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J. Clark Hicks. When 600 live and progressive business men of such a city as Fort Scott, all members of the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce, choose one of their number as president, the choice is in the nature of one of the highest compliments and honors that could be paid, and is a responsibility which any man would appreciate. Recently the Chamber elected as president Mr. J. Clark Hicks, who is by no means one of the oldest business men of the city, but who by hard work and progressive methods has built up what is appropriately considered one of the largest and most complete exclusive furniture houses in Southeastern Kansas.
Mr. Hicks spent his early life on a farm in Bourbon County. His opportunities he largely made for himself. He began his commercial career in the humble role of a clerk. No hours were too long for him to work, and no problem that arose was too difficult for him to solve. He has made a success by conscientious performance of those duties which lie nearest and which are the important things in the life of any man.
Mr. Hicks was born at Lena in Stephenson County, Illinois, October 13, 1876. His parents Edward L. and Clementine (Weary) Hicks, were also born in the same county and were married there. They lived on a farm until they removed to Bourbon County, Kansas, and here the senior Mr. Hicks has since successfully followed farming. Some years ago he became associated with his son Clark in the furniture business at Fort Scott. He is a stanch republican and he and his wife are members of the Methodist Church. Their children are: Minnie, wife of Louis Gwinn of Kansas City, Missouri; J. Clark; and Edward Bailey Hicks, who is employed in the furniture business of his brother.
J. Clark Hicks gained his early education in the Bourbon County schools and in the old Kansas State Normal. At nineteen he left the farm and found place as a clerk in the furniture store of Requa & Sons at Fort Scott. He remained with that one house, steadily employed and advancing to larger responsibilities, for a period of ten years. During that time he had not only thoroughly learned the furniture business in every detail, but he had also carefully saved something from his earnings, and what was even more important had gained a confidence which established his credit. Then in 1908 he started out in a modest way as a furniture dealer on his own account, and every year since then has seen some increase or enlargement to his business. He has made it practically an exclusive furniture house, and it is now one which would do credit to any larger city. He has a fine location on Main Street, and his store has 15,000 square feet of space devoted to the show and storage of his complete stock. A staff of eight or ten people find employment in this store.
It was this ability to build up a successful business of his own and the spirit of enterprise which has always characterized him that caused his fellow associates in business affairs to elect him president of the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has its headquarters in the newest and most modern office building in Fort Scott, and a paid secretary and stenographer are employed to handle the business of the organization. This Chamber is doing a great deal for the city, and the membership is loyally devoted to the best interests of the community. Mr. Hicks is a member of the republican party, belongs to the Order of Elks and is a member of the Episcopal Church.
On March 3, 1908, at Fort Scott he married Miss Nellie Mitchell, daughter of Charles W. and Mary (Graff) Mitchell. The Mitchell family came to Fort Scott in the early ’60s and were among the pioneers. Charles W. Mitchell for over twenty years has been clerk of the school board of Fort Scott, and has been a leader in all local educational affairs. Mrs. Hicks takes an active part in the Episcopal Church. They are the parents of one child, Marion, born at Fort Scott December 4, 1908.