James Ried Koontz, general freight agent of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad, at Topeka, Kan., was born in Newburgh, Pa., Sept. 1, 1868, a son of James Graham Koontz and his wife, nee Margaret Sarah Witherow natives of Pennsylvania. James Graham Koontz is a son of Philip Koontz, born in Pennsylvania; Philip was a son of Adam Koontz, also a native of Pennsylvania; and Adam was a son of Jacob Koontz, who immigrated to America from Germany and settled in Pennsylvania. The maternal ancestry of Mr. Koontz is of English descent. Margaret Sarah Witherow, his mother, is a daughter of Samuel Witherow, a native of Pennsylvania, as was also his father, Alexander Witherow; and his grandfather, Alexander Witherow, who immigrated to America from England. Though principally of English descent, the Witherow family has a vein of Scotch in it. The parents of Mr. Koontz are still living and reside with him in Topeka.
James Ried Koontz was reared in Shippensburg, Pa., until thirteen years of age, and in 1881 came to Kansas with his parents, who located in Independence, where the remainder of his youth was spent. There he studied law with William Dunkin and was admitted to the bar by special dispensation, when twenty years of age. He practiced in the office of William Dunkin, his preceptor, for one year; then he came to Topeka, in 1888, and entered the law department of the Santa Fe railroad as a clerk. He was soon afterward transferred to the traffic department of the road, as a clerk in the general freight office, in which office he now presides. He was made general freight agent in 1904 and at that time was the youngest general officer of the Santa Fe railroad and the youngest general freight agent in the United States.
Mr. Koontz was united in marriage, Jan. 11, 1887, to Miss Maud Southard, of Independence, Kan., born in LeRoy, Kan. Mr. and Mrs. Koontz have three childrenGrace Lee, Marguerite Elizabeth, and Jean Ried. Mr. Koontz and his family are members of the Presbyterian church. He belongs to the Commercial Club, the Topeka Club, and the Country Club, all of Topeka, besides other clubs, in Kansas City, Chicago, and elsewhere. In conclusion it may be said of Mr. Koontz that he is a man whose success has been gained by capability, seconded by perseverance, determination, and tireless energy, and devotion to the interests which he has represented.Pages 365-366 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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