Stephen Robert Ping. Kansas is not only famous for its rich lands, its crops of wheat and alfalfa, but also for its untold wealth of resources under ground, and though these resources are comparatively little known even to many of the Sunflower people, Southwestern Kansas is pre-eminently a mineral section. One of the centers of the production of lead and zinc ores is Galena in Cherokee County, Kansas. Galena is one mile from the Missouri state line and ten miles to the Oklahoma state line. In the year of 1916 a strip of country thirty-five miles long and fifteen miles wide, running through a portion of Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma, produced $34,961,993 worth of zinc and lead ores.
One of the oldest operators there, though by no means an old man, is Stephen Robert Ping. He has been identified with the mining and industrial interests of Southeastern Kansas for nearly thirty years. When he left school he was a poor boy and went to work in the mines for wages. In a short time he had advanced to that degree of skill and business ability where he was operating for himself. For a number of years he was ore buyer for the following smelting concerns: Cherokee Lanyon Smelting Company, American Sheet Steel Company, and the Girard Smelting Company. Perhaps one of his chief contributions to the mining history of Galena has been through the Portia Mining Company, whose scene of operation is right in the Town of Galena. Recently this property was sold to Kentucky people. Mr. Ping put down fifteen drill holes on this land and in six months sold the property and made $50,000 clear. For many years Mr. Ping has done his own mining. He discovered and developed what was known as the Crowe and Ping property on the Southside land at Galena, his associate being the late J. R. Crowe, a well known coal operator of Kansas City. Besides these properties he organized and operated the Mizpah Mining Company and the Ping Investment Company, which were famous mines. Altogether he has built and operated fifteen mining properties in this lead and zinc country.
Mr. Ping is of Colonial American ancestry. His forefather was an Englishman who went to Scotland, married a Scotch woman and later emigrated to America and settled in Kentucky. Stephen Robert Ping was born in Pulaski County, Kentucky, December 25, 1872. His father, Benjamin Franklin Ping, was born in the same county in 1841, was reared and married there, and spent most of his active career as a farmer. In 1878 he moved from there to Barry County, Missouri, and in 1888 came to Galena, Kansas, where he was identified with mining operations. In 1901 he went back to Barry County, Missouri, but in 1906 again took up his residence at Galena and soon afterwards retired from active business. He died in Galena in 1915. He was a democrat in politics. His first wife, who was born in Kentucky, died in Barry County, Missouri soon after coming out here from Kentucky. Their other children are: Mary, wife of Ed. Hauser, a mine operator who lives in Spring Grove, a portion of Galena; Green Ping, a stationary engineer, lives at Galena; Nannie, wife of G. W. Grant, a merchant, lives at Galena.
Stephen Robert Ping spent his youth in Barry County, Missouri, and Galena, Cherokee County, Kansas. In these localities he received his education from the public schools. While he has been very prosperous in business he has also identified himself with everything that concerns the welfare of his home city of Galena and has done much to build it up, and is an active worker in the Community Club. He was a director in the Galena State Bank until the bank was sold. Besides his fine residence at 607 Washington Avenue he owns $20,000 worth of fine business property in the city and a fine piece of mineral land close to the city.
In matters of politics Mr. Ping is a democrat. He has spent four years in the city council of Galena, is one of the trustees of the Presbyterian Church, is affiliated with Galena Lodge, No. 194, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Baxter Chapter, No. 78, Royal Arch Masons, Galena Commandery, No. 46, Knights Templar, Fort Scott Consistory, No. 6, of the Scottish Rite, and was formerly a member of Abdallah Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Leavenworth, having demitted to Mirzah Temple at Pittsburg, Kansas. He is also a life member of Galena Lodge No. 677, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. In 1895 Mr. Ping married Miss Lula Vansycle of Galena. They became the parents of three children: Mispah is a graduate with the Degree Bachelor of Arts from Christian College, Columbia, Missouri, and lives at home with her parents; the two younger children, Lucile and Portia, both died in childhood, Portia at the age of four and Lucile at the age of four years and six months.