Willard M. Richart

WILLARD M. RICHART, a well known young man of Columbus, who is traveling representative in the Southwest of one of the leading law-book publishing houses of the country, was born in Spring Hill, Kansas, August 16, 1878. When he was six years old, his parents moved to Galena, Kansas, where the boy went to school until he was 11 years old. At that age he became practically dependent solely upon himself for support and maintenance; without any further chance at going to school, he was hired to work in the office of the Galena Times, a newspaper then just established. He did all kinds of work, such as sweeping out, rolling the forms, setting type and running errands. He was in that office 18 months, when he was employed in the office of the Galena Republican, owned and edited by L. C. Weldy, one of the best known newspaper men in Southeastern Kansas. The paper was at that time a weekly publication. Afterwards it became a daily, and Willard M. Richart was made the city editor. He was an apt newsgatherer, and it was largely due to him that the paper was well patronized. He was with the paper, altogether, about seven years, when he became the lead and zinc staff correspondent of the, Age of Steel, of St. Louis, Missouri, his work being in the Galena-Joplin lead and zinc district. The position was not a very remunerative one, and after serving in it for several months, he went back to the Galena Republican, where he remained until 1899, when he took editorial charge of the Columbus Courier, under the firm name of Richart & Cavaness. During this period, which was of about three years duration, Mr. Richart became widely known throughout the Third Congressional District, on account of the stand which he took against some of the leaders of his party. The part which the paper took, under the editorial direction of Mr. Richart, caused it to lose some of the patronage which it formerly had, and it ceased to be financially profitable. In 1902, Richart & Cavaness gave up the paper, and it was sold to W. S. Norton, the present owner.

In April, 1903, Mr. Richart entered, as a traveling salesman, the employ of the Vernon Richard Book Company, of Kansas City, Missouri. After 14 months of unprecedented success with this house, he accepted a like position with Callaghan & Company, of Chicago, Illinois, law-book publishers, sellers and importers, perhaps the largest house of the kind in the world. His field is all of the South west of the Mississippi River.

Mr. Richart was married, December 30, 1903, to Mabel Clair Houx, elder daughter of Dr. J. O. Houx, of Columbus, Kansas, of which city Mr. and Mrs. Richart are residents. Considering the hardships through which he has had to pass, and the fact that not many bright days came to him in his childhood and in his boyhood years, few have done better than he in gaining knowledge and in laying the foundation for a helpful, happy and prosperous life. He has had to fight his way through all kinds of adverse circumstances, and it is to his credit that it has made him stronger and better, without having set him against all others, as adversity often does.


History of Cherokee County Kansas and its representive citizens, ed. & comp. by Nathaniel Thompson Allison, 1904, transcribed by Lewis Blunk, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 2/27/97


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Tom & Carolyn Ward
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