JOHN DUDLEY. - Many and varied are the interests that mark John Dudley as one of the veritable captains of industry in the Sunflower state, and he is one of the progressive, liberal and emphatically representative business men and influential citizens of Kansas City, the metropolis of the county to which this historical compilation is devoted. He has exemplified to the fullest degree the alert spirit of the west, of which he is a native son, and his initiative powers and productive energies have been so brought to bear as to inure to the general good of the city, county and state in which he maintained his home and in which he has a wide circle of friends.
John Dudley was born at Fairfield, Jefferson county, Iowa, on the 6th of September, 1856, and is a son of Franklin and Theckla (Simpson) Dudley, both natives of Ohio and representatives of sterling pioneer families of that state. The father died in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1863, at the early age of thirty-four years, and the mother, now venerable in years, maintains her home in Iowa. Of the three children the subject of this review was the first-born and is the only survivor. Franklin Dudley, who was of stanch English ancestry, removed to Iowa in the pioneer days and engaged in farming and stock-growing in Jefferson county. When the Civil war was precipitated upon a divided nation he gave no uncertain manifestation of his loyalty to the Union, as he enlisted in the Nineteenth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, with which he proceeded to the front. He virtually sacrificed his life in the cause, as he was taken ill and died in a hospital in New Orleans. In politics he was a stanch Republican and his loyalty in all the relations of life was of the same order that prompted him thus to go forth as a soldier of the Republic when its integrity was placed in jeopardy.
He whose name introduces this review was a lad of about seven years at the time of the death of his father. He early began to contribute his quota to the work of the farm and his first independent venture was in hiring out in connection with the operation of a threshing machine. For the service of himself and his team for fifteen or sixteen hours a day, he received compensation at the rate of one and one-half dollars a day. He continued to be actively identified with farming and stock-growing in Iowa until the spring of 1878, when, shortly after attaining his legal majority, Mr. Dudley came to Kansas, where he traded horses for a tract of one hundred and sixty acres of land in LaBette county. After securing this property he returned to Iowa, and upon next coming to his new home, in November of the same year, he was accompanied by his young wife. The entire journey was made with team and wagon, through Missouri, and the intervening nights were passed in the open, by the side of camp-fires. He established himself in a primitive dwelling, and the young couple then bravely faced the life in an isolated section on the virtual frontier. The first railroad in that section crossed the farm of Mr. Dudley, and with the passing of the years success attended his efforts as a farmer and stock-grower.
In 1893 Mr. Dudley moved to Topeka, the capital of the state, where he continued in the live-stock business, in which his operations reached extensive proportions. A decade later, in 1903, he came to Kansas City, where he has since maintained his home and supervised his various industrial and capitalistic interests. He is associated with his sons in the ownership of the Grand Canyon ranch, near Beeler, Ness county, where they have three thousand acres of pasture land and carry on a large business in the buying and selling of live stock, as well as in the raising of the same. Few have been more successful or conducted more extensive operations in connection with the live-stock industry in Kansas, and Mr. Dudley has shown marked capacity for the handling of affairs of wide scope and importance. The ranch mentioned is conducted under the firm name of John Dudley & Sons, and in addition to the same he owns and leases other tracts of grazing land, including a valuable ranch in Wyandotte county. He leased the Morris feed yards, at Morris Station, Wyandotte county, and from this point he has shipped an average of one hundred and fifty to two hundred thousand sheep each year. Besides utilizing fully twenty-four hundred acres of leased land in Wyandotte and Johnson counties, his Grand Canyon ranch, of which he became the owner in January, 1907, comprises thirty-one hundred acres. This fine property is devoted more especially to the raising and handling of horses and mules, and the enterprise is excelled by a few of its kind in this section of the country, both in volume of business and high grade of stock.
Mr. Dudley is a stockholder and director of the Argentine State Bank at Twenty-seventh street and Strong avenue, Kansas City, Kansas, and was vice-president of the same until the election held by the stockholders on the 3d of January, 1911, when he was elected chairman of the board of directors. No stock can be bought in this bank for less than two hundred dollars per share. He is a stock holder and district manager of the Bank Savings National Life Insurance Company, of Topeka, Kansas, one of the strong and popular institutions operating in Kansas and Missouri, in which it has paid up two hundred thousand dollars cash, deposited with the State Insurance Commissioners, and he has other interests of important order. Mr. Dudley is well known throughout Kansas as one of its aggressive, able and enthusiastic men, one of utmost loyalty, indomitable perseverance and broad views. He takes a keen interest in all that tends to advance the social and material progress of the state and this has been shown in no uncertain or ineffective way. He was a delegate to the waterways convention held in Sioux City, Iowa, and also went to San Francisco in 1908 as a delegate to the Trans-Mississippi Commercial Congress, at the nineteenth annual session, October 6th to 10th, 1908. His selection for this latter post well indicates the estimate placed upon him in the industrial and business circles of his home state.
In politics Mr. Dudley accords an unswerving allegiance to the Republican party, and notwithstanding the demands made upon his time and attention by his large personal affairs he has given effective service in the promotion of the cause of the "grand old party." He had the distinction of serving as sergeant-at-arms at the National Republican Convention, in Chicago, in 1904. He was one of the charter members of the Hoof and Horn Club, at Kansas City, Missouri, and the only honorary member of the Commercial Club of Topeka, Kansas. He also holds membership in the Kansas City Mercantile Club and is a member of the Kansas City Clearing House Association. In the Masonic fraternity Mr. Dudley first became a member of Lodge No. 218, at Mound Valley, this state, and his present affiliation is with Topeka Lodge, No. 17, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, in the capital city of the state, and he is Past Master of the lodge at Mound Valley.
On the 6th of October, 1879, Mr. Dudley was united in marriage to Miss Ida M. Fogleman, who was born in the state of Indiana and who is a daughter of John E. and Mary (Bray) Fogleman, both of whom were likewise born in the old Hoosier state, whence they came to Iowa when Mrs. Dudley was a child. The father and his wife now maintain their home at Parsons, this state. Mr. and Mrs. Dudley have two children, both of whom are fine young men who are well upholding the honors of the family name. Burleigh F. and Hugh Byron Dudley are both associated with various interests of their father's and have well proved business powers, though the latter is still a student in the high school in Kansas City, Kansas.
Burleigh F. Dudley, who succeeded his father as vice-president of the Argentine State Bank, previously mentioned, still holds this position. He gained his early education at Mound Valley and Topeka, and supplemented this by a course in Pond's Business College, in Topeka. He was at Cheyenne, Wyoming, at the inception of the Spanish-American war and forthwith enlisted in the volunteer service. He proceeded to Fort Logan, where he took an examination for service in the hospital corps. He was in the hospital service in the Spanish war and later he was with the hospital corps in China, at the time of the Boxer uprising, when the American troops were on duty in protecting the lives and property of citizens of the United States in that part of the Orient. He was stationed at Tien-Tsin and took part in an engagement near that city, after which he assisted in guarding the United States legation in the city of Pekin. He has been associated with his father in the livestock business, as is also the younger son, and in connection with this line of industry he is making a noteworthy success. He now resides at Yankton, South Dakota, where he is secretary and general manager, as well as a director, of the Yankton Stock Yards Company. He married Miss Frances Van Tassel and they have one son, Van Tassel Dudley.
John Dudley has accomplished much as one of the world's productive workers, and his career offers both lesson and incentive. His sons have not failed to emulate his example, and it must prove a matter of constant gratification to him to note their sterling characteristics and their advancement in the business world.
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