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Location: Montgomery County KS

Biography of Harry Newton Duckworth

Harry Newton Duckworth. On the proved basis of his worth Harry N. Duckworth is one of the leading building contractors of Independence. When a young man he started out to learn the carpenter’s trade, and had been in the contracting business for a number of years, not only at Independence, but elsewhere in Kansas and in other states. Some of the finest residences in Kansas have been put up under his direction and through the organization and facilities which he had assembled. Mr. Duckworth is a native Kansan and was born on a farm 2 1/2 miles south of Howard in Elk County, March 22, 1877. His family is one that in the different generations had played its worthy part in several states. The Duckworths originally came from England and settled in Virginis in colonial times. His grandfather, Albert K. Duckworth, was a native of Indiana, and moved to Iowa soon after the territory was admitted to the Union, and was one of the pioneers of Davis County, where he had a farm and where he also served as a county official. O. L. Duckworth, father of Harry N., was born in 1841, near Greencastle, Indiana, and was about nine years of age when his parents moved out to Davis County, Iowa, where he was reared and where he married in 1864. He spent his life as a mechanic...

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Biography of Walter L. McVey

Walter L. McVey is one of the able young members of the Independence bar, and had enjoyed extensive relations with the profession in Montgomery County for the past eight years. Though a native of Illinois, his life had been spent largely in this part of Southern Kansas. He was born at Marshall, Illinois, September 11, 1880. His father, William H. McVey, was born in the same state in 1833, and died in Independence, Kansas, in 1891. He was reared and married in Illinois and in 1883 moved to Montgomery County, Kansas. He devoted his life to the service of the Methodist Episcopal Church as a minister, and on being superannuated retired to his farm in Montgomery County, Kansas, in 1883. He was a republican. The maiden name of his wife was Samantha J. Flemming, who was born in Shelbyville, Illinois, in 1840 and now resided at Independence, Kansas. Their children were: Emma, deceased wife of J. L. Kuhl, who is a merchant at Beardstown, Illinois; Mary F., a teacher of music and living at home with her mother; June, now deceased, whose husband, R. L. Webb, as a farmer in Jasper County, Missouri; George W., a railway mail clerk, who died at Independence, Kansas; Stella, wife of A. C. Sewell, employed by the Baden Mercantile Company at Independence; and Walter L. A cousin of the Independence attorney is Dr....

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Biographical Sketch of William E. Stich

William E. Stich. The largest general insurance office in Independence is owned and managed by William E. Stich. Mr. Stich is a brother of the late A. C. Stich, whose career as a business man and eitizen of Montgomery County had been described on other pages, where many of the detalls of the family history will be found. William E. Stich was born in Hanover, Germany, February 16, 1850. His parents came to this country in 1857 and located at Kalamazoo, Michigan. His early education was received in the schools there, and in the meantime he learned to be a cabinet maker under his father, who was a master of that trade. At the age of seventeen, on leaving school, he began working in an organ factory, and remained there about six years. He then became connected with the musical merchandise house of R. D. Bulloch of Jackson, Michigan, and was manager of their store at Saginaw for nine years. In 1883 Mr. Stich came to Kansas and bought his brother’s interest in a store at Paola. This was a general merchandise store and as its proprietor he conducted it for twenty-one years. Then in 1904 he moved to Ottawa, Kansas, and for a year was in the ice business. After a year’s intermission, he came to Independence in 1906, and had since been in the insurance business. His...

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Biography of George E. Weaver

George E. Weaver. One of the most important offices in a municipality is that of city engineer. The permanence, the efficiency, the economy of operation of practically every public improvement and public convenience depends upon the skill exercised by the engineer in planning and supervising the construction of such improvements. That had been the work of George E. Weaver at Independence, who is now serving his second term as city engineer. In the past three years the city had undertaken an exceptionally heavy amount of paving, sewer construction and other forms of improvement, and the citizens give Mr. Weaver great credit for the able manner in which this work had been carried out. He comes of a family whose members have been usually devoted to some mechanical trade or profession. The Weavers originally came from Germany and settled in Pennsylvania, in colonial times, and the grandfather, also named George E. Weaver, was born in Pennsylvania in 1830, became an early settler in Ohio and the locality known as Weaver Station was established on his farm and was named in his honor. He died in Ohio at Greenville in 1912. It was at Weaver Station, Ohio, that the city engineer of Independence was born November 29, 1879. His father, P. D. Weaver, born at Weaver Station in 1858, spent his life in that locality as a carpenter and builder, and...

