William Beggs, now county clerk of Wyandotte County, and with a long and honorable record of public service, has been a resident of Kansas City, Kansas, since early boyhood and found his work for many years in connection with some of the packing industries of the city. There is hardly a better known citizen of the city or county, and his ability to do things and get things done and his personal integrity have long made him a man of mark.
He was born in the northern part of Ireland May 27, 1867, the oldest of seven children of Richard and Mary Ann (Leamon) Beggs. The parents, seeking to better the conditions for themselves and their children, set out in 1872 and came to the United States. At Chicago Richard Beggs secured employment with the Fowler Packing Company, but soon afterward was transferred to Kansas City, Kansas, where he became head of the dry salt pork cellars, responsibilities which be continued to hold until he retired from active work in 1906. He is at the present time making his home with a son in Kansas City, Missouri. His beloved wife died in 1906 at the age of sixty-eight. The seven children are still living: William; James L., new city commissioner of streets and public highways of Kansas City, Kansas; Charles, chief clerk of the H. P. Wright Investment Company of Kansas City, Missouri; Richard, Jr., connected with the Armour Packing Company of Kansas City; Mrs. Ernest E. Haight, wife of a real estate man of Kansas City, Missouri; Robert, superintendent of the Colorado Packing and Provision Company at Denver; and John, a salesman for Swift & Company at New York.
It was the ambition, which he worthily realized, of Richard Beggs to provide a good home and give his children good educational advantages, and the value of his citizenship is to be appreciated not only for what he has done himself but for what he has assisted his family to do. He is a republican, and twice served as a member of the city council of Kansas City. He is active in the Ancient Order of United Workmen, in the Masonic Lodge, the Eastern Star and Scottish Rite degrees, and also in the Fraternal Aid Union. He is an active Methodist as was his wife.
William Beggs was five years of age when brought to America, and acquired his early education in the schools of Chicago and Kansas City, Kansas. When fourteen years of age he left school to become an apprentice in the tinning department of Armour’s Packing Plant. After learning his trade he continued work as a tinner for twenty years. In 1904 he was appointed to a position in the State Grain Inspection Department, and was in the state service in that capacity for two years. In 1906 and again in 1908 Mr. Beggs was elected trustee of Wyandotte Township, and was the only republican elected in the township during those years. Then in 1910 came further evidence of his personal popularity and the confidence reposed in his ability as a public official when he was chosen register of deeds of Wyandotte County. He was re-elected three successive terms and had the distinction of being the first person ever to fill the office for that length of time. In the fall of 1916 he was elected county clerk. He has always been a loyal republican in his voting affiliations.
Mr. Beggs was married April 20, 1890, to Miss Emily Ahlstedt, who was born in Moline, Illinois, daughter of Gustave and Matilda Ahlstedt. Her parents were both natives of Sweden and Mrs. Beggs was the second in their family of eight children. Her father was a cabinet maker by trade. Mr. and Mrs. Beggs have five children: Ruby, wife of Clarence Falstrom, an employe of the Commercial Bank of Kansas City, Kansas; Pearl, wife of Lester Franklin, of Kansas City, Kansas; Charles Richard, at home; Robert Emmett; and Dorothy Helen. All the children have had the advantages of the high school and have enjoyed the inspiration and culture of a good home.
Mr. and Mrs. Beggs are active members of the Methodist Church. He is a Scottish Rite Mason, a member of Sherman Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, has been financial secretary for nine years of Chelsea Lodge of Odd Fellows, and also belongs to the Modern Woodmen of America and other insurance orders.