Charles Wesley Goodlander was in his day one of the leading citizens of Bourbon county and a leading philanthropist of Fort Scott. He was a son of Christopher and Mary Osmond Goodlander. The former was born in Pennsylvania, of good old German stock, while the latter, also a native of Pennsylvania, was of English blood and Quaker ancestry. Charles W. Goodlander was born April 25, 1834, at Milton, Northumberland county, Pennsylvania. His early education was received in the public schools of his native state, and before the age of sixteen he was apprenticed for a term of three years. After learning the trade of carpenter he worked for a period of six months as a journeyman at Williamsport. Returning to Milton, in 1853, he attended the high school during the winter term, and the following year went to Maryland, where he engaged in building farm houses. Desiring a larger field for his activities he turned his eyes to the great new West. In 1855 he went to Indiana, but passed on to Illinois and Missouri, returning to his old home in 1857. But he had been impressed with the charm of western life and its opportunities, and the next year came to Kansas, arriving at Fort Scott on April 29, the first passenger by the first stage coach from Kansas City. Here he took up contracting and building, which he followed with great success for twelve years. Later he disposed of his business and became interested in the lumber trade, carrying on at the same time a large brickyard and a profitable furniture store. The next year he erected the Goodlander Mill and Elevator, at a cost of $50,000. This fine property was almost destroyed by the explosion of its boiler, in 1876. Having already suffered severe losses through the shrinking of values, incident to the panic of 1873, this unexpected blow quite wrecked his fortune, and he again took up contracting and building, rapidly retrieving his losses. In 1881 he organized a company and bought back his old mill property, which did a profitable business until destroyed by fire, in 1887. Two years later, in company with Peter Dalrymple, he rebuilt the mill. Mr. Goodlander gave freely of his means and time to the establishment of many large commercial enterprises. In 1884, in company with John Perry, he organized the Citizens' National Bank, of which he was president some time. He was one of the incorporators of the Inter-State Hotel, and built that handsome structure, but it proved an unprofitable investment and he lost heavily. In 1895 he bought the mortgage on the property and changed its name to "The Goodlander." For years he operated the hotel, which benefited Fort Scott and the traveling public more than it did the owner. He gave considerable attention to grain and lumber and had elevators and yards at Fort Scott, Arcadia, Uniontown, and Bronson. He was also largely interested the manufacture of yellow pine, was a stockholder in several large concerns, and at one time was president of the Southern Lumber Company. Among his interests were the Central Coal & Coke Company, the Ozark Land & Lumber Company, and the Saline River Lumber Company, with mills in Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana, which produced 125,000,000 feet of lumber per year. Mr. Goodlander's time was entirely occupied with the care and direction of his large and varied business interests. Being methodical, he trusted the political interests of his state to the care of politicians, who were versed in state craft. His affiliations, however, were with the Democratic party, but beyond serving a few terms as mayor of Fort Scott and on the board of county commissioners of Bourbon county, he held aloof from political entanglements. His career was that of a successful business man, marked by ability, honesty, integrity, and fair dealing with his fellow menone who gained fortune against odds in the field of adversity. In 1901 Mr. Goodlander bought from the heirs of Col. H. T. Wilson, his father-in-law, the old Wilson home on the Plaza, which he converted into the Goodlander Home for Children. Most of the children cared for in the home are from the immediate vicinity, but those from outside the state are admitted, some pay being required for their maintenance. Older persons are admitted, but it is not the general rule to accept them. Since its organization this institution has cared for 800 children. A local board, consisting of eleven women and four men, have supervision of the home, which is doing a great work in caring for the homeless, who are unable to care for themselves.
On Dec. 17, 1872, Mr. Goodlander was married to Elizabeth Clay, daughter of Col. H. T. Wilson. No children were born to them. Mr. Goodlander passed from life on May 22, 1902.Pages 305-307 from volume III, part 1 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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