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Biography of John B. Adams

John B. Adams is manager of the Security Abstract Company of Independence. This is the largest abstract firm in Montgomery County, and in many ways its business rivals in volums that of any similar concern in the entire state. Mr. Adams had had a very active business career, beginning in boyhood, and taking him into many fields of activity, and during his life in Southern Kansas he had seen Independence grow from a frontier town to one of the metropolitan centers of Kansas. He comes of that same ancestry which, originally transplanted from England to the shores of Massachusetts, produced some of the great historical characters of the new nation. An uncle of his father was Charles Francis Adams, one of the ablest American statesmen during the early half of the last century and of the same stock which the two presidents of the United States belonged. Mr. Adams’ grandfather was Samuel Adams, who brought his family from Massachusetts into the wilds of Indiana early in the nineteenth century. He spent his life in that state. John Quincy Adams, father of John B., was born in 1822 in that portion of Marion County, Indiana, which several years later, by official ensctment, became the capital of the state and is the present site of the city of Indianapolis. He was reared near that city, and in 1847 moved to Clayton...

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Biography of Henry Baden

Henry Baden. A successful business career like that of Henry Baden of Independence indicates that persistence together with good judgment and enterprise is practically sure to win its goal. Mr. Baden is the pioneer merchant of Independence, had been in business in that city forty-six years, ever since the town was placed on the map in that part of Southern Kansas, and he is now distinguished as being the largest retail and wholesale merchant in that section of the country and one of the largest in the entire state. A history of the life of Henry Baden is not only valuable for its individual detail but also as a part of the commercial record of Independence. He is of German stock and ancestry, and was born in the Kingdom of Hanover, Germany, April 22, 1844. His parents were J. P. and Mrs. (Luebmann) Baden, both natives of Hanover, the former born in 1795 and the latter in 1798. The father died there in 1871 and the mother in 1851. They were substantial farming people. They had five children: Diedrich, who came to America in 1868 and was employed in the tobacco factory at Hannibal, Missouri, until his death; Maria, wife of Hammond Dittmar, living on their farm near Independence; John W., who was associated with his brother Henry in the mercantile business at Independence and who died there in...

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Biography of John Wallace Howe

John Wallace Howe. Few men are able to comprehend within a period of less than seventy years such a variety of experience and achievement as John Wallace Howe of Independence. He is one of the youngest vsterans of the Union army in the war between the states. Besides the part played by him as a faithful soldier in that struggle, he had been a farmer, a carpenter, had lived in a number of different localities, and was one of the pioneer settlers in Montgomery County, Kansas, having established his home there on the frontier more than forty-five years ago. Public honors have come to him and he had discharged his responsibilities with the same care and fidelity which he displayed while following the flag on southern battlefields. He had been a merchant, a homesteader, a traveling salesman, and is still in the harness as one of the leading insurance and real estate men of Independence. His ancestors, the Howes, were originally English people, emigrated to the North of Ireland, and from there came to America. John Wallace Howe was born in Bartholomew County, Indiana, July 5, 1848. His father, Isaac Howe, was born in the North of Ireland in 1800, came to this country as a young man and located in Cincinnati, where he married Miss Rosanna Dunlap, who was from Scotland. She was born in 1806, also in...

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Biography of William J. Bovaird

William J. Bovaird. Due to the important position occupied by Independence in the oil and gas fields of Kansas and Oklahoma, it had become the center of many large business corporations, and one of these is the Bovaird Supply Company of Kansas, whose president is William J. Bovaird. Mr. Bovaird had been identified with the manufacture of tools and apparatos used in the oil fields since an early age, his father having established a business of that kind in Western Pennsylvania in the early days. In 1903 Mr. Bovaird located at Independence and established the Bovaird Supply Company, at first as a branch of the parent company back in Bradford, Pennsylvania. Due to the phenomenal development of the oil and gas districts of Southern Kansas and Oklahoma the Independence concern grew so rapidly that in the spring of 1907 it was incorporated separately under the laws of Kansas, and is now one of the largest corporations of its kind in the West. The officers of the company are: William J. Bovaird, president; John Smith, of Independence, vice president; and W. M. Bovaird, a son of the president, secretary and treasurer. The company manufactures all kinds of oil drilling and fishing tools, derricks and other woodwork for wells, and a general line of repairs. Its output is marketed in all the oil fields of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Some years...

