Carrie Westlake Whitney.

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

. (page 9 of 65)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

America came on the Mayflower, settling in Delaware, where they owned a
large farm near Wilmington. The eldest brother of our subject still resides
at the ancestral home and one of the principal streets of Wilmington has been
named in honor of the family. The grandfather was a prominent merchant
and large slave owner in Delaware in early days and in later life retired,- his
capital enabling him to enjoy the comforts and luxuries of life. Joseph and



88 HISTORY OF KANSAS CITY

Mary Wollaston, parents of George E. Wollaston, were both natives of Dela-
ware where the father engaged in farming and afterward lived retired until
his death, both he and his wife passing away in the state of their nativity.

George E. Wollaston attended the public schools of Stanton and of Wil-
mington, Delaware, acquiring a good education, while in his youth he also
assisted his father in the operation of the home farm. Starting out in business
life on his own account he purchased a farm between Stanton and Wilmington,
Delaware, and there engaged in general agricultural pursuits until he came
to the west. In the meantime, however, he had responded to the country's
call for troops, following the outbreak of hositilties between the north and the
south, enlisting as a member of Company E, Fifth Delaware Infantry. He
served throughout the war and participated in many battles of importance
but was never injured. Much of the time at the front he suffered from ear
and throat troubles and in 1865 he was honorably discharged, after which he
returned to his home in Delaware with a most creditable military record.

Mr. Wollaston continued his agricultural pursuits in his native state until
his removal to Iowa, where he purchased a tract of land near Sioux City.
There he again engaged in farming and raising cattle and was a great lover of
fine cattle, always keeping very high grade stock. He continued upon his
Iowa farm until 1883, when he came to Kansas City, where his remaining
days were passed. He had already become acquainted to some extent with the
contract business in his younger years and upon his arrival in Kansas City,
where much building was going on, he at once turned his attention to con-
tracting and building and soon secured an extensive patronage, necessitating
the employment of a large number of men. He was also interested in partner-
ship with Mr. Stark in what is known as the old Stark farm near Kansas City
but the greater part of his time and attention was given to his building opera-
tions until he suffered a stroke of paralysis and was unable to engage in busi-
ness longer. He was thoroughly reliable and trustworthy, faithfully executing
his part of a contract to the very letter and he had many friends here, es-
pecially among the real-estate men.

After coming to Kansas City Mr. Wollaston was married to Mrs. Ellen
A. Drennon, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, and a daughter of James W. and
Mary (Kahaler) Sheridan, the latter a native of Ireland, while Mr. Sheridan
was born in Springfield, MavSsachusetts, and was an own cousin of General
Phil Sheridan. He followed merchandising and also carried on farming near
Cincinnati, Ohio, in early life, while during his later years he lived retired in
the city, both he and his wife spending their last days in Cincinnati. Mrs.
Wollaston was the widow of Jamas W. Drennon, a native of Decatur, Illinois,
who engaged in general merchandising in Memphis, Tennessee, and afterward
in Des Moines, Iowa, for many years. He died in Corydon, Iowa, November
4, 1895. There were three children by that marriage but Darwin E. and Eva
both died in infancy. The eldest, Alice, became the wife of L. Hart Robinson,
who is engaged in the theater business in Chicago and Mrs. Robinson spends
much of her time in Kansas City with her mother Mrs. Wollaston.

The death of Mr. Wollaston occurred February 24, 1907. It was the
occasion of doop regret to many who know him and had loarnod to respect him



HISTORY OF KANSAS CITY 89

because of his activity and reliability in business, his progressiveness in citizen-
shi}) and his faithfulness in friendship. He was a stanch republican in pol-
itics, taking an active interest in the growth and success of the party, yet never
seeking nor desiring office. For many years he was an interested, active and
valued member of the Grand Army post and also held membership relations
with the Modern Woodmen of Kansas City. His life was at all times in har-
mony with that of an honorable and honored ancestry and his memory is yet
cherished by many who knew him. Mrs. Wollaston owns a residence at No.
4405 Main street, where she is now living.



JAMES H. DAYTON.

