Henry B. Pierce, of the Pierce Realty Company, at Pittsburg, Kansas, has been well known in Pittsburg for nearly twenty years, and for the past ten years has had his permanent residence here and been extensively engaged in the real estate business. He has been a successful business man, but, outside of his occupations pursued for individual gain, he has also been much interested in matters pertaining to the public welfare and the development of the material resources and the civic progress of whatever community with which he has been identified for any considerable time. He will always be remembered in Pittsburg for the part he has played in advancing the standard of educational facilities and making this city a center of education along practical lines.
Mr. Pierce was born in Oil City, Pennsylvania, in 1885, being one of the sons born to David and Lovina (Hockman) Pierce, both natives of Pennsylvania, where his mother still lives. His father was a farmer, but was also interested in the oil industry, and died from the result of an accident.
Mr. Henry Pierce received his education in Oil City, but took up the practical duties of life at the age of fourteen, beginning work in the oil trade, in which his father and nearly all his brothers were interested, some of his brothers being still connected with that great industry. He soon worked into a good position with the Standard Oil Company, and at an early age was earning a large salary. But, feeling the need of further education, he resigned his place and took a course in the State Normal School at Edinboro, Pennsylvania. In 1880 he was married, and in the same year came west and settled in Cherokee county, of southeastern Kansas, on the Indian Territory border, where he engaged in the farming and cattle business on a very extensive scale. He lived there until 1885, and then for a short time was a resident of Pittsburg, which town was then in its infancy. He afterward moved his family out to the western part of the state, in Kinsley, Edwards county, where he lived for a number of years. He left there in order that his children might have better educational facilities than could be offered in that section of the state, and in 1894 took up his residence in Pittsburg, where he has made his home ever since. He established here the Pierce Realty Company, which is successfully engaged in a general real estate and financial business, making city and country loans, and dealing in bonds, etc.
Since coming to the west Mr. Pierce has taken much interest in educational affairs in the several places of his residence, not only for the advantage of his own children but from the purely altruistic desire for educational advancement in general, and has usually been connected in some official capacity with the school boards. For several years he was a member of the Pittsburg board of education, and was associated with Senator Porter in establishing here the public manual training school, the first of its kind in the state. He was a member of the finance committee that floated the bonds and made negotiations for erecting the school and devised the plans for maintaining it. The inauguration of this school in Pittsburg led to the later establishment here of the State Normal Manual Training School, by act of the legislature, which marked one of the greatest advances the Kansas school system had made.
Mr. Pierce was married at Oil City, Pennsylvania, in 1880, to Miss Maggie Kline, and they have had five children. The two oldest sons, Hurlburt G. and Harvey J., were students of the State University at Lawrence, the former finishing in the law department and the latter in the civil engineering department. Hurlburt is now a member of the Pierce Realty Company, while Harvey, although only twenty-one years old, is in charge of the engineering department of the Midland Valley Railroad in Arkansas and Indian Territory. Floyd, a younger son, will become connected with his father's business as soon as he is through school. The other two children are Esther and Fred. Mr. Pierce is a Royal Arch Mason, and in politics is a Democrat.Pages 345-346 from A Twentieth century history and biographical record of Crawford County, Kansas, by Home Authors; Illustrated. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL : 1905. 656 p. ill. Transcribed by Aimee Bohannan, student at Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, in April, 2003.
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