William B. Sutton. Since he came to Kansas in 1887, as a rancher-lawyer, William B. Sutton has found all the opportunities that an ambitious man could crave for an active, earnest, useful and prosperous career. For many years he has lived in Kansas City, Kansas, and is one of the leading lawyers of that city.
He was born in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, February 12, 1849, the seventh in a family of ten children born to James and Sarah (Stanborough) Sutton. His father was born in the same county of Pennsylvania in 1812, and died in 1870, while the mother was born in Pittsburg and died in 1899 at the age of eighty-four. James Sutton was a merchant, a paper manufacturer, a private banker, and at the time of his death was president of the First National Bank of Indiana, Pennsylvania.
William B. Sutton was educated at Tuscarora Academy in Juniata County, the Elders Ridge Academy in Indiana County, and in 1868 graduated from Washington and Jefferson College at Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. The time of his graduation was distinguished by another important event of his life. June 8, 1868, he married Miss Agnes Black, who was born in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, daughter of John E. and Alice (Hanson) Black. Her father was a banker at Canonsburg and also treasurer of Washington and Jefferson College.
For the next two years Mr. Sutton studied law with Judge Blair in his native town of Indiana, and on April 20, 1870, was admitted to the bar in the Fifth Judicial District in the State of New York. He then engaged in active practice at Utica, New York, and had gone so far in his profession that in 1880 he was elected judge of Oneida County, and served a term of six years on the bench.
It was partly to get away from the confining work of his profession and also to possess himself of the opportunities of the great West that caused Mr. Sutton to come out to Kansas in 1887. Kansas has been his home now for thirty years. He first located in Russell County, and for two years busied himself with the management of a ranch. He then opened a law office in the town of Russell, and continued the practice of law together with farming until 1897. In 1894 he was elected a member of the State Legislature, serving one term. In the spring of 1895 Mr. Sutton was appointed by Governor E. N. Morrell a member of the State Board of Irrigation, and served in that capacity two years. While a member of the Legislature he was chairman of the committee on agriculture, and had as much to do with the passing of the seed grain law as any other member. From 1891 to 1898 he was a member of the State Board of Agriculture. He was elected and served two years as president of the Kansas Improved Stock Breeders’ Association. Thus he has had more than a nominal interest and part in the raising of the standards of agriculture and stock raising in this state.
In 1897 Mr. Sutton removed to Kansas City, Kansas, and since then has devoted his attention largely to the practice of law. He is now senior member of the firm of Sutton & Sutton, his associate being his son, William B. Sutton, Jr. Mr. Sutton is a republican, a Protestant in religion, and a member of the Masonic fraternity.
Seven sons were born to Mr. and Mrs. Sutton, of whom four are now living. Charles E., of Lawrence, is a practical stockman and farmer, and has been president of the State Board of Agriculture; James is a business man at Harper, Kansas; William B., Jr., graduated in 1899 from the university and for a number of years has been associated with his father in practice; Dr. Walter S. Sutton, late of Kansas City, Kansas, whose death occurred on November 10, 1916, was a graduate of the State University and also of the College of Physicians and Surgeons at New York, and was Associate Professor of Surgery in the Medical School of the State University, and Associate Attending Surgeon at Bell Memorial Hospital at Rosedale, and the Christian Church Hospitals in Kansas City, Missourl; Everett B. lives at Independence, Kansas.