One after another men rise from obscurity to prominence in the busi-
ness world, thus giving demonstration of their power for executive man-
agement or for industrial skill. While all this is laudable and worth while^
it is not, however, the thing which wins for the indivdual a lasting place in
the memory of his associates. Mr. Dayton possessed in large measure those
traits of character which endeared him to his fellowmen, and caused his
memory to be sacredly cherished by those with whom he was associated. He
was born in Hampshire county, Virginia, in 1836. His father, Roland S.
Dayton, was also a native of the Old Dominion, and there owned an exten-
sive plantation and many slaves. His landed possessions embraced several
hundred acres along the Potomac river, and his place was one of the most
highly improved properties bordering that classic stream. His wife was
Nancy Dawson and to them were born nine children, of whom James H.
Dayton was the eldest.

Reared in the county of his nativity, James II. Dayton acquired his
education in Virginia and was identified with his father's plantation until
after the outbreak of the Civil war, when he enlisted as a member of the
Fourth Virginia Infantry and served throughout the period of hostilities.
He raised a company for active duty and was later promoted to the rank
of colonel. He was one of the company that stormed Vicksburg on the
31st of May, and was wounded before the city. He was also with Sherman
on the celebrated march to the sea, and participated in the military move-
ments in the Shenandoah valley. Although reared in the south and loving
that section of the country with the strength of an ardent nature in its
attachment to the place of nativity, he nevertheless felt that the south was
wrong in its attempt to destroy the powers of the Federal government, and
in this, as in every relation of life, he stood manfully by his principles.

When the war was over Mr. Dayton made his way to the west, pro-
ceeding up the river by boat to St. Joseph, Missouri, where he remained
until 1878. He was recognized as a prominent and influential citizen there,
and left the impress of his individuality upon municipal affairs by his serv-
ice as a member of the city council through a long period. The year 1878
witnessed his arrival in Kansas City, where he engaged in business with the



90 HISTORY OF KANSAS CITY

firm of Haiiiia & Company. Subsequently he Ijecame a member of the firm
of Grimes, Woods, Le Force & Company, in which business he was active
as buyer for the house until his demise in 1888. He was recognized as a
man of business ability, and occupied a position of responsibility, enjoying
to the full extent the confidence of those whom he represented.

Mr. Dayton was married in Virginia, in 1859, to Miss ]\Iary E. Dunn,
a daughter of ]\Iichael Dunn, of the Old Dominion, who was engaged in
merchandising in West Virginia for many years. He married Lucinda
Cecil, a descendant of Lord Cecil, of Baltimore, and his death occurred in
March, 1907, at the venerable age of ninety-three years. Unto ]\lr. and Mrs.
Dayton were born two children. Mary Virginia became Mrs. T. F. Moore
and (lied fourteen years ago, leaving a daughter, Helen M., who is the wife
of Thomas Bright. They have one son, Thomas Moore Bright, and
it is with this family that Mrs. Dayton now makes her home. One other
daughter, Mrs. Addie Foster McGuire, has also passed away.

Mr. Dayton gave his political allegiance to the republican party, and
was a stalwart advocate of its principles. In his fraternal relations he was
a Mason, and in his life exemplified the beneficent spirit of the craft. He
was deeply interested in all that pertained to the welfare of his city or pro-
moted the welfare of his fellowmen, yet his interests centered in his fam-
ily, and he found his greatest happiness with his wife and daughters at his
own fireside. His friends ever found him faithful and loyal, yet his best
traits of character were reserved for the home, where he was known as a
devoted, considerate and loving husband and father, always watchful for the
interests of those near and dear to him and counting no personal effort or
sacrifice on his part too great if it would advance their joy or comfort.



JOHN PUNTON, M. D.

Dr. John I'uiitoii. a distinguishtd neurologist of Kansas City, was born
ill LfMidoii. England, July 12. IS")"), a son of William and I'mily ((iuni-
brall) i'untnn. Tli.< ])aternal grandfather, William Tunton, was a barrister
of London, who died in the prime of life, while his widow afterward came
to the United States in company with her eldest son, John, for whom Dr.
Punton was named. This son engaged in the ship business and cai'ed for
his mother until her demise. Another .-on of the family. William Pnnton.
fallier of Dr. Punton, was an \ipholsterer and died at tlu' age of si.\t.\-three
years. He married Emily (lumbrall, a daughter of Tliomas Grund:)all, a
farmer of south England, wliere he and ]\\< wife passed away at an ad-
vanced age. T^nto William and I'^mily Punton wei'e born eight children,
of wliom Mliza and honi.-a came to America, were married hei'e, the former
dying at the age of thirty years; and the latter still living in Nebraska.
William, the eldest son. ha- been ]ii'ineipal of the schools of Heigate near
London for thiiiv vears.




