Emerson Carey. A chapter of this publication is devoted to the salt industry in Kansas. Salt ranks along with wheat, coal, petroleum and gas in contributing to the great fundamental wealth of this state. Of the individual concerns manufacturing salt in Kansas one of the greatest is the Carey Salt Company of Hutchinson. The head and moving spirit of this business is Mr. Emerson Carey. While the Careys were not pioneer salt manufacturers, they have in the last fifteen years become probably the largest operators when considered as a single family group, and today the name Carey is practically synonymous with salt manufacturing.
Mr. Emerson Carey and the industries of which he is the head are credited with having done more for the commercial development and civic upbuilding of Hutchinson than any other individuals or institutions. Some specially high ideals as to community welfare seem to have governed Mr. Carey and his associates. One of the big things for which Hutchinson is especially grateful to them is the establishment and maintenance of a big public park of 141 acres of ground situated on the south line of the city along the Arkansas River. Five miles of fine driveways wind through this park, and it is open and free to the use of the public. At the east end of the city they also maintain another park of five acres. A feature of this park is a free bathing pool 100×200 feet, supplied with warm water from the salt plant.
The Carey family have been identified with Kansas almost forty years. Mr. Emerson Carey was born in Grant County, Indiana, January 22, 1863. He can trace his ancestry back to the time of Queen Elizabeth in England, and his first American ancestors came to New England in colonial days. His father, Samuel Carey, was born in Ohio July 28, 1839, grew up and married there, was a farmer and was reared a Quaker. His association with the Quaker Church was probably the influence that caused him to locate in Grant County, Indiana, which probably had as large a proportion of Quaker people within its boundaries as any other county in the United States. He was a farmer there for some years, but in 1869 removed to Illinois, living in Shelby County for two years, then in Douglas County from 1871 to 1873, and after that for five years in Vermilion County, Illinois. In 1878 Samuel Carey came to Kansas, spending the first year at Sterling and then removing to McPherson County. In 1881 he came to Hutchinson, and continued his vocation as a farmer and also was in the teaming business. He died at Hutchinson March 9, 1905. In politics he was a republican, and served as a member of the Hutchinson City Council. Though reared a Quaker, he afterward joined the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was affiliated with the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Modern Woodmen of America at Hutchinson.
Samuel Carey married Nancy Jane Bundy, who was born in Ohio April 15, 1852, and died at Hutchinson July 2, 1896. They had a very large family and their sons and daughters all found worthy places for themselves in the world. Almeda, the oldest, is the wife of T. M. Grattan, a retired farmer living at Canton, Kansas, Mr. Grattan having been a pioneer homesteader in this state; Etta is the wife of Charles Nelson of Hutchinson, who is employed by the Carey Salt Company; Emerson is the third in age; Susie, who died at Halstead, Kansas, in 1887, married Ethan Thomas, now engaged in the nursery business in Oklahoma; Arthur is connected with the Carey Salt Company at Hutchinson; Emma married Burrett Hanks, a farmer at Sterling, Kansas; Eva is the wife of W. E. Albright, a farmer at Hutchinson; Lizzie married Isaac Palmer, a farmer at Halstead; Rose is the wife of James Kirk, who is a mechanic and now engaged in the automobile business; Edith, wife of S. A. Winchester, who is in the packing business at Hutchinson; Maude, wife of Dr. J. J. Brownlee, a physician and surgeon at Hutchinson; and Claude, whose home is in California and at this writing is at the Officers Reserve Training Camp.
Mr. Emerson Carey was fifteen years of age when his family came to Kansas. He spent his early boyhood in Illinois and in McPherson and Hutchinson, Kansas. At the age of eighteen he left high school to begin the serious business of life and until 1883 was a farmer. In that year he began working for M. Hale, a coal, building material and hide merchant. Two years later, in 1885, Mr. Carey engaged in the same line of business for himself, and that connection he continued until 1912. In the meantime his business interests were rapidly accumulating and expanding.
One of his chief connections for the past twenty years at Hutchinson had been as an ice manufacturer. He entered that field in 1896 and is head of the chief ice factory of Hutchinson.
It was in 1900 that Mr. Carey established the Carey Salt Company. He is president of the company, Howard J. Carey, his son, is vice-president, and Charles F. Carey, another son, is secretary and treasurer. Everything connected with or done by the Carey interests is always up to date and shows on the surface the progressive enterprise of the men behind. The company maintain offices in a fine brick structure on Avenue B. The rooms in these offices are all high and airy, have plenty of light, are kept in a spotless sanitary condition, and the building itself occupies an individual site of its own, so that it can never be crowded without the consent of the company. The company had two large salt plants in Hutchinson, one on Main street at the corner of Avenue C, and the other at the eastern edge of the city. These plants are not only for the manufacture of salt, but also for ice and cold storage.
The Carey interests also own the controlling stock and manage and operate the entire street car service of Hutchinson. They have the controlling interest in the Hutchinson Egg Case Filler Company, a plant at the east end of town, and also operate the Hutchinson Box Board and Paper Company, another industry at the east end of the city. Of all these concerns Mr. Emerson Carey is president, and is also president of the Grand Saline Salt Company of Grand Saline, Texas. In Hutchinson these various industries employ about three hundred and fifty people.
Mr. Carey is one of the large property owners, holding much real estate in Hutchinson, including various dwellings and his own handsome residence, which was remodeled in 1915 and is situated on 10th and Main streets. He also owned a poultry house occupied by the Aaron Poultry Company on Walnut street and had seven hundred acres of land in the vicinity of Hutchinson and eighty acres at Sterling, Kansas.
For eight years, from 1908 to 1916, one of the most capable members of the Kansas State Senate was Mr. Carey. While in the Senate he was chairman of the committee on Penal Institutions one session, chairman of the State Affairs Committee another session, and was also a member of the Ways and Means, Railroads, Educational Institutions and other important committees. While in the Legislature he was largely responsible for the establishment of the State Fair at Hutchinson, the only State Fair in Kansas. Of the large amount of progressive legislation enacted within the last ten years Mr. Carey was a continuous advocate and in many cases was instrumental in securing measures to the general benefit of the state at large. First and last he was inclined to utmost liberality in the support of appropriations for the benefit of educational institutions.
Mr. Carey is a republican in politics. He is affiliated with Reno Lodge of Masons and with Wichita Consistory No. 2 of the Scottish Rite, belongs to Hutchinson Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, Hutchinson Commandery, Knights Templar, Isis Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Salina and is also a member of the Knights and Ladies of Security and the Hutchinson Lodge of Ancient Order of United Workmen.
In 1888, at Hutchinson, he married Miss Anna M. Puterbaugh, daughter of John and Olive (Parmalee) Puterbaugh. Her father, who died in 1888, was the pioneer of Hutchinson and was engaged in the real estate and loan business there. Her mother died in 1911. Mr. and Mrs. Carey have four children. Howard J. is a graduate of the Hutchinson High School and of Cornell University at Ithaca, New York, and is now vice-president of the Carey Salt Company. Charles F. graduated from the local high school, finished the junior year in Cornell University, and is now secretary and treasurer of the Salt Company. William is in the junior class of the Hutchinson High School, while Emerson, Jr., the youngest, is in the eighth grade of the Hutchinson grammar schools.