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Frank Napoleon Phelps, Sr
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Birth: Dec. 10, 1857
Ogle County
Illinois, USA
Death: Sep. 27, 1945
Kansas City
Jackson County
Missouri, USA

From "History of Wyandotte County, Kansas and Its People", edited and compiled by Perl W. Morgan, Chicago, The Lewis Publishing Co., 1911, pages 646-648:


One of the most energetic and progressive business men of Kansas City, Missouri, Frank N. Phelps, treasurer of the Phelps Stone and Supply Company, of which he was practically the originator, has contributed appreciably towards the advancement of the industrial interests of this section of Wyandotte County, and won for himself an assured position in business circles. The only living son of the late James Carlin Turner Phelps, he was born December 10, 1857, in Polo, Ogle County, Illinois, of pioneer ancestry. His grandfather, John Phelps, married, March 14, 1816, in Tennessee, Sarah Rogan Carlin, and in 1819 moved his family to Illinois, becoming one of the orginal householders of Oregon, Ogle County, and an important factor in its settlement.

Having obtained his elementary education in the public schools of Ogle County, Illinois, Frank N. Phelps continued his studies at the Rock River Seminary, in Mount Morris, Illinois, after which he studied pharmacy at Ann Arbor, Michigan, and attended the School of the Mines, although, on account of his health, he did not complete the course. A year or two after attaining his majority, he planned to embark in business with his father, and the two prospected in different parts of the west, seeking a favorable location, finally deciding to settle in Wellington, Kansas. Unable, however, to make satisfactory arrangements in regard to renting a business place, the son proceeded in the fall of 1880, to Kansas City, Missouri, where he located permanently. Mr. Phelps soon followed. On coming to this city Frank N. Phelps bought a half interest in a shoe factory, becoming head of the firm of Phelps & Hahn. A year later, on June 17, 1882, a disastrous cyclone swept through this part of the country and completely wiped away his manufacturing plant. The firm made another brave start, but soon after sold all of tis machinery and equipment to a Fort Leavenworth shoe manufacturer.

Mr. Phelps then embarked in the wholesale fruit and commission business in Kansas City, Missouri, for two years being associated with the firm of Blossom & Phelps. Selling out then, he was for a year in the produce commission business as senior partner of the firm of Phelps & Smeltzer, selling out at the end of twelve months to his partner, who later acquired fame as the "Celery King" of the great west. Mr. Phelps was afterward engaged in handling real estate and all kinds of tax securities, carrying on a substantial business until the death of his parents.

Mr. Phelps, having originated the idea of forming a stone and supply company, formed a corporation with his five sisters, Mrs. Ella L. Fridley, Mrs. Effie L. Hoover, Mrs. Ada C. Cushing, Mrs. Anna M. Wood, and Mrs. Gertrude P. Hunie, and Mr. B. C. Beed, the only person outside the Phelps family, and was instrumental in organizing the Phelps Stone & Supply Company, locating the plant at the state line, near Rosedale. The company was incorporated September 22, 1904, with a capital of $45,000, which has since been increased to $67,000, the officers being as follows: Frank K. Hoover, president; W. E. Cushing, vice president and secretary; Frank N. Phelps, treasurer; and Harry J. Nicholas, of whom a brief sketch appears elsewhere in this volume, manager.

This company at first bought bought thirteen and one-half acres of land on the hill adjoining the Dietz Hill, the place being now known as Graystone Heights, but adjacent land has since been purchased, its acreage now being twenty-one acres. An extensive and profitable business has been built up by the company, its crushing stone plant having a capacity of three hundred cubic yards of crushed stone, which was delivered as per contract. In carrying on this work the firm employs on an average forty teams and forty-five men at the plant, the business being transacted at the office, which is located on the property.

The part of the country in which Mr. Phelps lives was formerly the happy hunting ground of the Indians, the tribe of the Wyandots, thousands of numbers having their villages, made of tepees, on the present site of the village of Kansas City, Kansas. A short distance from the home of Mr. Phelps, on the hill lying on the Kansas City, Missouri line, the American Fur Trading Company located its post, having a stockade and a log fort. It was illegal to sell liquor to the Indians, but ways were then found, even as now, to evade the law, a post being set in the ground and on that a pole was so inverted that it would revolve. The Indian desirous of obtaining liquor would tie his skins on one end of the pole, while the traders tied the liquor to the other end, and as the pole swung around the articles were exchanged. In excavating for the Phelps residence the workmen found the grave of an old Indian chief, who had been buried there, surrounded by his implements of war.

Many years ago James C. T. Phelps purchased a stock of goods in his native home state, Illinois, took them down the Mississippi And up the Missouri River to Weston, Missouri, which was a great stocking place for the prairie schooner trains taking loads of emigrants overland to California gold fields. He made money in the venture, but did not return with a second stock. For many generations this branch of the Phelps family has been prominent wherever located. As a pioneer of northern Illinois, John Phelps, grandfather of Frank N., did much towards the settlement of Ogle County, and had the distinction of having laid out the beautiful little city of Oregon. The family is an old and honored one, a genealogial record published within a few years giving its history back to the eleventh century.

Frank N. Phelps married, in Logan, Iowa, September 8, 1897, Eleanor W. Wood, who was born in Magnolia, Iowa, a daughter of John and Eliza (Hopkins) Wood. Mr. and Mrs. Phelps have one child, Frank N. Phelps, Jr., whose birth occurred March 22, 1906.--------------

After the Stone company closed, they sold the land to a brick making company. Then Frank worked for many years as an accountant for a Kansas City department store. He was 75 years old when he retired. He lived at 3013 Baltimore. 
Family links: 
  James Carlin Turner Phelps (1818 - 1895)
  Ann Elizabeth Swingley Phelps (1829 - 1896)
  Eleanor Virginia Wood Phelps (1873 - 1972)
  Frank Napoleon Phelps (1906 - 1988)*
  Ella Leora Phelps Fridley (1849 - 1928)*
  Urilla Swingely Phelps Merritt (1851 - 1879)*
  Charles Leonidas Phelps (1855 - 1878)*
  Frank Napoleon Phelps (1857 - 1945)
  Ada Clare Phelps Cushing (1862 - 1915)*
*Calculated relationship
Elmwood Cemetery
Kansas City
Jackson County
Missouri, USA
Plot: G38
Created by: Gordon Merritt
Record added: Jun 23, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 38672905
Frank Napoleon Phelps, Sr
Added by: Gordon Merritt
Frank Napoleon Phelps, Sr
Added by: Gordon Merritt
Frank Napoleon Phelps, Sr
Cemetery Photo
Added by: cw
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