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Biography of Louis L. Marcell

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Louis L. Marcell. The discovery of oil and gas and its development in Neosho and the surrounding counties had not only added to the wealth and prosperity of this section of the state but had also brought forward a new type of business man: the oil producer and refiner.

Today one of the leading representatives of the oil industry in the Mid-Continent field is Louis L. Marcell of Chanute, Kansas, who became interested when the business was in its infancy and had been a factor in making it one of the largest industries of the state.

Mr. Marcell was born in Highland, Doniphan County, Kansas. He is the son of Charles Louis and Mattie J. Birchfield Marcell. Though a Kansan by birth, his family had its origin in France. It was from the Canton of Lucerne, Switzerland, that Peter Marcell, the first American ancestor and the great grandfather of Louis L. Marcell came to this country settling in New York City. His son Charles M. Marcell removed from New York to Frankfort, Kentucky, coming to Kansas in 1857 and settling on a farm in Doniphan County. Charles L. Marcell was then ten years of age. At sixteen years of age he enlisted with the National Guards of Kansas toward the close of the Civil war. Mr. Marcell still owned the farm settled by his father. Charles L. Marcell is one of the oldest members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in Kansas.

Louis L. Marcell acquired a good education in the public schools and later attending Campbell University at Holten, Kansas. In 1895 he accepted a position with the Bank of Highland which he retained until 1903. Having become interested in the development of the oil business, he became a pioneer in that industry and removed to Chanute which was then the center of the oil and gas activities. His choice proved an exceptionally fortunate one and speaks much for his foresight and judgment as well as for his faith in the future of the business and his confidence in his own ability. He became manager of three of the largest companies of the field, and after having spent three years in the producing of oil and gas, he early saw the need of refining their own production and placing it directly upon the market. In 1905 there was an overproduction of crude oil and the Standard Oil Company refused to take the oil from the producers, so it became almost necessary for the oil producer to own his own refinery in order to market his own oil.

During the year 1906 The Chanute Refining Company was organized with a capitalization of $50,000, and a refinery was built in Chanute which grew beyond the production of this field and crude oil was shipped from Cushing, Oklahoma, where later they built another refinery with double the capacity of the Chanute plant, this making the Chanute Refining Company one of the largest independent refineries in the Mid-Continent field. Mr. Marcell was manager of this company until the year 1916 when they sold their interests to the Sinclair Refining Company.

Mr. Marcell had large interests as a producer and refiner in both Kansas and Oklahoma, and is recognized as a business man of ability and sound judgment, a man of strong character, honest, ambitious, alert, energetic, decisive, calling into action without delay all the qualities of a resourceful nature, and yet few men in business life display as much consideration for the courtesies and amenities which go far toward establishing just and equitable relations between man and his fellow men.

Mr. Marcell is an independent voter, having taken little part in political affairs. He is a member of the First Presbyterian Church in which he had served for some years as an elder, and had always taken an interest in all matters of a public nature dealing with the welfare and prosperity of the community.

Mr. Marcell was married in 1899 to Miss Virginia Overlander, daughter of G. W. and Sarah E. Overlander of Highland, Kansas. They have one daughter, Miss Genevieve, a student in the Chanute High School.


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