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James Harvey Stewart of Wichita,who had been identified with Kansas for thirty years, is a lawyer by profession, is vice president of the National Bank of Commerce, is former state senator, and for twenty years or more had played a very infiuential part both in business and civic affairs at Wichita.
He is now chairman of the Commerce Committee of the Wichita Commercial Club, had served as vice president of the Chamber of Commerce and is vice president of the Wichita Business Men’s Association, and is chairman of the Eighth District Congressional Republican Committee. At one time he was chairman of the Republican County Central Committee of Sedgwick County, and was a delegate to all republican state conventions for ten years before the primaries succeeded the convention system.
An Ohio man by birth, he spent most of his early years in Iowa and from there came to Kansas. He was born at Hebron, Licking County, Ohio, October 9, 1854, and at the age of ten, in 1864, his parents removed to Lucas County, Iowa. He got most of his education in the country schools of Iowa. His father and an older son conducted a general store at Chariton, Iowa, and in 1871 James Stewart became a clerk in that establishment, and during the next nine years got a very practical business training. In the meantime he studied law at night under N. B. Branner, a very able Iowa attorney, and was admitted to the bar in 1878. In 1880 he was made assistant postmaster of Chariton, and soon afterward was appointed postmaster by President Arthur. After filling that office eighteen months he resumed his law practice in Chariton.
In 1886 Mr. Stewart became identified with the Lombard Investment Company, at that time the largest mortgage loan company in the West. For two years he was cashier of the company’s office at Abilene, Kansas, and he was then placed in charge of the company’s land department at Kansas City, Missouri, where he remained until 1893. In that year he established his home at Wichita, opening a law office and also handling real estate and mortgage loans. The real estate and loan business is still conducted under the name of Stewart & Burns.
On the organization of the National Bank of Commerce in 1898 Mr. Stewart was elected director and later on vice president, offices which he still retains. He is also vice president of the Farmers Bankers Life Insurance Company and chairman of its finance committee.
The first public office he ever filled was that of township clerk at Chariton, Iowa. He is now a member of the Board of Education of Wichita and for two years served as president of the board. His service as a state senator of Kansas followed his election to that office in 1904 and he was also elected in 1908. Mr. Stewart is a Mason, being affiliated with the Wichita Consistory of the Scottish Rite, belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Warwick Lodge of the Knights of Pythias at Wichita, and was the first master workman of Charitan Lodge Ancient Order of United Workmen.
As this brief outline shows, his career had been a varied and successful one. He is a man of excellent financial judgment, and had been an able conservator of the many interests entrusted to his charge. On March 5, 1885, he married Miss Kate Martin of Charlton, Iowa. Their three living children are: Bertha Hartwell, wife of Harry A. Lawrence of Wichita; Catherine Owings, wife of George T. McDermott, an attorney of Topeka; and James Harvey, who studied law in the University of Chicago and is now connected with the National Bank of Commerce at Wichita.