Carrie Westlake Whitney.

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

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in professional lines, he came to Kansas City in 1899 and has since been a
member of the bar here. For two and a half years he has been associate
attorney of the National Bank of Commerce. Gradually he has acquired
an extensive clientele and has been very successful in his work in the courts.
Mr. Robinson was married on the 28th of June, 1898, in Lowry City,
Missouri, the lady of his choice being Miss Ida Cocke, a daughter of B. N.
Cocke, a colonel of cavalry in the Confederate army under General Sterling
Price and afterward county collector of St. Clair county, Missouri. Prom-
inent in Masonry, Mr. Robinson has taken the degrees of the York Rite
and has attained the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite. In fact he
is a member of all the Kansas City Masonic bodies, including the Mystic
Shrine. He likewise belongs to the Elm Ridge Club, the Kansas City Bar
Association and the Phi Delta Phi. In politics he 15 a democrat, stanch in
his advocacy of the party, the principles of which he frequently enunciates
and supports from the public platform. He claims no special credit to
himself for what he has accomplished but the consensus of public opinion
accord* him a prominent place in legal circles, while the large number of
his friends indicate his personal worth.


It is a matter of marvel that young men of foreign birth quickly attain
success and prominence in the new world. Such has been the record of
Joseph A. Raach, who is conducting a somewhat unique business in Kansas
City, but one the worth of which is being proven as time passes. He is now
engaged in systematizing business interests and is conducting what is known
as the Business System Store, in which he handles exclusively office equip-
ments, business systems and appliances and represents almost every manu-
facturer of labor-saving devices of consequence. A native of the grand duchy
of Luxemburg, he was born in the village of Ecliternach, October 28, 1874.
His paternal grandfather, Philip Raach, was a prominent physician and
surgeon there and was notable in that he devoted his services largely to the
poor. His son, Henry Raach, now deceased, conducted a general store at
Echternach, which is now carried on by his widow, Mrs. Anna (Brems)
Raach, ;i native of Treves, Germany.

In Iho college of his native town Joseph A. Raach was educated, pur-
suing a course to graduation at the age of fifteen years. He then went to
Cologne, where he served for three years in the office of a wholesale grocer
without pay, as is the custom in that country, thereby securing a good busi-
ness education and training. Having lost his father when he was ten years


of age, he then returned home and took charge of the store which his mother
had conducted after his father's demise. There he remained in business until
1897, but Echternach was a town of only about four thousand inhabitants
and offered no opportunity to a young man who w^as ambitious. Therefore
he came to America and after two weeks spent in Chicago made his way to
Kansas City.

As he was totally unacquainted with, the English language, Mr. Raach
entered Spalding's Commercial College but soon decided that he would more
quickly master the tongue by entering an office. Therefore, after two weeks,
he applied for a position in the office of the Kansas-Moline Plow Company.
He sought no pay, being willing to give his services for the privilege of
learning English in that practical way and acquainting himself with Amer-
ican business methods. His value was soon recognized, however, and after
three weeks he was given a salary of fifteen dollars per month. Then fol-
lowed successive promotions until 1900, when he resigned the position of
order clerk, was married and returned to his native land on a visit. He
also attended the Paris exposition in that year. He remained in Europe for
six months and during his sojourn in his native land was offered the posi-
tion of chief clerk of the offices of the Moline Plow Company at Indianap-
olis. He accepted this upon his return and was in charge of that office
until 1903, when he again came to Kansas City and engaged with the
Studemaker Company, having charge of the stock. For a year he held that
position, during which time he devised and inaugurated a new system of
perpetual inventory. His father had been an accountant when young and
had devised business systems for many concerns in Paris. Joseph A. Raach
had always been very greatly interested in the subject and devoted consider-
able time to its study. In 1904 he decided to take up the systematizing of
business as a profession and opened an office in the Gumbel building. In
thL« he established an original enterprise which still stands alone in the
world. In l\Iay, 1906, he rented a store at No. 917 Walnut street and started
the ''Business System Store," but the enterprise soon outgrew the original
quarters, which were by no means small, and in September, 1907, he removed
to a larger store at No. 918 Grand avenue. He handles exclusively office
equipments, business systems and appliances, and represents almost every
manufacturer of labor saving devices of consequence. He has been offered
many moi-e agencies than he can handle at the present time. He employs
five salesmen and in addition to a large city trade covers western Missouri
and eastern Kansas. He is today well known in businass circles and is a
member of the Manufacturers & Merchants Association and the Stationers

