CASEY GREGORY COCHRAN. Probably no name in Northwestern Kansas has more significance in financial and business circles than C. G. Cochran, whose home is at Hays and who has won his present position as executive head of half a dozen banks and of other business institutions from an humble beginning and without reliance upon any other factor than his own indomitable pluck and energy. His wealth and prosperity are untainted and he has rendered an adequate service for every dollar he has received in the course of his life.
Mr. Cochran was born in a log cabin in Lucas County, Iowa, August 19, 1862. His father, John Cochran, was born in Ohio in 1838, and took his family to Marion County, Iowa, in 1856. He was a farmer there and in 1860 moved to Lucas County of that state, and subsequently was drawn into the gold excitement in Colorado, and became a speculator and miner at Central City and finally at Golden, to which place he removed in 1900, and he died there in 1908. In politics he was a democrat. John Cochran married Martha Fletcher, born in Kentucky in 1846. She was sixteen years of age at the time of her marriage, and she died in Lucas County, Iowa, in 1864.
Casey G. Cochran was the only child of his mother and after her death lived with his grandmother, Mrs. Susan Fletcher, to the age of thirteen. Within that time he received all his "schooling" in the public schools of Marion County. At thirteen he set out for himself, working on farms by the month, spending one year in Monroe County and another year in Marion County, Iowa. For three years he was clerk in a general merchandise store at Columbia, Iowa.
In 1881, at the age of nineteen, Mr. Cochran came to Kansas and homesteaded a quarter section in Rooks County. He lived on his claim three years, at the end of which time he sold a good crop of wheat and moved to Plainville and embarked in general merchandising. Three years later he sold this store, and after that for twenty-four years was a hardware and implement dealer in that town.
Since 1908 Mr. Cochran has given most of his time to banking. He is now president of the Citizens State Bank of Hays, of the First National Bank of Plainville, the First National Bank of Ellis, the First National Bank of Victoria, the Ellsworth State Bank, the Zurich State Bank, the Damar State Bank, the Farmers State Bank of Walker, and is vice president of the Liberty Trust Company of Kansas City, Missouri.
Mr. Cochran first entered banking as a private banker at Plainville in 1893. He re-organized this bank as the First National Bank in 1908 and has since been its president. His management of this institution is a signal illustration of his ability as a financier. He bought the bank on time for $5,000, has kept it steadily growing, has paid out over $200,000 in dividends, and has increased its capital to $50,000. In 1906 he organized the Damar State Bank at Damar, Kansas, in 1908 the Zurich State Bank at Zurich, and in November, 1911, bought the Citizens State Bank of Hays, its capital at that time being $25,000. This bank now has a capital of $50,000, a surplus of $50,000, and Mr. Cochran built for it in 1912 an artistic home on Chestnut Street. In 1913 he organized the Farmers State Bank at Walker and in 1916 bought the Citizens State Bank of Ellis, with a capital of $12,000, changed its charter to a national bank, increased the capital to $50,000, and it has earned a surplus of $10,000 since then. In 1918 he built a modern building for the Ellis bank. In 1916 he bought the German National Bank at Victoria, Kansas, capitalized at $25,000, and in 1917 it was converted into the First National Bank. In 1917 he also organized the Ellsworth State Bank at Ellsworth, which has a capital of $50,000. In July, 1917, he and his son Forrest C. Cochran organized the Liberty Trust Company at Kansas City, Missouri. This is a rapidly growing institution, with general banking and trust facilities, and Forrest C. Cochran is its president; C. G. Cochran, vice president; Randolph P. Rogers, vice president and trust officer, and Bert B. Bell, secretary. The directors are among the leading business men of Kansas City.
Mr. Cochran still retains a number of interests at Plainville, among which are the Plainville Mercantile Company, a large department store in which he is a director. As a banker he is in close touch with agricultural conditions and owns a ranch of more than 10,000 acres in Rooks and Ellis counties, which ranch is the home of some 1,200 head of pure bred White Face and Shorthorn cattle. The ranch is conducted under the name C. G. Cochran and Sons. Mr. Cochran is a republican politically, is affiliated with Paradise Lodge of Masons at Plainville, Stockton Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, Hays Commandery, Knights Templar, and the Salina Lodge of Elks.
In 1879, at Columbia, Iowa, Mr. Cochran married Miss Emma J. Shaw, daughter of James S. and Margaret (Black) Shaw, both now deceased. Her father was first a farmer, later a merchant, and still later homesteaded a claim in Kansas. Mr. and Mrs. Cochran have two sons, Forrest C., above mentioned as president of the Liberty Trust Company at Kansas City, Missouri, is a graduate of the Plainville High School and from the law department of Kansas University. The younger son, Azel F., is a captain in the United States army, and has his home in Hays, where he is vice president of the Citizens State Bank and of other banks, and is also interested in ranching with his father.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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