MATHIAS A. THENO, who is now living virtually retired from active participation in business affairs, gained wide renown as a particularly skilled contractor and builder in Kansas City, where he established his home in the year 1886. Since 1910 he has resided on his attractive little estate of ten acres in Quindaro township, Wyandotte county, Kansas, devoting his spare time to the growing of small fruits and raspberries. He is a man of fine personality and extraordinary ability. His life achievements worthily illustrate what may be attained by persistent and painstaking effort. In every sense of the word he is a representative citizen and he gives freely of his aid and influence in support of all measures and enterprises advanced for the good of the general welfare.
Of French parentage, Mathias A. Theno was born in Luxemburg, Germany, the date of his nativity being the 14th of March, 1848. He is a son of Peter and Mary Theno, who immigrated to the United States about the year 1850, coming to this country on the old sailing ship, Federatio, and making the trip in twenty-seven days. Landing in New York city, practically penniless, the father pawned some of his tools in order to get to Buffalo, where he was engaged in the carpenter's trade for a number of years. In 1852 the family home was established in Wisconsin, where Peter Theno continued to reside until his death, in 1901, at the venerable age of seventy-seven years. After the death of her honored husband the mother came to Kansas City, where she contracted a severe cold and died, in 1908, at the age of eighty-eight years. Her grandfather, Mathias Hoffman, was a soldier under Napoleon and he lived to the patriarchal age of one hundred and seven years.
The first in order of birth in a family of seven children, Mathias A. Theno was a child of three years of age at the time of his parents' immigration to this country. After availing himself of such opportunities as offered for an educational training, he entered upon an apprenticeship at the carpenter's trade, learning the same from his father. In 1886 he decided to try his fortunes in Kansas and in that year settled in Kansas City, where he immediately secured work as a carpenter. With the passage of time he became an extensive contractor and was instrumental in the erection of some of the finest buildings in Kansas City. In addition to other work he put in the Center street cable line and did a great deal of other street railway work. He continued to devote his attention to contracting and building until 1910, when he retired to his country estate in Quindaro township. In 1891 he purchased a tract of five acres of land near Bethel and subsequently he bought another five acres. This was originally wild land but under his careful direction it has been cleared and placed under cultivation. He is the owner of one of the most attractive homes in Wyandotte county and all the buildings and improvements on his place are of the most modern type. He has set out four hundred trees and makes a specialty of raising small fruits and raspberries, his market for the same being Kansas City.
In politics Mr. Theno maintains an independent attitude and while he has never been incumbent of any public office he has been urged to run for treasurer of his town. In fraternal circles he is a valued and appreciative member of the German Workmen and in religious matters attends and gives his support to the Catholic church, in whose faith he has reared his children. Mr. Theno is a great advocate of the license in Kansas and has seen a great deal of danger done by Prohibition in Kansas City, where he maintains many houses have stood vacant since they stopped selling liquor. He also maintains that there is a great difference in the taxes, tracing the same to Prohibition. Mr. Theno is a man of broad information and deep human sympathy and as a citizen he is everywhere accorded the unalloyed confidence and esteem of his fellow men.
On the 15th of November, 1869, Mr. Theno was united in marriage to Miss Margaret Smith, a native of Wisconsin and a daughter of Cornelius and Magdalena (Schritz) Smith, both of whom were born in Germany. Mr. and Mrs. Theno became the parents of eleven children, concerning whom the following brief data are here recorded: Mary is Mrs. George M. Holt, of Kansas City, Kansas; Margaret died on the 14th of November, 1904, at the age of thirty-two years, and is survived by three children, all of whom reside in Seattle, Washington; Mathias J., Jr., is a prosperous farmer in the vicinity of Nearman, Kansas; Catherine died in infancy; Peter died in 1876, aged one year; Jacob died in 1880, aged two years; John died in infancy in 1880; Adeline died in 1882, aged one year; Michael is engaged in farming operations in Quindaro township, he having married Estella Edwards; Nicholas learned the carpenter and stone trades of his father and is engaged in that work in Kansas City. He married Marie Schevemann and has two children, Frederick N. and Raymond K.; and Magdalena, born on the 7th of November, 1886, is the wife of Otto Elver, who is the owner of twenty acres of land adjacent to Mr. Theno's estate in Quindaro township.
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