Frederick W. Freeman, president of the Merchants National Bank of Topeka, is one of the many successful business men who served their earlier apprenticeship with the Santa Fe Railroad. However, in the case of Mr. Freeman, he left railroading before he was twenty years of age and from a clerical position in a Topeka bank rose by successive promotion until he is now head of one of the large and important banks of the state.
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A resident of Topeka since early boyhood, Frederick W. Freeman was born in the Town of Danville, Alabama, May 26, 1864. His father, Zenas F. Freeman, was a northern man by birth, graduated from Granville College in Ohio, but after removing to the South in 1857 identified himself heart and soul and during the war between the states served as captain in the Confederate army. He was an educator by profession, and for a number of years conducted academies at Somerville, Moulton and Danville, Alabama, where he died in 1872.
Two years after his death his widow and her children, Virgil J., Mary Lillie, Zena M. and Frederick W. removed to Topeka, and that city had been the family home since March, 1874.
Frederick W. Freeman was ten years of age when brought to Kansas and he completed his education in the public schools of Topeka and also attended for a time Ottawa University. While still a comparatively young man, he had been in close touch with business activities for more than thirty-five years. At the age of fifteen he was employed as office boy for William B. Strong, who was then general manager of the Santa. Fe Railway Company. He worked for Mr. Strong part of one year, and in the spring of 1883 he went out to Las Vegas, New Mexico, with the material department of the Santa Fe under Frank M. Smith, purchasing agent of the road.
On returning to Topeka January 1, 1884, Mr. Freeman became bookkeeper for the National Loan & Trust Company. On August 1, 1884, he entered the Bank of Topeka as assistant collector, was made bookkeeper and teller, and afterwards he served as assistant cashier until May, 1897.
October 1, 1898, he was elected assistant cashier of the Merchants National Bank of Topeka, and had been with that bank for eighteen years, first as cashier, then as vice president, and since 1911 as president.
Mr. Freeman had been a member of the First Baptist Church of Topeka since 1875. He had attained thirty-two degrees in Scottish Rite Masonry and is a member of the Mystic Shrine. Politically he is a democrat. On October 18, 1887, he married Miss Grace M. Waugh, who is a native of Kansas.