Peter W. Goebel

PETER W. GOEBEL. When the American Bankers' Association in their annual meeting at Kansas City, in September, 1916, gave unanimous choice to Peter W. Goebel for president of the association, they not only honored one of the ablest bankers of the country hut also the State of Kansas, where Mr. Gloebel's career as a banker began and where for over thirty years his name and influence have been growing to that point where they were recognized in such distinctive manner by the bankers of the nation.

The story of one of the greatest of Kansas banks and of Mr. Goebel is almost identical. The Commercial National Bank of Kansas City, Kansas, when it opened its doors for business under the name Commercial State Bank on May 1, 1897, had as its first president Peter W. Goebel. He has been president throughout the various changes and the expansion of the institution, and sharing with him in point of continuous service is also Mr. C. L. Brokaw, who has been cashier from the beginning to the present time.

The Commercial State Bank had its first home at Fifth Street and Minnesota Avenue. The original capital stock was $25,000 and the first day's deposits were $12,000. The original directors were P. W. Goebel, A. C. Fasenmyer, J. A. Hirst, W. T. Maunder, M. Staley, H. W. Sandusky, E. S. McAnany, J. R. Chapman, E. F. Neal. On December 1, 1898, the capital was increased to $35,000, and on December 1, 1900, to $75,000. On July 1, 1902, the bank was nationalized under the name of The Commercial National Bank of Kansas City, Kansas, with a capital of $200,000 and surplus of $10,000. In the spring of 1903 the deposits passed the million mark and since, there has been a steady upward trend of deposits, increasing to over $2,000,000 in 1905, to $3,000,000 in 1907, to $5,000,000 in 1909, to over $6,000,000 in 1912, while a recent statement of September, 1916, shows deposits of over $7,000,000. On May 1, 1905, the capital was increased to $250,000 and a short time before the bank had acquired the business of the Merchants Bank and also the Citizens State Bank. In 1905 the Commercial National Bank removed to a new home at the northeast corner of Sixth Street and Minnesota Avenue. On October 31, 1908, the capital was increased to $300,000, at which figure it still remains. The total resources of this national bank are now over $8,000,000. Associated with The Commercial National Bank are the Kansas Trust Company, with resources of over $750,000, and the citizens State Savings Bank, with resources of over $700,000. Thus the combined resources of the three banks are nearly $10,000,000. The significant feature of the figures is that the surplus of the combined institutions is $555,000 with a combined capital stock of $450,000.

It was the president of this institution who was elected president of the American Bankers' Association in 1916, after previously having held the position of vice president. It was the second time in the history of Kansas City that a local banker had been chosen to head the association. Just thirty-four years before, Mr. Goebel had attained his first position in the banking world, as cashier of the bank of Louisburg in Kansas. That was a decided promotion at the time, especially when it is recalled that when he first came to Kansas in 1873 he worked for a number of months in the humble position of a farm hand in Miami County. Peter William Goebel was born March 18, 1859, near Langebecke in Hesse Nassau, Germany, a son of Peter and Anna Mary (Mueller) Goebel. His father was a government forester in Germany and died there in the early '80s, while his widow subsequently joined her children in the United States and died at Louisburg, Kansas, about 1909.

It was after he had received the training of the German common schools that Peter W. Goebel came to America at the age of fourteen. After working for about a year and a half on a farm in Miami county, he found work in the home of a Catholic priest at Paola, and under his direction studied hard to perfect himself in the English language and in some of the branches which he had neglected through lack of opportunity. Later he was in the employ of a physician at Louisburg, and there also accepted every opportunity to increase his educational advantages. The physician had a drug store, employed Mr. Goebel in that store, and the latter made his start in business in 1877 by opening a drug and grocery Store at Louisburg. That was his business connection for four years until he entered the Bank of Louisburg, with which for eighteen years he was identified as cashier. Though he continued to serve as cashier of the Bank of Louisburg until 1900, he had in the meantime taken part in the organization of The Commercial State Bank at Kansas City, Kansas, in 1897 and was elected its first president. In 1898 he became vice president and a director of the Miami County Bank at Paola. His permanent home has been in Kansas City since February, 1907. His position as head of one of the largest banks in the Middle West naturally gives him a place of power in connection with many other business and financial interests.

In earlier years Mr. Goebel was elected as a democrat to represent Miami County in the State Legislature, having been elected in 1903 and re-elected in 1905. In recent years he has come out strongly as an independent in politics. He and his wife are members of the Catholic Church. In 1877 at Louisburg in Miami County he married Mary Shaw, who was born in Kansas, a daughter of a Kansas pioneer William Shaw. They have five children: E. W. Goebel; A. F. Goebel; Mary; J. P. and Rose Goebel, twins.


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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