WESLEY R. CHILDS. - When proper recognition is taken of those who have been specially loyal and influential in the furthering of measures and enterprises that have tended to conserve the material and civic advancement and upbuilding of Wyandotte county and the state of Kansas at large, credit must needs be given to Wesley R. Childs, the present postmaster of Kansas City, the thriving metropolis of the county to which this history is dedicated. He has been unswerving in his devotion to the interests of his native state and has been particularly active in connection with the improvements of the waterways, and he stands exemplar of the progressive spirit and broad minded policies that are so uniformly conceded to the men of the great west. He has been a resident of Kansas City since 1895 and has been prominently identified with business, social and political affairs in Wyandotte county, where his sterling attributes of character have gained to him unequivocal confidence and esteem.
Wesley Richards Childs was born at Geneva, Allen county, Kansas, on the 26th of June, 1869, and is a son of Rev. Lucas S. and Sophia C. (Keyes) Childs, the former of whom was born in Wyoming county, New York, and the latter in Niagra county, that state, within whose borders the respective families settled in the pioneer days, the lineage of both being traced back to stanch Scotch-Irish origin. In 1869, a few months before his birth, the parents of the present postmaster of Kansas City came to this state and established their home on a pioneer farm in Allen county. The father improved this property and developed a productive farm, but he finally entered the ministry of the Congregational church, and he devoted the last quarter century of his life to zealous efforts in the aiding and uplifting of his fellow men. He was a colporteur for fifteen years of this period and traveled extensively in this line, in the distribution of religious publications and in the upbuilding of churches in Kansas and Oklahoma. He died in 1909 at the age of sixty-seven years, and his life was one marked by signal consecration as well as by fruitful efforts in the field of Christian activities. His wife, who now maintains her home in Glencoe, Oklahoma, and who is a regularly ordained minister of the Congregational church, has long been active in missionary work in that state and is a most effective public speaker. She is now living retired after long and earnest endeavors as a minister and missionary. She proved a valued coadjutor of her honored husband, who was a man of fine intellectuality, and she stands as a type of noble and gracious womanhood. Rev. Lucas S. Childs also gave service in a far different way than demanded of the church militant, as he went forth in defense of the Union when its integrity was menaced by armed rebellion. He enlisted in the One Hundred and Thirty-sixth New York Volunteer Infantry and participated in twenty-three of the important battles marking the progress of the great internecine conflict, including those of Gettysburg, Antietam and Lookout Mountain, in the last mentioned of which he was wounded. He was mustered out with the rank of corporal and he ever afterward retained a deep interest in his old comrades in arms. He was a stanch supporter of the cause of the Republican party, but was not an active partisan. Rev. Lucas S. and Sophia C. (Keyes) Childs became the parents of three sons and two daughters, and all of the number are living.
The old homestead farm on which he was born was the stage of the experiences gained by Wesley R. Childs until he had attained to the age of fifteen years, and in the meanwhile he had availed himself of the advantages of the local schools of the period. This discipline was supplemented by one year's attendance at Park College, in Clay county, Missouri. When sixteen years of age, at his own request he was permitted to begin the battle of life on his own responsibility. He secured employment in a smelter at Scammon, Kansas, and later engaged in work as a car trimmer. He won successive promotions and finally was advanced to the position of salesman for the coal company by which he was employed. Later he was connected for twelve years with the J. R. Crowe Coal & Mining Company, of Kansas City, Missouri, and in this association he advanced from the position of salesman to that of general sales-manager. In 1895 he came to Kansas City and opened an office for this company, in whose employ he continued until 1907.
Ever a stalwart advocate of the principles and policies for which the Republican party stands sponsor, Mr. Childs has given yoeman service in its ranks and been influential in its local councils. On the 29th of April, 1907, he was appointed postmaster of Kansas City, by President Roosevelt, and his appointment was confirmed by the United States Senate on the 9th of the following December. He has given a most careful and acceptable administration of the affairs of this important office, has instituted many improvements in its system and facilities, and his term will expire on the 9th of December, 1911. He was instrumental in obtaining the addition to and remodeling of the old post office, the appropriation being one hundred and sixty-five thousand, five hundred dollars. He put in fifteen additional postal stations in Kansas City, Kansas, equipped all sub-stations with new furniture and fixtures and revolutionized the entire postal service of the city, putting it on a solid business basis. All this, including the establishment of a postal savings bank, the elimation of all unnecessary Sunday work by employees and many other improvements has been accomplished during his four years in office.
Mr. Childs served two years as a member of the Kansas City Associated Board of Charities, and he has been specially active as "guide, counselor and friend" to boys and young men. He is vice president of the Missouri River Navigation Congress and is a member of the board of governors of the Lakes-to-the-Gulf Deep Waterways Association, besides which his zeal in connection with the improvement of navigation facilities is indicated by the fact that he is vice president from Kansas of the National Rivers and Harbors Association. He is also honorary vice president of the Lincoln University Endowment Association, which has in charge the securing of an adequate endowment fund for the Lincoln Memorial University, located at Cumberland Gap, Tennessee. He has had charge of the sale in Kansas City of the Red Cross stamps to create a fund for furthering the work of preventing tuberculosis. He has been most zealous in the support of measures and undertakings tending to advance the social and material welfare of his home city and Mrs. Childs, likewise, has been a valued factor in civic affairs; she is a member of the Kansas State Association of Women's Clubs and has had charge of its department of civics. Both Mr. and Mrs. Childs are members of the Western Highlands Presbyterian church in their home city and both are popular figures in connection with the representative social activity of the community. He is affiliated with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and is a member of the United Commercial Travelers' Association and various other societies and organizations.
In the year 1893 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Childs to Miss Ella McClung, of Columbus, this state, and they have two children, Anna and Wesley McClung.
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