Transcribed from History of Labette County, Kansas and its Representative Citizens, ed. & comp. by Hon. Nelson Case. Pub. by Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, Ill. 1901

Return to table of contents | Return to Index | Return to Biography Index B

William Busby

WILLIAM BUSBY, an extensive coal operator, and mayor of the city of Parsons, whose portrait is herewith shown, is one of the best known citizens of Labette county, Kansas. The life of this gentleman stands out as a shining example of what may be accomplished by industry. Granted only a limited education, he was thrown upon his own resources at an early age, and the success which has attended his efforts is the result of persevering diligence and keen foresight. Taking advantage of opportunities as they presented themselves, he steadily increased his operations until they assumed vast proportions. He now employs about 600 men, and his daily pay-roll is about $1,500. He has been identified with many of the most worthy enterprises instituted for the good of the city, and as executive of the city of Parsons is as successful as in the management of his private affairs. He was born near Trenton, New Jersey, September 5, 1854, and is a son of George and Margaret (Lunney) Busby.

George Busby was born in England, came to America at the age of twenty-three years, and settled in the vicinity of Trenton, New Jersey. He at once engaged in agricultural pursuits, a vocation he followed during all of his active life. After remaining in New Jersey for several years, he moved to Ohio, and afterward to Illinois. In 1867 he came west to Labette county, Kansas, with his family and settled upon a tract of uncultivated land in the vicinity of Matthewson. There he remained until his death. He was a man given to hard work, and was upright and honest in his dealings with all. He was a Republican in politics, and in religious attachments was a member of the M. E. church. He married Margaret Lunney, a native of the North of Ireland, and they became the parents of six children, of whom William was the eldest.

William Busby received a limited mental training in the public schools of Illinois and Kansas. He worked upon his father's farm until two years after his marriage, when he determined to better his condition. He engaged in buying and shipping grain at Matthewson, on commission, and having accumulated a small capital at the end of one year, he decided to extend the business, and thereupon located at McCune, Kansas. He also engaged extensively in dealing in coal there for nine years. In 1889, he removed to Parsons, although he still retained his interests at McCune. He then gave evidence of shrewd business ability and sound judgment, by acquiring considerable property in the Indian Territory, at a time when others were pronouncing it worthless; this has proved to be to be one of the best paying investments he ever made. His coal mines are located at Wilburton, McAlester, and South McAlester, in the Indian Territory, and at Mineral, Kansas. His operations are very extensive, and require a large force of workers. Besides attending to his mining interests, he is general sales-agent for the Chocktaw, Oklahoma & Gulf Railroad Company, with branch office at Oklahoma City, and main office at Parsons. He is interested in several enterprises in the city of Parsons, and is president of the Parsons Building & Mercantile Company, and vice-president and treasurer of the Parsons Crystal Ice & Cold Storage Company. He owns considerable valuable real estate in the city, as well as the handsomest residence, - it is built in the colonial style of architecture, and is located on the corner of Morgan and Fifteenth streets. Mr. Busby is a self made man in every sense that the term apples, and the people of the county are proud of his achievements. He has not only been the means of affording employment to hundreds of men, but has extended aid to all deserving it, and has given his support to charitable enterprises in a liberal manner. He is a strong Republican, in politics, served as councilman for the second ward, from 1894 to 1895, and was elected mayor of Parsons in the spring of 1901.

Mr. Busby was united in marriage with Sarah L. Bell, by whom he has the following children: Mabel L., Edna, Ralph H., Roy C., Paul D., Ruth A., and two who died in infancy. - Mabel L., the eldest, married W. G. Endicott, of St. Joseph, Missouri. Fraternally, the subject of this sketch is a member of McCune Lodge, NO. 237, A. F. & A. M.; Parsons Chapter and Commandery; Ellsworth Council; and Ararat Temple of the Mystic Shrine, and Consistory No. 1, of Topeka, Kansas. He and his wife are devout members of the Presbyterian church, in which he is a deacon.