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Arthur Devore is one of the able merchants of Southern Kansas. For a quarter of a century he has been manager of the Ulmer Furniture Company at Independence, one of the largest furniture and general household supply houses in the state. While his exceptional ability has gone into the making of this large establishment, he has not withheld his influence and work from any local affairs of importance, and is regarded as one of Independence’s most progressive and public spirited men.
He has spent most of his life in Kansas, but was born at Wapakoneta, Ohio, April 23, 1862. His ancestors were French people, Huguenots, and during the persecution of that sect were expelled from France and settled in Maryland. His Grandfather Arthur DeVore was born in Pennsylvania, and went to Ohio as a pioneer, living on a farm in that state until his death. B. F. DeVore, father of the Independence merchant, was born in Pennsylvania in 1828. He was a pioneer of Independence, Kansas, having moved to that frontier town in 1870. He was reared in Pennsylvania, studied law at Cincinnati, was admitted to the bar, and was married at Wapakoneta, Ohio, where he practiced for a number of years. Later he moved to Hartford City, Indiana, and after coming to Independence was engaged in the mercantile business and later as a democrat was appointed postmaster, serving during Cleveland’s administration. He was one of the most popular men in this section of the state. Evidence of this is found in the fact that at one time he was elected a member of the Legislature. His rival for that office was Hon. L. U. Humphrey, who later became governor of Kansas. He was elected over Mr. Humphrey in a county normally republican. He was also a past noble grand of Independence Lodge, No. 69, Independent Order Odd Fellows, and was identified with both the Encampment and Rebekah degrees of that order. His death occurred in Independence February 15, 1908, and such was his career that he is still held in grateful memory by local citizens. B. F. DeVore married Sarah J. Craig, who was born in Ohio in 1838 and is still living in Independence. Her children are: Arthur; Bessie, who resides at Colorado Springs, Colorado, the widow of Thomas A. May, who was in the railroad service; Frank M., cashier and credit man for the Ulmer Furniture Company at Independence.
Arthur DeVore was eight years old when his father moved to Independence, and he acquired his education in the local schools. When about sixteen he left school to take up a business career, and has applied his energies continuously to the line of merchandising. In 1888 he was made manager of the Ulmer Furniture Company, which had been established by the late Mr. Samuel H. Ulmer in 1870. It was the pioneer store of the kind in Independence, and has had a record of forty-seven years’ successful merchandising. The store is one of the landmarks in the shopping center of Independence, located at 212-216 North Penn Avenue. Its stock comprises furniture, carpets, pianos, talking machines, and its trade is by no means limited to the city or the county but extends in a radius of a hundred miles about Independence, and many customers even live in Oklahoma and western Kansas.
Mr. DeVore in politics maintains an independent attitude. He is affiliated with Fortitude Lodge, No. 107, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Keystone Chapter, No. 22, Royal Arch Masons, Lodge No. 69, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and is a charter member and was one of the first officers of Lodge No. 780, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He is also affiliated with Camp No. 649, Modern Woodmen of America at Independence. As a business man he has been closely identified with business organizations at Independence for many years. He belongs to the Commercial Club, and an honor of which he is properly proud is that he is a charter member and a director of the Rotary Club. He assisted materially in developing the extensive business of the Independence Building and Loan Association, of which he is still a member, and at one time was its president.
In 1885 at Independence Mr. DeVore married Miss Carrie Ulmer. Her father was the late Samuel H. Ulmer, founder of the Ulmer Furniture Company, and one of the pioneer merchants of Kansas. He died in 1888. He was in Kansas during the early days of the Civil war and a member of the Kansas Home Guard. During the war while making a business trip to Lawrence he was seized and barely escaped hanging on the ground that he was a member of the Quantrell band of raiders. That was a little after Quantrell had made his famous raid on Lawrence. He was identified by an acquaintance, who proved that not only he was unconnected with the gang of outlaws but was one of the vigilant defenders of Kansas as a member of the Volunteer Infantry. Later he was active in Grand Army circles. Mr. and Mrs. DeVore have one child, Hubert, who was born at Independence August 30, 1889, was educated in the high school, and is now in the Ulmer Furniture Company’s store.