Robert Orin Deming, president of The Deming Investment Company at Oswego, is at the head of one of the largest financial institutions in the Southwest. The Deming Investment Company, which has been built up on a basis of fair dealing continued through a period of more than thirty years, now has branch offices in nearly a dozen of the larger cities of the Middle West, and at the present time has over $15,000,000 of farm loans in force, out of some $35,000,000 loaned in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi. The company has been a bulwark of security for the investors, and at the same time has protected and aided thousands of farm owners in securing necessary capital for acquirement of title, improvements and carrying on their regular business.
To build up such an organization is of itself no small distinction in the business world. Mr. Deming is in fact one of the foremost financiers of the State of Kansas. Besides the investment company he is owner of the Parsons Natural Gas Company, which supplies the City of Parsons with natural gas. He erected the plant in 1897, and has directed the affairs of the company for nineteen years.
In Southern Kansas perhaps none is more conspicuous by its high standards and model equipment than the Deming ranch of 3,500 acres, adjoining the City of Oswego on the north. A large part of this land lies in the Neosho River bottom and it is protected from overflow by the erection of eleven miles of levee. Mr. Deming has directed the tiling of more than 1,400 acres. Some of the highest grades of livestock have their home on this ranch. Mr. Deming raises a herd of from 500 to 1,000 pure bred Poland China hogs, and usually keeps about 500 head of Hereford cattle. The manager of the ranch is L. S. Edwards, a nephew of the late Senator P. B. Plumb. Mr. Edwards took the full four years agricultural and animal husbandry course in the State Agricultural College at Manhattan.
The Deming family came from England, and was introduced to this country by John Deming, who settled in Wethersfield, Connecticut, in 1642. Mr. Deming is a grandson of Orin S. Deming, who was a Vermont and later a New York State farmer.
Robert Orin Deming was born in Pottsdam, St. Lawrence County, New York, July 24, 1860, a son of Aaron N. Deming, who was born also in Pottsdam in 1828. His father was reared and married in Pottsdam, and became an extensive dealer in butter and cheese. In 1872 he came to Kansas, owned and managed a hotel at Arkansas City, and spent the rest of his years as a hotel proprietor, being located at Ogden, Utah, Joplin, Hannibal, and Carthage, Missouri, Wichita and Fort Scott, Kansas, Aspen, Colorado, and at other places. He died at Denver, Colorado, in 1903. He was a republican, a trustee and deacon in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was affiliated with the Masonic fraternity. Aaron N. Deming married Julia A. Noble, who was born at Franklin, Vermont, in 1830 and died at Wichita, Kansas, in 1893. They were married at St. Albans, Vermont. Their children were: Edgar N., who was killed by Indians in Indian Territory in 1874, while in charge of a surveyors corps under Government contract; Mary, wife of C. W. Bitting, who is in the insurance business at Wichita; Robert O.; Julia, wife of R. C. Israel, a real estate dealer at Wichita.
Robert O. Deming received his early education in the public schools of Arkansas City, Winfield and Wichita, Kansas. He gave evidence of his independent character at a very early age, leaving school when thirteen and thenceforward making his own way in the world. For several years he clerked in a store at Wichita.
Mr. Deming came to Oswego and opened an office to handle farm mortgages and loans in September, 1882. He started in a small way, and by the exercise of absolute integrity in all his relations between the investor and the borrower has made his name a synonym for one of the largest farm loan businesses in the West. On January 1, 1888, the Deming Investment Company was incorporated. This company now has branch offices in Wichita, Kansas, at Little Rock, Arkansas; Dallas, Austin and Abilene, Texas; Memphis, Tennessee; Kansas City, Missouri; and Oklahoma City, Muskogee and Durant, Oklahoma. There are more than seventy salaried employes in the home and branch offices. The general offices are in Oswego. The officers of the company are: R. O. Deming, president; D. S. Waskey, vice president; F. W. Stout, secretary; and R. O. Deming, Jr., treasurer.
The finest residence in Oswego and one of the finest in the entire State of Kansas is owned by Mr. Deming and his home and its comforts are in keeping with his high place in business affairs. In 1897-8 he served as mayor of Oswego. He is a republican, and is affiliated with Oswego Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and Oswego Chapter No. 15, Royal Areh Masons.
In 1887 at Oswego he married Christiana Elliott, daughter of Rev. John and Elizabeth Elliott. Her father, who is now living at Oswego, is eighty-seven years of age and for a number of years was pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Oswego. Mrs. Deming’s mother died at Kansas City, Missouri. Mr. and Mrs. Deming have three children and have given them every advantage in the way of educational training. Their daughter Julia was graduated A. B. from the Bryn Mawr College at Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, in 1916. The son Robert O., Jr., finished his education with a two year course in the State Agricultural College at Manhattan, and is now treasurer of the Deming Investment Company. The youngest, Elizabeth, is still attending the public schools at Oswego.