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Lloyd Lakin is one of the prominent young business leaders of Kansas. He is secretary, treasurer and active manager of the Lakin-McKee Manufacturing Company of Fort Scott. This is the largest individual industry in that city, the largest of its kind in Southeastern Kansas, and perhaps the largest in the entire West. The output is overalls. The Lakin-McKee overalls are distributed all over the Middle West. The goods are pre-eminent for quality and service. It is a business built up on character, and to a large degree the constructive and creative ideas of Lloyd Lakin have been fundamental in the success of the business.
The president of the company is Henry P. McKee, while James T. Beatty is vice president. The company was organized in 1908, and they began manufacturing overalls in a small building and on a modest scale, and the great extension of the plant has followed as a natural result of the real demand for the goods. The organizers of the business were the late Charles A. Lakin, father of Lloyd, and Mr. McKee and Lloyd Lakin.: Charles A. Lakin was the first president and Mr. McKee was vice president. The plant at the beginning was situated in the outskirts of Fort Scott. In less than two years the business acquired by the company made it necessary to enlarge the plant, and in 1910 was erected a factory building which is a credit to the entire State of Kansas. It is modern in every particular, and special attention has been given to the sanitary and lighting features of the building. The overall factory stands on North Main Street, is three stories high, is of concrete, steel and glass construction, and has a floor space of 21,000 square feet. This industry employs constantly between 150 and 200 people, and their payroll is the largest of any industry in Fort Scott, and nothing in recent years has contributed more to the solid prosperity of the city than the overall factory. They maintain five traveling representatives who are on the road all the year around and cover the states of Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, Colorado and Arkansas.
Mr. Lloyd Lakin was born in Iola, Kansas, August 24, 1882, and measured in years he is still young and has the promise of most of his life ahead of him, though in point of experience he is a veteran business man. His parents were Charles A. and Belle (Case) Lakin. His father was born in Indiana and his mother in Kansas. Belle Case’s mother was one of the earliest pioneers in Southwestern Kansas, and for some years was postmistress of Osage Indian Mission. Her brother was killed by the Indians in the early days. Charles A. Lakin came to Kansas at the age of twenty, was for a number of years in the drug business at Iola, and later extended his enterprise to general merchandise. He remained at Iola until 1885, and then came to Fort Scott, where he was proprietor of a retail grocery store. Later with J. T. Beatty he established a wholesale grocery house under the name Lakin & Beatty. This firm subsequently merged their interests with the Fort Scott Wholesale Grocery Company, and Mr. Charles Beatty continued a member of that firm until 1907, when he retired. In 1908 he joined his son and Mr. Beatty in organizing the Lakin-McKee Manufacturing Company, but soon after it started his health failed and he died in Fort Scott in 1911 at the age of fifty-eight. He was a splendid type of citizen and business man, and his death was widely lamented, since he was at the time only in the prime of his years. He was an active republican, a member of the Methodist Church, and in Masonry had attained the thirty-second degree and belonged to the Mystic Shrine. His widow still lives at her old home in Fort Scott and is one of the regular members of the Methodist Church. There were only two children, and the daughter Maud Lakin died when twenty years of age.
Lloyd Lakin received his early education in the city schools of Fort Scott, graduating from high school at eighteen, and then took advanced training in the literary department of the University of Kansas at Lawrence. After leaving college he became traveling salesman for the Fort Scott Wholesale Grocery Company. After two years he resigned to take a position in the traffic department of the Bell Telephone Company at Kansas City, Missouri. He was there until 1908, when he returned to Fort Scott and secured the cooperation of his father and Mr. Beatty in organizing and establishing the Lakin-McKee Manufacturing Company.
Mr. Lakin should be personally credited with the planning and the arrangement of the model factory building which the company erected in 1910. While he left to a skilled architect the actual drawing of the plans, these plans when completed illustrated his ideas and nearly every detail of the building was carefully thought out by him in advance. It was due to him that the features of sanitary arrangement and lighting were especially emphasized.
Mr. Lakin also retains an interest as a stockholder in the Fort Scott Wholesale Grocery Company. He is a republican on national issues, otherwise independent. He is a past exalted ruler of the local lodge of Elks and is a Mason and Shriner, and belongs to the Methodist Church.
On September 20, 1910, at Palmyra, Illinois, where she was born and where her parents still reside, Mr. Lakin married Miss Ethel Smith, daughter of Lafayette and Mary (Duncan) Smith. They have three children, all born in Fort Scott; Lois Isabelle, born May 2, 1912; Meredith Maud, born July 4, 1914; and Barbara Jane, born March 28, 1916. Mrs. Lakin is a working member of the Methodist Church and belongs to the Eastern Star and the C. C. Club.