WILLIAM S. KAY, of the well known firm of Baxter & Kay, general merchants of Bonner Springs, is one of the active and prosperous business men of Wyanodtte[sic] county. He was born, in October, 1859, in Bedford county, Pennsylvania, but has lived in Kansas since a lad of seven years.
Thomas Kay, his father, was born in Pennsylvania, and died in Kansas, in November, 1905, aged seventy-three years. A farmer by occupation, he came to Kansas in search of cheap lands in 1866, and having purchased a tract of wild land in Johnson county immediately began the improvement of a homestead. Having erected a house, and all the necessary farm buildings, he embarked in general farming and in addition to growing large crops of wheat he made a specialty of stock raising and dealing, carrying on a substantial business for many years. He married Mary E. Smith, who was born in Ohio, and died in Kansas, in July, 1904, aged seventy-two years. They had a family of seven children, as follows: Georgia, J. Boyd, William S., Margaret E., Bess P., Mollie, who lived but one year, dying in 1869, and Myrtle.
Growing to manhood in Johnson county, William S. Kay acquired his early education, principally, in the district schools, attending the State Normal School one winter term. Becoming familiar with the various branches of agriculture when young, he subsequently purchased the parental homestead, and was busily and successfully employed in cultivating the soil, and in the raising of cattle and other stock, for many years, retaining the ownership of the home property until 1901, when he sold it.
In 1895 Mr. Kay began his career as a merchant by buying a half interest in the Baxter Brothers' store, at Holliday, Kansas, becoming junior member of the firm of Baxter & Kay. Very successful in its operations, this enterprising firm, in 1907, opened a store at Bonner Springs, of which Mr. Baxter assumed the management, Mr. Kay remaining at Holliday until February, 1910, when the Holliday store was traded for a farm. Mr. Kay then came to Bonner Springs, and in November, 1910, Mr. Baxter began travelling on the road in the interest of the firm, and Mr. Kay took entire charge of the store. This firm has one of the finest department stores in Wyandotte county as regards its stock, handling crockery, queensware, groceries, fruit and vegetables, employing one man, and operating a delivery wagon.
Mr. Kay has never married, but he and his sisters have a most pleasant and hospitable home in Bonner Springs. For twelve years Mr. Kay was identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, belonging to Olive Lodge, No. 387, of Wilder, Kansas, but has dropped from its rolls.
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