John Massey, Jr., the controlling executive of the Massey Iron Company, one of those enterprises which have been material factors in the advancement of Wichita, to her position among the leading financial, commercial and industrial cities of Kansas, is the founder of the institution and the dominant principal in its rapid development to an extensive and substantial business concern. He is a native of Scotland, born at Peterhead, Jan. 10, 1861, a son of John and Sarah (Hutchinson) Massey. The father was born at Mintlaw, Scotland, May 21, 1838, and was by trade a blacksmith. He married Miss Sarah Hutchinson, born May 26, 1833, at Long Side, Scotland, and in 1865, he took his family to London, England, where he was employed in shipbuilding. Coming to America in 1867, he located in Fond du Lac, Wis., where for two years he filled the position of foreman of the Chicago & Northwestern railway shops. In 1869, he located at Rolla, Mo., and engaged in a small way in the manufacture of wagons and plows. This enterprise he removed to Salem, Mo. in 1873. In 1882, he was offered and accepted the position of superintendent of the Springfield, Mo. Wagon Company, which he filled until 1884, when he located at Macon, Mo. In 1890 on account of poor health he was compelled to give up business. He sold his wagon factory, moved to a farm and continued in that line of industry changing his location in 1905 to Sedgwick county, Kansas. Mr. Massey and wife are now residents of Wichita, aged respectively, seventy-four and seventy-nine, both hale and hearty, enjoying the closing years of life in the contemplation of the successful careers of their children. To them have been born four sons and four daughters: Jemima E., born March 11, 1859, wife of T. J. Whetmore of West Plains, Mo.; John, Jr., the second in order of birth; Alexander, born Nov. 3, 1862, a resident of Kansas City, Mo., owner of heavy oil and land interests and a former successful hardware merchant; Mrs. Agnes Pettit, born Dec. 11, 1864, musical director of Wellington, Kan., schools; Alice H., born May 25, 1871, wife of Lee M. Carson of West Plains, Mo.; George T., born April 25, 1873, a stockholder in the Massey Iron Company and a successful traveling salesman; and a son and daughter that died in infancy.
John Massey, Jr., acquired his early education in the public schools of Rolla and Salem, Mo., which was supplemented by a special course in the manual training department of Washington University, St. Louis, Mo. Under his father's instruction he learned the woodworker's trade. In 1884, he initated his commercial career as a clerk in the implement house of Colson & Frost at Anthony, Kan. In 1886, he purchased the interest of Mr. Colson, and the firm name became "Frost & Massey." He disposed of his interests in Anthony, in 1890, and located in Monroe City, Mo., where he engaged in the retail hardware business under the firm name of Massey & Thompson. This interest he disposed of in 1897, removing to St. Joseph, Mo., where he took charge of the builders' hardware department of Curtis & Clark. In 1900, he was offered and accepted a similar position with Harper & Reynolds of Los Angeles, Cal. He became recognized as an expert in this line and assisted in the building of a number of the finest residences and business structures in that city. In 1903, he resigned this position, removing to Denver, Col., in order to secure more favorable climatic conditions for his wife, whose health had failed. In December, 1904, Mr. Massey came to Wichita, where he purchased stock in the Shattuck-George Iron Company of which he was elected vice-president and continued in this capacity until 1910, when he promoted to successful organization, "The Massey Iron Company," of which he is president and general manager. The establishment of this enterprise was a notable addition to the jobbing interests of Wichita, and the business of the company has been of sound and continuous growth. The interested principals are all young men who have been carefully selected for their expert knowledge of the business. As jobbers of iron, steel and heavy hardware, the Massey Iron Company ranks first in the Southwest and the high reputation of the organization is due in a great measure to its founder and controlling executive, John Massey. On Feb. 25, 1891, Mr. Massey married Miss Ada Travis, the daughter of Rev. John E. Travis of Monroe City, Mo. Mrs. Massey died in Denver, Col., July 24, 1904, leaving a daughter, Margaret Travis, born June 10, 1892. Miss Massey graduated in Fulton Synodical College, Fulton, Mo., with the class of 1912. On Feb. 17, 1906, Mr. Massey married Miss Lina Forsyth, born Oct. 15, 1881, a daughter of Stockwell Forsyth of Paris, Mo. Mr. and Mrs. Massey are the parents of two children: Forsyth, born June 5, 1907; and Helen, born June 30, 1909. Mr. Massey is in all respects a high type of the active virile American, diligent in his various duties. Reared in the Presbyterian faith he has ever been an active worker in the cause of Christianity. He is one of the most influential members in the First Presbyterian Church in Wichita and superintendent of its Sunday school.Pages 393-394 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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