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Hon. William M. Price, a resident of Kansas for fifteen years, is a successful banker, being now president of the Lyon County State Bank at Emporia, but over the state at large is best known through his services as a member of the State Senate.
Senator Price was elected to the Senate in 1912, his present term expiring January 1, 1917. He represents the senatorial district comprising Greenwood and Lyon counties. He had the distinction of having been the chief supporter of the measure now on the Kansas statute books providing pensions for mothers. The Mothers’ Pension Bill as he introduced it in the Senate was drawn up along the lines endorsed by the courts and the various woman’s organizations, and though not adopted in that form he ardently championed it and deserves much credit for the passage of the modified measure as it now stands.
During the legislative session of 1915 Senator Price was chairman of the banking committee and a member of the assessment and taxation committee, public utilities committee, election committee, and cities of second class committee. He is regarded as one of the most progressive leaders in his section of the state.
William M. Price was born in San Antonio, Texas, July 31, 1870, a son of H. F. and Rebecoa M. (Chilcutt) Price, and in the paternal line is of Scotch-Welsh ancestors and German on his mother’s side. H. F. Price was born in Tennessee in 1824, grew up and married in that state, and in 1850 went to Texas, becoming a pioneer settler on a ranch near the Medina River west of San Antonio. That district was very sparsely settled at that time, since the troublous conditions prevailing during the era from 1836 to the close of the Mexican war had not yet subsided. He continued to reside there until several years after the Civil war, when he removed to San Antonio and was a merchant in that city at the time of his death in 1874. During the war, too old for active service, he served as a shoemaker for the Confederacy. He was a democrat and he and his wife active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. His wife was born in Tennessee in 1836 and after the death of her husband lived with a daughter at Dallas, Texas, until her death. She was the heroine of an interesting incident during the war. In 1863, when negro slaves who had escaped from their masters were running at large in all sections of Texas, one of the fugitives, a large burly negro, appeared at the Price Ranch in a famished condition and applied for food. The husband was away at the time and Mrs. Price was the only person in the house. Fully realizing her unprotected condition, she hastily devised means of capturing the intruder. Concealing the anxiety which she felt, she invited the man into the kitchen, where she had food prepared, and while he was devouring it, she slipped from the room and secured her husband’s shot gun, and then returning aimed the weapon directly at the negro’s head, forced him to throw up his hands, and then marched him to the home of a neighbor where her prisoner was turned over to the man of the house. Mrs. Price was presented with the horse that the negro was riding. Of the children of this couple now living mention is made as follows: H. F., who is a merchant at San Diego, California; Elizabeth, wife of H. P. Berry, also at San Diego; Senator Price; J. F., for a number of years was a mining engineer in Mexico, but due to the revolution in that country had recently kept his residence in Texas; Effie, wife of F. Carter, who is connected with a mining company of Oxnard, California.
Senator Price spent his early boyhood in San Antonio, where he attended the public schools, and at the age of sixteen went out to El Paso, Texas, for seven years worked as a clerk, and then engaged in the mercantile business for himself until 1902. Since that year his home had been in Kansas and in August, 1902, he located in Greenwood County where he became actively identified with banking as cashier of the First National Bank, and eleven years later, in 1913, moved to Emporia and organized the Lyon County State Bank, of which he had been president. The other officers are: C. M. Wilson, vice president; and W. T. Ball, cashier. This is one of the strong and flourishing younger banks of that section of Kansas, had a capital of $50,000 and earned surplus of $5,000. The bank is located at 508 Commercial Street.
Senator Price is a democrat, and on that ticket was elected to the Senate in 1912. He is active in the Commercial Club, and is well known in fraternal circles, being especially prominent in Masonry. He affiliates with El Paso Lodge No. 130, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Emporia Chapter No. 12, Royal Arch Masons; Emporia Commandery No. 8, Knight Templars; and Wichita Consistory of the thirty-second degree Scottish Rite. He is also a member of Union Lodge No. 15, Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Emporia, Camp No. 184 of the Ancient Order of United Workmen at Emporia; and Emporia Camp of the Modern Woodmen of America and the local organization of the Loyal Order of Mcose.
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He is a vestryman in St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church and his wife and two sons are also members of that church. In 1898 at Elk City, Montgomery County, Kansas, Senator Price married Miss Chandler Berryman. Her father was the late Dr. G. Q. Berryman, a physician and surgeon of Elk City. They have two children: William Gerard a sophomore in the Emporia High School, and Lloyd Berryman, who is attending the State Normal School at Emporia.