Charles Clifford Mack, who so capably represented Harvey County in the State Legislature during the session of 1917, is a prominent business man of Newton, proprietor of the Mack Mortgage and Loan Company of that city.
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Mr. Mack is a comparatively young man, not yet forty years of age, and his record is especially interesting because of the success he had made from nothing except the sources and talents contained in his own energetic nature.
Mr. Mack was born July 5, 1878, and his birth-place was the backwoods community of Southern Indiana, at the Town of Rising Sun. His father, Christian Mack, was born in Baden, Germany, in 1837 and in 1852 accompanied a brother and four sisters to the United States, their first location being in the vicinity of Cincinnati. His only brother, August, afterwards moved to Kingston, Missouri, and lived there for fifty years as a harness maker and his son Edward succeeded and is still running the harness shop. Christian Mack went from Cincinnati to Rising Sun, Indiana, was married there and took up the trade of harness maker, which he followed until his death in October, 1878, only a few weeks after his son, Charles C., was born. During the Civil war he had been employed in a Government harness shop at Cincinnati. In politics he was a republican and was a very devout and faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He also belonged to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Christian Mack married Lena Kurr, who was born in Ohio County in Southern Indiana in 1844. She died at Hesston, Kansas, in 1891. All of their three sons are now well known men of Harvey County, Kansas. John C., the oldest, is proprietor of the Evening Kansas-Republican at Newton. George A. is a farmer five miles northeast of Newton, and the youngest is Charles C.
Charles Clifford Mack lived in his home Town of Rising Sun until he was nine years of age. During that time he learned his first lessons in the public schools. His widowed mother then brought her children out to Hesston, Kansas, and in that community he attended the rural schools and also the public schools. For six years he was a student at Hesston while his older brother, John C., was a teacher there, and when John became connected with the public schools of Newton Charles followed him to that city and continued his studies in the eighth grade. In 1896 he graduated from the Newton High School, and since then he had been diligently working out his own salvation. After leaving high school Mr. Mack was employed in the local postoffice until 1898. Following that for eight years he was a clerk in the division offices at Newton of the Santa Fe Railway Company.
His ambition did not allow him to be satisfied with continued routine performance in a clerical position, and while he had no capital he had vision and recognition of opportunity, and with these as his principal assets he organized The Hanlin Supply Company at Newton, Mr. Hanlin financing the concern. A contract was secured with the Santa Fe Railroad Company for furnishing Mexican labor for all its lines east of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Besides acting as labor agent the company had as a compensatory privilege furnishing the commissary for this labor. Mr. Mack was connected with this business until 1912. It is no exaggeration to say that his start was “with a shoe string,” but he built up the business to a corporation capitalized at $100,000. In 1912 he sold his interests to S. A. Hanlin.
In the meantime Mr. Mack had become half owner in the Kansas Printing Company at Newton, and he still owned that interest. In 1912 his brother was serving as postmaster of Newton and to supply his place on the newspaper Charles Mack took active charge as editor and manager of the Evening Kansas-Republican and was with that journal until 1914.
In that year he bought the Murphy Mortgage Company, changing its name to the Mack Mortgage Company. This is one of the largest and oldest established mortgage companies in Harvey County, and its splendid record of handling interests between owners and clients had been more than maintained under Mr. Mack’s proprietorship.
Mr. Mack had many other business interests, including the ownership of the business block at 627 Main Street, a dwelling house on First Street, a farm of eighty acres in Harvey County and formerly a large amount of other farm lands. In 1908 he built his own modern home at 419 West Broadway in Newton.
Mr. Mack was elected a member of the Legislature in 1916 on the republican ticket. His service during the session of 1917 was a notable one. He was chairman of the State Affairs Committee and a member of the Good Roads and Elections committees. A large part of his time was given to bills and other measures affecting Kansas good roads. He had several laws written and introduced and incorporated for passage with other bills. In the State Affairs Committee he handled all the legislation which had to do with the policies of Governor Capper and deserves especial credit for the budget bill which was finally passed. He might properly claim a great deal of pride for the negative part he took in that Legislature by reason of his success in killing several attempts to destroy the fundamental primary law of Kansas. However, he still believes that the people of Kansas desire certain reforms in election machinery, and with that end in view he introduced a ballot law which provided for changing the present headless ballot to a partisan ballot without, however, the old emblems, merely the words republican, democrat, prohibition, etc., at the top and a square for the mark underneath. This election measure of his passed both houses in 1917, but was vetoed by Governor Capper.
Mr. Mack is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and is very active in Masonry, his local affiliations being with Newton Lodge No. 142, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Arkansas Valley Chapter No. 27, Royal Arch Masons, at Newton; Newton Commandery No. 9, Knights Templar, and Wichita Consistory No. 2 of the Scottish Rite. Mr. Mack is past master of Newton Lodge and at the time of his election to that office he was only twenty-six years of age. He is also a member of the Drill Team of Newton Commandery. This drill team is known all over the country and in 1916 at Los Angeles won the third prize, a clock valued at $2,000. Mr. Mack is a member of the Rotary Club and Commercial Club of Newton.
On July 3, 1899, at Newton, he married Miss Byrd Anderson, daughter of William G. and Hulda M. (Lucas) Anderson. Her father, who died at Newton in April, 1884, was the pioneer book store merchant of the city. Mrs. Mack’s mother resided in the Mack home.