Nathan Frank Frazier

NATHAN FRANK FRAZIER. Among the names that have been long and prominently identified with the business, agricultural, mining and financial interests of Kansas, few have attained greater prestige than that which attaches to the name of Frazier. There is hardly an industry of importance that can be mentioned that has not benefited by the activities of the men who have borne it, and today there are found two able and worthy representatives of the family in the persons of Nathan Frank Frazier and Ray E. Frazier, vice president and president respectively of the Citizens State Bank of El Dorado and sons of the late Nathan Frank Frazier the elder, who was one of this part of Kansas' most highly respected citizens, able financiers and influential men of business.

To have accomplished so notable an achievement as did the elder Nathan F. Frazier in connection with Kansas banking, even though this represented the sum total of his efforts, would have been sufficient to gain prestige and reputation for any man; but Mr. Frazier was a man of broad mental powers, strong individuality and initiative, who left not only a lasting impression in the field of enterprise mentioned, but was also a most potent factor in the commercial and agricultural development of Southern Kansas, while his activities also invaded the states of Missouri and Oklahoma and made him nearly equally as well known there. He was a native of Iowa, born on his father's farm in Henry County, near the Town of Salem, October 13, 1846, a son of Francis H. and Lydia (Fisher) Frazier. The father was a native of Indiana and a descendant of an old Quaker family, antedating the Revolutionary war, and removed from the Hoosier state to Iowa prior to the organization of the latter as a territory, there becoming one of its earliest pioneers. Of the children of Francis H. Frazier and wife four still survive: Mrs. Caroline Campbell, Mrs. Charlotte Williams and Levi Frazier, all residents of Salem, Iowa; and Seth Frazier, whose home is at El Dorado, Kansas.

The childhood of Nathan F. Frazier the elder was spent on his father's farm in Iowa, and his early education was obtained in the district schools of his native county. In the spring of 1860, while yet a lad in his 'teens, he left home to become a wage earner, his equipment consisting of a pair of willing hands, a stout heart, an energetic nature and a boundless ambition. For about two years he traveled with a circus, and then for one year drove a stage coach in Nebraska. In the fall of 1863 he returned home and attended school for one term. At St. Joseph, and in company with a youth from his home neighborhood, John Betts, he bought a wagon train which they loaded with goods and took across the plains to the Pacific coast, selling the goods it is supposed in San Francisco. From there the youths went on a sailing vessel around Cape Horn to New York City, and from there returned home, where they arrived in the fall of 1866 and after which Mr. Frazier attended another term of school. In the spring of 1867 he went again to St. Joseph and again met his young friend, John Betts, and purchasing a wagon outfit they loaded it with provisions for the trip to El Dorado, Kansas. Arriving in that city they started a store, but soon sold out and went further west and drove stage coaches in Nebraska. They later drove on the Western division between Salt Lake City, Utah, and Sacramento, California, later for a time they drove on the Central division and then on the Eastern division. While occupied with the stage in Nebraska Mr. Frazier drove the stage that hauled the soldiers as guards and Mr. Betts drove the passenger stage, the two always traveling together, for Indians and numerous outlaws frequented the section and the occupation was one of more than ordinary hazard. The direct result of the schooling Mr. Frazier received among frontiersmen and men of all classes who paved the way for civilization was made manifest in his after life through his firmness and coolness under all conditions, his quick and ready insight and unerring judgment, and his keen perception into the working of human minds and human nature.

In 1868 Mr. Frazier and his associate, Mr. Betts, disposed of their freighting equipment and, with a combined capital of $3,000, located at El Dorado, where they engaged in the grocery business, Mr. Betts attending to the selling, while Mr. Frazier hauled the goods from Leavenworth, Lawrence and Emporia. The Osage Trust and the Diminished Reserve lands had just been opened, and settlers were flocking into the rich Walnut Valley. Various industries were springing up in El Dorado, and their business, being among the first on the ground, proved profitable beyond their fondest expectations. Mr. Frazier subsequently took up a homestead on Turkey Creek, where he spent a part of his time in farming and later, with C. W. Foulke as partner, he engaged in the general merchandise business. His initial enterprise in the field of banking, in which he afterward realized more than state wide prominence, was in 1880, when, with Gen. A. W. Ellet as partner, he established the Bank of El Dorado as a private institution, with a capital of $10,000. The business was disposed of in 1885 to W. T. Clancy, and Mr. Frazier subsequently organized the Merchants Bank of El Dorado, of which Gen. Alfred W. Ellet was made president, Mr. Frazier being cashier. This later became the Merchants National Bank and absorbed the Exchange National, the merged institutions becoming the Farmers & Merchants National Bank of El Dorado, with Mr. Frazier as president. In 1899 Mr. Frazier disposed of his holdings in this institution and organized the Citizens State Bank of El Dorado, known as the Frazier Bank, in which he was the dominant executive until his death in 1907 and which during the nine years of his management became the largest, as regards deposits, in Butler County. Mr. Frazier's early companion and friend, John Betts, still survives him and is living at Long Beach, California, a well known and active man of the day.

