William S. Pettit, a successful and well known lumber merchant of Neodesha, Kan., was born in that city, Nov. 21, 1878. George W. Pettit, his father, is a native of Virginia and is a Kansas pioneer, having come to this state in the early '70s. For some time he was an employe in the construction of the Union Pacific railroad, but in 1874 settled in Thayer, removing from thence to Wilson county in 1875. He is a miller by trade, but has given the most of his attention to agriculture and now resides on a farm east of Neodesha. His wife, Josephine, nee Pettit, died in June, 1889. As a Virginian George W. Pettit espoused the cause of the Southland during the Civil war and served for a short time in the Confederate army. In his personal political views he is a stanch Democrat, but takes no active part in political affairs.
William S. Pettit graduated in the Neodesha High School in 1898 and at once entered into business activity as yard manager for W. N. Certain, a wealthy lumberman of Neodeha. Upon the death of Certain, in 1900, Mr. Pettit assumed the management of the former's large lumber business and estate and has continued to the present time as the directive head of that business. Besides the large lumber yard at Neodesha the business of Mr. Certain included yards at Fredonia, Altoona, and Osawatomie, and these yards still continue under Mr. Pettit's management.
In 1900 Mr. Pettit married Miss Pearl, daughter of W. N. Certain, and of their union has been born one child, Geraldine, now (1911) eight years old. Both Mr. and Mrs. Pettit are members of the Methodist Episcopal church. He is a Royal Arch Mason, a Knight Templar and a Scottish Rite Mason, and is also a Noble of the Mystic Shrine. He has "passed all the chairs" of the Blue Lodge and Chapter of the Masonic order. In political affairs he is a Democrat and has served as a member of the Neodesha city council.
Mr. Pettit's only capital in beginning his business career was a large capacity for work, good business acumen, and real merit, which qualities Mr. Certain was quick to recognize and avail himself of. The large responsibilities entrusted to Mr. Pettit at Mr. Certain's death have been handled in the most judicious and profitable manner and the business of which he was placed in control has steadily grown in volume and in value under his able and successful management. He is well worthy of representation among the capable and progressive younger generation of Kansas business men, and as a citizen has so lived as to command the universal respect of all who know him.Pages 555-556 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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