Carrie Westlake Whitney.

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

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The name of Cravens has long figured in connection with the legal
history of Kansas City, as father and son have been practitioners at the bar
here for more than four decades. Endowed by nature with strong intellect, J.
H. Cravens has directed his reading and study along those lines which have not
only brought him professional success but have gained for him comprehensive
knowledge of those problems and interests which have marked the world's
history and which show the trend of thought and development at the present

Mr. Cravens was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, April 11, 1865, a son of
John Kenney Cravens, of whom mention is made above. He was educated in
the public schools of Kansas City and Williams College, at Williamstown,
Massachusetts, completing the literary course by graduation in 1887, at which
time the Bachelor of Arts degree was conferred upon him. He spent one
year in Europe in study and travel, and on his return devoted a. year to the
mastery of legal principles in his father's law office before matriculating in


Columbia College of New York city, from which he was graduated in 1890
with the Master of Arts degree. He next went to New Mexico, where he spent
three years in conducting a ranch. On returning to Kansas City he reentered
his father's law othce and, after thorough preliminary reading, was admitted
to the bar in 1894. He has practiced here continuously since, and in connec-
tion has handled more city real estate than any other man in Kansas City,
principally in the employ of capitalists as an expert buyer. He is a great
believer in the future of Kansas City and is himself largely interested in
realty here. He has displayed remarkable prescience in determining the
value of property and its possible diminution or appreciation in price, and his
investments have, therefore, been very judiciously made.

On the 30th of June, 1897, Mr. Cravens was united in marriage to Miss
Lorena Searcy, of Kansas City, and they have one child, John Kenney, who
w-as born February 20, 1902. In 1906 Mr. Cravens took his family abroad,
traveling extensively through Europe. His political allegiance is given to the
republican party, though he manifests that independent spirit which is one
of the hopeful signs of the times. He has taken an active part in the work
of the Republican Club, but has never sought nor desired office for himself.
He belongs to the Knights of Pythias fraternity, is a member of the Kansas
City Athletic Club, and was one of the organizers and the first member of the
University Club of Kansas City. He likewise belongs to the Congregational
church. Naturally studious, he devotes a large part of his time to study and
travel, whereby he is constantly broadening his mind. In his college courses
he became proficient in Latin and Greek, and through business and travel has
acquired a knowledge of French, German and Spanish, having today quite
a library in those languages. Strongly intellectual in his tastes and charac-
teristics, when he expresses an opinion it is founded upon a comprehensive
knowledge of the subjects on which he speaks, and his well-balanced mind
makes his opinions of value. He is an able lawyer and acknowledged real
estate expert and a gentleman of broad culture, whose circle of friends is
almost coextensive with the circle of his acquaintances.


The firm of Van Noy Brothers is well known in Kansas City because
of the leadership to which they have attained in their chosen line. They
began as local cigar and news dealers at No. 1076 Union avenue in 1893.
but in 1897 the business was incorporated under the name of the Van Noy
Railroad News Company and capitalized for twenty thousand dollars, with
I. C. Van Noy as president and general manager, G. W. Krebs, of St. Louis,
vice president, and C. S. Van Noy as secretary and treasurer. Prior to that
time they had the news business for two roads, having taken the old Mem-
phis route on the 1st of January, 1903. They now have control of thirty
two thousand miles of road on five lines, together with fifty-two hotels and


eating bouses, twenty-one distributing offices and twenty news and cigar
stands. Their employes number about sixteen hundred and the business is
conducted in harmony with the most carefully systematized and well planned
commercial interests. Their capital at the incorporation was twenty thousand
dollars and today their business represents an investment of three hundred
and eight thousand dollars. The firm name is known throughout the entire
west and stands ever as a synonym for commercial integrity as well as enter-

