence and labors were always given for the substantial benefit and progress
of the city.

In 1857 he returned to Derby and was engaged in work on the home
farm until after the outbreak of the Civil war. The smoke from Fort Sum-
ter's guns had hardly cleared away, however, when he joined the army. The
first volley was fired on the fort on the 12th of April. The following day
he offered his services in defense of the Union, enlisting for three months as
a member of Company B, First Vermont Volunteer Infantry, under Cap-
tain C. B. Childs and Colonel Stoughton. The regiment was stationed in
and about Washington, where it remained for the term of its enlistment and
was then mustered out there. Mr. Collier returned home and again enlisted
as a private for three years on the 21st of November, 1861, becoming a mem-
ber of Company B, Eighth Vermont Volunteer Infantry, under Colonel
Stephen Thomas. The regiment went to New Orleans under General Butler
and Mr. Collier participated in that entire campaign, being attached to the
Army of the Gulf. He was present at the capture of New Orleans, at La-
fourche, Franklin, Alexandria and the siege of Port Hudson, which lasted
for forty-four days. He was there wounded in the neck by a gun shot on the
14th of June, 1863. He also went up the Red river on the Banks' expedi-
tion and thus did active and valorous duty in the south, participating in a
number of hotly contested engagements and arduous sieges.

After the war was over Mr. Collier spent two years in his native town
and, then going to Iowa, settled at Manchester, Delaw^are county, where he
carried on farming for a year. He afterward sold his property there and
entered the employ of the Cairo & Vincennes Railroad in the civil engineer-
ing department, with which he was connected for a year. He was afterward
connected with a railroad in Kentucky which was being built from Maysville
to Lexington, and following its completion he remained with the company
for twenty-two years, first as conductor and afterward as roadmaster and on
construction w-ork. On retiring from the railroad service he conducted a
hotel at Lexington for a year and for four years in Maysville. In 1893 he
came to Kansas City and until 1906 was in the hotel and restaurant and
also in the real-estate business. He has erected buildings in several parts
of the city but for the past two years has lived retired. His is a well merited
rest, for his life has been an active and honorable one, characterized by un-


flagging industry in business and by close adherence to a high standard of
commercial ethics.

In 1878 Mr. Collier was united in marriage, in Maysville, Kentucky, to
Miss Anna McDonough, of that place and a daughter of John ^IcDonougli.
In June, 1904, however, he was called upon to mourn the death of his wife.
Mr. Collier attends services at the Congregational and Presbyterian churches
but does not hold membership relations with any denomination. He main-
tains pleasant relations with his old army comrades through his membership
in McPhei-son Post, No. 4, G. A. R., and he has always given stalwart sup-
port to the republican party since age conferred upon him the right of fran-
chise, believing firmly in its principles. The varied interests of his life have
taken him into many sections of the country and he ha^ always manifested
deepest interest in the nation and her welfare in the various lines of progress
which have constituted her greatness and promoted her upbuilding.


John C. Warneke was one of the pioneer business men of Kansas City,
arriving here in 1866, at which time he established a bakery business, con-
ducting the enterprise throughout his remaining days. It still stands as a
monument to his commercial activity and integrity, being now conducted by
his sons.

A native of Germany, Mr. Warneke was born October 19, 1833, the
parents always remaining residents of that country. There John C. War-
neke attended the public schools and acquired a good education in his
native tongue. When a boy be began learning the baker's trade, which
he followed in Germany and later he continued in the same pursuit in
America. The favorable reports which he heard concerning this land and
its opportunities influenced him to seek a home in the United States and he
landed in New York, where he soon afterward acquired a position a.s clerk
in a bakery and grocery store, being employed there for a few years. jNIak-
ing hi.- way to the middle west he located in St. Louis, Missouri, where
he formed a partnership and began the manufacture of grates, continuing
in that field of activity mitil after the outbreak of the Civil war. when he
sold his interest in the lousiness and removed to RoUa. Mis-ouri. There
he established a bakery business on his own account and contimu'd in the
same for a few years.

In 1865 lie removed to Independence, Jack.-^on county, whore he en-
gaged in the bakery business for a year, coming thence to Kansas City,
where he remained until his demise. Here he at once established a bakery,
beginning operations, however, on a small scale in a little room near the
river, in that district of the city known as the levee. There he engaged in
business for several years wifli a constantly increasing trade hut later he
removed to what is now the business center of the city, opening his bakery
at No. 1500 Grand avenue. He purchased this property and equipped it







with modern machinery and accessories necessary to the successful conduct
of an enterprise of this character. His trade increased until he was in con-
trol of one of the largest bakeries in the city, and the sons now have two
places of business, retaining the old stand at Grand avenue and the other at
No. 30(5-10 East Seventeenth street.