Mr. Raach was married at Clay Center, Kansas, March 19, 1900. to
Miss Susie E., daughter of Anthony Schiltz, who was also a native of
Echternach, Germany. Mr. and Mrs. Raach have one son, Francis, seven
years of age. The family home, the property of Mr. Raach, is at No. 3620
Tracy avenue. He is regarded as a valuable factor in musical circles, pos-
sessing a fine tenor voice, and for eight years sang solos at the Cathedral
at Eleventh and Broadway until he became associated with St. James' church


at Fortieth and Tracy avenue. Here he has since been in charge of the
choir and has aided the church to a considerable extent financially through
his musical talent. He studied music at school and since coming to America
has continued under several teachers, including Franklin Hunt, of Kansas
City. He is now secretary of the Philharmonic Choral Society, of which
Carl Busch, the noted composer, is director. Mr. Raach is devoted to his
home, his business and musical interests, which represent the principal fea-
tures of the busy life he has led, and yet he is not unmindful of all the
duties of citizenship, nor ever remiss in their discharge.


Judge Charles Germman Burton, internal revenue collector at Kansas
City, former judge of the twenty-fifth circuit of Missouri, and at one time
representative of his district in Congress, was born April 4, 1846, in Cleve-
land, Ohio, his parents being Leonard and Laura (Wilson) Burton, also
natives of that state. The paternal grandfather, Jacob Burton, was a member
of an old New England family.

While Judge Burton was attending school in Trumbull county, Ohio,
the Civil war was inaugurated and on the 7th of September, 1861, feeling
that his first duty was to his country, he enli-sted as a private of Company
C, Nineteenth Regiment of Ohio Volunteers. He served until October 29,
1862, in the Army of the Ohio and the Army of the Cumberland, and par-
ticipated in the battle of Pittsburg Landing and in the skirmishes before
Corinth. He was then discharged on account of physical disability occa-
sioned by his arduous service. He then returned to his home and resumed
his studies, being at the time of his discharge but sixteen years of age.
Eighteen months later he again joined the army as one of the boys in blue
of the One Hundred and Seventy-first Ohio National Guard for service,
while the veterans joined Grant's campaign. He remained on duty for one
hundred and eighteen days, beginning in April, 1864. Few men of his
years can boast of active military duty in the Civil war.

Following his second return home Judge Burton engaged in teaching in
the district schools of Mahoning county, Ohio, and at the close of the winter
term began reading law in the office of Hutchings & Forrest at Warren,
Ohio. In April, 1867, he was admitted to the bar but did not at once enter
upon active practice, accepting instead a position as deputy clerk of the
court of common pleas of Trumbull county, of which Warren was the county
seat. He filled that office until the spring of 1868, when he removed to
Virgil City, Vernon county, Missouri, and entered upon active practice in
connection with Elbert E. Kimball. A year later he settled in Neosho
county, Kansas, where he continued for two years, and in May, 1871, removed
to Nevada, Missouri, where he opened an office and soon gained a large
clientage. He was a partner of Mr. Kimball there also until the 1st of
January, 1874, after which he was associated with Meigs Jackson until the


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latter's death in March, 1876. He afterward practiced alone until his eleva-
tion to the bench. During his second year there the twenty-fifth judicial
circuit was created and he was elected circuit attorney, filling the office until
1873, when it was abolished and the office of prosecuting attorney was cre-
ated. In 1880 he was nominated on an independent ticket for judge of the
Twenty-fifth, now the Twenty-sixth judicial district, the action being in-
dorsed by the regular republican convention.

