GRANT A. WOODCOCK. - As one of the enterprising and representative business men of Kansas City Mr. Woodcock is well entitled to recognition in this history of Wyandotte county and its people, and he is known as a citizen of progressive ideas and utmost civic loyalty, the while he has that definite personal popularity that indicates sterling characteristics.
Grant A. Woodcock was born in the city of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, on the 29th of July, 1863, and is a son of John W. and Isabella D. (Best) Woodcock, both of whom were born in Pennsylvania, the former in 1814 and the latter in 1830. The father died in August, 1896, and the mother now resides with her son. Her paternal grandfather was of Irish nativity and was numbered among the pioneer settlers of Pennsylvania, where he became a citizen of promise and influence and where he lived to attain to the patriarchal age of ninety nine years and ten months. John W. and Isabella D. Woodcock became the parents of seven children, of whom are now living, Kate, who is the wife of Samuel L. Evans, of Kansas City, Missouri; Cyrus J., who maintains his home in the state of Arkansas; Grant A., whose name initiates this sketch; and Horace S., who resides in Rosedale, Wyandotte county, Kansas. The father was reared and educated in his native state, and went to Pittsburg, when a young man. He was there in the employ of the government for a number of years, and during the climacteric period of the Civil war he held the responsible post of superintendent of the United States arsenal at Pittsburg. In 1867 he came to Kansas, where he remained for some time and then returned to Pennsylvania. He had been notably impressed with the Sunflower state, however, and in 1881 he returned to Kansas and established his home in Crawford county, where he secured a tract of land and turned his attention to farming and stock growing, with which he there continued to be identified for many years. After his retirement from active labor he lived for some time at McCune, that county, and he passed the closing years of his life at his home at McCune. In politics he was originally a Whig and later a Republican, and his religious faith was that of the Methodist Episcopal church, of which his widow likewise has long been a devout member.
Grant A. Woodcock gained his early educational training in the public schools of Kansas, and this was supplemented by a course in Duff's Business College in his native city of Pittsburg. He earned his first money by working in the castor-bean and tobacco fields, and received fifty cents a day in compensation for his services. He was somewhat past his sixteenth birthday at the time when his father located on the farm in Crawford county, Kansas, and as he had no predilection for agricultural pursuits he secured the position of bookkeeper in the office of William H. Busby, who was a leading grain merchant at Parsons and McCune, this state, and Mr. Woodcock had charge of the books of his employer in both headquarters. In 1887 he discerned better opportunities in connection with the great basic industry to which he had previously refused to give allegiance, and he secured a homestead claim of one hundred and sixty acres of land in Finney county, Kansas. He paid the requisite amount for the property within that year and secured title to the same, and he then left the farm and came to Kansas City, where he was driver of a coal wagon for one year. He then became associated in a partnership with his brother Cyrus J. and engaged in the dry goods business in this city, beginning operations on a modest scale. The firm built up a prosperous trade and in 1891 Grant A. Woodcock sold his interest in the business and engaged individually in the mercantile business at Rosedale, a suburb of Kansas City, Kansas. Here he handled dry goods, shoes and men's furnishing goods, and after building up a successful trade he sold out and engaged in the coal and feed business in Armourdale, another suburb. There he continued operations in this line until 1907, when he disposed of his stock and business on favorable terms and established his present flourishing enterprise at 1133 Osage avenue, Kansas City. Here he handles heavy and shelf hardware, stoves and ranges, tools and implements and all other lines usually to be found in a well ordered hardware store, and his careful and honorable business methods have been the forces that have given him consecutive advancement and definite success in his various business operations.
In politics Mr. Woodcock has ever given an unqualified allegiance to the Republican party and while he has had no desire for public office his civic loyalty prompted him to assume the semi-public office of which he is now incumbent and to which he was elected on the 1st of March, 1903, that of member of the board of directors of the Kaw Valley Drainage District. This board has supervision of a work that will prove of inestimable benefit to this section of the state and the people in general are in full sympathy with the movement, although various corporate interests have insistently opposed the measures, for purely selfish motives. Mr. Woodcock is prominently identified with representative fraternal organizations and his affiliation with the same affords voucher for his personal popularity in the community. In the time honored Masonic fraternity he is affiliated with Rosedale Lodge, No. 333, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and he has further advanced through the various grades until he has received the thirty-second degree of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, in which he holds membership in Caswell Consistory, No. 5. At Kansas City, Kansas, he is identified with Abdallah Temple, Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, and both he and his wife are affiliated with Chapter No. 156 of the Order of the Eastern Star, in which both have passed the official chairs. He also holds membership in the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Modern Woodmen of America and the Ancient Order of United Workmen.
June 22, 1902, bore record of the marriage of Mr. Woodcock to Miss Lydia B. Neal, who was born in Piatt county, Illinois, and who is a daughter of Samuel and Margaret Neal, the former of whom is deceased and the latter of whom now resides in the home of her only child, Mrs. Woodcock. Mr. Neal was for many years engaged in the meat market business and was a resident of Monticello, Illinois, at the time of his death.
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