In March, 1860, in St. Louis, Mr. Warneke was married to Miss Wil-
helmina Kumpf, a native of Germany and a representative of a prominent
German family of this city. Her parents were George and Catherine
Kumpf, natives of the fatherland, where Mr. Kumpf engaged in the manu-
facture of broadcloth. After the emigration of his children to America
he sold out his business in his native land and with his wife came to this
country, spending their remaining days with their children. The death
of Mr. Kumpf occurred in Kansas City at the home of his son, Henry C.
Kumpf, who was at that time mayor.

Eight children were born unto Mr. and Mrs. Warneke, of whom four
are yet living: George 0., whose sketch is found elsewhere in this work, is
president of the Grand Avenue Baking Company. He wedded Amelia
Lauer and they reside in Kansas City. Pauline L. Warneke makes her
home with her mother. Henry J. A. wedded Nellie Murphy and is engaged
in the bakery business in partnership with his brother, George 0. John C,
who wedded Grace Baum also resides in this city. He is in the employ of
the government, acting as clerk in the registry department for the post-
office at this place. The deceased members of the family are August, John
C, Sophine and Emma, all of whom passed away in Kansas City. The
death of the husband and father occurred June 21, 1886.

In politics he was a republican and was a member of the Masonic
fraternity, serving as treasurer of his lodge for many years and filling the
position at the time of his death. He also belonged to the Independent
Order of Odd Fellows. His wife and daughter attend the German Lutheran

Mrs. Warneke since his death has purchased the property at No. 2729
Park avenue, where they now reside. Mr. Warneke was a self-made man
and as the result of his prosperity acquired in the line of his trade, he
invested quite largely in realty and became the owner of much valuable
property here. He was numbered among the most straightforward, ener-
getic and successful business men that Kansas City has ever known.


Twenty years ago Frederick Lycurgus Griffith was a newsboy, hustling
papers on the streets of Kansas City, having landed here a runaway boy. He
was born in Charleston, West Virginia, June 12, 1877. His father, Christo-
pher Columbus Griffith (who, by the way. was one of twenty-three chil-
dren) fought in the Union army, along with eight brothers and two half


brothers, having volunteered while still in his teens, and while in the war,
during a raiding expedition, met and fell in love with Miss Minerva Kath-
erine T. Elkins, a schoolma'ani, and daughter of an old Virginia slaveholder,
and a near relative of Hon. Stephen B. Elkins, of West Virginia. Upon
their return from the war four of the Griffith brothers, with one sister, dis-
liking their stepmother, clandestinely embarked in a skiff one night on the
Kanawha river, wdtli a few personal belongings, and ran away to Indiana.
Later Christopher C. Griffith returned to Virginia and married his Avartime
sw^eetheart and soon after Frederick's birth took up their residence on a farm
near Greenfield, Indiana, the early home of James Whitcomb Riley.

It may be remarked in passing that the subject of this sketch received
many a ducking and learned to swim in "The Old Swimmin' Hole'" on old
Brandywdne, which is the name of a small but picturesque stream near Green-
field, which Riley has made famous. Also that in a small hostelry run by
Hiram V. Griffith, an uncle of Frederick Griffith (and himself a great story-
teller, who always had a group of the best Hoosier story-tellers gathered
about him each evening in the office of his place of business), Riley, who was
still in the days of patches on his pants, used to slip in quietly, in his modest
way, and sit on the floor in a corner behind the heating stove, as quiet as a
mouse, and glean the material for his stories and poems which later made
him famous.

In 1887 Mr. Griffith landed in Kansas City and began hustling papers
on the streets to earn a scant living. The employes of the Evening NeW'S,
then a daily newspaper here, permitted the lad to sleep in the mailing room
of the plant then located in the Bunker building at Ninth and Baltimore.
About 1888 the ow^ners of the News sold the paper and went to St. Paul,
Minnesota, to establish the Daily News. They gave the lad Frederick a rail-
road ticket to Chicago, and later one to St. Paul and offered to provide him
with money at times but he was too independent to accept a penny, prefer-
ring to make his own way and depend upon his own efforts. He sold papers
on the streets of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and earned a dollar per week ex-
tra, doing chores in the office of AVilliam N. Viguers, president of an insur-
ance company. There were times, however, during this period of the lad's
life when he went cold and hungry, and during his first winter in St. Paul,
to keep from starving he was frequently compelled to secure scraps from the
office girl's lunch, which she dumped into the waste basket.

