Robert Alexander Long

ROBERT ALEXANDER LONG, a prominent figure in the lumber circles of the West, is an esteemed resident of Kansas City, Missouri, to which city he removed from Columbus, Cherokee County, Kansas, when the general offices of The Long-Bell Lumber Company, of which he is president, were moved from Columbus to Kansas City. He was born in Shelby County, Kentucky, in 1850. That was the beginning of a life which has grown into strength, uniformly but surely, until the man is a marvel to those who have watched him through the successive stages of his progress. Endowed by nature with a noble heart and a keen insight into the relation of his environment, he has passed in the achievement of his purposes from point to point so quietly and so unobservedly as to excite but little notice outside of the business circles in which he has moved.

Thirty years ago Mr. Long came to Kansas, a young man possessing no capital but his indomitable courage, his unvarying uprightness of purpose and his disposition always kindly to consider the rights and interests of others. He began as a retail lumber merchant, in a very humble and always unpretentious way, in the town of Columbus, then a mere village. Through industry and fair dealing he rose gradually in the business and early brought about the necessity for its enlargement. It was in these years that he laid the foundation for one of the greatest enterprises that the business community of the whole country now knows. The Long-Bell Lumber Company, of which Mr. Long is the president, had its beginning 29 years ago in the town of Columbus, where the headquarters were located until about 13 years ago, when the general offices were moved to Kansas City, Missouri, on account of the greatly enlarged business. The company now owns property valued as follows: Timber lands, $2,353,529.82; coal lands, $236,232.47; milling plants, $786,777.65; coal mining plants, $101,821.22; retail yard plants, $147,827.34; railway equipments, $490,498.00; lumber, $964,010.95; general merchandise stores, $102,943.24; houses and improvements, $204,443.21; accounts receivable, $937,010.41; cash and sundry investments, $521,148.46; all aggregating $6,845,242.77; The average daily sales of the company amount to $23,000.75; and the total sales for the year 1903 were $7,199,237.23. Besides being president of The Long-Bell Lumber Company, Mr. Long is president of The Rapids Lumber Company, of Woodworth, Louisiana; The King-Ryder Lumber Company, of Bonami, Louisiana; The Hudson River company, of DeRidder, Louisiana; The Globe Lumber Company, of Yellow Pine, Louisiana; The Minnetonka Lumber Company; The Fidelity Land & Improvement Company, and the Fidelity Fuel Company, as also of the Long-Bell railway system. He is as well a large stockholder in The Weed Lumber Company, of Weed, California, and also owns large interests in coal lands in Cherokee County, Kansas.

Mr. long, although a man whose business takes almost his entire attention, ever finds time to consider the appeals of the poor and the needy; he is identified in many efforts to better the moral and religious, as well as the physical, conditions of those about him. He has given largely to the Christian Church of which he is an active member. Mr. Long's family consists of himself, his wife and two grown daughters. They live on Independence avenue, Kansas City, Missouri, where they have one of the most comfortable homes in the city.

The sketch of Mr. Long's character and achievements is given here for the reason that he was so long and so earnestly identified with the city of Columbus and Cherokee county. It is felt by the editor that a history of the county, if Mr. Long were not given prominent mention, would be, to the extent of the omission, neglectful of much that entered into the material and moral upbuilding of the community; and the fitness of the sketch is further considered from the fact that Mr. Long is yet largely interested in the county and always feels concerned for the welfare of the people.


History of Cherokee County Kansas and its representative citizens, ed. & comp. by Nathaniel Thompson Allison, 1904, transcribed by Cameron Smith, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 1-20-97.


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Tom & Carolyn Ward
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