DR. JOHN PUNTON.



THE !-^ •' "'JRK
PUBLIC '.IBRARY

ASTOR. LENOX
TILDCN 1' -i f TlONfS



HISTORY OF KANSAS CITY 93

Marianne and Minnie are married and living in London. Julia is the
wife of Professor Smith, principal of a large school at Tunbridge Wells,
England. Alfred, the youngest son, came to America when twelve years
of age and is now a practicing dentist at Mount Pleasant, Iowa.

Dr. Punton is indebted to the common schools of England for the early
educational privileges he enjoyed and at the age of sixteen years he became
companion to a wealthy gentleman, with whom he traveled through Eu-
rope for three years, gaining that knowledge, experience and culture which
only travel can bring. Becoming imbued with the desire to make his home
in America, he crossed the Atlantic to the new world in 1874 and soon after-
ward made his way to Jacksonville, Illinois, where he secured a position
a.s nurse at the Central Hospital for Insane. While thus engaged he took
up the study of pharmacy and was advanced to the position of druggist. In
1878-9 he pursued a course of medical lectures in the medical department
of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and on the expiration of nine
months in that school returned to his old position as druggist in connection
with the Central Hospital for Insane at Jacksonville, Illinois. There he re-
mained for three years, continuing his medical studies under the direction
of the hospital faculty and through his labors accumulating means sufficient
to enable him to follow a special course of study which he had mapped
out for himself. In 1882 he entered the Miami Medical College at Cin-
cinnati, Ohio, and was graduated the following year.

Thus qualified for practice, Dr. Punton located at Lawrence, Kansas,
and was soon afterward appointed to the position of city physician. After
eighteen months the president of the state board of charities of Kansas of-
fered him the superintendency of one of the new insane asylum buildings
then being erected at Topeka, involving the care of three hundred patients.
With laudable ambition for advancement, he embraced the broader oppor-
tunity thus offered, there continuing until 1888, when he pursued a special
course of study under Professor Hay in the Northwestern Medical College
of Chicago. He then located for practice in Kansas City, where he still
resides, and in the interim he has attained high rank as a neurologist. In
1892 he spent a year in Europe, attending prominent hospitals to observe
the treatment of nervous diseases by eminent authorities on that subject in
the old world. He has also pursued special courses of study in the New York
Post Graduate School and the Polyclinic School of Medicine, graduating in
both of these. In 1895 he again visited Europe for further investigation,
study and research. He has continually advanced in his chosen profession
until he has gained a position of distinction accorded by the medical fra-
ternity as well as the public at large. He was one of the founders and has
been president of the Kansas City Academy of Medicine and the vice presi-
dent of the Missouri State Medical Association. He holds membership with
the American Neurological Association, the American Psychological Asso-
ciation, the American Medical Association, the Jackson County and many
other medical associations. He is a trustee and also the secretary and pro-
fessor of nervous and mental diseases in the University Medical College,
clinical neurologist to the City Hospital and to various other hospitals of



94 HISTORY OF KANSAS CITY

the city, besides the Fri.-^en Raih-oad System and the Southerii Kansas. He
is a member of the board of directors of the P'edcrated Charities and editor
of the Kansas City Medical Index Lancet. In 1890 he established a private
sanitarium for the treatment of nervous and mental diseases, which is now
located at Thirtieth street and Lydia avenue. With broad knowledge of
the general principles of medicine and surgery, he ha^ in recent years con-
centrated his energies upon the treatment of nervous and mental disorders,
continual!}' advancing in skill and proficiency until he is recogized as one
of the foremost neurologists of the day.

On the ITtli of July. 1884, at Jacksonville. Illinois, Dr. Punton was
married to Miss Frances Evelyn Spruill. a daughter of the Rev. W. F. T.
Spniill, then pastor of the Methodist church of that city. Mrs. Punton was
born in Paris, Kentucky, and is a graduate of the literary and fine art de-
partments of the Illinois Female College at Jacksonville. Of the five chil-
dren born to the Doctor and his wife four are living: Frank Gibson, John
Morse, William Bruce and Charles Wesley.