During the next few years the lad had drifted about over the country,
working as a reporter and printer on different newspapers, among them the
Breeze, at White Bear Lake, Minnesota, the Chicago News, the St. Louis Re-
public, the Kansas City Star, the Birmingham Age-Herald, the Bluffton, Ala-
bama, News and the Bessemer, Alabama Daily Herald. Mr. Griffith had
drifted in and out of Kansas City so often that he became attached to her
and called her "home." He finally took employment as a printer with
Berkowitz Brothers, on Delaware street in this city, and about 1895 worked
on the St. Joseph Herald, a morning daily, of which Major John Bittinger,
later appointed minister to Canada by the late President McKinley, was edi-
tor. Major John Bittinger, saw that young Griffith was energetic and am-


bitious and encouraged the lad by publishing special articles and stories writ-
ten by him.

AMiile working on the Herald Mr. Griffith had access to the law library
of the attorneys for the paper, James M. Johnson, now judge of the Kansas
City court of appeals, and James M. Wilson, recently city counselor of St.
Joseph, Missouri, and during the hours when he should have been sleeping
Mr. Griffith was studying Blackstone's Commentaries and other legal works.
Colonel John Doniphan, the old pioneer lawer of St. Joseph, Charles Strop
and C. C. Crow were the committee appointed to examine Mr. Griffith for
admission to the bar and he was admitted to the bar to practice law by Hon.
Henry M. Ramey, judge of the circuit court of Buchanan county, Missouri.

As soon as he was admitted to the bar Mr. Griffith, being unable to re-
sist his love for Kansas City, immediately quit his position on the Herald
and came here, where he continued his studies and handled collections, offi-
cing with E. E. Porterfield, now circuit judge, and Charles R. Pence. As he
studied and gained proficiency Mr. Griffith launched into the general prac-
tice of law.

Mr. Griffith never had the advantages of a common-school education
nor the advantages of a law school but he has gleaned his knowledge and
education "on the field of battle," while at the same time earning his daily
bread. His idea from the start has been (as is found written in the front of
his dictionary) , "I must succeed. It is not a wish ; it is a purpose. My con-
stant endeavor shall be to merit business by square dealing, courteous treat-
ment of my clients, and by doing their business as if it w^ere my own." A
glance at his methodically kept court docket reveals the fact that he has
lived up to his purpose, since nearly all of his cases have ended profitably to
the clients he represented. A glance at his docket shows every step taken in
every case since he began practicing law. Another instance of his methodic
ways is that for fifteen years he has kept a daily itemized account of his in-
come and daily expenses, even to the pennies. Likewise in his business he
believes as Goethe has aptly said that "genius itself is the capacity of taking
infinite pains."

Since beginning the practice of law Mr. Griffith has always worked for
hink^elf and believes that it is by plodding rather than talent, patience
rather than brilliancy, perseverance sooner than swiftness or power, that are
the great factors that work prosperity in any calling; and strenuous exertion,
above all, as the one thing, is a chief element. He believes that the talent
of success is nothing more than doing what you can do well and doing well
what you do, without a thought of fail. He believes that success is abroad,
though hard to find, and is ready to come to all who have earned it. Mr.
Griffith owns a couple of picturesque cottages at 112 Indiana avenue, where
he resides.

Outside of his legal studies Mr. Griffith's favorite books are the Holy
Bible, which he read through when nine years old, under his mother's guid-
ance, Shakespeare, Crabb's English Synonyms, Roget's Thesaurus, Webster's
Dictionary, Seneca's Morals, Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo and Mlihlbach.
Also to be found on the shelves of his library are such books as the historical


works of Gibbon, Macaulay, Prescott, Smythe; the lives of Napoleon, Web-
ster, Butler, Lincoln, Blaine and Bland; the prose and poetical works of
Homer, Longfellow, Poe, Riley, Moore, Tennyson, Jackson, Browning, Byron,
Burns, Goethe, Schiller, Lowell, Wilcox, Ruskin, Darwin, Emerson, Haw-
thorne and Quayle.

