JOHN McNARREY. - The exacting duties, manifold responsibilities and frequent dangers that appertain to the office of chief of the fire department of a metropolitan center demand a personality of strength of mind and body, discrimination, imperturbability in the face of perilous work, and resourcefulness and assurance in the matter of discipline, and all of these qualities are exemplified most admirably in the person of the able and popular head of the fire department of Kansas City, John McNarrey, who has brought the department up to a high standard of efficiency, who has the confidence of the community and who, though a strict disciplinarian, has the affectionate good will of his "boys" in this all important department of the municipal service.
Chief McNarrey traces his genealogy back to stanch Scottish origin in both the paternal and maternal lines, though his more immediate ancestors were residents of the north of Ireland, where the original representatives were undoubtedly numbered among the many Scotch Presbyterians, or Covenanters, who left their home country to secure greater religious freedom in the fair old Emerald Isle. John McNarrey himself finds due satisfaction in reverting to Ireland as the place of his nativity. He was born in the vicinity of the city of Belfast, in county Down, on the 19th of May, 1868, and is a son of John and Margaret (Reed) McNarrey, both of whom were born in Scotland and both of whom continued to reside in Ireland. The subject of this sketch received only limited educational advantages in his boyhood, as he began the practical battle of life before he had attained to the age of thirteen years. He at this time left the parental home and went to Scotland, where he was employed for the ensuing four years in connection with the operation of iron furnaces. He then went to England, where he followed the same vocation until 1886, when he decided to avail himself of the superior advantages afforded in America. He landed in New York city and in May of that year he made his appearance in Kansas City, Kansas, where he was in the employ of the Fowler Packing Company until 1888, when he went to Seattle, Washington, where he assisted in the building of dry docks and where he was thus employed about one year. There the young Scotch-Irishman gained his initial experience in municipal service, as he entered the employ of the city and had charge of a crew of men engaged in the pulling down of walls. Thereafter he was in the employ of the Northern Pacific & Alaska Steamship Company for a time, and in 1890 he returned to Kansas City, where he again entered the employ of the Fowler Packing Company. Under the administration of Mayor Barnes the future chief entered the fire department as a common fireman, and for seven years he was connected with the No. 2 house of the department. He was retired from the service under the regime of Mayor Craddock, and when Mayor Gilbert became the chief executive of the city Mr. McNarrey was appointed assistant chief of the fire department. He held this office two years, and during the administration of Mayor Rose he was again in the ranks of the department. When Dr. Gray was elected mayor to fill an unexpired term, Mr. McNarrey was appointed chief of the fire department, and he continued in tenure of this position also during the two years' term of Mayor Cornell, being permitted to "resign" from the department under the administration of Mayor Gage. Eleven months later, upon the election of Mayor Porter, he was again appointed chief of the department, and he has since retained the office, in which his fidelity and excellent work have gained him unequivocal commendation on the part of the general public as well as of the city officials.
Chief McNarrey takes a lively interest in all that touches the welfare of his home city and in politics he has given a stanch allegiance to the Republican party from the time of becoming a naturalized citizen of his adopted country. He is affiliated with the Masonic fraternity, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and the Ancient Order of United Workmen.
In the year 1900 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. McNarrey to Miss Hannah Carruthers, who was born and reared in England, and they have a winsome little daughter, Emily Margaret, who is the light and life of the attractive family home.
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project