Frank A. Bardwell. A large majority of the men who are engaged in working the oil fields of Kansas have been devoting their energies to this line of work all of their lives, whether as employes, employers, contractors, drillers or producers. They have had the experience from early youth and it is but natural that they should meet with success in their undertakings granted that opportunities are the same. But there is another class among the men who are making this one of the great industries, this being formed of the men who had their training in other fields of business endeavor, and who have had their own problems to work out and their commercial battles to fight with men who by reason of their experience were better equipped. In the cases where these men have won, their success is more than creditable. In the latter class of Kansas producers is found Frank A. Bardwell, of Chanute, whose uniformly successful career had invaded various avenues of business life.
Mr. Bardwell was born at Ottawa, the county seat of LaSalle County, Illinois, August 11, 1870, and is a son of A. G. and Mary (Drake) Bardwell, and is of English descent, the family having come to America from England previous to the American Revolution and settled in New York. His grandfather was a native of Pennsylvania, who carried on the lumber business throughout his life and died in the Keystone State prior to the birth of his grandson. A. G. Bardwell was born at Tunkhannock, the county seat of Wyoming County, Pennsylvania, in 1833, and was reared in his native state. As a young man he sought his fortune in the West, locating at Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois, where he interested himself in farming. While there the Civil war came on and he enlisted in the One Hundred and Fourth Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, with which he served for three years, and established a fine record for courage and faithful discharge of duty. He took part in numerous skirmishes, was with his regiment in all its long and wearisome marches, and participated in the great battles of Shiloh, Lookout Mountain, Bull Bun, Chickamauga and Cold Harbor, many smaller engagements, and the siege of Vicksburg. At the close of the war he received his honorable discharge and returned to Illinois, where he resumed his activities as a farmer and also engaged in buying and selling livestock. In 1881, on coming to Kansas, he located at Humboldt, in the same line of business, and later went to Erie, where he was also a stock dealer. After several years at the latter point, he retired from active business affairs and removed to Chanute, where he now lives in retirement. Mr. Bardwell is now eighty-three years of age, but is still in good health and spirits and slive to all the important public questions of the day. He is a “standpat” republican, belongs to the Masons and the Grand Army of the Republic, and is a faithful member of the Presbyterian Church, in which he had served as an elder. During the active years of his career he was industrious and energetic, so that now, in the evening of life, he is able to enjoy the comforts that belong only to those whose careers have been characterized by hard, well-directed work. Mr. Bardwell married Miss Mary Drake, who was born in 1834, in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, and died at Thayer, Kansas, in 1911. To this union there have been born five children, namely: Mary, who is the wife of R. B. McCutchan, an attorney of Longton, Kansas; Charles H, an oil operator of Chanute; Cora, who died at Chanute, in April, 1914, as the wife of O. L. Holley, a traveling salesman with headquarters at Parsons, Kansas; Dora, twin of Cora, who is the wife of A. G. Liddle, an oil operator of Independence, Kansas; and Frank A.
Frank A. Bardwell was given good opportunities for a thorough educational training in his youth, being sent to the graded public school of Ottawa, Illinois, and Humbolt, Kansas, and the country schools of Neosho County. He then went to Baker University, where he completed the junior year’s course, but left the college in 1892 to enter upon his business career. This was commenced at Savonsburg, Kansas, where for six years he was cashier of a bank, and in 1898 he embarked in the stock business at Longton, Elk County, where he remained until 1906. After two years he realized the opportunities extended by the oil business, and made his initial venture in the Independence community, where he remained for three years, although in the meantime he also gained some experience in the Oklahoma fields. He next spent two years at Paola, and in 1914 came to Chanute, not long after which he disposed of his Paola holdings. He is now a producer in the Augusta, Butler County, fields, and is opening up a new territory. During the time Mr. Bardwell had been connected with the business, he had learned all of its branches thoroughly, and may be accounted a thoroughly qualified man in any angle of the industry. He had made many friendships in the fields, and had established an enviable reputation for integrity and square dealing. In addition to his own residence at No. 221 West Elm Street, he owned a dwelling at No. 108 North Garfield Avenue, and 320 acres of land in Colorado. Politically he is a republican, his religious faith being that of the Presbyterian Church, of which he is a generous supporter, while his fraternal affiliations are with the Masons and the Odd Fellows, the latter being with Hector Lodge No. 64.
Mr. Bardwell was married in 1896, at Erio, Kansas, to Miss Ida Farrell, daughter of J. W. and Jennie (Chase) Farrell, the former of whom is a retired farmer of Manhattan, Kansas, and the latter is deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Bardwell are the parents of one son: Charles A., who was born September 30, 1906.