Mr. Griffith and his wife are members of the Grand Avenue Methodist
church. He belongs to Sicilian Lodge, No. 39, Knights of Pythias, and is a
republican. He has never dabbled in politics nor affiliated himself with soci-
eties, except as above, on account of his devotion to his wife.

While in St. Joseph Mr. Griffith met and fell in love with Miss Ada
Weltmer, of Great Bend, Kansas, and a niece of the late A. B. Conser, of
St. Joseph. After a brief courtship they became engaged but they agreed to
defer their marriage until after Mr. Griffith could further equip himself and
establish a law practice. After a few years' waiting and hard work, they were
married in Leavenworth, Kansas, June 12, 1901, by the Rev. E. Combie
Smith, a Methodist minister. Mrs, Griffith is a singularly gracious girl, of
sweet and sunny disposition, with strong gifts of mind, and is full of good
deeds. She was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in July, 1879, of Penn-
sylvania Dutch parents. Mrs. Griffith is an artist and leads her profession in
the west as a china decorator. She is referred to under the title of Artists
herein. Mr. Griffith is much devoted to his wife and to his parents, and his
favorite saying of his wife he takes from Lyttleton:

''No one better can tell, than I, who,
Has by his own experience tried.
How much the wife dearer is
Than the bride."


Charles E. Waldron came to Kansas City during its formative period
and assisted materially in movements which have resulted in making it the
present industrial and commercial center that it is today. At the close of the
Civil war it was a typical frontier town, being one of the outposts for traders
and from this place travelers to the west made their start into a region
largely undeveloped and uninhabited. With intuitive perception he recog-
nized the possibilities here, and became identified with its interests and in an
active business career displayed that typical American spirit which promotes
public progress in advancing individual interests.

Mr. Waldron was born in Syracuse, New York, in 1847. His father,
John Waldron. of the Empire state, owned and operated oyster beds and
conducted a successful business in the east. The son pursued his education
in the public schools of his native city to the age of fourteen years, when he
ran away from home to become a bugler in the army, enlisting in the Third
New York Artillery and through successive promotions eventually became


captain, with which rank he was mustered out. The year 1867 witnessed his
arrival in Kansas City. He came with Major Inman and assisted him in
building the first street railway line of the city. Mr. Waldron bought and
owned a large tract of land in the east part of the city and the fact that he
was a native of New York and knew its business resources led him to return
to the Empire state to purchase the first cars ever used in the railway service
here. In the early years of his residence here Mr. Waldron was also en-
gaged in the grocery business in association with E. R. Threckle, and event-
ually selling out in that line he organized a bank at Olathe, Kansas, under
the firm style of C. E. Waldron & Company. He also owned and conducted
a bank at Springfield, Kansas, and for some time carried on his banking in-
terests, making his home for a time in Olathe.

During the greater part of the time spent in the west, however, he was a
resident of Kansas City and had contagious enthusiasm for the city, believ-
ing that a great future lay before it. He made extensive and judicious invest-
ments here, many of which brought him gratifying profit. On closing out
his banking interests he became associated with the Lake Erie & Western
Railroad, of w^hich his brother was general manager. The family were all
interested to a greater or less extent in railroad work. He was a man of ex-
cellent business discernment, capable of foreseeing the possibilities in coor-
dinating forces and bringing into close and harmonious connection varied
and complex interests. He displayed in his business career an active man-
agement and careful control that resulted in the constant increase of his
possessions and for a considerable period he figured as one of Kansas City's

Mr. Waldron was married in this city to Miss Anna Lowe, a daughter
of Colonel Lowe, a native of Maryland and a descendant of Governor Lowe
of that state. Her father was a very prominent and wealthy resident of St.
Louis, who came to Missouri from Princeton College in 1845 and estab-
lished a college for boys at Georgetown, Missouri. He later became the
owner of a large tract of land near Sedalia, this state, and also held consider-
able stock of the Missouri Pacific Railroad and was instrumental in securing
its extension to the west. His labors were an element in the substantial de-
velopment and upbuilding of this portion of the country. He was a stalwart
democrat, ever active in the party, and his labors were effective in promoting
its growth and extending its influence in this part of the state. He was a
warm personal friend of Senator Armstrong and other leaders of the party

Online LibraryCarrie Westlake WhitneyKansas City, Missouri; its history and its people 1808-1908 (Volume 2) → online text (page 51 of 65)