Mr. Frazier's record in the establishment, conduct and support of banks in Butler County is without parallel, and he was justly proud of his reputation in this direction. He had early in life acquired the habit, desire and love for making money. His shrewd business judgment, keen insight in business affairs, and his knowledge of men and things, combined with his indomitable will and energy, enabled him to rank with the leading financiers of the West. He held extensive commercial relations aside from his banking interests, having mining interests in lead and zinc at Joplin, Missouri, stocks in street railways and other corporations, and large bodies of valuable farming land in Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri. He organized and was president for many years of the Oklahoma Mortgage & Trust Company of Guthrie, Oklahoma, which did a large and exceedingly profitable business. In 1896 he purchased from the receiver, Maj. W. N. Ewing, the assets of the Wichita National Bank, comprising some of the most valuable improved business property in the City of Wichita, and paid all claims against the failed institution in full, in addition to which he received a handsome profit from the holdings. For a number of years he also had valuable hay contracts with the Kansas City Stock Yards Company, buying extensively in Kansas and adjoining states. He was an ambitious and tireless worker, conservative in his business methods, and his integrity and business honesty were unquestioned. He left at his death one of the largest estates in Kansas, one which represented the brain, pluck and energy of a man who, with his peculiar natural acumen, always saw the propitious moment and availed himself of its opportunity.

Although essentially a business man, Mr. Frazier was interested in public affairs, and during the course of his career served as city councilman of El Dorado, as postmaster and as auditor of Butler County. In political matters he was a republican. The tribute of respect and of affection called forth by the death of Mr. Frazier have seldom been equaled in the state in the passing away of a citizen. His own standard of life was high, and it was seen in the development of what grew to be under his direction one of the most successful banking institutions in Kansas. In a large measure his life work was finished; it met to a great extent the fullness of his ambition. But infinitely more precious and of personal consequence to him was the fact that he died rich in the possession of a well earned popularity, in the esteem which comes from honorable living and in the affection that slowly develops only by reason of unselfish works. In his business life he was the embodiment of honor, as he was in his social and domestic life the perfection of love and gentleness.

On February 4, 1872, Mr. Frazier was united in marriage with Miss Emma Crook, daughter of 'Squire John Crook, of El Dorado, a pioneer of 1867. They became the parents of three children: Ray E.; Nathan F., Jr.; and Edna, who is the wife of Hon. J. B. Adams. Mrs. Frazier is also deceased.

Ray E. Frazier, the elder son of Nathan F. and Emma (Crook) Frazier, was born at El Dorado September 15, 1876. He received his education in the public schools of El Dorado and at Wentworth Military Academy, Lexington, Missouri, from which he was graduated in 1895, and began his financial training in a minor position in the Merchants National Bank, of which his father was president There he evinced a marked aptitude for banking and applied himself so earnestly to his duties that upon the organization of the Citizens State Bank he was made assistant cashier and later vice president In the death of his father, in 1907, he succeeded him as president of the institution, the executive interests of which, he has since ably directed. Mr. Frazier inherited much of his father's keen business acumen, and is possessed of a pleasing personality and a faculty for making friends and retaining them. He has large interests in oil and farm lands in Kansas and Oklahoma, and also owns valuable farm lands in Missouri.

On June 17, 1903, Mr. Frazier was married to Miss Henrietta Ellet, daughter of Howard C. Ellet, Mr. Frazier's father's former banking associate and for many years a resident of El Dorado. Mr. and Mrs. Frazier have one daughter, Henrietta, born November 13, 1905. Mrs. Frazier, a woman of culture and of rare personal charm, is a recognized social leader at El Dorado and presides with grace and hospitality over a delightful home. Notwithstanding the arduous duties attendant to his large business and financial interests Mr. Frazier finds time to participate in the social and fraternal life of El Dorado, and the love of all forms of athletics which had birth while he was attending college is still indulged, principally hunting and fishing. In politics he is a republican. He has attained the Scottish Rite degree in Masonry, and is affiliated with Midian Temple, Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, at Wichita.

Nathan Frank Frazier, Jr., the younger son of Nathan F. and Emma (Crook) Frazier, and vice president of the Citizens State Bank of El Dorado, was born at El Dorado March 13, 1882. He was reared in his native town, where he received his preparatory education in the public schools, following which he entered Lake Forest Academy at Lake Forest, Illinois, from which institution he was graduated in 1903. After graduation he was employed at Kansas City, Missouri, for a short time, and then returned to El Dorado, where he became associated with his father and assisted the elder man in handling his extensive business interests. In 1905, together with his father and his brother, Ray E., he acquired large oil properties in Southeastern Kansas and Oklahoma and organized several oil companies, with headquarters at Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Mr. Frazier became an officer and director in these companies, and still retains his holdings, which have increased in value and have become very profitable. He is active vice president and one of the largest stockholders in the Citizens State Bank of El Dorado, and is active in the conduct of the daily affairs of the institution, has also large holdings in farm and grazing lands in Kansas and Oklahoma, and owns and operates a farm comprising 1,000 acres a few miles south of Towanda. This farm includes in its acreage some of the richest bottom land in the state, equipped with the most modern improvements, and, in fact, is one of the most model farms of the state.

On September 28, 1905, Mr. Frazier was united in marriage with Miss Zona Brown, daughter of Harry T. Brown, of El Dorado, and to their union have come three children: Sarah Margaret, born January 19, 1909; Nathan Frank, born December 23, 1912; and William Thatcher, born March 13, 1915. Mrs. Frazier comes from one of the best families of the state and is a prominent and popular participant in the social life of the city. Her pleasant home is the scene of gracious hospitality.

Mr. Frazier is a prominent member of the different social organizations and stands high in Masonry, being a member of Patmos Lodge No. 79, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; El Dorado Chapter No. 35, Royal Arch Masons; Wichita Consistory No. 2, thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite, and Midian Temple, Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, of Wichita. He belongs to Wichita Lodge No. 427, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. As has his brother, he has inherited much of his father's business acumen and financial ability, which combined with the excellent training received during his association with the older man in the handling of large and varied interests, has well fitted him to carry forward the prestige which the Frazier family has held in the fields of finance and business.


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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