George Monroe Carpenter

GEORGE MONROE CARPENTER. In those activities which lead to success George M. Carpenter has pursued an undeviating career since early manhood. He is one of the leading bankers, capitalists and business men of Southern Kansas and Northern Oklahoma, and is the founder of the City of Elgin, Kansas, where he resides. He began life in comparatively humble circumstances. He knows what it is to be poor and work hard, and his sympathy has always gone out to the man who is struggling to get ahead.

He was born in St. Lawrence County, New York, November 16, 1842. The public schools of his native county gave him his early education, he graduated from the Lawrenceville High School at the age of nineteen, and then spent three years in the Academy at Gouverneur, New York. Leaving school in 1864 he was for several years employed in a flour mill at Lawrenceville. Going west to Clinton County, Iowa, he worked as a farm laborer three years.

Mr. Carpenter first came to what is now Elgin, Kansas, in 1872. He became identified with the cattle industry when practically all the southwestern country was a vast cattle range. After coming to Elgin he went back to Iowa, and soon began driving cattle back and forth over the trails from Texas to the north. His second arrival in Elgin was with a bunch of cattle from Texas. For forty years or more Mr. Carpenter has been identified with the cattle business, at one time was among the largest cattle men in the state, and is still interested in that line, though not so extensively as formerly. He is also a farmer, though not personally active in that vocation. In Chautauqua County he owns 1,200 acres, and at one time owned nearly all the Townsite of Elgin, and still has his residence on the northwest quarter of the old townsite. He was the man who more than anyone else founded and established the early prosperity of Elgin, and in many ways has influenced its development. Among other property interests here he has two business buildings on Main Street, one of them the postoffice building, and is also a real estate holder in the City of Independence, being interested in the Carl-Leon Hotel and Opera House. He has two business houses and dwellings in Sedan, Kansas, and a business house in Chautauqua.

His individual capital is part of the resources of a number of banks. He is vice president of the Citizens National Bank of Independence, owns an interest in the Elgin State Bank, is president of the Fairfax National Bank in Fairfax, Oklahoma, and is a stockholder in the First National Bank of Pawhuska, the First National Bank of Skiatook, the First National Bank of Foraker, the First National Bank of Bigheart and the First National Bank of Prue, all these institutions being in Oklahoma. In matters of politics Mr. Carpenter is a democrat. He is both a Mason and Odd Fellow. His church is the Methodist Episcopal.

This branch of the Carpenter family came originally from England and settled in New York in Colonial days. His father, John F. Carpenter, was born at Whitehall, New York, in 1808, spent the first twenty-five years of his life there, and then removed to St. Lawrence County, New York, where he married. He was a physician and surgeon, a graduate of a medical school in Vermont, and was successfully engaged in practice at Lawrenceville until his death in 1868. He became a member of the republican party upon its organization, was active in the Methodist Episcopal Church and served as a deacon. Dr. Carpenter married Miss Mary Blish, who was born in New York State in 1808 and died at Lawrenceville, New York, in 1858. The children of this marriage were: Lucy, who died in New York State, the wife of George Delno, who was a speculator and horse dealer, and is also deceased; John, who was a merchant and died in Missouri; George M.; Carrie, who is the wife of Dr. Wood, and they reside at Lockport, New York; Charles, a merchant at Big Rapids, Michigan. Dr. Carpenter married for his second wife Lucy Blish, a sister of his first wife. Their four children were: Jennie, who died in New York State, the wife of George Ewings, who was a farmer and is also deceased; Frank, of New York City; Nathan, of Seattle, Washington, and Charles.

George M. Carpenter was married in St. Lawrence County, New York, in November, 1869, to Miss Hattie Lee, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Lee. Her father was a farmer near Malone, New York. Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter had one child, Leon, who died aged twenty-two years.


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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