ALBERT HAMILTON DENTON is the leading banker of Arkansas City. While he was born and reared on a farm in this section of Kansas, banking has been his life work. He is president of the Home National Bank of Arkansas City, but his range of interests includes official connections with a number of other banking houses and as owner of valuable properties both sides of the state line, in Kansas and Oklahoma.
Mr. Denton was born on a farm three miles south of Arkansas City, June 18, 1872. Back of him he had several generations of sturdy and thrifty ancestors. His grandfather, Samuel Denton, was born in Switzerland in 1805. He came to America as a missionary of the Episcopal Church. He was assigned to a field in the far Northwest among the Indians in Minnesota. He located there when there was hardly a settler in what is now the State of Minnesota and did a splendid work among the wild tribes. He was there when the Indians rose and massacred a large number of the white inhabitants, but on account of his princely character and his long standing friendship he was given protection by the Indians themselves. He died at St. Louis, Missouri, in 1865. Samuel Denton married Persis Skinner, who was born in Canada in 1811 and died at Batavia, Kansas, in 1889. Their children were: Albert, who was a chemist and died at Madison Lodge, Kansas; Francis S. Denton, father of the Arkansas City banker; Lucius E., who became a successful business man and died at Fort Smith, Arkansas; and Gavin D., who at one time served as county superintendent of public instruction in Saline County and died at Salina, Kansas.
Francis S. Denton was the pioneer of the family in Kansas. He was born far out on the northwestern frontier at Red Wing, Minnesota, in 1840. He spent his early life among the Indians along the Minnesota border, but when a young man came to Illinois, and crossing the river to St. Louis enlisted there in 1861 in Company E of the Tenth Missouri Infantry. He was in active service with that command until the close of the war and participated in every battle in which it was engaged. The regiment saw much active service and was in the battle of Shiloh, Missionary Ridge and many others that marked the middle western campaign. Following the war he returned to Galesburg, Illinois, and in 1869 came to Kansas and homesteaded 160 acres of land three miles southeast of Arkansas City. That land still stands in his name. In 1870 he went back to Galesburg, Illinois, where he married Miss Esther Hamilton. She was born at Ithaca, New York, February 3, 1839, and is still living at Arkansas City. Francis S. Denton took his bride back to the Kansas homestead and lived there until his death in 1878. He was a rather successful man in his business affairs, and at his death was owner of 280 acres. He was a republican and a very ardent churchman, serving as elder and a devout worshiper in the Presbyterian Church.
Albert H. Denton was the only child of his parents. He was educated in the rural schools near Arkansas City and in 1891 graduated from the high school of that city. After two years as a farmer he entered the Farmers National Bank at Arkansas City in 1893 as collection clerk. He made a study of banking, it being a congenial field for him, and rose steadily in favor and responsibilities and became cashier. He was with the Farmers National until 1907, in which year he sold out his interests. Eight months later, on February 28, 1909, he bought the controlling interest in the Home National Bank and has since been its president.
The Home National Bank of Arkansas City was established in 1888 by F. M. Strong, Howard Ross, A. A. Newman and others. It has always been a national bank. The capital is $50,000 and its strength is indicated by the surplus profits of $125,000. In 1917 the handsome new banking house was completed at the corner of Summit Street and Fifth Avenue. It is a structure of granite and Bedford stone. The officers of the bank are: A. H. Denton, president; George D. Ormiston, vice president; Ralph A. Brown, cashier; William H. Smith, assistant cashier.
Mr. Denton is also president of the Arkansas City Savings and Building and Loan Association; is a director in the Kansas Southwestern Railroad Company, a line between Arkansas City and Anthony owned by the Santa Fe; is a stockholder in the Farmers State Bank at Burbank, Oklahoma, and the Ashton State Bank at Ashton, Kansas. His other interests are numerous. He has considerable residence property in Arkansas City and his own home, built in 1914, at 525 North Fourth Street, is the finest residence of the city, a handsome modern house surrounded by ample and well kept grounds. Mr. Denton also owns about 670 acres of land, mostly in Cowley County, but some of it in Oklahoma.
While he has been devoted to banking and business affairs he has taken considerable interest in the success of the republican party, promoted it wherever possible, and in 1916 was a delegate to the National Republican Convention in Chicago. He also believes in fraternity, is a member of a number of lodges and organizations in Arkansas City, including Canal City Lodge No. 352, Independent Order of Odd Fellows; Arkansas City Lodge No. 89, Ancient Order of United Workmen, and is state treasurer of the Workmen; Inaugural Camp No. 867, Modern Woodmen of America; Arkansas City Council No. 44, Fraternal Aid Association; Arkansas City Lodge No. 14, Degree of Honor; Arkansas City Council No. 141, Knights and Ladies of Security; Lodge No. 956, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; Lodge No. 972, Loyal Order of Moose; and Aerie No. 909, Fraternal Order of Eagles. Mr. Denton is a member of the Kansas State and American Bankers' associations, and is active in the Arkansas City Commercial Club. He is now serving as president of the Arkansas City Library Board.
He was married at Arkansas City, in 1898, to Miss Alice E. Young, a native of Utah. Her father was the late Dr. R. M. Young of Illinois, whose wife was Miss Crane, also deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Denton have one son, Frank Richard, who was born July 16, 1899, and is now a student in Culver Military Academy at Culver, Indiana.
A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, 1918, transcribed by students from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, March 15, 1999.
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