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Biography of Richard Watson Argue

Richard Watson Argue, who died April 24, 1916, was very well and prominently known in the oil industry of the Mid-Continent field, lived at Independence a number of years, and Mrs. Argue, his widow, is still a resident there and had proved her resourcefulness as a business woman in looking after the extensive properties left by Mr. Argue at the time of his death. He was born near Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, March 1, 1845, a son of John Wilson Argue, who was born in County Cavan, Ireland, went to America early in life, and followed farming in Canada. He died on his farm near Ottawa. Reared in Canada, gaining his education in the public schools, Richard W. Argue spent the first twenty-one years of his life at home, and then took up the oil business at Titusville, Pennsylvania. He followed the oil fields, with all the ups and downs and fortunes and vicissitudes of that industry through Pennsylvania, operating in Titusville, Crawford County, Clarion County, and McKean County, and later established himself at Buffalo, New York, becoming an extensive operator in the gas fields in West Seneca. From Buffalo in 1897 he extended his activities into Wood and Allen counties, Ohio, and became a very prominent business man of Lima. In 1963 Mr. Argue came to Kansas, locating in Independence, and thereafter was an oil producer both in Kansas and Oklahoma. He had extensive interests in the Bolton pool in Kansas, the Glenn pool in Oklahoma, and in the oil fields near Ochleta, Oklahoma. Since his death Mrs. Argue had looked after the productions in the oil properties in...

Biography of S. Allen Brown

S. Allen Brown. During the last forty years S. Allen Brown had busied himself with the handling of many important business interests at Independence. He is a son of the late William R. Brown, who was one of the pioneers of Montgomery County, and both father and son were closely associated in many of their business undertakings. One of the most attractive homesteads in Independence is owned and occupied by S. Allen Brown as his residence. It comprises a fine house at 515 North Second Street surrounded with fourteen acres of ground. In effect it is a piece of the country set down in the midst of a busy city. While Mr. Brown had some of the land in garden and had pasturage for his own cow, he had always taken a great deal of care in preserving and improving the grounds according to his tastes as a landseape gardener. The many trees are a notable feature of the place. There are three different kinds of oaks, and also a number of elms, hickory, pecan, walnut, besides some imported ornamental trees and a great deal of shrubbery. Because of these features it is one of the attractive spots for the wild birds in their migrations during the spring and fall, and Mr. Brown takes a great deal of pleasure in retaining all this combination of nature with the art and advantages of city life. Besides his home Mr. Brown owned a number of other improved properties in Independence, which he rents. He was born in Meigs County, Ohio, July 26, 1851. His paternal ancestors came from England to Pennsylvania...

Biography of Andrew Benson

Andrew Benson has had a long and varied experience in the oil fields of both the East and West, and for a number of years had been established at Independence, from which city as headquarters he had operated extensively in the oil and gas districts of Southern Kansas and Oklahoma. Born March 5, 1864, in Warberg, Sweden, he was six years of age when his parents came to the United States in 1870 and settled in Jamestown, New York. He grew up there on a farm, received a fair amount of schooling, and in 1883, at the age of nineteen, went to Bradford, Pennsylvania. In the meantime he had received some experience while employed in a furniture factory at Jamestown, New York. At Bradford he became identified with the oil business, and for many years was connected with the Oil Well Supply Company of that city. In 1898 the company sent him to the West Virginia oil fields. In 1903, with his family, he removed to Independence, Kansas, where he had since operated extensively as an oil and gas man. He occupies a suite of offices in the Booth Building and had acquired some valuable properties, including his fine residence at 409 North Ninth Street, other residence buildings, and some unimproved property. Mr. Benson is president of the Benson Oil & Gas Company, and of the State Line Oil and Gas Company. In politics he is a progressive, is a member of the Presbyterian Church, belongs to Union Lodge No. 334, Free and Accepted Masons, at Bradford; to Lodge No, 780, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, at Independence,...

