Transcribed from 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


Harry Haynes Culmer

HARRY HAYNES CULMER, superintendent of the Standard Asphalt and Rubber Company at Independence, is one of the expert technical men connected with the oil industry and has had a wide range of experience in his profession both in the United States and Canada.

He came to Independence in 1906, and laid out the works of the Standard Asphalt and Rubber Company, which he has since served as superintendent and chemical engineer.

Mr. Culmer was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, October 30, 1878. He comes of notable ancestry. Records show that the Culmers go back to the year 862 A. D., when the original ancestors came to England with the Danes. They were converted to Christianity under Emperor Augustine who baptized them, and many of the later generations were actively associated with the Church of England. The great-grandfather of Harry H. Culmer was George Frederick Culmer who was a commodore in the navy and connected with the North Irish fleet. He was killed at Sligo, Ireland. The grandfather, Frederick George Culmer, who died at Salt Lake City, Utah, came from England, where he had followed the trade of shipbuilder, and in Salt Lake City was a cabinet maker.

G. F. Culmer, father of the Independence citizen, was born at Kent, England, in 1850. When sixteen years of age he came to America, prior to the advent of his father, and crossed the plains in an ox wagon to Salt Lake City. Later he went to Chicago, to Texas, then back to Chicago, and in 1906 moved to Independence, Kansas, where he is still living. He has been a prominent oil producer and has built a number of refineries in different parts of the country. He enjoys the highest rank in the United States in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, his local membership being in Salt Lake City Lodge. G. F. Culmer married for his first wife Anna Haynes. She was born in Derby, England, in 1848, and died at Independence, Kansas, in 1913. She also came to this country at the age of sixteen and went west to Utah on the first train that ran into that state. Her children are: Frederick George, who died at the age of three years; G. C. K., who is a retired oil manufacturer and asphalt expert living at Philadelphia; Winifred Haynes, who died young; Florence Emily, who died in childhood; and Harry Haynes. The father married in 1914 Miss Gilby.

Harry Haynes Culmer graduated from the Salt Lake City High School in 1893 and from the Utah School of Mines in 1896, with the degree mining engineer. Not content with his technical acquirements, he entered the University of Chicago, from which he received the degree chemical engineer in 1897. His technical studies were carried on under his father, and also under such authorities as Doctor Neff, Doctor Stigleitz, Doctor Langfield of the University of Chicago, and under Doctor Franklin, the curator of mineralogy at the Field Museum of Chicago. He specialized in hyro-carbon chemistry and geology, and is undoubtedly one of the leading American experts in the petroleum industry. At one time he was a member of the Society of Chemical Industry of London, England.

He has the distinction of having drilled the second oil well near the state line in McKean County, Pennsylvania. His father furnished the lumber for his derrick. Since 1897 Mr. Culmer has been connected with the petroleum industry in Canada, and in the states of Indiana, Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and has held all the offices except that of master in Fortitude Lodge No. 107, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons at Independence, and all the offices in Keystone Chapter No. 22, Royal Arch Masons, except high priest. He is also affiliated with St. Bernard Commandery No. 10, Knights Templar, and with Eva Chapter No. 18, Order of Eastern Star at Independence, and served as patron of the Eastern Star Chapter in 1910-11.

In 1900 at Chicago, Illinois, he married Miss Frances May Isaacson, daughter of Holstein and Jane Isaacson, both now deceased. Her father was a cattle raiser and also a hotel proprietor in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Mr. and Mrs. Culmer have three children: Winifred Haynes, who is now in the Montgomery County High School at Independence; Jane Frances, also in school; and George Frederick.


Transcribed from volume 4, pages 1912-1913 of 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; originally transcribed 1998, modified 2003 by Carolyn Ward.

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