Charles Purdy Ives

CHARLES PURDY IVES. Every substantial city in Kansas has reason to be grateful to a group of its individual citizens who took the lead in affairs and largely molded those influences and institutions which make the community noteworthy and distinctive. Baldwin City thus honors the memory of the late Charles Purdy Ives, who was not only a business man but a citizen who stood foremost in every movement for the general good. Mr. Ives had a very long and interesting career.

He was born January 27, 1840, in West Plains, New York, now part of New York City. When a lad he carried messages on Wall Street. Perhaps it was that experience which kept him ever afterward in close touch with commercial affairs. His education was acquired in the public schools of Williamsburg, New York, and at Huntington Academy on Long Island.

In his early youth he frequently attended the famous Fulton Street prayer meeting in New York City, and in one of those meetings in 1857 he was converted. Under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church he became a teacher in a mission school at Choctaw Agency, Indian Territory. When he went out to the far Southwestern country as it was then it was his intention to return East and attend Princeton College. That design was frustrated by the outbreak of the Civil war. When he did return East it was to enlist as first sergeant in Company H of the First New York Lincoln Cavalry. On September 19, 1864, he was commissioned captain of the One Hundred and Fifteenth Regiment of United States Colored Volunteer Infantry. That regiment was recruited in Kentucky, and he was in active service as one of its officers until honorably discharged on February 10, 1866, at Indianola, Texas. He and his command had been sent to Texas under orders from Secretary of War Seward during the Maximillian Revolution in Mexico.

After the war Mr. Ives returned home and married Margaret Ann Verinder. Her father, Rev. William Verinder, was a Baptist clergyman. With his bride Mr. Ives came West as far as Chicago, and there he left her while he went still further west seeking a suitable place for home. In 1867 he acquired a homestead near Humboldt, Kansas. His bride joined him there, and together they enjoyed the privations of farm life and lived quietly and prosperously for a number of years. Mr. Ives became a charter member of the Presbyterian Church at Humboldt.

In 1880 he moved his family to Baldwin and thenceforward was actively connected with that city's welfare. He engaged in the retail lumber business and in time became one of the leading lumber merchants of the state. He had a wide acquaintance with lumbermen and served as a national officer in the Concatenated Order of Hoo Hoos, the lumbermen's fraternal organization. Whenever the interests of the community was at stake Captain Ives was one of the men who took more than an individual share in solving the problems and meeting the responsibilities of the moment. For many years he served as treasurer of Baker University. For one term he was on the city council, and his practical judgment in business affairs was invaluable to the city. The development of the good roads movement in that section of Kansas owed much to his energetic advocacy. He served as vice president for Kansas of the National Old Trails' Association. Six days in the week he applied himself with wonderful energy to his business and civic affairs, and on Sunday he was constant in his devotion to church services. For twenty-six years he was first assistant superintendent of the Methodist Sunday School. He gave freely of his means to worthy objects, and of the greater number of his benefactions only few are definitely known.

Charles Purdy Ives died October 29, 1913, honored and respected by all who knew him. As a mark of respect for his memory all the business houses and schools in Baldwin were closed during the hour of his funeral. Captain and Mrs. Ives had two children: Mrs. Arthur Stover of Little Rock, Arkansas, and Mrs. F. M. Hartley of Baldwin. Both daughters are graduates of Baker University.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed by Kim Wills, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 12-16-98.

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