Dr. and Mrs. Punton are connected with the Grand Avenue Methodist
Episcopal church, of which he is an official member and trustee. He was
reared in the faith of the Church of England but on coming to the new
world became identified with the Methodist denomination. In Masonry he
has attained the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite and is a Noble
of the Mystic Shrine. He is a self-made man and in a review of his history
it is a noticeable fact that he began life with a definite purpose in view,
worked honestly, faithfully and with a. will for its accomplishment, and
now enjoys a reputation that is by no means limited to the boundaries of
Missouri. A man of progressive ideas, fine attainments, high minded, who
has made the most of his opportunities in life. Dr. Punton has risen to a
foremost place among the representatives of the medical fraternity of the
nation.



GEORGE PENCE SNYDER.

George Pence Snyder, vice president and secretary of the Urie-Snyder
Iron Works Company, wa.- born at Columbus, Indiana, July 22, 1861. His
father, John Snyder, was a native of Virginia but spent the greater part of
his life in Louisville, Kentucky, where he was engaged in the wholesale
grocery business until his death in 1875. Llis wife, who in her maidenhood
was Sarah Pence, was a native of Columbus, Indiana, and is living in Inde-
pendence, Mi.^souri, at the age of eighty years.

The schools of Louisville })rovided Mr. Snyder with the educational
privileges that cjualified him foi- life's practical and responsible duties. He
pursued his studies to the age of eighteen years and then came to Kansas
City, where he entered upon his business career in tli(^ em))loy of Perrin &
Snyder, wholesale dealers in fancy groceries, as a traveling salesman. After
representing that house ujion the road for three years he traveled for Eby
Dowden & Company, wliolesale groceries for four years, after which he



HISTORY OF KANSAS CITY 95

joined his older brother, the late R. M. Snyder, in the mortgage and loan
business, which they conducted for about seven years. In the meantime
they organized the Mechanics Bank, of Kansas City, of which they were
proprietors, George P. Snyder acting as cashier of the institution, which
they conducted successfully for ten years, when they organized the City
National Bank and transferred the deposits of the Mechanics Bank to the
City National, discontinuing the former. Of the new bank R. M. Snyder
was president; G. P. Snyder, cashier; and J. G. Strain, vice president.

Three years later, in 1882, Mr. Snyder and his brother sold their inter-
est in the bank. A year previous the Urie Boiler & Machine Company had
been organized, Mr. Snyder being one of the members of it. Upon severing
his connection with the bank he became an active member of the new con-
cern, assuming the management of the office and the finances of the business,
to which he has since given his entire attention. In 1905 he increased
his stock to a half interest and the name was changed to the Urie-Snyder
Iron Works Company. At the time he assumed the financial management
of the business in 1902 the enterprise consisted of a small boiler and
machine shop on West Fifth street, worth about twenty thousand dollars.
In five years the business has grown to such an extent that they now occupy
a large j)lant covering an entire block on the Kansas City belt line tracks
at Sheffield. The new plant was built by them and opened in August, 1905.
Here they employ about sixty men. They make a specialty of the manu-
facture of a patent vertical boiler which is built without flues, but in addi-
tion they also do all kinds of plate and sheet iron work, make tanks of every
description, boilers to an}' specifications, smokestacks, breechings, dredges
for placer mining, and a general line of contractors' tools and supplies. The
growth of their business has been steady and has come without any special
solicitation, being a tribute to the merit of their output. Mr. Snyder is also
interested in oil and gas properties in Oklahoma and the Indian Territory
and has invested to some extent in Kansas City real estate.

On the 11th of March, 1889, Mr. Snyder was married to Miss Nellie
Bassett, a daughter of Captain Leslie Bassett, of Fairfield, Iowa, the wed-
ding being celebrated in Olathe, Kansas, where Mrs. Snyder was a teacher
of articulation in the deaf and dumb school. She is well known in musical
circles in Kansas City, for she possesses an unusually fine lyric soprano
voice and for many years sung in the leading churches of this city and of
Independence, Missouri, but with the death of their son she practically re-
tired from society. Their son was Lawrence Bryant Snyder, who w^as killed
in a street car accident February 28, 1905, at the age of fifteen years, while
a student in the Central high school. R. M. Snyder, the brother of George
P. Snyder, and for many years his business associate, was killed in an auto-
mobile accident two years ago. He was considered one of the greatest
financiers of this part of the country and one of the best known and most
highly esteemed business men and citizens of Kansas City. The family
residence of Mr. and Mrs. Snyder is No. 3516 Michigan avenue.

