LEE O. CARTER. - Fortunately for the perpetual value of this publication it has been found possible to accord within its pages specific mention of an appreciably large percentage of the representative citizens of the county to which it is devoted, and incidentally will be found such consideration of the careers of a full quota of the leading members of the Wyandotte county bar. Altogether worthy of classification in this latter category is the well known and popular attorney and counselor whose name initiates this paragraph and who has been engaged in the practice of his profession in Kansas City, the judicial center of the county, since 1898.
Lee Owen Carter was born on a farm near Smithville, Platte county, Missouri, on the 19th of September, 1874, and is a son of Benjamin H. and Melinda A. (Vermillion) Carter, the former of whom was born in Bourbon county, Kentucky, as a scion of one of the old and honored families of that state, to which the original representative removed from Virginia, where there was a close collateral relationship between the same and the distinguished Lee family of the Old Dominion commonwealth; Melinda A. (Vermillion) Carter, was born near the city of Cincinnati, Ohio. Benjamin Carter was reared and educated in his native state, where he continued to be actively concerned with agricultural pursuits until 1843, when he removed thence to Missouri. About one year later, however, he went back to his native state and thence to Ohio, where his marriage was soon afterward solemnized. He thereafter continued to reside in Ohio until 1853, when he and his family set forth for Missouri. They made the trip down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and disembarked at Liberty Landing, Missouri, whence they made their way to Clinton county, from which they later removed to Platte county, where the father developed a fine farm and devoted the remainder of his active career to successful agriculture and stock growing. There he died in 1896, at the age of seventy-four years, and no citizen of the community commanded a fuller measure of confidence and esteem. His cherished and devoted wife survived him by more than a decade and she was eighty years of age when she was summoned to the life eternal, in 1907. They had celebrated their golden wedding April 23, 1896. Of their fourteen children the subject of this review is the youngest and besides him two sons and five daughters survive the honored parents.
On the old homestead farm in Platte county, Missouri, Lee O. Carter passed his childhood and early youth under most benignant surroundings and influences, and in this connection he gained his initial experiences in the practical affairs of life. After completing the curriculum of the public schools of the locality he supplemented this discipline by an effective course of study in the Missouri State Normal School at Chillicothe. When seventeen years of age he engaged in teaching in the district schools, and his association with the pedagogic profession covered a period of about one year.
Having carefully formulated plans for his future life work, Mr. Carter came to Kansas City, Kansas, in 1895, and here prosecuted the study of law under the able preceptorship of the firm of Mills, Smith & Hobbs. After two years of assiduous application under these conditions he entered the law department of the University of Kansas, at Lawrence, in which he was graduated as a member of the class of 1899 and from which he received his well earned degree of Bachelor of Laws. In the previous year, however, he had been admitted to the Kansas bar, upon examination before the district court in Kansas City. In this city he initiated the active work of his profession and here he has continued to follow the same during the intervening period, marked by large and definite accomplishment on his party and implying the upbuilding of a substantial and essentially representative practice of a general order. He served as assistant county attorney for two years and then formed a professional partnership with Charles D. Dail, with whom he was thus associated for three years, under the firm name of Dail & Carter. At the expiration of this period Mr. Carter was appointed referee in bankruptcy for one of the districts of Kansas, comprising eleven counties, in July, 1904, and he thereafter ably administered the affairs of this office until his retirement therefrom, in July, 1910. During this incumbency he had also continued the active practice of his profession in an individual way, and since his retirement from office his substantial law business has engrossed his entire time and attention. He has achieved distinctive success in his life work and has been dependent upon his own resources in pressing forward to the desired goal, as he personally earned the funds with which to defray the expenses of the greater part of his academic and professional education and also to meet the expenses of his personal maintenance during this period of struggle.
Though never desirous of entering the turbulence of practical politics, Mr. Carter is found aligned as a staunch supporter of the cause of the Republican party. In the Masonic fraternity he has made a noteworthy record of advancement, as he has received the thirty-second degree of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite and is also affiliated with the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, as well as with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. A man of broad mental ken and of earnest convictions, he is liberal and progressive as a citizen and never denies his support to measures projected for the general good of the community. Mr. Carter has not assumed matrimonial bonds, and, so far as superficial indications give assurance, he still remains "heart-whole and fancy free."
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