Ira C. Van Noy, president of the company, was born at Cambridge,
Indiana, December 4, 1861. The family, as the name indicates, is of Hol-
land lineage, Nathan Van Noy removing from Holland to France, where
he was married. He afterward came to America about 1750 and located
between Bi'unswick and Charleston, South Carolina. William Yah Noy, the
great-grandfather of our suljject. leaving his own home near South Caro-
line, walked with his young wife to Barbersville, Kentucky. He became a
wealthv man of that localitv, owning one hundred and five slaves and about
thirty-six hundred acres of land in the vicinity of Barbersville, which was
afterward divided among his heirs. It is said that in 1837 he made the
generous offer to all of his slaves who were over sixteen years of age to give
them their freedom and pay their passage to Liberia if they wished to go.
Thirty-five accepted his offer. One of the old slaves, who was called Squire,
at first refused to go but afterward told Mr. Yan Noy that he would accept
the proposition if he could have money for his pas.-;age back in case he did
not wish to remain in Liberia. Making his wav to the Africai^ coast, he
visited his wife and children, who were among the first to go, but when a
few months had been passed in what was to him a foreign land, the long-
ing for "home and Massa" proved too strong to be resisted and he returned
and was again taken into the family of William Van Noy. After a long
and well spent life William Yan Noy passed away at the very remarkable
old age of one hundred and four vears.

The grandfather, Joseph Van Noy, resided at Barbersville, Kentucky,
and engaged in the slave trade in the south. He served as a soldier in the
Mexican and Texan wars and died at Vicksburg, Mississippi, as the result of
injuries sustained in the latter. He was in San Antonio, Texas, at the time
of the Mexican raid on that city and wa.^ present at the capture of Santa Ana.

Dr. H. C. Van Noy, the father of the Yan Noy Brothers, was a practic-
ing physician who was born in Kentucky and died about four years ago. He
married Katherine Raber, a native of Cambridge, Indiana, whose birth oc-
curred in the same house in which her son Ira first opened his eyes to the
light of day. She is still living in Kansas City at the age of sixty-four
years. Her family numbered ten children, eight sons and two daughters.
Of this family two are now deceased, William, the third child, having died
at the age of four years, while the youngest, Cleveland, died at the age of
fifteen vears. Those who still survive are: Ira C. ; J. L. : Joseph B., who is in
business at Oklahoma City; C. S., a member of the Van Noy company;
Horace Greeiev, who is in the employ of the company; Hallie, the wife of
John Britt, manager of the Union Depot news stand for the company; Jessie,


the wife of James Julen, who is in business in Kansas City; and H. C, who
is purchasing agent for the Van Noy Brothers.

Ira C. Van Noy was only about six years of age at the time of the re-
moval of ill's parents from Cambridge, Indiana, to Mercer county, Missouri.
There he attended the district schools and in later years further pursued his
studies in night schools. He left the farm at the age of nineteen years and
secured a situation as clerk in a hotel. He had studied medicine for one
year before leaving home but thinking that he would not find the profes-
sion congenial, he did not continue in that line. For six years he served as
hotel clerk, after which he entered the employ of the Union New^s Company,
spending two years on trains, while later he remained with the company in
other capacities, filling clerical positions and also acting as manager of
branch offices. His promotions were rapid during the four years in which
he remained with the company, after w^hich he engaged in a similar busi-
ness on his own account. In connection with his brother he embarked in
this line in 1893 and as the years passed has developed a business of mam-
moth, proportions. He is interested to a large extent in Kansas City real
estate in connection with his brother and he owms his own home at No. 2642
Benton Boulevard.

On the 12th of August, 1896, Ira C. Van Noy was married to Miss
Jessie Hackman, a daughter of C. W. Hackman, of Kansas City, who was
formerly assistant manager of The Boston Store but is now connected with
Van Noy Brothers. Their children are three in number: Cecil, Janette and
James. Miss Lula, seventeen years of age, who is now attending the Lor-
etta Academy, is a daughter by Mr. Van Noy's first wdfe, who died in Feb-
ruary, 1891. Mrs. Van Noy is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church
and Mr. Van Noy is an Odd Fellow and a Mason, belonging to all the
Masonic bodies except the consistory. He is a member of the Evanston Golf
Club, and in politics he takes a general interest, voting for the repul^lican
party. He is now acting as a member of the board of trustees of the Door
of Plope, of which his wife is secretary, Mrs. Van Noy taking a helpful part
in both church and charitable work.