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Biography of Walter R. Pratt

Walter R. Pratt. In 1899 Mr. Pratt established himself in business in the City of Independence, Montgomery County, and he had not only continued as one of the representative factors in the business activities of this community, but had also so shown his civic loyalty and progressiveness as to be called upon to serve as mayor of the city, of which office he was the incumbent one term and in which he gave a most effective administration. Mr. Pratt is of Scotch and English lineage and the first representatives of the family in America settled in Virginia, in the colonial era of our national history. Mr. Pratt was born at Madisonville, judicial center of Hopkins County, Kentucky, on the 16th of May, 1871, and is a son of Judge Clifton J. Pratt, who was born in Woodford County, Illinois, in 1845, but who was reared to manhood at Hopkinsville, Kentucky, to which state his parents returned after a comparatively brief pioneer experience in Illinois. At Madisonville, Kentucky, was solemnized the marriage of Judge Pratt to Miss Sallie M. Waddill, who was born at that place in 1852, and there they still maintain their home. Judge Pratt had long been numbered among the representative lawyers and influcntial citizens of Hopkins County, Kentucky, and had been called upon to serve in various offices of distinctive public trust. He represented his distriet...

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Biographical Sketch of John Michael Burns

John Michael Burns has been a business man in Independence since 1905, and by the qualities of push and enterprise which are indicative of his character he had developed what is now the largest bakery establishment of the city. He was born in Oil City, Pennsylvania, December 1, 1878, but spent most of his years in Ohio until coming to Kansas. His father Michael Burns, who now resided at Lima, Ohio, was born in Ireland in 1848, and came to this country when a youth. He first lived in Oil City, Pennsylvania, where he married. By trade he is a carpenter and builder. In 1880 he made his home at Rixford, Pennsylvania, from there moved to Bolivar, New York, and since 1887 had been a resident of Lima. He is now retired from the active work of his trade. He is a democrat and a member of the Catholic Church. Michael Burns married Anna Quinn, who is also a native of Ireland. They are the parents of seven children: John M.; Joseph, a printer in the office of the Toledo News-Bee at Toledo, Ohio; Anna, at home with her parents; Robert, a chauffeur at Lima; Cecilia, at home; Kate, wife of C. E. Lohner, a bookkeeper in the offices of the Prairie Oil and Gas Company at Independence, Kansas; and Frances, at home. John M. Burns had his first...

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Biography of Richard Watson Argue

Richard Watson Argue, who died April 24, 1916, was very well and prominently known in the oil industry of the Mid-Continent field, lived at Independence a number of years, and Mrs. Argue, his widow, is still a resident there and had proved her resourcefulness as a business woman in looking after the extensive properties left by Mr. Argue at the time of his death. He was born near Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, March 1, 1845, a son of John Wilson Argue, who was born in County Cavan, Ireland, went to America early in life, and followed farming in Canada. He died on his farm near Ottawa. Reared in Canada, gaining his education in the public schools, Richard W. Argue spent the first twenty-one years of his life at home, and then took up the oil business at Titusville, Pennsylvania. He followed the oil fields, with all the ups and downs and fortunes and vicissitudes of that industry through Pennsylvania, operating in Titusville, Crawford County, Clarion County, and McKean County, and later established himself at Buffalo, New York, becoming an extensive operator in the gas fields in West Seneca. From Buffalo in 1897 he extended his activities into Wood and Allen counties, Ohio, and became a very prominent business man of Lima. In 1963 Mr. Argue came to Kansas, locating in Independence, and thereafter was an oil producer both in Kansas...

