Biography of Arnold Francis Weeks
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Arnold Francis Weeks. Much of the commercial history and the civic annals of the prosperous little Town of Assaria in Saline County could be told as a commentary upon the life of Mr. Arnold Francis Weeks, the leading merchant and now the mayor of that little city.
In 1907 Mr. Weeks organized the Assaria Hardware Company. He became president and chief executive in the concern, while his brother Joseph was made secretary. In 1913 the two brothers bought all the other interests, and since dissolving the incorporation had conducted it as a partnership and had made it the leading business of its kind in Assaria. The brothers are also interested in the Assaria State Bank and in the Farmers State Bank of Assaria, and in 1914 they promoted and helped to organize the Farmers Elevator. They have recently purchased one third interest in the Bridgeport Flour Mills at Bridgeport, Kansas, and one-eighth interest in a zinc mine near Yellville, Arkansas, which promises to be one of the best mining properties in that section of the country. The main business institutions of the town are practically enumerated in this brief survey of Mr. Week’s activities.
In 1913 Mr. Weeks was elected mayor of Assaria, and had filled that responsible office ever since. Before he was elected mayor he served as city treasurer, and was in that office for four years. As mayor he had had a very creditable administration, and his policy throughout had been one based upon strict enforcement of the law. As a result Assaria is a model town, and is now absolutely free from joints and other places of disorder to the moral well being of the community. Since Mr. Weeks became mayor a fine city hall, a brick building, had been erected, and besides its usefulness as a community center it also stands as a monument to the clean administration of Mayor Weeks, since it occupies a lot formerly the site of one of the joints of the town. In every way Mr. Weeks had been a leader in town improvements. He was one of the leading spirits that brought about the installation of the light plant, and largely through his influence during his term as mayor, a first class fire department was established, and the town had made notable progress along other lines since he became identified with it in a business and civic capacity.
Something more than passing mention should be made of his father, Jonas Weeks, who was one of the early pioneers of McPherson County and one of the most prominent of the Swedish colonists in that section of the state. Jonas Weeks was born in Sweden June 25, 1841, and grew up in limited if not humble cizcumstances. His early ambition was to come to America, but in order to accomplish that purpose he had to borrow money to pay his passage. He made the voyage alone in 1862, and spent the first eight years as a farmer in Illinois.
In 1870 he came out to Kansas, locating on a tract of Government land in McPherson County, Union Township. He was one of the first settlers there. It would be a long story to recount the hardships and the difficulties he experienced during the early years. He lived in a dugout, ate buffalo meat, and frequently came in contact with the hostile Indians who still roamed over the prairies of Western Kansas. In order to tide over his family during the years of suffering on account of crop failures he worked for two years as a blacksmith in the Union Pacific shops at Ellis. With that exception he was a practical farmer in McPherson County. He died at Lindsborg, Kansas, July 8, 1912. He was an active member of the Baptist Church, and belonged to the Ancient Order of United Workmen.
On September 23, 1869, Jonas Weeks married Emma Sophia Palmquist, who was born in Sweden September 9, 1850, a daughter of P. A. Palmquist. In 1858, when she was eight years of age, she came to America with her parents, the sailing vessel on which they embarked being six weeks in the voyage. Mrs. Weeks shared with her husband the hardships and privations of pioneering in Western Kansas. She was a very devout Christian woman, and to her is due much credit for her children’s success. She died at Clay Center in this state March 28, 1910. Jonas Weeks and wife were the parents of five children, three sons and two daughters: Arnold Francis; Anna Sophia, who was born May 1, 1874, and died in 1877; Joseph A., who was born July 5, 1878, and is already mentioned as closely associated with his brother Arnold in business affairs at Assaria; and was married December 28, 1906, to Esther Linquist; Luther C., who was born January 28, 1881, and lives in California, and in 1910 married Mary Mathews, a Kentucky girl; Ellen O., who was born January 16, 1884, and died August 3, 1902.
It was on his father’s farm in McPherson that Arnold Francis Weeks was reared to manhood. He was educated partly in the public schools and after ward took a business course in Bethany College at Lindsborg. In 1888, on leaving school, he spent one year in a gold smelter in Colorado, and then returned to Kansas and was engaged in farming for ten years. After that he spent a year in California, and from there returned to take up the active business life which he had since led at Assaria.
Mr. Weeks is a republican and is a Scottish Rite Mason, belonging to the various bodies of Masonry at Salina.
On October 30, 1915, at Salina, he married Miss Lettie Carroll, a daughter of James and Sarah Carroll, who were natives of Pennsylvania. Mrs. Weeks was born on a farm in Saline County, Kansas, September 5, 1886. She received her education in St. Joseph’s Academy, a Catholic institution at Abilene, Kansas.