Wilson Blaine Kirkpatrick.The prominent position held by Mr. Kirkpatrick, as national president of the Knights and Ladies of Security, has not only made him a well known figure in Kansas, the original home of the order, but has brought him into nation-wide associations, and that order's phenomenal growth and its importance has made it one of the large business enterprises of the state and of Topeka.
Wilson B. Kirkpatrick was born on a farm in Adams county, Ohio, April 5, 1844, and on his father's side is descended from sturdy Irish stock, while from his Scotch mother he has inherited the noble traits of the Guilinger line. His father, Mitchell Kirkpatrick, was also born in Adams county, Ohio, and was a son of Adam Kirkpatrick, a native of Ireland. His mother, whose maiden name was Susan Lowry Guilinger, was born in Scotland. Of the ten children born to these honored parents, Wilson Blaine is the only survivor.
Wilson Blaine Kirkpatrick was but six years old at the time of his parents' removal from Adams county, Ohio, to McLean county, Illinois, where he was reared, and educated in an Illinois country school. Mitchell Kirkpatrick died when his son, Wilson, was but ten years old, and when the latter reached manhood he devoted himself to the occupation to which he had been rearedthat of farmingand was thus engaged on the old homestead in McLean county, Illinois, until he was thirty-six years of age. In 1880 he gave up farming and for fifteen years thereafter was engaged in mercantile pursuits. He was thus engaged in Paxton, Ford county, Illinois, two years, then in 1882 he removed to Kansas, where he was similarly engaged three years in Arkansas City, Cowley county. In 1885 he became a resident of Topeka, where he has since maintained his home and where he conducted a boot and shoe store for ten years. In 1892, while still engaged as a shoe merchant, he became one of the officers of the Knights and Ladies of Security, a fraternal order that today does an extensive business throughout the Union. He became its first treasurer and served as such until Jan. 1, 1896, when he was promoted to the presidency of the order, a position which he has held continuously since that time and in which he has shown unusual talent for organization and administration. His labors for the advancement of the order have been effective and far reaching, and very much of the credit for the remarkable growth of the order throughout the United States and for its present fine condition is due to Mr. Kirkpatrick. In fact, more credit is due to him than to anyone else for the successful and prosperous growth of this well known and popular fraternal order that today is as firmly established in this country as any one of the several other orders doing a similar business. When he became its treasurer in 1893 he also took charge of its field work. It had then but 800 members and owed $5,000. He stood sponsor for its indebtedness, cashed all claims as fast as presented against it out of his own funds, such was his faith in the ultimate success of the order. Today the order has 115,000 members scattered over twenty-six states, and it has a surplus in its treasury of $1,860,000. It has paid out to beneficiaries over seven millions of dollars. The net growth of the order in the year of 1909 showed it to be the sixth in point of growth in a total number of about 150 such societies doing business in the United States.
On Dec. 13, 1867, Mr. Kirkpatrick was married to Miss Elizabeth Sleeth, and they have five living children: John Ervin, who is a member of the faculty of Washburn College, and is field secretary of the institution; James Mitchell, who is first assistant to his father in the office of president of the Knights and Ladies of Security; Lillian MaBelle; Pearl Irene; and Adelbert Blaine. Pearl Irene is the wife of J. K. Bair, of Topeka.
Mr. Kirkpatrick is a Republican in his political views. He has prominent fraternal associations outside of the order with which he is offlcially connected, being a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias, the Knights of Maccabees, the Fraternal Aid Association, the Tribe of Ben Hur, and the Modern Woodmen of America. Mr. Kirkpatrick is also a director of the Central National Bank of Topeka.Pages 694-695 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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