Biography of David Edward Lamb

David Edward Lamb is a member of the Pettit & Lamb Mercantile Company at Herington in Dickinson County. This company operates the largest department store in that county, and the firm of Pettit & Lamb had been in existence for over twenty years.

Mr. Lamb’s individual experiences and achievements since he came to manhood have made him a leading citizen of Kansas, and he represents a very honored family in this state. He was born November 27, 1866, at the Village of Independence, near Dayton, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. His grandfather, William Lamb, was a native of Pennsylvania. His parents were William W. and Belle (Henderson) Lamb. His father was born on a farm in Center County, Pennsylvania, March 20, 1840, followed farming and the foundry business in Pennsylvania until 1878, and in that year brought his family out to Kansas. He located on land in Marion County, six miles north of Peabody. To that land he gave his attention as a farmer for ten years, and then engaged in the coal business at Peabody, but since 1912 had lived retired and now had his home at Lyndon. He had been a faithful member of the Presbyterian Church practically all his life. William W. Lamb performed the part of a faithful soldier in the Civil war. He was a private in Company F of the Ninth Pennsylvania Reserve, and took part in the Peninsular campaign under General McClellan. After two years he was discharged on account of disabilities, and somewhat later he recruited a company, was elected its captain, but the war closed before the company could get into the field.

In 1863 William W. Lamb married Miss Belle Henderson, who was born on a farm in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, in 1844, a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Fleming) Henderson, who were also natives of Pennsylvania. The children of William W. Lamb and wife, five in number, two sons and three daughters, of whom David E. was the oldest, have each given a creditable account of themselves. The other son is Rev. John Henderson Lamb, who was born November 27, 1872, was graduated from the College of Emporia and the Princeton Theological Seminary, spent two years as a pastor at Phillipsburg and at Lyndon, Kansas, and in 1906 was sent as a missionary and teacher to the theological seminary at Manila, Philippine Islands. He spent nine years in the islands, and did much for the advancement of his church and the general cause of Christianity. While there he was treasurer of the Presbyterian Mission Board. Since returning to the United States in 1915 he had been pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Waverly, Kansas. Rev. Mr. Lamb was married to Martha Duer, who was born at Jacksonville, Illinois, and they have two sons, William Duer and John. Catherine E., the oldest of the daughters, burn in 1876, is a graduate of the College of Emporia, and by her marriage to William H. Foulkes had four children, three sons and a daughter, named Frederick, Paul, William and Catherine. Mr. Foulkes is also a graduate of the college at Emporia, finished his preparation for the ministry at the McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicage, and had since been a pastor at Clinton, Iowa, Portland, Oregon, and at Rutgers Presbytarian Church of New York City, and is now secretary of the Presbyterian Roard of Ministerial Relief and Sustenance at Philadelphia. Delphine S., the second daughter, born in 1879, married Joseph Sidey, a banker at Portland, Oregon, where they reside, and is the mother of two children, James and Delphine. Jessie, the youngest of the family, was born in Marion County, Kansas, is a graduate of the college at Emporia, married Oscar B. Hartley, who graduated from the University of Kansas in 1907, and is now a practicing lawyer at Emporia; they have three daughters, Bonita, Margaret and Catherine.

It is evident that every encouragement was offered to the children as they grew up to gain a liberal education and make the best of their respective talents and become useful factors in the world. David E. Lamb was twelve years of age when he came with his parents to Kansas. He finished his education in the Peabody High School, and at the age of nineteen was teaching. However, he soon left the schoolroom to begin a business career. In 1886 he began sellinggoods in the store of Van Petten & Pettit at Peabody. He remained with that firm nine years, mastering all the details of general merchandising, and gradually accumnlating the capital and credit for an independent business career. In 1895, with Fred E. Pettit, he opened a store at Herrington under the firm name of Pettit & Lamb. The business was incorporated in 1905. This is now the largest department store in Kansas between Topeka and Hutchinson, and the average of the stock carried amounts to $100,000. Both are enterprising merchants, know how to build up and keep trade, and have succeeded beyond all their original expectations.

The store and business at Herrington do not represent all the interests of Mr. Lamb. He had been always a public spirited eitizen, and had given time and thought and means to the promotion of public enterprises. During the session of 1915 he represented Dickinson County in the Kansas Legislature, and was a very active and useful member there, being on the Ways and Means, the Educational, the Cities of Second Class and the Welfare committees. He declined a renomination. He is a republican, and for twenty years had been an elder in the Presbyterian Church. He is also identified with the Herrington Commercial Club, had served as a member of the board of trustees of the College of Emporia, for seven years was on the Herrington Board of Education and had spent several terms in the city council. All these official places came to him without any expressed desire or ambition on his part, merely an expression of the public confidence in imposing upon him a share of responsibilities and trusts.

On November 6, 1895, at North Platte, Nebraska, Mr. Lamb married Miss Jessie Irwin. Mrs. Lamb was born on a farm in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, January 21, 1866, and her parents, Judge William and Naney Irwin, were also natives of the same county. She was educated in the Pennsylvania State Normal School, and came to Kansas with her mother in 1890. Mr. and Mrs. Lamb have one child, Charles Irwin, who was born March 24, 1897, and finished his education in the College of Emporia.



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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