Charles S. Van Noy, junior partner of the firm of Van Noy Brothers,
was born at Goslien City, Mercer county, Missouri, March 18, 1870. He
remained upon the home farm following the removal of the family to the
west, until seventeen years of age, when he entered the employ of the Union
News Company, which he represented on the road for two years. He then
engaged in the retail cigar and news business with his brother, I. C. Yun
Noy, as stated in the opening paragraphs of this review\ In the utmost
harmony the brothers have developed a business which, reaching mammoth
proportions, has returned to them a most gratifying income. Aside from
this business, Charles S. Van Noy, like liis brother, is largely interested in
real estate, including imich valuable property in Kansas City. They are
men of marked enterprise, of unfaltering diligence and of unflagging ])er-
severance, qualities which arc always essential in the upbuilding of mu im-
portant commercial undertaking.


On the 3d of September, 1890, in Kansas City, Charles S. Van Noy was
married to Miss Molly, daughter of Daniel Denison, of Paris, Missouri, and
they have two children— Orville, sixteen years of age, and Lela, thirteen
years of age. Mr. Van Noy is a member of all the Masonic bodies except
the consistory and is also connected with the Odd Fellows society and the
Evanston Golf Club. He is likewise a member of the Frying Pan Outing
Society, of Frying Pan river, Colorado. He is an ardent golfer and an ad-
vocate of all manly outdoor sports. His political allegiance is given to the
republican party where national questions are involved, but he casts an inde-
pendent local ballot. He and his family are members of the South Prospect
Christian church, of which Mr. Van Noy is president of the official board,
Avhile Mrs. Van Noy is also very active in many departments of the church


Captain John S. Branham is the oldest captain on the police force of
Kansas City, having been connected with the department for thirty-four
years. He is now in charge of Station No. 3, where he has remained since
3902. He was born in Columbia, Missouri, February 14, 1846, and is a son
of Richard C. Branham, a native of Bourbon county, Kentucky, who went
to Columbia, Missouri, in the '20s and w^as there engaged in merchandis-
ing and banking. He was but a young man at the time of his arrival in
this state, the grandfather removing to Columbia with his wife and twelve;
children in order to be able to obtain more land at cheaper rates than could
be secured in the east. Richard C. Branham was one of those who assisted
in founding the Missouri State University in Columbia. Having purchased
land in Galveston, Texas, he started on a trip to that state by way of the
gulf but was lost with the ship which caught fire in the Galveston harbor in
1857, being at that time about fifty-one years of age. Pie had been married
in Boone county to Miss Emily S. Johnston, of that county, a daughter of
Captain William Johnston, a Revolutionary soldier. Mrs. Branham died at
the home of her .'^on, John S., in Kansas City, June 10, 1904. Both Mr.
and Mrs. Richard Branham Avere members of the Baptist church and the
former gave his political allegiance to the whig party. Their children were
William C, who was a merchant and died in Cooper county, Missouri;
Laura, the wife of F. M. Ferguson, of Kansas City; Julia L., the wife of
Leonard Dobbin, of Kansas City; and John S. The ancestry _of this family
is traced back to Scotland in the twelfth century and the Johnstons were
also of Scotch lineage.

Captain Branham w^as reared to manhood in Columbia, Missouri, where
he attended the public schools and for a short time was a student in the State
University, but the Civil war prevented the completion of his course there.
He began life as a farm boy and in 1868 came to Kansas City, Avhere he
turned his attention to the agricultural implement business. After two years
in that line, he opened a meat market at Tenth and Main street, his establish-


ment being an innovation in this line of trade, for the shop was fitted out
with busssels carpet, jDlush covered settees, silver service,, meat implements, etc.
It was the only one of the kind in the United States and men from foreign
countries visiting it declared they never saw anything like it. Captain
Branham continued in the business for a year and then went to Wichita, Kan-
sas, where he acted as deputy sheriff in 1871-2. In 1873 he was deputy
marshal at Ellsworth, Kansas, and returned to Kansas City in 1874, at which
time he was appointed a member of the police force. This was the first or-
ganization of the metropolitan police force and after serving as patrol-
man for a part of a year Mr. Branham was made sergeant, filling that posi-
tion for several years, after which he was made captain. When he became
connected with the force, the law provided that it should have but one cap-
tain. Mr. Branham has served in that capacity for twenty years and is the
oldest captain on the force today. He was at headquarters for nearly two
decades and has been in charge of station No. 3 since 1902. During this
period he has seen the city converted from a typical western town to a metro-
politan center, equal in points of civilization and improvement to all the
older cities of the west.

