M. S. McNabney, secretary-treasurer and manager of the Kansas Wholesale Grocery Company of Coffeyville, has had a very progressive career as a Kansas business man. He has lived in this state for thirty years or more. When a young man his ambition was to become a lawyer. There were others to think of besides himself, and in providing for them he had to give up such career and he thus found himself on a homestead claim in Western Kansas. From one step to another he made his way in the business world, and about ten years ago founded the wholesale grocery house which is now known to retail merchants all over Southeastern Kansas and is one of the important institutions of Coffeyville.
He was born at Coulterville, Perry County, Illinois, January 10, 1862, a son of James and Elizabeth A. (McNabney) McNabney. His parents bore the same surnames but were not related, and both were of Scotch descent, the name being originally spelled McNab. Both parents were born in the northern part of Ireland near Belfast. James McNabney was born in 1809, came to America in 1857, and died in Perry County, Illinois, in 1881. In Ireland he pursued the trade of cabinet maker, but was a farmer and stock raiser in Perry County, Illinois. After becoming an American citizen he voted the republican ticket, and was a very active member and supporter of the United Presbyterian Church. His wife survived him a number of years and died in Western Kansas in 1893. Their children were: Robert, who became a farmer and died in Lyon County, Kansas, at Americus in 1912, aged about sixty-eight; Elizabeth A., who is now living at Greeley, Colorado, the widow of John M. McMillan, who was a farmer; William, a retired land owner at Liberal, Kansas; Rebecca, wife of Rev. Mr. Blodgett, a minister of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, and they reside at College View, Nebraska; Anna is the wife of James Irvin, a retired farmer at Americus, Kansas; Maggie married W. J. Craig, a farmer at Evans, Colorado; the seventh in age is M. S. McNabney.
At the time of his father’s death M. S. McNabney was nineteen years of age. In the meantime he had attended the public schools of Perry County, Illinois, and for three years was a student in an academy. After leaving school he farmed from the age of eighteen until 1884, and then moved out to Kansas, and spent six years in Lyon County as a farmer. For one year of that time he read law, but having the responsibility of caring for his mother and sister he gave it up. From Lyon County he moved to Western Kansas and took up a claim of 160 acres. For three years he improved and cultivated that land, and was also engaged in the hardware and implement business.
Preparatory to the next step in his progress he went to Topeka and finished a course in shorthand, typewriting and bookkeeping in the Topeka Business College. During the next ten years Mr. McNabney was connected with the Davis Mercantile Company of Topeka. His experience in mercantile lines was also continued for several years with the Coffeyville Mercantile Company. In April, 1907, Mr. McNabney organized the Kansas Wholesale Grocery Company, and this firm started out on a modest scale with headquarters near the Missouri Pacific depot. In December, 1910, the company completed its new offices and warehouses, a two-story and basement building 70×160 feet, at the corner of Thirteenth and Willow streets near the Missouri Pacific station. The officers of this company are: H. W. Read, president; A. J. Robertson, vice president; and M. S. McNabney, secretary, treasurer, manager and buyer. Mr. McNabney is in fact the mainspring of the company’s activities and success. He has built up the business until it supplies a large share of the local grocery trade in and around Coffeyville and is rapidly extending its territory. Mr. McNabney is also secretary of the Mission Oil Company and is a director of the Basement Sample Store.
He owns an attractive residence at 605 West Fifth Street, and some other residence property on West Ninth Street. Mr. McNabney is a republican, is a member of the Coffeyville Library Board, and has given much of his time for years to the interests of the Presbyterian Church. He has served as elder, was a trustee of the church nine years, and for eleven years was superintendent of its Sunday School. His fraternal affiliations are with Camp No. 665, Modern Woodmen of America, with the Triple Ties, with Lodge No. 1193, Loyal Order of Moose, with the Woodmen of the World, with the United Commercial Travelers, with the Sons and Daughters of Justice, all these organizations being represented at Coffeyville.
In 1893 at Topeka Mr. McNabney married Miss Maggie Wilson. Her father S. T. Wilson is a grocery merchant at Emporia, Kansas. To their marriage have been born five children: Grace, a senior in the Emporia College at Emporia; Roy, who graduated from the Coffeyville High School in 1916; Warren, a freshman in high school; Raymond and Margaret.