Edward P. Moulton. In making a study of the lives and characters of men who have risen to acknowledged position in business, in the professions or in public life, it is but natural to inquire into the secret of their success and the motives that have prompted their actions. Real success comes to but a comparatively few, and a study of the careers of those who occupy places of prominence proves that in nearly every case those who have perseveringly followed one line of procedure have gradually but surely risen. Self-reliance, honesty, energy and conscientiousness are characteristics that appear to have accomplished the best results, and to these we may attribute much of the success that had rewarded the efforts of Edward P. Moulton, proprietor of the leading hardware establishment of Neodesha, and a sound and substantial citizen.
Mr. Moulton is a native son of Wilson County, and like a number of men who have found prosperity in the business world here is a product of the soil. He was born on the home farm of his father, near Neodesha, August 27, 1872, his parents being John H. and Susan (Jones) Moulton, and his ancestry in America dates back to colonial Massachusetts, when the first bearing the name of this branch of the family emigrated to America from England. Samucl Moulton, the grandfather of Edward P., was born in 1800, in Vermont, and when still a young man was sent as a missionary to the Choctaw Indians in Mississippi. Later he spent some years in the same labor in Arkansas, and finally settled at Waverly, Illinois, where his death occurred in 1881, when he was eighty-one years of age. He was one of the courageous, sturdy men of New England, who not only lived his faith as he saw it, but who battled against great odds in an effort to spread the Word of his Master.
John H. Moulton was born in 1835, in Arkansas, and when still a youth was taken by his parents to Illinois, where, at Waverly, he received his education, was reared to manhood, and married. In 1866 he came to Kansas, settling as a pioneer in Wilson County, where he homesteaded 160 acres of land near Neodesha. He was an industrious workman, who was anxious to develop a good property and to make a home for his family, but did not live to realize in full his ambitious, as his death occurred in 1877, when he was only forty-two years of age. No doubt his demise was hastened by the hardships which he underwent while a soldier of the Union during the Civil war, through which he fought as a member of the Thirty-third Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He was a stanch republican in politics, and an active member of the Congregational Church, to which Mrs. Moulton also belongs. She was born in Morgan County, Illinois, in 1847, and now resided at Neodesha, one of the highly esteemed and respected ladies of the city. Three children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Moulton: Edward P.; Frederick C., who is carrying on operations on the home farm three miles from Neodesha; and Carrie J., who is the wife of H. W. Kimball and lives on a farm in the vicinity of Neodesha.
Edward P. Moulton was only five years of age when his father died, but his mother managed to give him good educational advantages and he passed through the graded and high school courses, graduating from the Neodesha High School with the class of 1892. He had been brought up as a farmer, and for four years remained on the home property, but felt that better opportunities awaited him in the business world and accordingly, to fit himself, attended the Quincy (Illinois) Commercial College for one year. At the end of that time he received his introduction to business methods in a hardware store at Anaconda, Montana, where he pleased his employer to the extent that he remained for four years, but then resigned and returned to Neodesha, where he entered the Neodésha National Bank, in the capacity of assistant cashier. This position he held for six years, but in the meantime, in 1903, he had purchased the hardware business of Marion Cross, and when he left the banking institution began to give his entire attention to building up his new enterprise. That he had been successful in his undertaking is shown in the fact that he now had the largest hardware store at Neodesha and a trade that not only covers the immediate locality but extends far out into the country on all sides. He carries a full and up-to-date stock of shelf and heavy hardware, stoves, agricultural machinery, tools and implements, and kindred articles, attractively arranged and popularly priced. The store is situated at No. 511 Main Street and compares favorably with the establishments of the larger cities. Mr. Moulton had proved himself an excellent man of business, who had established a reputation for fidelity and integrity that had helped his enterprise immeasurably. As a property holder he is the owner of his own home at No. 611 North Eighth Street, as well as a farm situated five miles northwest of Neodesha, and all that he owned today had been obtained through the medium of his own efforts. In politics he is a republican. He had always been ready to serve his community, and in an official way had done much to help Neodesha, having been a member of the school board and the city council and also having acted in the capacity of city clerk. He takes an active part in the work of the Neodesha Commercial Club, and is a director in the Neodesha National Bank. Fraternally Mr. Moulton is affiliated with Harmony Lodge No. 94, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and Fort Scott Consistory No. 4, thirty-second degree, and with Neodesha Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
While a resident of Anuconda, Montana, Mr. Moulton was married, in 1898, to Miss Belle Burkett, a daughter of Joel and Nancy Burkett, the former of whom died in Montana after many years spent in agricultural pursuits, while the latter still survives and is a resident of Neodesha. Mr. and Mrs. Moulton are the parents of three children: Howard, born September 12, 1899, who is a member of the junior class of the Neodesha High School; Owen, born in October, 1901, who belongs to the same class as his brother; and Leo, born January 9, 1910, who had just started to attend the graded school.