The democrats had two strong candidates but Judge Burton won by
a good majority over both combined, and served from the 1st of January,
1881, until the 1st of January, 1887. His course on the bench was marked
by the most faithful discharge of duty. His decisions were strictly fair and
impartial and no personal prejudice appeared as a disturbing force in the
administration of justice. After his retirement from the bench he resumed
practice in Nevada with Hon. S. A. Wright and so continued until 1894,
when he w^as elected to Congress on the republican ticket. He served as
representative in the council chambers of the nation for two years and at
the close of his term returned to Nevada to practice as a partner of J. T.
Harding under the firm style of Burton & Harding. In 1907 he was ap-
pointed internal revenue collector and is now located in Kansas City. He is
also interested in various industrial and financial enterprises and as attorney
has represented a number of important corporations as well as private liti-
gated interests.

In February, 1870, Judge Burton was married to Miss Elsie Myers, of
Milton, Mahoning county, Ohio, who died at Erie, Kansas, October 19,
1870. On the 1st of January, 1874, he was married to Alice A. Rogers, a
daughter of Dr. John A. and Catherine Rogers, of Clinton, Missouri. They
now" have one daughter. Pansy. The judge is a well known Mason, being a
member of the lodge, chapter and commandery at Nevada, and a noble of
Ararat Temple of the Mj^stic Shrine at Kansas City, Missouri. He is promi-
nent in Grand Army circles, holding membership in General Joe Bailey
Post, No. 26, in Nevada, Missouri. In 1893 he was elected commander of the
department of Missouri and at the forty-first national encampment of the order
held at Saratoga Springs, New York, September 12 and 13, 1907, he was
elected commander-in-chief and soon thereafter established national head-
quarters at room 221. Government building, Kansas City, Missouri.


Robert Edward Ball, former president of the Kansas City Bar Association
and recognized as one of the able members of a bar which has numbered many
distinguished representatives, was born in Carroll county, Missouri, February
11, 1858. In the paternal line he is descended from ancestors who, emigrating
from Europe in the early part of the seventeenth century, settled in Northum-
berland county, Virginia, near Chesapeake Bay. The descendants are
now numerous there, scarcely a township in Northumberland or Lancaster


counties that does not number one or more representatives of the Ball family.
David Ball, father of our subject, was born February 6, 1831, near Epping
Forest, which was the birthplace of Mary Ball, who became the mother of
George AVashington. George Ball, from whom our subject is descended, was
a brother of Mary Ball's grandfather. David Ball became a farmer and live-
stock dealer, devoting the years of an active business career to those pursuits.
He married Lucy J. Austin, a native of Bedford county, Virginia, although
they had left the Old Dominion during childhood days and become residents
of Carroll county, Missouri, where they were married and reared their family.

Robert Edward Ball is indebted to the public-school system of his native
county for the early educational advantages which he enjoyed and which were
supplemented by study in Central College at Fayette, Missouri, where he won
the degree of Master of Arts upon his graduation with the class of 1880. He
was an exemplary student, displaying special aptitude in mastering various
branches of learning and winning a number of medals — one for scholarship,
one for oratory and one for the best college paper. During the latter part of
his course he also acted as tutor and following his graduation was principal
of the preparatory department in 1880 and 1881. He regarded teaching, how-
ever, only as a side issue that enabled him to prepare for the bar, for he had
determined to make the practice of law his life work. His early reading was
pursued in the office and under the direction of Judge Ryland at Lexington,
Missouri, during the fall of 1881. The Kansas City ''boom" was just start-
ing at that time and in February, 1882, he came to this city, where he entered
the office of Peake & Yeager, completing his studies on the 1st of January,
1883. He was then licensed to practice by the circuit court of Kansas City
and in 1884 was admitted to partnership by his former preceptors under the
firm style of Peake, Yeager & Ball. Failing health, however, caused him to
go west in May, 1885. After a sojourn of several months he returned much
improved in January, 1886, and resumed practice with the firm in which he
had formerly been junior partner. In October, 1892, Mr. Yeager withdrew,
the firm of Peake & Ball, however, continuing until November, 1895, when
Mr. Peake succeeded Colonel Broadhead as minister to Switzerland. During
his absence Mr. Ball admitted to the partnership I. P. Ryland, the son of his
old preceptor, Judge Ryland of Lexington, but upon the return of Mr. Peake
the former partnership relations were resumed and the firm of Peake & Ball
is regarded as one of the strongest at the Kansas City bar. From the begin-
ning of his practice Mr. Ball has been unusually prosperous in every respect.
The success which he has attained, however, is due entirely to his own effortc
and merits. The possession of advantages is no guarantee whatever of profes-
sional advancement, which comes not of itself nor can it be secured without
integrity, ability and indu.'^try. These qualities Mr. Ball possesses in an emi-
nent degree and is most faithful to every interest committed to his charge.

