It is an old and trite saying that great oaks from little acorns grow but it embodies the truth which is in evidence throughout the world. From humble beginnings have sprung the great enterprises that figure in trade and commerce and from humble clerkships have come many of the leading merchants of the country. It is the man who recognizes, seizes and utilizes his opportunities that makes progress and with determination and courage he pushes steadily forward toward his goal. Such has been the record of William Carnahan, who is the President of the Carnahan Grocery Company of Ramona and whose efforts have been a vital force in bringing about the business development and up-building of the northern section of the state. He is a western man by birth, training and preference and possesses the spirit of industry and perseverance that has characterized the gradual expansion and growth of the great western country. His birth occurred in Elk City, Kansas, September 28, 1879, his parents being J. D. and Hattie (Wisdom) Carnahan, who were natives of Illinois but in childhood became residents of Kansas, where they were reared, educated and married. The death of J. D. Carnahan occurred in Ramona in August, 1914, when he had reached the age of sixty-nine years. He had been a resident for sixteen years in that part of the state. The mother makes her home in Ramona, as does their older son, William, while the younger son, Jesse C., is a resident of Bartlesville.
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The youthful experiences of William Carnahan were those of the farm bred boy until he was five years of age. At that time the family home was established in Elk City, Kansas, where he remained until he reached the age of seventeen and throughout the period he was a pupil in the public schools of the city. The year 1897 witnessed his arrival in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and for a quarter of a century he has been a resident of Washington County. He was first employed as a laborer and then spent one year as grain buyer for William Johnstone of Bartlesville. In 1900 he came to Ramona and for five years engaged in buying grain and stock independently. He entered the mercantile field in 1905 by establishing a grocery and meat market, which has steadily developed as the years have passed. Today he is the owner of a large building on the main street in Ramona, the store room being thirty-five by eighty feet, while there are two ware-rooms, one sixteen by forty feet and the other twenty by forty feet. The company carries a large stock of groceries and meats and the business is today one of gratifying proportions, owing to the progressive business policy that was ever followed and the thorough reliable business methods of the company. In addition to the store they own and operate an electric light plant and ice plant and not only manufacture enough ice for their own cold storage purposes but also sell largely to the local trade. A number of clerks are employed in the Ramona establishment and the business has been extended by the organization of a branch store at Skiatook under the firm name of the Carnahan-Wood Grocery Company. While the business was begun as a retail house at Ramona it is now carried on as both a retail and wholesale establishment and both branches have steadily grown and developed. The business is conducted on what is known to the trade as the Wiley Plan and the store is recognized as headquarters for pure food. The company specializes in high grade staple products and also fresh groceries and meats, obtaining its supplies for the market from the home grown grain-fed stock of Washington County, butchered and cured in its own slaughter house and cold storage plant. In addition to his other interests Mr. Carnahan owns one hundred and twenty acres of land, on which he pastures his stock and maintains his slaughter house. His entire career has been characterized by thoroughness of purpose, earnestness and marked devotion to duty. He has been watchful of every indication pointing to success and step by step he has advanced along those lines which have brought him a broader outlook and wider opportunity.
In 1910 Mr. Carnahan was united in marriage to Miss Edith Reush, a native of Colorado. They occupy an enviable position in the social circles of their city. Fraternally Mr. Carnahan is connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias and the Modern Woodmen of America. He has always voted with the Republican Party and without solicitation on his part has been called to public office. For six years he served as a member of the town council and for four years he was mayor of the city, called to the high office by his fellow townsmen, who recognized his marked capability and his devotion to duty. He promoted all those interests which are a matter of civic virtue and of civic pride and exercised his official prerogatives to further every cause which promised substantial benefit to Ramona. He has never allowed private business interests so to monopolize his time as to exclude active participation in. the public life of the city and in civic affairs he pushes steadily toward his objective, with the same thoroughness and determination that have marked the conduct of his private business interests.