Biography of Owen C. Wasson

Owen C. Wasson. Because of the success which had attended his efforts, his commercial soundness and acumen, his spirit of public helpfulness and his good citizenship, the career of Owen C. Wasson, of Peru, offers an encouraging example of prosperity and position gained through a proper utilization of ordinary opportunities. Since entering upon his independent life, numerous vocations have attracted the activities of Mr. Wasson, but he had made steady advancement in each, and is now the proprietor of a well-established hardware and implement business at Peru and one of the city’s substantial business citizens.

Mr. Wasson was born on a farm in Shelby County, Indiana, October 23, 1877, and is a son of George W. and Martha A. (Craig) Wasson. His great-great, grandfather was John Wasson, a native of Kentucky and early settler of Bartholomew County, Indiana, where he passed his life in farming enterprises. George C. Wasson, the son of John Wasson, was born in Nicholas County, Kentucky, and was a young man when he went to Bartholomew County, Indiana. In 1837 he migrated from that county to Shelby County, and there continued to be engaged in farming during the remainder of his life and died. Among his children was John Wasson, the grandfather of Owen C. Wasson. He was born in December, 1832, in Nicholas County, Kentucky, and was five years old when taken to Shelby County, Indiana, where he was reared and educated and where his life was passed as a farmer. He was an energetic, industrious man, who made the most of his opportunities, and who occupied a place in his community as a reliable and dependable citizen. In politics he was a democrat, and his religious faith was that of the Baptist Church. Mr. Wasson married Mary Jane Goodwin, who was born in 1832, in Decatur County, Indiana, and died in August, 1907, in Shelby County, Indiana, the same year as her husband’s death, and at the same age as he had attained. They were the parents of the following children: George W.; Susan, deceased, who was the wife of W. H. Phillippi, a farmer of Indiana; James, who is a retired farmer and resided at Burney, Decatur County, Indiana; Charles, who resided near Burney and is engaged in farming; Henry, who is a farmer of Shelby County, Indiana; Benjamin, who resided in the same community as an agriculturist; Marietta, who is the widow of Patrick Smith, who was a farmer, and resided at Hope, Indiana; and Ella, who is the wife of J. R. Phillippi and lives on a farm in Shelby County, Indiana.

George W. Wasson, father of Owen C. Wasson, and postmaster at Peru, was born July 14, 1853, in Shelby County, Indiana, and there was reared to maturity, received a public school education, and was brought up to agricultural pursuits. The year 1883 saw Mr. Wasson’s arrival in Kansas, for on November 13th of that year he located at Independence, but two weeks later removed to Elk City and in the following spring began farming in that locality. He remained there for three years, with an ordinary measure of success, and then removed to near Hale, in Chautauqua County, where he farmed for nine years from the spring of 1887. In 1896 he located within four miles of Peru, to the northwest, and continued his agricultural operations there until 1907, then spending a year in Oregon and Idaho. Returning to Kansas, he bought a farm one-half mile north of Peru, on which he resided for five years, and then took up his residence in the city and for a time was employed in his son’s hardware store. From April, 1914, he was employed as assistant postmaster at Peru until August 4, 1916, when he was appointed postmaster to succeed his son. He is a democrat and a stanch supporter of his party’s principles, and is fraternally connected with Peru Camp of the Modern Woodmen of America.

In 1876, in Shelby County, Indiana, Mr. Wasson was married to Miss Martha A. Craig, who was born in that county, July 11, 1851. To this union there have been born three children: Owen C.; John, born in September, 1879, who died July 12, 1880; and Fred, born January 8, 1881, who is general salesman for the Continental Supply Company and resided at Wichita, Kansas.

Owen C. Wasson received his education in the public schools of Montgomery and Chautauqua counties, beginning at the latter when he was nine years of age, and was reared on his father’s farm, on which he continued to make his home until he was twenty-two years of age. At the age of nineteen years he began teaching school, a vocation which he followed for six years in Chautauqua County, but in the meantime was furthering his own education by study. When he was twenty years old he entered the State Normal School at Emporia, where he was a roommate with Edward Fisher, who afterward became representative to the Kansas Legislature from Chautauqua County. Mr. Wasson did not remain at the normal school long, as he contracted an eye affection and accordingly returned to his home, and when he recovered resumed his activities as a teacher and continued to thus engage until the spring of 1903. At that time he accepted a position with the Interstate Oil and Gas Company, at their offices at Peru, but during the winter of the same year left and entered the employ of the National Supply Company, with which he continued to remain until January 18, 1904. At that time a position presented itself in the railway mail service, and Mr. Wasson continued as a clerk in this branch of the United States mail until April, 1912, and during this long service lost only six days. When he left the mail service Mr. Wasson again settled down at Peru, where he bought the hardware store of H. R. Davis, situated on Main Street. This establishment carries a full line of hardware and agricultural implements, and also handles furniture, harness, etc., and is the only business of its kind at Peru. Mr. Wasson owned his store building and the two adjoining lots, as well as a storehouse for his goods. He does business in a modern way and carries an up-to-date stock, which compares favorably with those to be found in the stores in the larger cities. He is also the owner of his own home in the south part of the old Town of Peru, and had a farm of eighty acres located 1½ miles from the city. His reputation in business circles is an excellent one and rests upon an honorable business career featured and characterized by honest and straightforward dealing. Mr. Wasson is a democrat. He had not been an office seeker, but from April 1, 1914, to October 1, 1916, served in the capacity of postmaster of Peru. He belongs to Vesper Lodge No. 136, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Peru Lodge No. 106, Independent Order of Odd Fellows; Otoe Lodge No. 148, Improved Order of Red Men; the Railway Mail Association, and the Mutual Benefit Association of Railway Mail Clerks. He formerly belonged to the Modern Woodmen of America.

On April 26, 1900, Mr. Wasson was married at Winfield, Kansas, to Miss Minnie J. Foltz, daughter of J. W. and Elizabeth (McLain) Foltz, who reside on their farm near Peru. To this union there have come six children, born as follows: John W., May 28, 1901; Effie Mildred, June 28, 1903; Emmett Arthur, June 20, 1905; George W., June 3, 1907; Charles Frederick, October 18, 1913; and Martha Elizabeth, December 1, 1915.



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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