John Sargent, senior member of the Sargent Cut Stone Company at Topeka, Kan., was born in Devonshire, Barnstable, England, Aug. 28, 1849. He was reared in his native land and acquired his education in the national schools of England. There he also mastered the trade of a stone cutter and mason. He is the eldest of five children born to his parents, John and Jane (Rottenberry) Sargent, both of whom were natives of England and spent their entire lives there. The family is one of remarkable longevity, John Sargent, the grandfather of our subject, having attained the age of ninety-one, while John Sargent, the great-grandfather of our subject, lived to be one hundred and three years old. On April 2, 1870, at the age of twenty-two, Mr. Sargent married Miss Mary Lane Grigg, a daughter of Richard and Mary Grigg, both of whom were natives and lifelong residents of England. Richard Grigg passed away in 1909, when ninety-nine years of age; his wife died while young. Within a month after their marriage John Sargent and his bride came to America. They first located at Cincinnati, Ohio, where Mr. Sargent engaged at his trade, his first contract being for the erection, in 1870, of the Episcopal church edifice at Cumminsville, a suburb of Cincinnati. He remained in Cincinnati two years. In 1873 he entered the United States treasury service in the supervising architect's department and assisted in the erection of the custom houses and postoffices at St. Louis, Mo.; Chicago, Ill.; Cincinnati, Ohio.; and Little Rock, Ark. He continued in the service of the supervising architect's department seven years. It would seem strange that he, a foreigner, could secure government work upon so short a residence in this country, but his good fortune came through the kind offices of General Banning, who was a vestryman in the Episcopal church at Cumminsville at the time Mr. Sargent was erecting the church building there and who had thus come to know the integrity of Mr. Sargent and his skill as a workman. General Banning had been elected to Congress over his opponent, Stanley Matthews, and it was through the former's influence that Mr. Sargent secured his government position. In 1879 he came to Topeka, Kan., and took charge of the work on the west wing of the State Capitol Building, which was then in course of construction. Upon the completion of that work he began contracting independently, having as a partner O. P. Smith of Lawrence, Kan. Their first contract was for the stone work and inside finishings of the Topeka government building. They subsequently completed the contracts for the inside finishings of the old postoffice building at Kansas City, Mo.; the government Indian school building at Lawrence, Kan.; the Emporia College building at Emporia, Kan.; the Methodist church edifice at the corner of Harrison street and Sixth avenue, Topeka, and many other minor contracts. After several years that partnership was dissolved and Mr. Sargent took as an associate in the business James Cuthbert, who remained his partner until Jan. 1, 1910. During their connection in the business they erected the court house at Lawrence; the court-house at Beloit, Kan., and the Spooner Library building at Lawrence, Kan., besides many other buildings of lesser proportions. Since the dissolution of the firm of Sargent & Cuthbert Mr. Sargent has had as a partner his son, John R. Sargent, and the firm is now known as the Sargent Cut Stone Company. The senior Mr. Sargent has charge of the field work and superintends the construction work, while his son has charge of the plant in Topeka. The firm has recently filled the contracts to furnish the stone for several of Topeka's finest buildings, among which is the new Grace Cathedral; the new Santa Fe office building; the E. T. Crosby, Thomas Page and H. C. Kibbee residences; the new hospital for women at the State Hospital at Topeka, and the Gage Park entrance, besides a number of others. They are also furnishing the stone for the new agricultural building at Manhattan, Kan., and for the Dillon residence in Topeka.
To Mr. and Mrs. Sargent were born two sons: John R., who receives individual mention elsewhere in this work, and William, who died at the age of thirteen. The mother of these sons died on Aug. 29, 1907. She was a devoted member of the First Congregational Church in Topeka.
On June 8, 1909, Mr. Sargent married Mrs. Luella H. Mason, who also is a member of the First Congregational Church. Mr. Sargent is a Republican in his political views. His fraternal associations are with the Masonic order, in which he has attained the Knight Templar degree and Thirty-second degree in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. He is one of the directors in the Shawnee Building & Loan Association; a director in the Prudential Trust Company of Topeka, and a member of the Topeka Commercial Club. Through thirty years of continuous and successful business activity in Kansas Mr. Sargent has become well known in Topeka and in all parts of the state; his reputation for strict business integrity has become well established and his enterprise and public spirit have made him one of Topeka's most prominent and esteemed citizens. He and his wife reside at 225 Clay street, Topeka.Pages 1324-1325 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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