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Charles F. Debrunner is local manager of the United Iron Works Company’s plant at Independence. He is a young man, but his business career covers all the years since he was about fifteen or sixteen, and had been identified almost entirely with one line of manufacturing. He is one of the live and enterprising young men who have been attracted to this important industrial center in Southern Kansas, and had made his influence felt in its business and civic circles.
He was born at Billings, Christian County, Missouri, May 16, 1882. His father, Frederick DeBrunner, was born in 1839 in Switzerland. The grandfather, who was of French descent, spent his life as a farmer in Switzerland. Frederick DeBrunner came to this country when a young man, lived and worked for two years in Chicago, and then returned to Switzerland where he married Mary Werder, who was born in that country in 1842 and is now living at Billings, Missouri. He brought his bride to America and for ten years was in the grocery business at Sigourney, Iowa. In 1879 he removed to Billings, Missouri, and remained an active merchant there until his death in 1906. While at Billings he served as city clerk for ten years, was an active democrat, and was a member of the German Evangelical Church, in which he seryed as deacon several years. He was also affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. The children were: Ida, wife of Henry Scholz, a retired farmer at Billings, Missouri; Clara, who lives at Billings, the widow of Ward Combs, who was principal of schools; Bertha, wife of Dr. D. F. Hedgpeth, a physician and surgeon at Ozark, Missouri; Charles F.; Anna, wife of Summerfield Jones, Jr., a real estate man at Billings.
Charles F. DeBrunner acquired his early education in the public schools of Billings, Missouri, and in 1897 completed a course in the Southwestern Business College at Springfield. Thus prepared for his first adventure into commercial life, he found employment for one year as a stenographer with the Crescent Iron Works at Springfield. Next he was two years chief clerk to the general superintendent of the Kansas and Texas Coal Company, was then transferred to the Cherokee Lanyon Smelter Company, which he served as assistant cashier a year and a half. He then joined the United Iron Works Company of Springfield, Missouri, was employed as bookkeeper nine months, and in 1905 became cashier of the plant at Iola, Kansas. Two years later in 1907 he was sent to Independence as local manager of the company’s plant in this city.
The United Iron Works is a Springfield, Missouri, corporation, and the principal officers are: C. H. Cole, president; H. T. Hornsby, vice president; T. R. Stokes, secretary; A. C. Daily, treasurer; all of whom reside at Springfield. The company operates eight plants, two at Springfield, and one each at Aurora, Missouri, Joplin, Missouri, Iola, Kansas, Pittsburgh, Kansas, Independence, Kansas, and Okmulgee, Oklahoma. The plant at Independence was built in 1907, and is situated at the corner of Twenty-first and Maple streets near the Missouri Pacific Railroad tracks. This local plant employs thirty-five men, and its output of smelter, cement, brick and oil well equipment is sold in the two states of Kansas and Oklahoma.
Mr. DeBrunner is a republican, a member of the German Evangelical Church, takes an active part in the Country, Commercial and Rotary clubs of Independence, and is affiliated with Fortitude Lodge No. 107, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Lodge No. 780, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and Lodge No. 45 of the United Commercial Travelers, all at Independence. Besides his business connection as local manager of the Iron Works at Independence he is a partner in the Independence Mining & Milling Company at Joplin, Missouri.
Mr. DeBrunner was married in 1903 at Springfield, Missouri, to Helen May Veirs, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. N. Veirs, of Springfield, Missouri, where her father is in the real estate business. Mr. and Mrs. DeBrunner have one son, Daniel Duane, who was born March 2, 1906, and is in the public schools of Independence.