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James F. Blackledge. Protective laws are passed in every state that seemingly assure the safety of all money that may be deposited either by the laborer or the capitalist in a bank, and still permit enough latitude in the bank’s policy to make the business profitable. On the president of the concern rests the responsibility and thus, at the head of financial institutions of solidity are usually placed men of business experience and known integrity, of sterling character and conservative habit. It reflects credit on Coffeyville, Kansas, that just such a man is president of the Caney Valley National Bank, James F. Blackledge.
James F. Blackledge was born October 29, 1869, at Rockville, Parke County, Indiana, and is a son of William and Phebe (Johns) Blackledge. William Blackledge was born in 1829 in Columbiana County, Ohio, and died in 1913 at Caney, Kansas. He grew up in Columbiana County and worked as a builder and contractor, removing to Rockville, Indiana, prior to the opening of the Civil war. In 1861 he enlisted for service in the same, in an infantry regiment, and continued his soldierly duties until the close of the war when he returned to Indiana. He had survived the many dangers to which he had been exposed but he found business conditions disturbed in his old home and in 1876 removed to Peoria, Illinois. In 1878 he came to Kansas and located at Oswego, subsequently, as his business demanded, living at different places, going to Salina then back to Oswego, then to Carthage, Missouri and to Kansas City, in 1896 settling permanently at Caney, Kansas. In politics he was a republican. He belonged to the Masons and was a member of the Rockville Lodge. He and wife were members of the Presbyterian Church and brought their six children up honest and industrious and gave them every advantage their means would allow.
William Blackledge was married to Phebe Johns, who was born in 1832 in Columbiana County, Ohio, and died at Caney, Kansas, in 1909. The following children were born to them: Nettie, who is the wife of G. Torbert, a retired farmer and vice president of a bank at Altamont, Kansas; Seward, who owns a farm near Chetopa, Kansas, for the past five years has been building mills in Old Mexico; Elmer E., who travels over the country as his trade of millwright demands; Mary E., who is the wife of J. F. Johnson, a schoolteacher at Altamont, Kansas; Sallie F., who is the wife of A. L. Utterback, who terminated two terms as postmaster of Caney in 1916, is an employe as metal weigher for the American Zinc, Lead and Smelting Company; and James F.
James F. Blackledge attended the public schools of Oswego, Kansas, and then took a commercial course in a business college at Salina. From 1888 until 1893 he was a United States railway official between Fort Scott and Webb City. On May 10, 1893, he came to Caney, Kansas, and became bookkeeper for the Caney Valley Bank. Two months later he was made cashier of the institution and in 1914 he was chosen its president.
The Caney Valley National Bank was established as a state bank in 1886, with a capital of $10,000. Its founders were: Thomas G. Ayres, Joseph Savage, George Slosson and P. S. Hollingsworth, all Coffeyville capitalists. The bank became nationalized in 1900 and its present officers are: James F. Blackledge, president; Charles Owen, vice president; H. V. Balcom, cashier, and R. L. De Hon assistant cashier.
The bank is in a very prosperous condition, with a capital and surplus of $70,000, all made out of the original capital. The bank building is situated on the corner of Fourth and State streets and the bank owns the entire business block which includes the postoffice.
At Independence, Kansas, February 19, 1891, Mr. Blackledge was united in marriage with Miss Martha H. Allen, daughter of the late E. P. Allen of that place. Mr. and Mrs. Blackledge have had four children: Ralph P., who died at the age of thirteen years; Pauline B., who is the wife of Dr. B. E. Fellis, of Chicago; Gwynn E., who is agent for the Studebaker Automobile Company, at Caney, Kansas; and Mercedes, who is bookkeeper for the Caney Valley National Bank. The elder daughter of Mr. Blackledge, Mrs. Fellis, is a graduate of the Columbia School, Chicago, and for two years was with the Redpath Circuit.
In politics Mr. Blackledge has always been a stanch republican, never wavering in his allegiance to party. On numerous occasions he has been called on to serve in public office and capacities and his whole course in reference to every duty has been honorable and efficient. He is treasurer of the board of education of Coffeyville, has served on the city council and as treasurer and for five years was a member of the school board. He has long been identified with standard fraternities and belongs to Caney Lodge No. 324 Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, No. 1215, and the Fraternal Order of Eagles, No. 1,000, both at Caney.
The Blackledges are of Welsh, Scotch and Irish extraction but they have been Americans for a very long period, having settled in Pennsylvania prior to the Revolutionary war and participating in it. Both Mr. Blackledge and wife are eligible to membership in the exclusive societies of Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution.