Biography of John Adam Endres

John Adam Endres was one of the notable men of Northeastern Kansas, for nearly thirty years was engaged in business and proved an active exponent of the best civic spirit in the City of Leavenworth, and died at his home there August 11, 1893.

No finer class of citizens had ever been incorporated into American nationality than the emigrants from Germany in the decade following the Revolution of 1848. They exemplified the soul of patriotism, adapted themselves with wonderful versatility to the life and conditions of the New World, many of them fought for freedom and union, and in all the years they have stood for the best things in American ideals. The Endres family were conspicuous members of this class of German emigrants.

John Adam Endres was born at Soberinheim-on-the-Main, in Germany, January 8, 1835. He was the oldest of six children, four sons and two daughters, born to John Adam Endres and Lucetta Benn. It was to escape the compulsory military duty involving the entire male population of Germany that led this family to come to America in 1855. They shipped on board a sailing vessel, and after a voyage of six weeks landed in New Orleans. Thence they proceeded up the Mississippi River by boat to St. Louis, where so many thousands of their compatriots had already located. A comparatively small part of this great German emigration of the ’50s came to Kansas. The Endres family from St. Louis proceeded by boat up the Missouri River to Westport Landing, where they rejoined a son and daughter who had preceded the other members of the family to this country.

Besides his education in the common schools of the old country John Adam Endres had served an apprenticeship at the tinner’s trade. He readily found work as a tinner at Westport and also at Parkville, Missouri. Coming into Kansas, he engaged in the mercantile business at Shawnee. It is noteworthy that at one time practically all the townsite of Westport belonged to the Endres family.

At Chillicothe, Kansas, four miles from Shawnee, on January 8, 1861, John A. Endres married Isabella Clara Strasser. She likewise represented some of the old German-American stock. She was born July 1, 1841, and died at Kansas City, Missouri, February 26, 1917, at the age of seventy-five. Her parents were Felician A. and Clara (Sigel) Strasser. Her father came from Switzerland to America when a young man, was married in New Orleans, and in 1855 located in Leavenworth. Clara Sigel was a sister of a noted Union general in the American Civil war, General Franz Sigel, and thousands of Germans have been proud to say that they “fit mit Sigel.”

Mr. Endres was in the path of the destroying elements of the Civil war. On October 15, 1862, a band of Confederates, under the guerrilla chieftain Quantrell, burned his store and other property at Chillicothe, and he then re-established himself in business at Shawnee. In 1863 his store was again burned by bushwackers. Then removing to Kansas City, Missouri, he was in business there as a merchant for six months, but in the spring of 1864 came to Leavenworth. Here he opened a store, handling tinware and general hardware, and remained an active merchant in those lines until his death nearly thirty years later.

The second home occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Endres in Leavenworth was made ready to put up (years before the ready-built and knock-down era of house building) at Cincinnati, Ohio, and from there the materials were shipped by water to Leavenworth. This house was constructed in 1866, and it is still standing, an interesting old landmark, at 220 Cherokee Street.

Besides the attention and energy demanded of him for the building up of a successful business, Mr. Endres interested himself in all that pertained to the good of his community. In 1864 he became a member of the state militia, and as such participated in the Battle of the Blue when Price invaded Kansas. He was a Presbyterian in religion, a republican in politics, a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias, and also belonged to the Turn Verein. Old associates remember him for his exceptional neatness in all transactions, and because of his unfailing politeness and his sturdy rugged honesty. He was regarded as the soul of honor, and had many warm personal friends.

He and his wife became the parents of thirteen sons and three daughters, a large and worthy progeny, and through them the character of the parents still works in doing good in the world. Nine of the children grew to maturity, and seven are still living. They are now scattered over the Middle West. One of the sons, the oldest, William F., was in partnership with his father at Leavenworth, and after his father’s death continued the establishment until 1916, when he sold out and moved to Greeley, Kansas.



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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