Evan Hugh Wanton Browne

EVAN HUGH WANTON BROWNE. In the conduct of large financial institutions, the efficiency and integrity of their officials is a matter of first consideration. The Minnesota Avenue State Bank, at Kansas City, Kansas, has not been negligent in this matter and one of the strong names attached thereto is that of Evan H. Browne, cashier, a well known and representative business man of this city. He was born May 17, 1864, at Kansas City, Missouri, on the site of the Carden Theater, the seventh in a family of eleven children born to his parents, Lawrence Pembroke and Artless Jennette (Ladd) Browne.

The family ancestry can be traced back to the Revolutionary war period, and on the maternal side proof is given of military honor, by a highly prized document in the possession of Evan H. Browne, this being a commission bearing the signature of King George III, of Great Britain, issued to John Wanton-Ladd, his great-great-grandfather, as a captain in the Colonial Guards of the Town of Warwick, in the Back Bay country.

Lawrence Pembroke Browne, father of Evan H., was born in Pennsylvania and his wife in Ohio. He came to Kansas City, Missouri, as a clerk for the firm of Northrop & Chick, one of the few business houses of any importance at that time, and later, in partnership with W. H. Chick, who yet survives, became the owner of the business. In 1884 this business, general merchandise, was incorporated by the Browne family, the Chick interests being then eliminated.

Until the time of his death, in 1893, Lawrence Pembroke Browne continued at the head of this business, which was largely in the Mexican trade. The building of the railroads was the influence that caused its steady progress westward, on through Kansas and Colorado and to Las Vegas, New Mexico, where there is a store at the present but the old business was sold in 1915. Mr. Browne in 1866 located in Junction City and then followed the Construction of the Union Pacific Railroad, Settling at each terminal, and later pursued the same method along the Santa Fe Road. His whole time was given to his business affairs, in which he showed much enterprise.

Evan H. Browne attended the Schools in his native city and later Wyandotte Academy in Kansas City, Kansas, after which he went to work in the private banking house of Northrop & Son. After one year there he joined his father at Socorro, New Mexico, giving him assistance in the mercantile business and also was clerk and cashier in a small bank there. During this experience, which covered four years, Mr. Browne gained an insight into business methods and expedients which he has found useful in the larger affairs with which he has since been connected. Upon his return to Kansas City, Kansas, he accepted the position of paying teller with the Northrop Banking Company, then doing business on the southwest corner of Fifth Street and Minnesota Avenue. In 1894 Mr. Browne was the main organizer of the Merchants State Bank, with which he was manager for eleven years, the business being in a prosperous condition when, in 1905 it was consolidated with the Commercial National Bank, Mr. Browne disposing of his interest.

Very soon afterward Mr. Browne re-entered business, organizing a machinery supply manufacturing agency, of which he was manager for three years, selling out at that time and becoming general manager of the Hancher-Hawkins Manufacturing Company, manufacturers of loose-leaf books for accountants, which business was later sold to a Chicago firm. In 1915 he was tendered the position of cashier of the Minnesota Avenue State Bank, and since that time has devoted his interest to the upbuilding of this institution .

Mr. Browne was married November 13, 1889, to Miss Lillian Leland, who was born in La Salle County, Illinois, and they have three children: Lawrence Leland, who is a graduate of Kansas University, is now engaged as a mechanical engineer at Rancagua, Chili, South America; Evan, who is a student in the Kansas University; and Leland Warren. Mr. Browne owns considerable realty and has additional interests. The family belong to the Congregational Church. Having no political ambitions, Mr. Browne has never identified himself with any political party, preferring to rely upon his own intelligent judgment as to the men and measures he desires to vote for. His public spirit has frequently been demonstrated, a notable example of which was his activity in bringing about the organization of the Mercantile Club, a very important commercial body at Kansas City. He called the first meeting in December, 1899, and was the first Secretary and in 1903 was president of the organization. He continues one of the active workers and much of the success of the club in bringing about practical results is due to his enterprise. He is a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and belongs also to the Knights of Pythias, in which he has held all the offices in the local lodge.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed October, 1997.
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