Biography of William C. Sewell

William C. Sewell. While Montgomery County had contributed many millions to the wealth of the world through its oil and gas fields, it is primarily and essentially an agricultural county, and many of its more substantial citizens laid the basis of their prosperity as farmers. One of these is William C. Sewell, who is now living at Independence, and since retiring from the farm had busied himself with the management of a number of property interests. In his period of residence in Montgomery County practically every development of importance had occurred since the Indians left this section of Kansas. Mr. Sewell was born in Overton County, Tennessee, June 11, 1854, a son of J. G. and Catherine Maybury Sewell. His grandfather came from North Carolina to Tennessee, and the family record is one of praiseworthy participation in pioneer life and in all the relationships which come to upright and honorable men. When William C. Sewell was seventeen years of age he was one of the family group which crossed the country in a prairie schooner and arrived at Independence, Kansas, on the 14th of July, 1871. In the meantime he had attended the public schools of Overton County, Tennessee, and was equipped to take up real life when he arrived in this pioneer section of Kansas. A few days after reaching Independence his father moved to a homestead about twelve miles from Independence, and during the next five years William C. Sewell worked at home and completed his education in the local schools. Since he was twenty-two he had been an independent farmer and business man. Starting with a...

Biography of William Hasselmann

William Hasselmann is an expert florist. He learned the business in all its details and all its phases in Germany, and had had experience in some of the greatest flower growing centers in the world. Some years ago he located at Independence, Kansas, and is now proprietor of the leading greenhouses of that city and his business had grown so rapidly that it is constantly demanding more room and greater facillties for the better handling of a custom that now extends far beyond the borders of his home city. His full name is William Dietrich Hasselmann. He was born at Harpstedt, Germany, August 22, 1881. His older brother, Henry, is now serving in the German Imperial Army in the great European war, and had previous to that conducted the father’s business, was also a dealer and shipper in hogs and handled insurance Mr. Hasselmann’s sister, Johanna, is the wife of Julius Behrens, a newspaper reporter at Bremerhaven, Germany. The younger brother, John, was killed in the early part of the war while in front of Verdun at the age of twenty-six. The father of these children, John Hasselmann, was born neer Harpstedt, Germany, in 1845, and is still living there. He is a retail merebant and hotel proprietor. He spent three years, from 1870 to 1873, in the German army and was in the Franco-Prussian war. He married Katrine Siemen, who was born in Oldenburg, Germany, in 1845. William Hasselmann was well educated, and he also had a fluent command of the English language. He attended the public schools in his native town and also a private agricultural college,...

Biography of James G. Adam

James G. Adam has performed and is performing a most important work as secretary of the Independence Commercial Association. He is himself a man of wide experience in business affairs, and had the progressivenass, energy and enterprise which are unusual qualiflecations for his present position. The Commercial Association is an organization of local citizens whose principal object is to promote the growth and solid welfare of the city. The club is now in a flourishing condition with 210 names on its membership roll. Mr. Adam as secretary was primarily instrumental in securing for Independence the National Sash and Door Company, who took over the old glass plant of the city. They still conduct the glass plant for glasing the glass doors and windows, but the operation of the glass works is confined, as is usual with glass plants during the colder part of the year from October to May. The company gets its wood supplies from the North and West in car lots. This is one of the best industrial plants of Independence, employing 250 men the year around. Mr. Adams was also the Commercial Club’s leader in persuading the Prairie Oil and Gas Company to establish its principal headquarters at Independence. This company had recently completed the second largest office building in the state, and most of the executive officers of the company have bought property and have built themselves homes in Independence, and the same is true of many of the employes. These two cases are cited as examples of the constructive work which the Commercial Club, with Mr. Adam as secretary, is doing to increase the...

Biography of Owen A. Thompson

Owen A. Thompson of Independence represents one of the pioneer families of Kansas and had had an eventful career in nearly all parts of the world. Beturning to his native state a few years ago, he exercised his original mind in inventing a machins now extensively used in all the oil districts of the country, and had since applied himself to the management of the manufacturing plant known as the Safety Pulling Machine Company at Independence, of which he is secretary and treasurer. His grandfather, James A. Thompson, was descended from Scotch ancestors who came from Ayr, Scotland, to New Jersey about 1774. The original ancestor came over as a British soldier but his sympathies were all with the colonists, who soon afterwards engaged in the struggle for independence. James A. Thompson was born in 1831 at Morristown, New Jersey, and came out to Kansas in 1869, taking up a homestead and following farming until his death at Liberty, Kansas, in 1890. It was at Liberty, Kansas, that Owen A. Thompson was born July 27, 1885. His father was Ransom G. Thompson and he was born near Elgin, Illinois, in 1864. He had spent his active career as a farmer and stock man and in 1888 left Kansas and moved to Cook, Nebraska, where he was among the early settlers. He is still living there. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Modern Woodmen of America and politically is aligned with the socialist party. Ransom G. Thompson married Viola Kelsey, who was born at Elgin, Illinois, in 1868. The only child of his parents, Owen A....

