James L. Beggs

JAMES L. BEGGS, who for six years has been commissioner of streets and public improvements in Kansas City, Kansas, has been a resident of that city thirty-seven years, and first knew the town when it was in the earlier stages of its development. For a number of years he has been well known in public affairs, and is also one of the city's most capable business men.

Mr. Beggs was born on a farm near Belfast, Ireland, December 6, 1869, but he has lived in the United States since two years of age. He was third in a family of eleven children born to Richard and Ann (Leman) Beggs, both natives of Ireland and of Scotch ancestry. In 1871 the family came to America, locating in Chicago, where Richard Beggs was connected with one of the packing companies. In 1880 he brought his family to Kansas City, Kansas, and was head of the curing department in the Fowler Packing Company for thirty-seven years, until he finally retired in 1907. He is now living in Kansas City, Missouri, with his son. His wife died in 1906. Richard Beggs served on the city council in Kansas City, Kansas, during the early '90s, and was a man of prominence in that locality. He is a republican in politics.

James L. Beggs grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, attended the public schools and left school to become a boy employe with the Fowler packing plant. He remained with them in a progressive routine of duties seven years. The need of outdoor work forced him to leave the Fowler Packing Company, and after one year in Europe he returned and was appointed assistant chief and captain in the fire department. He remained with the department nearly ten years. During 1901-02 he was a salesman for Schwarzchild and Sulzberger, packers, and in the fall of 1902 was elected on the republican ticket to the office of clerk of the Common Pleas Court. He served four years as clerk and one year as deputy clerk, and then retired to take up the fire and general insurance business. Mr. Beggs was identified with that business until 1913, when he was elected to his present office as commissioner of streets and public improvements. This is an office of great responsibility and Mr. Beggs has filled it with admirable efficiency and energy.

He was married July 16, 1905, to Cora H. Emery, a native of New York City and a daughter of H. L. Emery of Kansas City, Kansas a well known railway man. Mr. and Mrs. Beggs have three children, Emery Leman Beggs, deceased; Raymond E., nine years of age; and James L., Jr., five years of age.

Mr Beggs is a stockholder and was one of the organizers of the Exchange State Bank of Kansas City, Kansas. He is a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason, and a member of Abdallah Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Leavenworth. When Elks Lodge No. 440 was organized in 1898 he became a charter member and is also affiliated with Lodge No. 3 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He and his wife are members of the Congregational Church, and Mrs. Beggs takes an active part in its work. She also takes an active part in the Parent-Teacher Association of the city and state.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, 1918, transcribed by Rebecca Ransome, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, September 7, 1999.

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