On the 3d of October, 1875, in Kansas City, Captain Branham married
Mrs. Mary Baker, who died August 19, 1903. The captain was reared in the
Baptist faith and politically he has been a lifelong democrat.


William Clifton Culbertson, a distinguished lawyer of Kansas City, was
born in Rolla, Missouri, September 12, 1874. His father, Benjamin Martin
Culbertson, a shoe dealer of Rolla, was a veteran of the Fifty-second Ohio
Volunteer Infantry in the Civil war and also a veteran of the Mexican war.
He spent the last few years of his life amid hi.- old comrades at Washington,
D. C, and was laid to rest in beautiful Arlington cemetery — the national
military cemetery which borders the Potomac just opposite the capital city.
He died in September, 1898, having long survived his wife Mrs. Harriett
(Momen) Culbertson, who died during the early boyhood of her son, William
C, and the boy and his father were always like chums, the close comradeship
existing between them until the father went to Washington. The Culbert-
sons arc an old family of Scotch and Iri.*h origin, and in America many rep-
resentatives of the name have gained fame and prominence, including cx-
Congre-ssman W. C. Culbertson, of Erie, Pennsylvania, and Charles A. Cul-
bertson, United States senator and ex-govornor of Texas, who are closely
related to the subject of this review.

At the usual age entering the public schools William C. Culbertson passed
through successive grades and became a high-school student in Rolla. For
seven years after completing his education he edited the Rolla New Era and
the Herald Democrat, but desirous of more advanced educational opportunities
he entered the William .lewell College at Liberty, Missouri, where he took a





four years' course. In the meantime, he studied law both at Rolhi and Lib-
erty and was admitted to the bar by Judge E. J. Broaddus in the Clay county
circuit court November 16, 1897. In January, 1898, he arrived in Kansas
City, where he pursued a course in the Kansas City Law School, meanwhile
practicing with Wallace & Wallace. Upon his graduation in 1899 he became
a member of the firm of Wallace, Wallace & Culbertson, and so continued
until September, 1903, since which time he has practiced alone. He has been
constantly connected with important litigation and his efforts have been
attended with remarkable success. He is recognized as one of the most reliable
advisers in municipal and corporate law and now represents some of the
largest corporations of Kansas City and also various eastern firms. In a pro-
fession where advancement depends entirely upon individual merit he has
gained marked distinction, and as he has prospered in his undertakings he
has made judicious investments in property, becoming largely interested in
real estate.

On the 28th of June, 1900, Mr. Culbertson was married at Libertv, Mis-
souri, to Miss Martha Packard Wymore, a daughter of ''Uncle" George
Wymore, a prominent horse breeder of Liberty, Missouri, and a sister of A.
P. Wymore, sheriff of Claj^ county. Fraternally Mr. Culbertson is a Mason,
and has taken the degrees of the Mystic Shrine. He is also an Odd Fellow
and a charter member of the Eastminster Presbyterian church. He belongs
to the Commercial Club and the Kansas City Bar Association, and in his
political affiliations is a democrat. For the past twelve years he has been a
delegate to several judicial conventions, and on March 7, 1908, was nominated
on the democratic ticket as a member of the upper house of the common
council of Kansas City, and at the city election, held April 7, 1908, was elected
to that office for a four-year term. He has a fine residence at No. 804 Olive
street, and his many social acquaintances know him to be a genial friend,
delighting in the hospitality which he can extend to those who know him.
He is public spirited, is popular in professional and social circles and has a
genial, cordial manner which enables him not only to win friends but to
retain them.


Pierre S. Brown, proprietor of Brown's Business College of Kansas City,
was born at Clarinda, Iowa, December 11, 1857. His father, Clarke Brown,
was a native of Virginia, and belonged to an old family of English origin.
Prior to the Civil war he removed to Iowa, where he engaged in business
as a merchant and freighter. In 1868 he arrived in Missouri, settling on a
farm between Kansas City and Rosedale, now within the present limits of
the city. He died in 1903 and is still survived by his widow, Mrs. Delia
(Wells) Brown, who is a native of Henry county, Missouri, and now makes
her home in Kansas City. A brother of our subject, Marcy K. Brown, is
a prominent lawyer of Kansas City who served as prosecuting attorney for


four years and for a long period has been recognized as a leader in the ranks
of the democracy here.