Biography of E. Clate Fair

E. Clate Fair. As a young man of seventeen years Mr. Fair accompanied his parents on their removal from Ohio to Kansas, in 1884, and here he had been closely and successfully concerned with the retail drug business during the long intervening period of more than thirty years. In 1904 he opened his present handsomely appointed and well equipped drug store at 211 North Pennsylvania Avenue in the thriving little City of Independence, the judicial center of Montgomery County, and his establishment is one of the leading prescription pharmacies in the county, with a substantial and representative patronage. He had not been imbued with ambition for political preferment of any kind, but is a supporter of the cause of the republican party and had identified himself fully and loyally with the civic and business interests of Independence. The genealogy of the Fair family traces back to sterling English origin, and the first representatives in America settled in Pennsylvania’ prior to the war of the revolution. E. Clate Fair was born at Millersburg, Holmes County, Ohio, on the 27th of March, 1867, and is a son of Elfjah Weaver Fair and Rachel (Shunk) Fair, the former of whom was born at Farmerstown, Holmes County, Ohio, in 1838, and the latter of whom was born at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, March 20, 1838. The father died at Cherryvale, Montgomery County, Kansas, on the 19th of November, 1914, and there his widow still maintains her home. Elijah W. Fair came with his family to Kansas in July, 1884, and for the first three months he worked at his trade, that of blacksmith, at Emporia....

Biography of Charles Daniel Ise

Charles Daniel Ise, a prominent lawyer and now county attorney of Montgomery County, had an individual record worthy of mention in this history of Kansas, and also represents a family which have many claims to distinction, some of them gained in this state, and others back in the Germen fatherland where the ancestors for generations were of the nobility. In Germany the name was spelled Eisenmenger. The family seat for generations had been in the Kingdom of Wnerternberg, and they had been members of the noble classes in that kingdom from the fourteenth century. One of the family was hero of the book known as “The Man of the Iron Hand.” The grandfather of the Independence attorney was Christopher Eisenmenger, who, in the decade of the ’40s, was considered the richest citizen of the Kingdom of Wuertemberg, owning controlling interests in every brick and tile manufacturing establishment in that country. He participated in all the wars of Germany in his time, and it is said that his father was slain in the battle of Waterloo. Christopher Eisenmenger was a very progressive man and advocated and to some degree brought about reform far in advance of his time. Partly for this and also for religious reasons he fell into the disfavor of the ruling house of Hohenzollern, and all his property was confiscated and he was left practically bankrupt when Henry Ise, father of Charles D., was sixteen years of age. Christopher Eisenmenger had seven children, one of whom died in Germany. After the family became bankrupt, three of them came to America: Henry; John, who was a Baptist minister...

Biography of Chester Stevens

Chester Stevens, representing a pioneer family in Montgomery County, had been an active factor in local affairs and in the legal profession for the past ten years. He is now serving as county auditor, and also enjoys some influential and profitable connections as a lawyer with offices in Independence. Some of his ancestors fought in the American Revolution, and the Stevens family came from England and settled in New York in colonial times. His grandfather, Chauncey Stevens, was born in New York, and went as a pioneer to the State of Indiana, where he followed farming until his death. Chester Stevens was born in Montgomery County, Kansas, September 15, 1882. His father, R. E. Stevens, came to Montgomery County, Kansas, in 1870. At that time the Town of Independence had hardly been started, and he was closely associated with much of the early life of this then frontier county. For about twelve years he engaged in the freighting business, before railroads were built, from Montgomery County to Fort Scott and Sedan. He spent his last years on a farm near Elk City, and his farm of eighty acres is still owned by his widow. He was born in the State of Indiana not far from Hamilton, Ohio, grew up in Indiana, but was married across the line in Ohio. He died at Elk City, Kansas, April 10, 1885. He was a republican and an active member of the Methodist Church. The maiden name of his wife was Margaret Blackford, who was born in Butler County, Ohio, in 1844, and since July 16, 1903, she had lived in Elk City....
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