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Joseph, James Bio and Source

James D. Joseph (of James and Nancy Conaway Joseph)

J. D. Joseph, cashier of the Bank of Whitewater, is not only a conspicuous figure in the financial and political affairs of Butler county, but is widely known throughout Kansas as a financier and a prominent legislator. Mr. Joseph was born at Joseph’s Mills, Taylor county, West Virginia, December 15, 1864, and is a son of James and Nancy (Conaway) Joseph. James D. Joseph comes from Colonial ancestry, among whom we find Thomas Conaway, a native of County Fermanagh, Ireland, who served as a soldier under General Braddock in the French and Indian war, and later was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. One of the descendants of Thomas Conaway, Rev. Charles Conaway, now resides at Fairmount, W. Va. Waitman F. Joseph, the grandfather of James D., was a Kansas pioneer. He married Sarah Cox, a member of the famous Cox family, to which Attorney General Cox, of West Virginia, and the late Dudley Evans, of Brooklyn, X. Y., president of the Wells-Fargo Express Company, belonged.

James D. Joseph was reared on his father’s farm until seventeen years of age and attended the public schools. Later he attended the Fairmount State Normal School at Fairmount, W. Va., where he was graduated in the class of 1884, with the highest honors of his class. He also took a postgraduate course in that institution. After completing his educational work, which was devoted mainly to the sciences, he taught school for a time, and also raised tobacco and worked at other pursuits, and assisted his father in paying off his debts. In 1885 he came to Kansas and located in Butler county. He taught school and followed farming until 1893, when he engaged in the banking business, in which he has since continued. He started his banking institution with a capital of about $6,000, and the Bank of Whitewater has had a rapid and substantial growth until, exclusive of real estate, it is the third largest bank in Butler county. Its policy has always been conservative enough for safety, and at the same time sufficiently progressive to meet the demands of development, and it can be truly said of the Bank of Whitewater that it is large enough to accommodate its customers and not too large to appreciate them.

In 1903 Mr. Joseph organized the Whitewater Telephone Company, with a paid up capital stock of about $60,000. This was one of the pioneer telephone companies of Butler county, and Mr. Joseph stood by the new company and gave his time and money to make it a success.

The intricate problems of banking and finance have received a great deal of attention from Mr. Joseph, and he has made a profound study of the subject. As vice-president of the Eighth District Kansas State Banking Association, he wrote and published a pamphlet entitled, “Monetary Reform,” in opposition to the central bank plan, as proposed by Senator Aldrich, of Rhode Island, about that time. Mr. Joseph was the first banker in the United States to issue the denominational cashier’s checks in the panic of 1907, and and after using these checks for a time at his counter he ordered from his correspondent in Kansas City, Mo., the First National Bank, this form of credit, and received the following letter, under date of October 29, 1907: “Dear Mr. Joseph: We wish to thank you for your letter of the 28th inst. You are entitled to be called ‘a captain of finance’ and your head is working all right. We are sending you tonight cashier’s checks issued to bearer. as many as we can prepare, equal in amounts to $5,000, and will send you the balance tomorrow. Again thanking you for the suggestion, we remain, yours truly, C. G. Hutchinson.” This letter alone shows the estimation placed by other bankers on Mr. Joseph’s judgment and his ability to grasp situations when emergencies arise.

Mr. Joseph was elected to the Kansas State Senate in 1912, and during the first session was chairman of the committee on banking, and one of the most active and influential members of the senate. During that session he introduced twenty-two bills, seven of which became laws. During the session of 1915 he introduced thirty bills, of all of which he was the author. Ten of these bills became laws. He was also the author of a number of bills introduced by other senators. He was one of the influential Democrats of the senate, and was instrumental in the passage of much progressive legislation. He favored laws for old age employes’ pensions, created out of a fund produced on a profit sharing basis, and is largelv responsible for the progress that was made in recall legislation, and altogether won a reputation of being one of the hardest working members of the senate.

Mr. Joseph has always been a friend of progressive banking laws, and drafted the first bank guarantee bill ever introduced in the Kansas legislature, and this bill is practically now the law of the State of Kansas. He favors a system of taxation whereby all debts will be deducted from the personal property and taxes levied on the remainder only, and the deficiency made up by more stringent tax dodger laws and taxes upon incomes, franchises and privileges. Mr. Joseph is not especially fond of the so-called game of politics, but is a man of deep conviction, and when he believes that a principle is right he will fight for it to the limit. He is an orator of no ordinary ability and is a forceful campaigner.

Mr. Joseph was married March 3, 1892, to Miss Mary Neiman and two children have been born to this union: Donald and Marion. Donald graduated from the Whitewater High School in the class of 1911, and from the University of Kansas in the class of 1915. He was president of his class at the university, and has shown marked ability as a public speaker. Marion is also a graduate of the Whitewater High School, and is now a member of the junior class at Kansas University. Since she was a child, she has shown marked literary ability and has written a number of sketches and poems, some of which have been published by leading magazines.

History of Butler County Kansas, Vol. 1 , Illustrated By P. Mooney Standard Publ Co, Lawrence, Ks 1916

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