Harry Newton Duckworth

HARRY NEWTON DUCKWORTH. On the proved basis of his worth Harry N. Duckworth is one of the leading building contractors of Independence. When a young man he started out to learn the carpenter's trade, and has been in the contracting business for a number of years, not only at Independence, but elsewhere in Kansas and in other states. Some of the finest residences in Kansas have been put up under his direction and through the organization and facilities which he has assembled.

Mr. Duckworth is a native Kansan and was born on a farm 2 1/2 miles south of Howard in Elk County, March 22, 1877. His family is one that in the different generations has played its worthy part in several states. The Duckworths originally came from England and settled in Virginia in colonial times. His grandfather, Albert K. Duckworth, was a native of Indiana, and moved to Iowa soon after the territory was admitted to the Union, and was one of the pioneers of Davis County, where he had a farm and where he also served as a county official.

O. L. Duckworth, father of Harry N., was born in 1841, near Greencastle, Indiana, and was about nine years of age when his parents moved out to Davis County, Iowa, where he was reared and where he married in 1864. He spent his life as a mechanic and farmer, and in 1870 went to Elk County, Kansas, and was one of those who took up homesteads in that new district. His quarter section was located 2 1/2 miles south of Howard, and he afterwards retired from the farm and moved to Longton, where he died in October, 1915. O. L. Duckworth was a republican, was a very active official member of the Methodist Church, and when a young man during the Civil war endeavored to render patriotic service to his country by trying to enlist three times, being refused each time on account of physical disability. O. L. Duckworth married Phoebe Battin, who was born in Ohio in 1843 and is still living at Longton. Her children were: Mary, who died unmarried at Longton, Kansas, December 24, 1915; Claude L., a millwright living in Wisconsin; Harry Newton; Fred J.; who occupies the old homestead at Longton; Glen E., a general contractor at Howard, Kansas.

Harry N. Duckworth received his early education in the public schools of Howard, and spent the first eighteen years of his life on his father's farm. He then started to learn the carpenter trade at Howard, and has made that trade the basis of his business career as a contractor. In 1903 Mr. Duckvvorth first came to Independence, remaining here eighteen months, then spent a year as a general contractor at Seattle, Washington, and on returning to Kansas was in general contract work at Pratt for seven years. After a short interval spent in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he located in Independence in April, 1913. From Independence he carries on his business as a general contractor in different sections of the state, and has offices in the Hess Lumber Company Building. A number of the best residences at Independence stand as examples of his work and he also put up a $35,000 residence in Wichita, and a $25,000 residence at Pratt.

Mr. Duckworth is a member of the Christian Church, is a republican, and in Masonry is affiliated with Pratt Lodge, Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons; Wichita Consistory No. 2 of the Scottish Rite, and also with the Mystic Shrine.

His home is at 815 South Fourth Street, in Independence. On October 10, 1900, at Elks Falls, in Elk County, he married Miss Laura Harlan, daughter of W. V. and Hester Harlan, who now reside at Hutchinson, Kansas, where her father is a grocer. To their marriage have been born four children: Hazel, born August 28, 1902, and now in the public schools of Independence; Fern, born in September, 1906, and attending the grade schools; Edra Mae, born February 4,1909, and a pupil in the country schools; and Harry Jr., born in November, 1911.


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 1997.
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