Whitsed Laming, Sr. The Laming family came to Leavenworth County thirty-five years ago, and there is no name more prominently associated with the business and civic life of the district in and around Tonganoxie than this. The Lamings are bankers, extensive farmers and stockmen, and have also developed some of the largest public utilities and other industrial enterprises in this part of the state.
The founder of the family was the late Whitsed Laming, Sr., who came to Kansas in 1882, locating on a farm of 740 acres four miles north of Tonganoxie in Leavenworth County. He was born in Lincolnshire, England, in 1827, grew up on a farm and had only the advantages of the ordinary schools of England in his time. He married Elizabeth Caulton. All their ten children were born in England. An older brother of Whitsed, Samuel Laming, had come to America and had settled on a farm in Johnson County, Kansas. He was prospering, had become thoroughly inoculated with the Kansas spirit, and he finally induced his father, Whitsed, to follow him to America. Whitsed Laming had farmed a leased place in England for twenty-one years, and the annual rental per acre for the land was $15. On coming to America he paid $20 an acre for his extensive holdings in Leavenworth County, only $5 more than he had paid as annual rental in England. For about seven years he remained actively supervising his farming interests, and in 1889 he moved to Tonganoxie and founded the Tonganoxie State Bank. He operated that institution until 1900. Desiring to spend his declining years in his native country he and his wife and part of their family returned to the old country, and he died there in 1904. His wife passed away in 1910 at the age of seventy-nine. Of their children three are living in the United States. The only daughter in this country is Rachel, wife of Herman Schultz of Milwaukee.
Whitsed Laming, Jr., was born October 20, 1861, and was just twenty-one years of age when he came with his parents to the United States. For some years he worked on the farm near Tonganoxie, but since his father founded the bank in that village he had been actively identified with its management, and is now president. In 1898 he organized the Tonganoxie Creamery Company, a co-operative institution. Later the plant was sold to the Faultless Condensed Milk Company. Mr. Laming finally repurchased the plant and had since operated it under his individual control. This is now the second largest condensary in the State of Kansas. He owned and operates the largest dairy farm in the State of Kansas, containing 1,120 acres, with 200 high-grade Holstein cows; and milking is done with milking machines. He had been working fourteen years in building up the milk business around Tonganoxie, until Tonganoxie produces more milk than any point in this part of the state. He is now building a $25,000 butter factory, in Kansas City, Missouri, to handle cream from Kansas, the factory to have a capacity of 500,000 pounds of butter per year. About 1898 the Lamings took over the Bangs Milling Company and developed it to a paying enterprise, and then sold it to its present owners. He was also one of the organizers of the Zellner Mercantile Company, and still retains stock in this concern. He is president of the Tonganoxie Gas and Electric Company, which is one of the few enterprises of its kind in Kansas owned by local citizens independent of the trust. Mr. Laming was one of the organizers of the Suburban Telephone Company, and is its largest stockholder. It is frequently asserted in this part of Leavenworth County that no one had done so much for Tonganoxie as Mr. Laming, Jr. He is a republican in politics but had no aspiration for office except so far as he could actively serve the community and carry out plans for civic improvements which are especially dear to him. For that reason he consented to remain in the office of mayor of Tonganoxie for about eleven years. During his administration the bonded indebtedness of the city was paid off and the building of brick instead of board sidewalks was inaugurated as a fixed principle of improvement. Mr. Laming is affiliated with the Masonic and Knights of Pythias fraternities.
In 1889 he married Miss Martha Foster, daughter of John Foster, one of the old settlers of Leavenworth. They have three children: Mrs. Lawrence Peairs; Foster; and Whitsed.
John C. Laming of Tonganoxie, a brother of Whitsed Laming, Jr., was born at Cornwall, England, January 12, 1870, and was about eleven years of age when he came with his parents to the United States. He then grew up with his father on the home farm in Leavenworth County. He had some schooling in England, and he also attended the Quaker Academy at Tonganoxie. He became clerk in the bank founded by his father at Tonganoxie in 1889, and had been actively identified with that institution ever since. He is now serving as cashier. He had also transacted a large volume of business in real estate lines. He personally owned 650 acres of land and is devoting it to general farming and stock raising. He is also associated with his brother in most of the business enterprises above enumerated. J. C. Laming is affiliated with the Knights of Pythias, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and several beneficiary organizations. Politically he is a republican. In 1892 he married Miss Daisy Poetsch. Their three children are Leonore, Charles and Thekla.