Biography of Paul E. Havens

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Paul E. Havens. The late Paul E. Havens, one of the pioneers of Leavenworth, and whose name is closely interwoven with the material growth and prosperity of the city, was a man of unusual force of character. He was born at Ephratah, Fulton County, New York, May 4, 1839, and was a son of C. D. P. and Eleanor (Frey) Havens, a grandson of Paul and Anne (Kennedy) Havens, and a great-grandson of Daniel and Elizabeth (Bostwick) Havens.

The progenitor of this family in America was William Havens, a native of Wales, who located at Portsmouth, Rhode Island, in 1636. Daniel Havens was a sea captain and died at Sag Harbor, New York, when still a young man. Anne (Kennedy) Havens was a daughter of Robert Kennedy, who served the Colonies during their struggle for independence, and Eleanor (Frey) Havens was a daughter of Philip R. Frey, whose people came to this country from Switzerland during Colonial days.

Paul E. Havens was left fatherless when eight years old, and when fourteen became a clerk in a store at Elmira, New York. He had an abundance of vitality and ambition, and with these as his chief assets started for the West in 1856, in which year he located at Davenport, Iowa. In 1858 Kansas was “away out west,” but it had become widely advertised by reason of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, the Kansas-Nebraska bill discussions in Congress, and the bitter struggle for supremacy between the Free-Soil and Pro-Slavery factions in the territory. Also, Eugene Havens, as elder brother, was a lawyer at Leavenworth, and all of these causes had something to do with attracting to Leavenworth Paul E. Havens, then a young man of nineteen years of age. He had been here but a short time when he was appointed deputy clerk for the court in Jefferson County, under Hon. Samuel D. Lecompte, who was then chief justice of the Supreme Court of the territory, as well as judge of the First Judicial District. Upon the adoption of the state constitution, Mr. Havens was elected clerk of the District Court for Jefferson County, and at the ensuing general election was elected to succeed himself in this office. In 1861 he was elected to represent Shawnee, Jefferson and Jackson counties in the lower house of the State Legislature. It is thus seen that Mr. Havens bore a conspicuous part at an extremely youthful age in the birth of Kansas as a State of the Union. In 1863 he moved permanently to Leavenworth, and for a number of years carried on a profitable insurance business. In 1868 he began his banking career at Leavenworth as a member of the firm of Newman & Havens, and in 1872 was one of the projectors of the Kansas Central Railway, an enterprise inaugurated by local capital to construct a railroad to Denver. Mr. Havens served as a director and as secretary and treasurer of the company until the road was sold to Jay Gould in 1883. He was also interested in the construction of a railroad between Leavenworth and Atchison, now a part of the Missouri Pacific system. Prior to this, in 1876, associated with his brother, A. B. Havens, he had embarked in the milling business, but in March, 1882, their property was destroyed by fire. When the Leavenworth National Bank was organized, in 1883, Mr. Havens was one of the original incorporators and was its first president. It was due to his practical experience and keen business acumen that the bank became a success and a power for the financial good of the community. He was one of the most active and public-spirited men of Leavenworth, and many other of the city’s enterprises were benefited by his advice, leadership and material aid. Among these were the Leavenworth Light and Heating Company and the Fort Leavenworth Water Company. Mr. Havens was a republican in politics, but the latter part of his life was too filled with business responsibilities and cares for him to do much more than to exercise his right of franchise as a citizen by voting.

To the marriage of Mr. Havens and Miss Matilda Moore, of Wooster, Ohio, solemnized December 18, 1860, two daughters were born: Eleanor and Elizabeth, the latter the wife of Hon. Daniel R. Anthony, of Leavenworth, a member of Congress from Kansas. Mr. Havens died May 6, 1913. In his private life he was the ideal citizen. He was a great lover of music, and in his earlier years played the violin; he delighted in art and made some beautiful pen and ink sketches which are treasured by his daughter. His home life was different from the one known to the public. By many of his associates he was considered reserved. In his home life he was husband and father in the nearer and more intimate sense. Returning from his business, he would throw cares and business worries aside, and, donning his smoking jacket, and with his pipe and a well stocked library surrounding him, with his loved ones at his side, his innermost character was best seen and appreciated.




MLA Source Citation:

Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 18 April 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/kansas/biography-of-paul-e-havens.htm - Last updated on Jan 14th, 2012

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