Frederick L. Stephenson, president of the Commercial State Bank at Yates Center and one of the most energetic and influential citizens of that city, is a Kansan in all except birth, as his parents removed to this state when he was an infant. He was born April 16, 1869, in Wisconsin, a son of William P. and Clarissa C. Stephenson. The father was born on Staten Island, N. Y., and when a boy accompanied his parents to Ohio, where he settled on a farm near the city of Cleveland. When about twenty-eight years of age William P. Stephenson removed to Wisconsin, where he was engaged in farming until his removal to Kansas, in 1869. He bought a farm in Linn county and remained there two years; then, in April, 1871, he removed to Woodson county, where he resided until his death, in 1900. He was a Republican of the school of Abraham Lincoln and took an active interest in the success of the Republican party. He was a county commissioner during the contest for the location of the county seat of Woodson county, and to his influence more than that of any other person was due the final selection of Yates Center as the capital city of the county. The mother of Frederick L. Stephenson was a Miss Clarissa C. Richards, prior to her marriage to William P. Stephenson, and was a devoted member of the Baptist church. She died in 1891. To these parents were born five children, all of whom are living at this date (1911). Thomas and Hannah Stephenson, the grandparents of Frederick L., were born in England.
Frederick L. Stephenson acquired his education in the public schools of Woodson county, Kansas, and assisted his father with the duties of the home farm until he had reached young manhood. Then branching out for himself he became a clerk in a general store at Yates Center and later did clerical work in different of the county offices. For a time he was deputy register of deeds and, in 1892, was himself elected register of deeds, which office he held four years. At the conclusion of his official duties he engaged in the newspaper business and still has an interest in the "Weekly News," of Yates Center. Later he conducted a hardware store there two years. He began his business career without capital, save for those qualities which make for successcharacter, ability and practical knowledge. Prosperity attended his efforts in the business world. In 1900 he organized the Commercial State Bank at Yates Center, with a capital of $8,000, and became its president, which position he still holds. In 1904 the capital was increased to $15,000 and it now has a surplus and undivided profits of $5,000. Aside from the interests already mentioned he has acquired considerable real estate and valuable town property.
In 1891 Mr. Stephenson was united in marriage to Miss Mary E. Hann, the adopted daughter of J. W. Lewis, who was a leading merchant of Yates Center for a number of years. Mr. and Mrs. Stephenson have one daughter, Clarissa, who will graduate from the Yates Center High School with the class of 1912. Mr. Stephenson is a Republican in his political views and has always taken a deep interest in his party's welfare. He is a man of public spirit and gives loyal support to all projects which have as their aim the development and civic upbuilding of his community. He has been a member of the Yates Center board of education eleven years and at the present time is president of the board. Fraternally he is a member of the Masonic order and of the Knights of Pythias, and is past chancellor commander of the Knights of Pythias lodge at Yates Center. He and his wife and daughter are all members of the Methodist Episcopal church.Pages 725-726 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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