John H. McNair.Success in any line of occupation, in any avenue of business, is not a matter of spontaneity; but represents the result of the application of definite subjective forces and the controlling of objective agencies in such a way as to achieve desired results. Mr. McNair has realized a large and substantial success in the business world and his career has well exemplified the truth of the foregoing statements. Progressive and energetic in the management of his various business interests, loyal and public-spirited as a citizen, he holds a secure position in the confidence and esteem of the community and has contributed in large measure to the advancement of Halstead and Harvey county. He is president of the Halstead Bank, the Halstead Mill & Elevator Company, and the Blackwell Milling & Elevator Company, of Blackwell, Okla. Mr. McNair was born in Hartsville, Bucks county, Pennsylvania, Oct. 21, 1853, son of Samuel and Elizabeth (Davis) McNair, natives of that state. The McNair family is of Scotch origin and was founded in America in the Colonial period. Samuel McNair was a farmer and became a resident of Missouri in 1860, locating near Jefferson City, where he resided until his death. He and his wife were active and influential members of the Presbyterian church.
John H. McNair acquired his education in the public schools of Rolla, Mo., and initiated his business career at the age of twenty, when he accepted a clerkship in a book and stationery store. He next accepted like employment in a general store at Rolla, and his aptitude for a mercantile life was evidenced by his becoming manager of the business at the age of twenty-three. In 1879 he came to Kansas to accept the position of assistant cashier of the Harvey County Savings Bank, of Newton, and served in this capacity until 1882, when he promoted the organization of the Bank of Halstead and was elected cashier. He had as associates in this undertaking, Jacob Linn, Bernhard Warkentin, M. S. Ingalls and Peter Wiebe. Mr. Linn was elected president, and on his death, in 1907, Mr. McNair was elected his successor. The business has been of sound and continuous growth, the bank has a capital and surplus of $30,000, and deposits of $225,000, and it has never paid interest on deposits. In the organization, development, and administration of the business of this institution Mr. McNair has been the dominant executive, and to his progressiveness, energy and resourcefulness is due in great measure the strength and high reputation of the organization. He is known to the banking fraternity as an able and discriminating financier. He is a director in the Kansas State Bank of Newton, of which he was one of the organizers; president of the Halstead Mill & Elevator Company, and the Blackwell Milling & Elevator Company, of Blackwell, Okla., and vice-president of the Lyons Milling Company. His identification with the milling business began in 1891, when he became a stockholder in the Halstead Mill & Elevator Company then organizing, and he was elected secretary. He became manager in 1895, and on the death of Bernhard Warkentin, in 1908, succeeded him as president. He has taken great interest in educational affairs and has served for the past twenty-two years as a member of the Halstead board of education. The high school building, erected recently, and one of the best examples of architecture for school purposes in the state, was possible largely through his efforts.
On Feb. 20, 1877, Mr. McNair married Mrs. Emma Louise Hutcheson nee Fraim. To them have been born three children: Edith, the wife of Chester E. Roberts, of Seattle, Wash.; Malcolm Benton, secretary and manager of the Lyons Milling Company, of Lyons, Kan.; and Marie Louise, a member of the class of 1914 in Smith College, Northampton, Mass. Charles Gregory Hutcheson, cashier of the First National Bank of Kansas City, Mo., is a son of Mrs. McNair by her first marriage. She is a woman of broad culture and refinement, a member of the Presbyterian church and active in its work and support. Mr. McNair is a high type of the conservative, unassuming American, diligent in his various duties and commercial affairs, and conscientious in all things.Pages 1287-1288 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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