Levi Lee Northrup, late of Iola, Kans., was a pioneer of Allen county, locating there in 1858. He began life in a new country in a humble way, and by unusual energy and ability amassed a fortune, and for years was a leading factor in the financial development of Southeastern Kansas. Mr. Northrup died at his home in Iola, March 3, 1896. He was the son of Lewis and Rebecca Northrup, natives of New York and of Scotch descent. Lewis Lee Northrup was born in Geneseo, N. Y., April 12, 1819, and was one of a family of eight children, none of whom are now living. When he was about two years of age his mother died, and he was taken to the home of an uncle at Elmira, N. Y. Here he spent his boyhood days, and his early education was limited to the common schools of that time. As he approached manhood, he was apprenticed to learn the woolen manufacturers' trade, and in 1840, by strict economy, he had saved enough out of his earnings to engage in business on his own account. He conducted a woolen mill at Albion, N. Y., until 1846, when it was destroyed by fire. He then removed to Lafayette, Ind., and two years later engaged in the manufacture of woolen goods at Thorntown, Ind. In 1853, at the solicitation of the Capital Union Settlement Co., who had bought a large body of land in Allen county, and laid out the town of Geneva, he sold his factory at Thorntown, and removed to Geneva, Kans. Here he engaged in the mercantile business and also operated a saw mill. When Iola was laid out, a year later, he established a branch store there, and in 1862, removed to the latter place with his family, which remained his home until his death. He maintained a branch store at Geneva until 1869, when he consolidated both stores at Iola. Up to this time Mr. Northrup had devoted himself to the mercantile business, but in 1869, he engaged in the banking business in Iola, establishing the private banking house of L. L. Northrup. This was the first bank in Iola and was conducted as a private banking institution until the death of Mr. Northrup, after which it became the Northrup Bank. March 20, 1900, the institution was reorganized becoming a national bank under the title of The Northrup National Bank of Iola, Kansas. It was then capitalized at $50,000.00 and Mary E. Northrup became president, F. A. Northrup, L. L. Northrup and D. P. Northrup becoming vice-presidents and J. H. Van Nuys, cashier. In 1903, L. L. Northrup succeeded to the presidency and A. L. Brumbaugh became cashier. In 1912, E. J. Miller became president, F. A. Northrup and L. L. Northrup, vice-presidents, and Melvin Fronk, cashier. The Northrup National Bank is one of the strong financial institutions of the State and it has a spotless record of more than forty-four years. During this time it has always afforded unexcelled facilities for the prompt and satisfactory handling of accounts and ever increasing care in the safeguarding of funds entrusted to it. It offers every privilege and accomodation consistent with a prudent, progressive policy. According to the official report under date of January 17, 1914, the resources are $609,463.20 and the deposits amount to $486,831.83. These figures convey an idea of the magnitude of this institution. The Northrup National Bank stands as a monument to its founder, Levi L. Northrup. Mr. Northrup was married February 27, 1849, to Miss Mary Elizabeth Pearce, a native of Thorntown, Ind., who survives him. Eight children were born to this union, as follows: Emily Alice, born January 23, 1851, at Thorntown, Ind., and died at Bartow, Fla.; Charles Lineus, born November 27, 1854, at Thorntown, and died at Iola, May 26, 1865; an infant daughter born at Thorntown, September 14, 1856, lived three days; Orlanzo Putnam, born at Thorntown, March 9, 1858, and died at Iola, July 19, 1892; Frank Altez, born at Geneva, Kans., February 11, 1861, a personal sketch of whom appears in this volume; Lewis Lee, born at Iola, Kansas, June 23, 1864, a personal sketch of whom also appears in this volume; Delmer Pearce, born at Iola, July 20, 1867, a sketch of whom appears in this volume, and John Arthur, born at Iola, April 14, 1871, and died September 19, 1871. The story of the life of Levi Lee Northrup, is that of a boy born in poverty and obscurity, orphaned in infancy, thrown upon the world with a meager education, and no capital but brains, skill, industry, and character, fighting his way step by step, until he accumulated a large, if not a great, fortune. His success was not due to any sudden stroke of luck, or some fortunate speculation. His fortune was accumulated slowly, and as a result of economy, good judgment and tireless industry. He never exacted a penny beyond what he believed to be his just due; he made mistakes, as all men do, but he made them as often against himself as in his own favor. A man who is in the business of loaning money is frequently the object of bitter complaint, from those who borrow, but Mr. Northrup was never accused of "grinding the faces of the poor," or of imposing harsh and cruel conditions upon his debtors. He was intensely loyal to his town and was always counted upon as one of the large contributors to any enterprise that was undertaken for the advancement of public interests. He was one of the most active and influential factors in bringing the Missouri Pacific Railroad to Iola, and contributed to and encouraged local factories. He was untiring in his efforts to have the local supply of natural gas used, in some way, to bring population and business development to the town, and in short, he always gave freely in time and money to any undertaking that promised to advance the interests of Iola. Next to his town, the Presbyterian church was the object of his interest and care. In the early days when the church was occupying a little room on the corner, where the Pryor residence now stands, Mr. Northrup personally did the janitor work for a long time, and attended to all the little chores that had to be done to keep the building in order, and have it ready for meetings, and for a great many years, if not ever since its organization, he contributed one-fourth of the expense of maintaining the church. He was a teacher in the Sunday school for nearly a quarter of a century, and seldom was absent during services. He will long be remembered as one of the founders and promoters of the greater Iola.Pages 160-162 from a supplemental volume 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 October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM467. It is a single volume 3.
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