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Biography of S. Allen Brown

S. Allen Brown. During the last forty years S. Allen Brown had busied himself with the handling of many important business interests at Independence. He is a son of the late William R. Brown, who was one of the pioneers of Montgomery County, and both father and son were closely associated in many of their business undertakings. One of the most attractive homesteads in Independence is owned and occupied by S. Allen Brown as his residence. It comprises a fine house at 515 North Second Street surrounded with fourteen acres of ground. In effect it is a piece of the country set down in the midst of a busy city. While Mr. Brown had some of the land in garden and had pasturage for his own cow, he had always taken a great deal of care in preserving and improving the grounds according to his tastes as a landseape gardener. The many trees are a notable feature of the place. There are three different kinds of oaks, and also a number of elms, hickory, pecan, walnut, besides some imported ornamental trees and a great deal of shrubbery. Because of these features it is one of the attractive spots for the wild birds in their migrations during the spring and fall, and Mr. Brown takes a great deal of pleasure in retaining all this combination of nature with the art...

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Biography of Andrew Benson

Andrew Benson has had a long and varied experience in the oil fields of both the East and West, and for a number of years had been established at Independence, from which city as headquarters he had operated extensively in the oil and gas districts of Southern Kansas and Oklahoma. Born March 5, 1864, in Warberg, Sweden, he was six years of age when his parents came to the United States in 1870 and settled in Jamestown, New York. He grew up there on a farm, received a fair amount of schooling, and in 1883, at the age of nineteen, went to Bradford, Pennsylvania. In the meantime he had received some experience while employed in a furniture factory at Jamestown, New York. At Bradford he became identified with the oil business, and for many years was connected with the Oil Well Supply Company of that city. In 1898 the company sent him to the West Virginia oil fields. In 1903, with his family, he removed to Independence, Kansas, where he had since operated extensively as an oil and gas man. He occupies a suite of offices in the Booth Building and had acquired some valuable properties, including his fine residence at 409 North Ninth Street, other residence buildings, and some unimproved property. Mr. Benson is president of the Benson Oil & Gas Company, and of the State Line Oil...

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Biography of William C. Sewell

William C. Sewell. While Montgomery County had contributed many millions to the wealth of the world through its oil and gas fields, it is primarily and essentially an agricultural county, and many of its more substantial citizens laid the basis of their prosperity as farmers. One of these is William C. Sewell, who is now living at Independence, and since retiring from the farm had busied himself with the management of a number of property interests. In his period of residence in Montgomery County practically every development of importance had occurred since the Indians left this section of Kansas. Mr. Sewell was born in Overton County, Tennessee, June 11, 1854, a son of J. G. and Catherine Maybury Sewell. His grandfather came from North Carolina to Tennessee, and the family record is one of praiseworthy participation in pioneer life and in all the relationships which come to upright and honorable men. When William C. Sewell was seventeen years of age he was one of the family group which crossed the country in a prairie schooner and arrived at Independence, Kansas, on the 14th of July, 1871. In the meantime he had attended the public schools of Overton County, Tennessee, and was equipped to take up real life when he arrived in this pioneer section of Kansas. A few days after reaching Independence his father moved to a homestead about...

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Biography of William Hasselmann

William Hasselmann is an expert florist. He learned the business in all its details and all its phases in Germany, and had had experience in some of the greatest flower growing centers in the world. Some years ago he located at Independence, Kansas, and is now proprietor of the leading greenhouses of that city and his business had grown so rapidly that it is constantly demanding more room and greater facillties for the better handling of a custom that now extends far beyond the borders of his home city. His full name is William Dietrich Hasselmann. He was born at Harpstedt, Germany, August 22, 1881. His older brother, Henry, is now serving in the German Imperial Army in the great European war, and had previous to that conducted the father’s business, was also a dealer and shipper in hogs and handled insurance Mr. Hasselmann’s sister, Johanna, is the wife of Julius Behrens, a newspaper reporter at Bremerhaven, Germany. The younger brother, John, was killed in the early part of the war while in front of Verdun at the age of twenty-six. The father of these children, John Hasselmann, was born neer Harpstedt, Germany, in 1845, and is still living there. He is a retail merebant and hotel proprietor. He spent three years, from 1870 to 1873, in the German army and was in the Franco-Prussian war. He married Katrine...

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