Location: Peru Kansas

Biography of Herschel C. Porterfield

Herschel C. Porterfield. Thirty-five years in the oil fields and thirty years as a contractor and producer constitute the record of this veteran of an industry which has brought Kansas untold wealth. Like hundreds of men of this class, he has found Independence as the most satisfactory city for residence and business headquarters. In another respect he is typical of perhaps a majority of the oil men of the country–his native state is Pennsylvania. Born in Butler County, August 10, 1856, he was one of several brothers to become identified with the oil industry in one way or another. Up to the age of eighteen he lived at home and attended the public schools of his native county. Then after six years more spent assisting in the work of his father’s farm, he began regular employment as a worker in the oil district, first in Butler, then in Venango County, afterwards in Cattaraugus County, New York, Washington County and Toledo, Ohio, and from the East came to Kansas on April 1, 1903. He spent a time in Chanute, then went to Peru, but since 1904 has had his home and headquarters in Independence. It was in Venango County, Pennsylvania, in 1886, that Mr. Porterfield did his first contracting. He bought a string of tools, and since then has worn out many sets and is now interested in five strings,...

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Biography of Claude B. Clements

Claude B. Clements. Among the men who have won success in the Mid-Continent oil fields, one whose prosperity and present position have been gained solely through hard, unremitting labor and specialized knowledge and ability in this vocation, is Claude B. Clements, of Peru, Kansas. A man of large personal interests, which demand steadfast and undeviating attention, he had managed to reserve a part of his time for public official duties, and at this time is mayor of Peru, an office in which he had gained a reputation that assures him of the confidence and respect of his fellow townsmen. Mr. Clements was born in Union County, Kentucky, January 27, 1871, being a son of B. J. and Alice (Williams) Clements, and a member of a family which originated in England and whose first American member came to this country during the colonial era and located in Virginia. B. J. Clements was born in 1848, in Union County, Kentucky, and resided there until 1879, when he became a pioneer farmer of Crawford County, Kansas, but in 1884 removed to Chautauqua County, where he engaged in farming until the close of his life. His death occurred at Niotaze, Kansas, November 17, 1885. Mr. Clements was content to devote himself to his agricultural interests, and never sought public position. He was an unassuming man, but energetic and resourceful in his work and...

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Biography of James Wilson

James Wilson. During his long residence within the borders of Chautauqua County, James Wilson had worked out an admirable destiny, and from small beginnings had drawn about him for the comfort and happiness of his later years such substantial compensations as wealth, the credit for having contributed largely to the development of the community, and the confidence and good will of his business and social associates. The major part of his attention is now devoted to his lumber business and feed mill, although he also had other business connections. James Wilson was born near the City of Glasgow, Scotland, October 29, 1848, and is a son of Alexander and Annie (Stevenson) Wilson, and a grandson of James Wilson, who passed his life in Scotland, as a miller, and died near Glasgow. Alexander Wilson was born in 1820, near Glasgow, Scotland, and was reared and married in his native land. He received ordinary educational advantages, and as a young man became interested in the manufacture of bricks, although he also had an excellent knowledge of machinery and was an engineer of no mean skill. Feeling that the United States offered better opportunities than did his native land, in 1852 he emigrated to this country, bringing with him his family, and settling first in Pennsylvania, in which state he remained for three years. He then moved to Northern Iowa and in...

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Biography of Owen C. Wasson

Owen C. Wasson. Because of the success which had attended his efforts, his commercial soundness and acumen, his spirit of public helpfulness and his good citizenship, the career of Owen C. Wasson, of Peru, offers an encouraging example of prosperity and position gained through a proper utilization of ordinary opportunities. Since entering upon his independent life, numerous vocations have attracted the activities of Mr. Wasson, but he had made steady advancement in each, and is now the proprietor of a well-established hardware and implement business at Peru and one of the city’s substantial business citizens. Mr. Wasson was born on a farm in Shelby County, Indiana, October 23, 1877, and is a son of George W. and Martha A. (Craig) Wasson. His great-great, grandfather was John Wasson, a native of Kentucky and early settler of Bartholomew County, Indiana, where he passed his life in farming enterprises. George C. Wasson, the son of John Wasson, was born in Nicholas County, Kentucky, and was a young man when he went to Bartholomew County, Indiana. In 1837 he migrated from that county to Shelby County, and there continued to be engaged in farming during the remainder of his life and died. Among his children was John Wasson, the grandfather of Owen C. Wasson. He was born in December, 1832, in Nicholas County, Kentucky, and was five years old when taken to Shelby...

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Biography of William Geiser

William Geiser. An impressive illustration of what may be accomplished through industry, sobriety and persistent endeavor is furnished in the career of William Geiser, one of the well known oil producers of the Mid-Continent field and the directing head of the Geiser & Bogue Machine Shops at Neodesha. Without aid and relying solely upon his own inherent energy, perseverance and sound judgment, he had worked his way upward from the very bottom of the ladder, and had built up a business that is highly creditable to himself and the community of which he is a worthy member. While he had been so doing, Mr. Geiser had not been unmindful of the needs of the community, for on various occasions he had contributed cheerfully of his time and abilities to the furtherance of civic welfare movements, and in positions of trust had rendered services to the city of his adoption that have been of incalculable value. Mr. Geiser was born at Sasbachwalden, Baden, Germany, May 23, 1847. His father died when he was still a small child, and when he was seven years old he was brought to the United States by his mother, Mrs. Helena Geiser, who was born in Germany and died a. York, Pennsylvania, in 1886. William was the youngest of three children, the others being: Mary, deceased, who was the wife of the late Henry Schum...

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Biography of Hugh Ellsworth West

Hugh Ellsworth West has been one of the most prominent citizens of Independence for many years, though his interests as an oil operator have extended far and wide and now include valuable holdings in perhaps half a dozen states. The family were pioneers in Indiana, in which state in Clinton County Hugh E. West was born December 11, 1864. His great-grandfather William West was a native of Kentucky, and went into Indiana when almost the entire state was a wilderness. He died in Clinton County when ninety-six years of age, while his wife lived to be ninety-one. The West family came originally from Scotland and from Virginia moved across the mountains to Kentucky, where they were identified with the first settlement. The grandfather of Mr. West was also named William and he was born in Indiana in 1819, spent his life as a farmer and died in Clinton County in 1874. Samuel M. West, father of Hugh West, was born in Clinton County, Indiana, in 1843, was reared and married there, and at the beginning of the Civil war in 1861 enlisted in the Twenty-sixth Indiana Infantry. In the Battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas, he was badly wounded, was incapacitated for further service, and never completely recovered his strength. In 1870 he moved to Elk City, Kansas, and was engaged in the real estate business for many years. He...

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