Joab Mulvane, born at Newcomerstown, Ohio, Nov. 19, 1837, is the son of David and Mary Ross Mulvane. His paternal grandfather was of Scotch-Irish blood and his grandmother of Scotch blood. His mother's father, William Ross, had been a local preacher of Protestant faith in the north of Ireland previous to coming to America. He married Jane Whittaker, whose father was an iron manufacturer in Pennsylvania, and one of the first men to engage in that business, which has since made the Keystone State so rich and prosperous.
Joab Mulvane was educated in the common schools of his native state, and spent one year in a preparatory school in New York. His inclinations were, however, toward mercantile rather than professional life, and in 1856, when about nineteen years old, he went to Princeton, Ill., and established himself in the drygoods business. He also operated a farm and later sold his store and went into the hardware business. During the twenty years of his life in Illinois he accumulated a comfortable fortune, and began to seek a more inviting field of operation. For several years Mr. Mulvane had been a stockholder in the Bank of Topeka, and was somewhat acquainted with Kansas and its resources. In May, 1876, he came to the state and has been a resident of Topeka since that time. The business interests of Topeka, and indeed of the whole state, owe much to his energy and wise judgment. Perhaps no man in Kansas has been engaged in more extensive and varied business enterprises than has Mr. Mulvane during the past twenty years, and certainly no man has been more uniformly successful in his ventures. This great success may be attributed to the careful personal attention he gives to the business in hand, and the close study of every detail entering into the same. Fortune has wrought no special miracles for his exclusive benefit, but he has been quick to recognize and grasp the opportunities offered to him as to others. It would be impossible in the limits of this brief article, to do more than to note the many avenues in which he has used his capital and his business sagacity.
He is president of the Kansas Town Company, the Quivira Town and Land Company, incorporated in 1881, which organized Argentine, Kan. He was also president of the Edison Electric Light Company of Topeka; president of the Shawnee Fire Insurance Company; a stockholder and director in the Bank of Topeka, and president of the Kansas Salt Company, which has at Hutchinson the largest plant in the United States. From 1885 to 1888 Mr. Mulvane was president of the Chicago, Kansas & Western Railroad Company, during the building of 900 miles of road in Kansas for the Santa Fe Railroad Company. He is vice-president of the American Cement Plaster Company, and of the Chickasha Cotton Oil Company. The Topeka Water Company, the Topeka Street Railway Company, the Topeka Telephone Exchange, the Burlington Coal & Mining Company and the Shawnee County Fair Association have all profited by his ability in times past. He has never been too busy to take a vital interest in the Methodist Episcopal church, of which he is an active member, and he was one of the building committee which had charge of the erection of its handsome house of worship in Topeka. He is strongly Republican in his political belief, and as such represented his district in the Illinois legislature in 1872 and 1873, but has never taken an active part in political affairs in Kansas. He was married in 1859, to Miss Sarah A. Ross, of Ohio. Three children born of this union are livingDavid W., Mrs. Adelle Z. Hughes, and Mrs. Mary Margaret Morgan. David graduated at Yale in 1885 and is a young man of promise and ability. He is actively interested in public affairs.Pages 1536-1537 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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