Mr. Snyder usually advocates the principles of democracy but is not a
supporter of Bryan, and his last presidential votes were cast for McKinley



96 HISTORY OF KANSAS CITY

and Roosevelt. He is a member of the First Christian church and has been
a generous supporter of church and charitable interests, his benevolence,
however, being entirely without ostentation. He is a great lover of fishing
and twice each year makes a trip to northern Wisconsin for a few weeks'
rest and recreation, spending the first two weeks in June and the month of
August in this way, his wife always accompanying him on the latter trip.
On one of these trips two years ago he caught a great muskel lunge weigh-
ing twenty-four pounds, which he had mounted in Chicago and which is
now on display at the Schmeltzer Arms Company of this city. He is a
man of frank, genial nature, without ostentation or display, devoted to his
business, his home and his friends.



ANDREW J. BAKER.

Andrew J. Baker, a Kansas City capitalist, was born in Saratoga, New
York, October 1, 1836, and his life record is an exemplification of the state-
ment of a well known financier, who said: ''Success is a combination of the
opportunity and the man — but first the man." Throughout his entire busi-
ness life, Andrew J. Baker, actuated by a spirit of determination and ambi-
tion has not only utilized the opportunities that have presented but has
sought out others and as the years have passed has advanced far on the road
to prosperity — a road which is open to all.

]\Ir. Baker was a son of Titus and Jerusha (Flagler) Baker, both of
whom were natives of the state of New York. The father was one of a
large family who settled in the Empire state at an early day. Born and
reared in the east, he afterward removed to Indiana, where he followed
the occupation of farming and spent his last years.

In 1854 Andrew J. Baker began railroading on the Ohio & Missis-
sippi Railroad, now the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, running from Seymour,
Indiana, to Cincinnati, Ohio, for fifteen years. In 1869 he became a resi-
dent of Kansas City, at thnt time accepting a position as conductor on the
Missouri Pacific Railroad, his run being from this point to St. Louis. He
continued in that position for seven years and afterward went upon the
farm now owned by the Armour estate, seven miles south of the city. He
purchased the place, comprising two hundred and seven acres, south of the
city on the Wornall road, made it his place of residence for four years and
during that time erected buildings and fences and otherwise improved the
property prior to selling it to Samuel Wornall. He afterward purchased a
place near the Major Warner home and built a fine residence there, which
he occupied for two years. On the expiration of (hat period he again sold
out and purchased thirty-six acres at the end of the Roanoka car line,
known as the Mellier place. Upon that tract he built a residence, occupied it
for some time, and then sold out. It has since been platted and sold for
building purposes and now the cut ire tract is covered witli residences.



HISTORY OF KANSAS CITY 97

Mr. Baker next purchased property in Hyde Park, built a home there
at a cost of twenty thousand dollars and occupied it until after the death of
his wife on the 2d of January, 1890, selling it the following year. He^ went
to New York with the purpose of educating his children, putting his
daughter in a convent there and his sons in St. John'.s College. He con-
tiiuied in the east for six years, after which he went to Paris, where he
spent two years, that his daughter might enjoy the educational advantages
offered in that cit}', and during the periods of vacation they traveled
through Switzerland and to other places on the continent. Mr. Baker has
crossed the water altogether eighteen times and is almost as much at home
on European soil as in his native land.

In 1901 he returned to Kansas City and erected the Netherlands, a
modern apartment building, three stories in height and containing apart-
ments of six rooms each. The lot is two hundred and forty-six by one hun-
dred and forty-two feet. In 1905 he met a demand of the modern city,
erecting the Engadine apartments, which he named after a favorite resort
in Switzerland, and which consists of eleven suites of two rooms each with
bath. He also has other property interests here and from his realty inter-
ests derives a gratifying annual income.

In 1860 Mr. Baker was married, in Seymour, Indiana, to Miss Eliza
Durham, of that state, and they had five children, but Jessie, the eldest, and
Jack, the youngest, are now deceased. The two living sons are Edwin and