Jesse E. Ward, banker, one of the soundest, most conservative, and best known financiers of Kansas, is the cashier of the Bank of Commerce Chanute. This institution was established in 1894, and at that time had a capital of but $5,000. At the present time its capital is $50,000, its surplus $14,000, and its deposits aggregate $180,000; and withal it is one of the soundest financial institutions of southeastern Kansas. Mr. Ward succeeded his father, the late Eldbridge E. Ward, as cashier of the bank upon the death of the latter, in 1908, and since then has discharged most acceptably the duties of his position.
Mr. Ward was born in Kent, Portage county, Ohio, June 27, 1869, son of Eldbridge E. Ward and his wife, whose maiden name was Flora M. Irvin. Eldbridge E. Ward was a native of Ohio. Imbued with the generous sentiments which actuated the youth of the North, he enlisted in defense of the Union at the opening of the Civil war and entered the service from Kansas. For a time he was captain of heavy artillery and later served in the Seventh Kansas cavalry, officiating as quartermaster while stationed at the post at Memphis, Tenn. He served in all four years and eight months, and during that time, by economy and prudent care, saved a snug sum from his soldier's allowance. After the close of the war he went to St. Joseph, Mo., intending to buy land, but he changed his mind and, instead, went to Kent, Ohio, where he entered the drygoods business. From there he went to Huntington, W. Va., in 1871, and in 1885 came to Kansas, locating in Chanute. He had been successful in his business ventures and was possessed of considerable capital when he came to Kansas. By judicious investment in land and the loaning of money he greatly augmented his original capital, so that at the time of his death, Oct. 7, 1908, he was a man of wealth. He had been identified with the Bank of Commerce a number of years and held the position of cashier at the time of his death.
Jesse E. Ward was still a youth when his parents removed to Kansas. He was educated at Huntington, W. Va., and at Rockland College on the Hudson. Upon completing his course in that institution, in 1887, he joined his parents in Chanute, Kan., and soon thereafter entered the service of the Santa Fe railroad as a brakeman, in which capacity he served nine years. He then left the railroad service and entered the employ of Col. J. F. Monday, for whom he began buying leases and developing oil land, continuing to be thus engaged from 1903 until November, 1906, when he became assistant cashier of the Bank of Commerce. Two years later he was called upon to assume the duties of cashier, and in the short period since then has fully demonstrated his fitness for his responsible position. Besides his banking interests he owns extensive and valuable farm property near Chanute. Though wealth came to him by inheritance, he has employed his means with superior judgment and ranks as one of the most capable and energetic men of Chanute, where he commands both a business and a personal esteem.
On June 1, 1910, Mr. Ward was married to Miss Laura, daughter of Dr. Gustavus McFadden, a Kansas pioneer. Dr. McFadden followed the trail from Ottawa to Wilson county when there were but few, if any, settlers in that county. After a long and useful career he passed to rest in August, 1909. Mr. Ward is a Republican, and though he has manifested no political aspirations is deeply interested in the work and welfare of his party. In public affairs he is equally interested and has served as treasurer of the Chanute board of education. Mrs. Ward is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and with her husband shares the high esteem of a large circle of friends and associates.Pages 271-272 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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