Mr. Ball has never cared for office, though endorsed by the Kansas City
Bar Association for circuit judge in 1894. In December of the latter year
he was selected by Governor Stone as special prosecuting attorney in the elec-
tion fraud cases and acquitted himself with much credit in their conduct. His
standing among his professional brethren is indicated by the honor which was


conferred upon him in his election to the presidency of the Kanscas City Bar
Association in November, 1896.

Mr. Ball was married August 21, 1889, to Mary Stella Hereford, and they
have two sons and a daughter.


Ernest R. Sweeney, weighmaster for the Keith & Perry Coal Company
at the age of fifteen years, is today manager of the coal department, a position
involving large responsibility and demanding superior executive ability and
keen sagacity. The intervening years have noted his advancement step by
step, his thorough mastery of each task and duty devolving upon him, the
constantly broadening scope of his opportunity and his equipment to meet its
demands. No matter in how much theorizing one may indulge as to the
basis of success, it will be found that it is attributable to no specially favorable
combination of circumstances but lies in the individual, in his power to grasp
a situation and to coordinate forces in bringing about the desired result.

Ernest R. Sweeney was born at Fort Scott, Kansas, Febiiiary 9, 1867.
His father, George R. Sweeney, was mine superintendent for the Keith &
Perry Coal Company. His mother in maidenhood was Amanda C. McGran-
ham and both are now deceased. The son pursued his education in the pub-
lic schools of Fort Scott, Kansas, to the age of fifteen years, when he began
providing for his own support as weighmaster for the Keith & Perry Coal Com-
pany, now the Central Coal & Coke Company. After a year and a half spent
in that capacity he represented the company as collector for one year, as book-
keeper for a year and a half and was then given charge of the city retail busi-
ness in 1886. Three years later, in 1889, he w-as made city manager and in
L90'2 was made manager of the retail department, with supervision of the
scales in Kansas City, Omaha, St. Joseph and Wichita.. Greater responsibil-
ities were added when on the 1st of July, 1907, he was made manager of
the coal department, which includes not only the management of the whole-
sale and retail departments but also the vast mining operations of the com-
pany, which does a business scarcely equaled in the west as dealers and
operators in coal, coke and lumber. We are indebted to the stage for the
teriii ••understudy," which in its general sense signifies one who stands im-
mediately ready to fill the place of a superior. In his different promotions
Mr. Sweeney has done this. He has so thoroughly mastered the duties that
have devolved upon him in different positions that he has been ready to
move forward to the next highest position and carry on the work without
disturbance to the business. As promotions have come to him he has had
at his immediate command an incisive, comprehensive knowledge of all
phases of the business and an intelligent anticipation of possibilities. His
business career is such a one as could be shaped in no other land than in
America, where the accidents of birth or position, of precedence or custom
do not trammel the individual but give him 'free scope for the exercise of


hi:i dominant qualities. ^A\41 fitted, for leader.ship, Mr. Sweeney has arisen
to the position of distinction which he occupies in connection with the ad-
ministrative control of one of tlie most important coal and lumber interests
of the west.

On the 1st of Xovenjber, 1890, Ernest R. Sweeney was married in Kan-
sas City to Hattie E. Fiske and they now have one son, Ben A., sixteen years
of age. j\Ir. Sweeney is a republican with a public spirited interest in the
political situation of the country but without active participation in the party
work. He l^elongs to the Modern Woodmen of America, the Woodmen of
the World, the Commercial Club and the Kansas City Athletic Club. Like
many men who have worked their way upward through the merit system,
he has learned to put correct values upon life in all of its phases and to
recognize that worth and power are not the possession of the few but are
attributes of many. He is therefore free from all ostentation, recognizing
in others the possibilities that work for advancement, ever ready to speak
an encouraging word to one who, like himself, has made the climb unaided.


