Nathan Frank Frazier.To have accomplished so notable a work as did the late Nathan F. Frazier, in connection with Kansas banking, would prove sufficient to give precedence and reputation to any man, were this to represent the sum total of his efforts; but Mr. Frazier was a man of broad mental ken, strong initiative, and distinct individuality, who left not only a lasting impression in the field of enterprise mentioned but also was a most potent factor in the commercial and agricultural development of southern Kansas, and his activities were of importance in Oklahoma and Missouri.
Nathan F. Frazier was a native of Iowa, born on his father's farm, in Henry county, near the town of Salem, Oct. 13, 1846, a son of Francis H. and Lydia (Fisher) Frazier. The father was a native of Indiana and a descendant of an old Quaker family, antedating the Revolutionary war. He removed from Indiana to Iowa prior to its organization as a territory, becoming one of its earliest pioneers. Of the children of Francis H. and his wife, four surviveMrs. Caroline Campbell, Mrs. Charlotte Williams and Levi Frazier, residents of Salem, Iowa; and Seth Frazier, of Eldorado, Kan.
The childhood of Nathan F. Frazier was spent on his father's farm in Iowa, and his education was obtained in the district schools of his native county. Early in the '60s, while yet in his teens, he left home to become a wage earner, his equipment consisting of a pair of willing hands and a stout heart. In company with another boy from his home neighborhood, he journeyed to Kansas and secured employment as a driver for the Ben Halliday stage line, their route running from Hays, westward. Indians and numerous outlaws frequented the section and the occupation was one of hazard, so much so that the stages ran, two together, one for passengers and the other carrying soldiers as guards. Later, Mr. Frazier and John Betts purchased a wagon train, and with oxen as motive power freighted to California. The direct result of his schooling among frontiersmen and all classes who broke the way for civilization was made manifest in his after life, by his firmness and coolness under all conditions, his quick and ready insight and unerring judgment, and his keen perception of human nature.
In 1868 Mr. Frazier and his associate, Mr. Betts, disposed of their freighting equipment and, with a combined capital of $3,000, located in Eldorado, where they engaged in the grocery business, Mr. Betts attending to the selling, while Mr. Frazier hauled the goods from Leavenworth, Lawrence and Emporia. The Osage Trust and the Diminished Reserve Lands had just been opened and settlers were flocking into the rich Walnut Valley; various industries were springing up in Eldorado, and their business was a profitable one. Mr. Frazier took up a homestead on Turkey creek and spent a portion of his time there, in farming. Later, with C. M. Foulke, he engaged in the general merchandise business. His initial enterprise in the field of banking, in which he afterward realized more than state-wide prominence, was in 1880, when, with Gen. A. W. Ellet, he established the Bank of Eldorado, as a private concern, with a capital of $10,000. This business was disposed of, in 1885, to W. T. Clancy, and Mr. Frazier organized the Merchants' Bank of Eldorado, of which Gen. Alfred W. Ellet was president and he cashier. This later became the Merchants' National Bank and absorbed the Exchange National, the merged institutions becoming the Farmers' & Merchants' National Bank of Eldorado, with Mr. Frazier as president. In 1899 Mr. Frazier disposed of his holdings in this institution and organized the Citizens' State Bank of Eldorado, known as the Frazier Bank, in which he was the dominant executive until his death, in 1907, and which, during the nine years of his management, became the largest, as regards deposits, in Butler county. His record in the establishment, conduct and success of banks in Butler county is without parallel, and he was justly proud of his record as a banker. He had early in life acquired the habit of work, and the desire, the habit and the love of making money. His shrewd business judgment, keen insight in business affairs and his knowledge of men and things, coupled with his indomitable will and energy, enabled him to rank with the leading financiers of the West, and to win even a national reputation as such that was enviable. He held extensive commercial relations, aside from his banking interests, having mining interests in lead and zinc at Joplin, Mo., stocks in street railway and other corporations, and large bodies of valuable farming lands in Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri. He organized and was president for many years of the Oklahoma Mortgage & Trust Company of Guthrie, Okla., which did a large and exceedingly profitable business. In 1896 he purchased from the receiver, Maj. W. N. Ewing, the assets of the Wichita National Bank, comprising some of the most valuable improved business property in Wichita and paid all claims against the failed institution in full, realizing a handsome profit from the holdings. He also, for a number of years, had valuable hay contracts with the Kansas City Stock Yards Company, buying extensively in Kansas and adjoining states. He was an ambitious and tireless worker, conservative in his business methods, and his business integrity and honesty were unquestioned. He left at his death one of the largest estates in Kansas, an estate which represents the brain, pluck and energy of one man who, with his peculiar natural tact, ever saw the propitious moment and availed himself of it.
Though essentially a business man, Mr. Frazier was interested in public affairs, and during the course of his career seved[sic] as city councilman of Eldorado, as postmaster, and as auditor of Butler county. In politics he was a Republican.
On Feb. 4, 1872, Mr. Frazier married Miss Emma, daughter of Squire John Crook of Eldorado, a pioneer of 1867. They were the parents of three children, Ray E., Nathan F., Jr., and Edna, the wife of Hon. J. B. Adams, who with the widow survive. (See sketches of Ray E. Frazier, Nathan F. Frazier and J. B. Adams.)
The tributes of respect and in many cases of affection called forth by the death of Mr. Frazier have seldom been equaled in the state in the passing away of a citizen. His own standard of life was high and it was seen in the development of what grew to be, under his direction, one of the most successful banking institutions in Kansas. In a large measure his life work was finished; it had met to a great extent the fullness of his ambition. But infinitely more precious and of personal consequence to him was the fact that he died rich in the possession of a well earned popularity, in the esteem which comes from honorable living, and in the affection that slowly develops only from unselfish works. In his business life he was the embodiment of honor, as he was, in his social and domestic life, the perfection of love and gentleness.Pages 832-834 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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