Biography of Nathan Frank Frazier

Nathan Frank Frazier. Among the names that have been long and prominently identified with the businese, agricultural, mining and financial interests of Kansas, few have attained greater prestige than that which attaches to the name of Frazier. There is hardly an industry of importance that can be mentioned that had not beneflted by the activities of the men who have borne it, and today there are found two able and worthy representatives of the family in the persons of Nathan Frank Frazier and Ray E. Frazier, vice president and president respectively of the Citizens State Bank of El Dorado and sons of the late Nathan Frank Frasier the elder, who was one of this part of Kansas’ most highly respected cltlzens, able financiers and influential men of business.

To have accomplished so notable an achievement as did the elder Nathan F. Frazier in connection with Kansas banking, even though this represented the sum total of his efforts, would have been sufflcient to gain prestige and reputation for any man; but Mr. Frasier was a man of broad mental powers, strong individuality and initiative, who left not only a lasting impression in the field of enterprise mentioned, hut was also a most potent factor in the commercial and agricultural development of Southern Kansas, while his activities also invaded the states of Missouri and Oklaboma and made him nearly squally as well known there. He was a native of Iowa, born on his father’s farm in Henry County, near the Town of Salem, October. 13, 1846. a son of Francis H. and Lydia (Fisher) Frazier. The father was a native of Indiana and a descendant of an old Quaker family, antedating the Revolutionary war, and removed from the Hoosier state to Iowa prior to the organization of the latter as a territory, there becoming one of its earliest pioneers. Of the children of Franeis H. Frazier and wife four still survive: Mrs. Caroline Campbell, Mrs. Charlotte Williams and Levi Frazier, all residents of Salem, Iowa; and Seth Frazier, whose home is at El Dorado, Kansas.

The childhood of Nathan F. Frazier the elder was spent on his father’s farm in Iowa, and his early education was obtained in the district schools of his native county. In the spring of 1860, while yet a lad in his teens, he left home to become a wage earner, his equipment consisting of a pair of willing hands, a stout heart, an energetic nature and a boundless ambition. For about two years he traveled with a circus, and then for one year drove a stage coach in Nebraska. In the fall of 1863 he returned home and attended school for one term. At St. Joseph, and in company with a youth from his home neighborhood, John Betts, he bought a wagon train which they loaded with goods and took across the plains to the Pacific coast, selling the goods it is supposed in San Francisco. From there the youths went on a sailing vessel around Cape Horn to New York City, and from there returned home, where they arrived in the fall of 1866 and after which Mr. Frazier attended another term of school. In the spring of 1867 he went again to St. Joseph and again met his young friend, John Betts, and purchasing a wagon outfit they loaded it with provisions for the trip to El Dorado, Kansas. Arriving in that city they started a store, but soon sold out and went further west and drove stage coaches in Nebraska. They later drove on the Western division between Salt Lake City, Utah, and Sacramento, California, later for a time they drove on the Central division and then on the Eastern division. While occupied with the stage in Nebraska Mr. Frazier drove the stage that hauled the aoldiers as guards and Mr. Betts drove the passenger stage, the two always traveling together, for Indians and numerous outlaws frequented the section and the occupation was one of more than ordinary hazard. The direct result of the schooling Mr. Frazier received among frontiersmen and men of all classes who paved the way for civilization was made manifest in his after life through his firmness and coolness under all conditions, his quick and ready insight and unerring judgment, and his keen perception into the working of human minds and human nature.

In 1868 Mr. Frazier and his associate, Mr. Betts, disposed of their frelghting equipment and, with a combined capital of $3,000, loeated at El Dorado, where they engaged in the grocery business, Mr. Betts attending to the selling, while Mr. Frazier hauled the goods from Leavenworth, Lawrence and Emporia. The Osage Trust and the Diminished Reserve lands had just been opened, and settlers were flocking into the rich Walnut Valley. Various industries were springing up in El Dorado, and their business, being among the first on the ground, proved profitable beyond their fondest expectations. Mr. Frazier subsequently took up a homestead on Turkey Creek, where he spent a part of his time in farming and later, with C. W. Foulke as partner, he engaged in the general merchandise business. His initial enterprise in the fleld of banking, in which he afterward realized more than state wide prominence, was in 1880, when, with Gen. A. W. Ellet as partner, he established the Bank of El Dorado as a private institution, with a cap’tal of $10,000. The business was disposed of in 1885 to W. T. Clancy, and Mr. Frazier subsequently organized the Merchants Bank of El Dorado, of which Gen. Alfred W. Ellet was made president, Mr. Frazier being cashier. This later became the Merchants National Bank and absorbed the Exchange National, the merged institutions becoming the Farmers & Merchants National Bank of El Dorado, with Mr. Frazier as president. In 1899 Mr. Frazier disposed of his holdings in this institution and organized the Citizens State Bank of El Dorado, known as the Frazier Bank, in which he was the dominant executive until his death in 1907 and which during the nine years of his management became the largest, as regards deposits, in Butler County. Mr. Frazier’s early companion and friend, John Betts, still survives him and is living at Long Beach, California, a well known and active man of the day.

Mr. Frazier’s record in the establishment, conduct and support of banks in Butler County is without parallel, and he was justly proud of his reputation in this direction. He had early in life acquired the habit, desire and love for making money. His shrewd business judgment, keen insight in business affairs, and his knowledge of men and things, combined with his indomitable will and energy, enabled him to rank with the leading financiers of the West. He held extensive commercial relations aside from his banking interests, having mining interests in lead and zine at Joplin, Missouri, stoeks in street railways and other corporations, and large bodies of valuable farming land in Kansas, Oklahoma and Missourl. He organized and was president for many years of the Oklahoma Mortgage & Trust Company of Guthrie, Oklahoma, which did a large and exceedingly profitable business. In 1896 he purchased from the receiver, Maj. W. N. Ewing, the assets of the Wichita National Bank, comprising some of the most valuable improved business property in the City of Wiehita, and paid all claims against the failed institution in full, in addition to which he reesived a handsome profit from the holdings. For a number of years he also had valuable hay contracts with the Kansas City Stook Yards Company, buying extensively in Kansas and adjoining states. He was an ambitious and tireless worker, conservative in his business methods, and his integrity and business honesty were unquestioned. He left at his death one of the largest estates in Kansas, one which represented the brain, pluck and energy of a man who, with his pcculiar natwal acumen, always saw the propitious moment and availed himself of its opportunity.

Although essentially a business man, Mr. Frazier was interested in public affairs, and during the course of his career served as city councilman of El Dorado, as postmaster and as auditor of Butler County. In political matters he was a republican. The tribute of respect and of affection called forth by the death of mr. Frazier have seldom been equaled in the state in the passing away of a citizen. His own standard of life was high, and it was seen in the development of what grew to be under his direction one of the most sucessaful banking institutions in Kansas. In a large measure his life work was finished; it met to a great extent the fullness of his ambition. But infinitaly more precious and of personal consequence to him was the fact that he died rich in the possession of a well earned popularity, in the esteem which comes from honorable living and in the affection that slowly develops only by reason of unselfish works. In his business life he was the embodiment of honor, as he was in his social and domestic life the perfection of love and gentleness.

On February 4, 1872, Mr. Frazier was united in marriage with Miss Emma Crook, daughter of ‘Squire John Crook, of El Dorado, a pioneer of 1867. They became the parents of three children: Ray E.; Nathan F., Jr.; and Edna, who is the wife of Hon. J. B. Adams. Mrs. Frazier is also deceased.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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