Following the removal of the family to the farm in 1868, Pierre S.
Brown continued his education in the Westport school, the first school of
the locality opened after the war. He afterward attended the Kansas City
high school, from Avhich he was graduated in the class of 1879. He next
entered the State University of Iowa at Iowa City and was graduated in
1880 with the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy. From 1881 until 1893
he engaged in teaching in Spalding's Business College, of Kansas City, hav-
ing charge of the commercial department, but withdrew in the latter year
and established Brown's Business College at Nos. 1212-14 Main street. The
attendance has steadily grown, necessitating the removal some time ago to
Nos. 1114-16-18 Grand avenue, where they have the entire fourth floor. Nine
teachers are now employed, and there is an annual enrollment of about
nine hundred pupils. The present enrollment is two hundred and fifty
day pupils and one hundred night students. The school course comprises
shorthand and typewriting, commercial or bookkeeping, English and tele-
graphic departments. The work done by the students is very satisfactory,
owing to the thoroughness of methods employed and the ability of the in-
structors, and hundreds of the students from this school are now^ capably fill-
ing responsible positions in Kansas City.

On the 20th of December, 1887, Mr. Brown was married to Miss Ger-
trude Looniis, a daughter of George W. Loomis, an architect and builder of
Kansas City, and they have one child, Jennie Gertrude, now thirteen yeai's
of age. Mr. Brown is connected with the Modern Woodmen and the Court
of Honor and votes with the democracy. His wife is a member of the Con-
gregational church. Their home is at the southwest corner of Linwood
boulevard and Euclid avenue, and in addition to this property Mr. Brown
is also interested in other Kansas City real estate. Identified with the edu-
cational interests of Kansas City for more than a quarter of a century, he
is well known here as a prominent representative of the profession, and that
he has practical and progressive ideas concerning business training is indi-
cated bv the success of the students who have come under his direction.


Emma S. Cooper, who has for the past six years been engaged in the
practice of osteopathy in Kansas City, was born March 18, 1869, in Cham-
paign, Illinois.

In the year following the family moved to tliis city, and ever since
have been residents in tlie two Kansas cities. Her father, C. 0. Cooper, born
in 1832, is still living, but the mother who V)ore the mnidon name of Susan
E. Soger, is now deceased.

Dr. Cooper, having acquired a public school education, and spending
some years in stenographic and office work, determined to engage in the


practice of osteopathy, and after careful preparation in a thorough course,
was graduated, in 1902, from the Still College of Osteopathy at Des Moines,
Iowa. She immediately returned to Kansas City and has enjoyed a con-
stantly growing practice, her professional duties now making heavy de-
mands upon her time.


Kimbrough Stone is prominently connected with a profession which
has always been regarded as the conservator of the rights and liberties of the
people at large, and as a practitioner at the Kansas City bar has gained a
distinctively representative clientage. He was born in Nevada, Missouri,
January 15, 1875, and is a son of the Hon. William J. and Sarah Louise
(Winston) Stone, natives of Kentucky and of Missouri respectively, the father
being now a member of the United States senate. William J. Stone was
born May 7, 1848, in Madison county, Kentucky, and was graduated from
the Missouri University, which later conferred upon him the degree of L.
L. D. Admitted to the bar in 1869, he at once entered upon a career charac-
terized by continuous success. He served as prosecuting attorney of Vernon
county, Missouri, in 1873-4, and, through election as a candidate on the
democratic ticket, was representative in the forty-eighth, forty-ninth, fiftieth
and fifty-first congresses. From 1893 until 1897 he was governor of Missouri,
and from 1896 until 1904 member from Missouri to tlio democratic na-
tional committee, acting as vice chairman during the last four years of that
period. He is regarded as one of the distinguished democratic leaders of the

Online LibraryCarrie Westlake WhitneyKansas City, Missouri; its history and its people 1808-1908 (Volume 2) → online text (page 63 of 65)