KENNETH L. BROWNE. - One of the most enterprising and successful citizens of Kansas City, Kansas, Kenneth L. Browne has been active in financial circles for many years, and is prominently identified with the banking interests of his community. A son of Lawrence P. Browne, he was born December 19, 1861, in Kansas City, Missouri.
Lawrence P. Browne, his father, was a native of Pennsylvania, his birth having occurred at Towanda, Bradford county, in 1830. When a lad of twelve years he accompanied his parents to Peru, La Salle county, Illinois, where he completed his school life. His first employment was in a dry goods establishment in St. Louis, Missouri, where he remained for sometime. In 1845 he located in Kansas City, Missouri, and for a while he was clerk for the mercantile firm of Walker & Northrup. In 1857 or 1858 he embarked in business on his own account, becoming a member of the firm of W. H. Chick & Company, which was burned out in 1866. This firm made a specialty of furnishing outfits for the Santa Fe trail trade, such as ox team and mule team wagons, and all supplies for overland travel. It subsequently established an outfitting depot at Junction City, Kansas, then the terminus of the Kansas Pacific, now the Union Pacific, Railroad, and as the railroad was extended established depots at different places, keeping ahead of the road in every instance, depots having been located at Ellsworth, Kansas; at Sheridan, Kansas; at Kit Carson, Colorado; Granada, Colorado; at La Junta, Colorado; at Trinidad, Colorado; at El Moro, Colorado; with a branch of it at Pueblo, Colorado; at Otero, New Mexico; at Springer, New Mexico; at Las Vegas, New Mexico; and in El Paso, Texas. All of these have since been discontinued with the exception of the one at Las Vegas, which is now in charge of Mr. Browne's oldest brother, Millard W. Browne. The father was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and was a Republican in politics. He died in 1893.
Lawrence P. Browne married Artless J. Ladd, who was born near Columbus, Ohio, and prior to her marriage taught school in Wyandotte, Kansas. Her father, John W. Ladd, came to Wyandotte county from Ohio in 1844. She survived her husband, passing away in 1906. Eleven children were born of their union, all of whom are now living, as follows: Millard W., of Las Vegas, New Mexico, married Edith W. Swain, now deceased; Ruth A., a twin sister of Millard W., is the wife of C. N. Blackwell; Lydia M., widow of Thomas B. McNair; Cecil W., married Annie W. Welsh; Ernest L., married Mae V. Bassett; Kenneth L., a twin brother of Ernest L.; Evan H., married Lillian Leland; Helen F.; Jessie E., twin sister of Helen F., is the wife of Milton H. Norton; Constance S., wife of Durbin I. Parsons; and Gertrude A., twin sister of Constance S., is the wife of John E. Balis.
Acquiring the rudiments of his education in the public schools of Wyandotte, Kansas, Kenneth L. Browne subsequently attended the Central High School in Kansas City, Missouri, and Spaulding's Commercial College in the same city. Beginning his active career as clerk in a seed house, he was afterward a clerk in the banking establishment of Northrup & Sons. When, in 1887, the business was reorganized as the Northrup Banking Company, Mr. Browne was made its cashier. In 1894 Mr. Browne organized the Merchants' Bank of Kansas City, Kansas, and became its cashier. In 1895 that bank was consolidated with the Commercial National Bank of Kansas City, Kansas, and he served as its vice president until 1908. Organizing in that year the Security National Bank, of Kansas City, Missouri, Mr. Browne has since served as vice president of this institution. He is also a director in the Commercial National Bank and in the Kansas Trust Company, two strong financial institutions, and is financially interested in other business enterprises and in manufacturing.
Mr. Browne married, October 12, 1887, Kate V. Brown, a daughter of William and Athenia (Sharp) Brown, of Fremont, Ohio. Three children have blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Browne, namely: Maude, who was graduated from the University of Kansas with the class of 1910; Dorothy, attending Smith College, in Northampton, Massachusetts, and Kenneth, a pupil in the ward school. Politically Mr. Browne is a steadfast Republican, and fraternally he belongs to Wyandotte Lodge, No. 3, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.
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