Elbert L. McClure, Avidely known in business circles in Kansas City and
in the southwest as a representative of whole^^ale interests, being secretary and
treasurer of the Maxwell-McClure-Fittc? Dry Goods Company, has always been
a resident of the Mississippi valley and passesses the alert, enterprising spirit
which has been the dominant factor in the rapid upbuilding of this section
of the country. He was born in Westport, Decatur county, Indiana, Decem-
ber 15, 1860. His father. Dr. Samuel McClure, a practicing physician of
Indiana, entered the Thirty-seventh Indiana Volunteer Infantry and served
for more than three years as a surgeon. After the war he located at AVin-
chester, Indiana, where he practiced until his death in 1872. His wife, Mrs.
Mary (Davidson) McClure, a native of Ohio, survived him until October,

In the public schools of Winchester, Elbert L. McClure pursued his edu-
cation and afterward worked at farm lalmr until nineteen years of age, when
thinking to find commercial pursuits more congenial and profitable, he en-
tered a wholesale notion house at Richmond, Indiana, as bookkeeper, there
remaining for ten years. His long service is indicative of the fidelity which
has always characterized him in every relation of life. Coming to the west,
he engaged in the wholesale notion business as a partner of R. M. Maxwell
under the name of the Maxwell, McClure Notion Company at Hutchison,
Kansas. They removed to Wichita in 1801 and, seeking still broader scope
for their business, came to Kansas City in 1806, continuing here in the same
line and \mdcr the same name. In January, 1904, J. C. Fitts was admitted
to the firm in 1006 they reorganized and incorporated as the ]\Iaxwell-
McClure-Fitts Dry Goods Company, adding a full line of dry goods to their
wholesale i^tock of notions. i\Ir. Maxwell was chosen to the presidency, Mr.


Fitts to the vice presidency, while Mr. McClure became secretary and treas-
urer. The business has had an ahnost phenomenal growth and yet its devel-
opment has been based upon sound business principles and a high standard
of commercial ethics. They now employ a large corps of salesmen to repre-
sent the house in the west and southwest and the firm is recognized as one
of the leading firms in their line in the city.

Mr. McClure is also a director in the Central National Bank and his
enterprise, sound judgment and unwearied industry are brought to bear in
lines of a less specifically business nature. He is one of the executive com-
mittee of the Civic League, a director of the Franklin Institute and also the
Helping Hand Institute. He also belongs to the Merchants & Manufacturers
Association. His religious belief is that of the Presbyterian faith and for
many years he has served as an elder in the church. All these associations
show the nature of his interests and associations and are the proof of a
life of useful activity.

On the 26th of September, 1889, Mr. McClure was married to Miss
Leota, daughter of Isaac Dougan, of Richmond, Indiana, and to them have
been born three children : Helen, thirteen years of age ; Ralph, ten years
of age; and Ernest, a lad of eight. The parents have many friends in Kan-
sas City, while their own home is noted for its gracious hospitality.


In any line of business, aside from technical training that fits one for a
chosen calling, to attain success one must possess the resolute purpose that
overcomes obstacles and persistency of purpose, combined with unwearied
industry. These qualities have been the concomitants in the prosperity which
Mr. Smith has achieved and have also gained for him a reputation as one of
Kansas City's most prominent architects. His natal day was March 22, 1866^
and the place of his birth Huron county, Ohio.

His father, Augustine L. Smith, a builder and contractor, removed to
Des Moines, Iowa, in 1874 and there continued in the same line of business
imtil a recent date, when he became a resident of Los Angeles, California.
He is a native of Ohio and a descendant of Martin Smith, of Connecticut,
who was an officer in the Continental army in the Revolutionary war. Still
earlier generations of the family were found in England. The mother, Mrs.
Cynthia L. (Parker) Smith, is a descendant of one of the passengers on the
Mayflower. Her maternal ancestors were Van Ammermans, an old Dutch
family of New York.

Charles A. Smith, accompanying his parents to Des Moines, Iowa, when
eight years of age, pursued his education in the public schools of that city

Online LibraryCarrie Westlake WhitneyKansas City, Missouri; its history and its people 1808-1908 (Volume 2) → online text (page 61 of 65)