ROBERT L PEASE
More than forty years have passed since this gentleman came to Atchison and almost continually throughout this long period he has been prominently identified with the business interests of the city. His life record proves the truth of the saying that success is not a matter of genius, but is the outcome of earnest purpose and indefatigable effort. He started upon his business career with no capital, and yet today he is numbered among the wealthy men of his adopted city. His career has ever been one which has gained for him honor and respect, and no history of Atchison would be complete without the record of his life.
A native of Connecticut, Mr. Pease was born in Somers November 10, 1832, and is a son of Robert and Amersha (Arnold) Pease. He is descended from one of the oldest and most honorable families of New England. His ancestry can be traced back to Robert Pease, who emigrated from England to America in 1630, locating at Salem, Massachusetts. The line of descent is through James, Robert, Robert, Robert, Robert, Oliver, Robert and Robert. The paternal grandfather was Oliver Pease, and his son Robert was born in Connecticut, in 1808, and became a prosperous farmer of the Charter Oak state. Having arrived at years of maturity he wedded Miss Arnold, a daughter of Samuel and Amelia (Pomeroy) Arnold, the latter a descendant of an old English family.
Robert L. Pease, whose name introduces this review, spent the first eighteen years of his life in his native town, where he attended the public schools and also pursued his education in Ellington Academy. In 1850 he removed to New Jersey, where he engaged in teaching school for three terms, and in March, 1857, he came to Atchison, Kansas. Believing that better opportunities awaited young men in the rapidly growing west he made his way to this city, and his name has since figured conspicuously in connection with many interests which have led to the substantial development and material improvement of Atchison. In 1858 he was elected city register and with S. C. Pomeroy, then mayor, signed the first bonds issued by the city of Atchison in aid of the Atchison & St. Joseph Railroad, and the following year became agent for several fire insurance companies. In 1859 was held the first state election in Kansas.
At that time Mr. Pease's name appeared upon the Democratic ticket as a candidate for state treasurer, but his party, being in the minority, suffered defeat, Mr. Pease sharing the defeat of his party. During those trying days when the question whether Kansas should become a free or slave state was uppermost, Mr. Pease stood firm in favor of making it a free state. In politics he has ever remained true to the principles of the Democratic party, hut while he has contributed much to the success of his party he has never been classed as a politician.
He was identified with the early organization and history of railroads eventually constructed and leading out of Atchison. In 186o he was elected cashier of the Bank of the State of Kansas and was connected therewith until 1866, when the institution was closed. He disposed of the assets of the bank to William Hetherington, the founder of the Exchange National Bank of Atchison, and with the latter institution he became connected and is now its honored vice-president. In December, 1861, he was appointed one of the trustees of the Overland Central Express Company to secure the amount which the company owed Benjamin Holladay and operated the same as manager for a number of months. The following year the property was sold at public auction, Mr. Holladay being the purchaser, and business was then carried on as the Overland Stage Line. In the fall of 1862, at the request of Mr. Holladay, Mr. Pease went to Denver, Colorado, to take charge of the office which controlled the lines between Denver and Salt Lake, Denver and Central City and Denver and South Park. In 1864, however, he returned to Atchison, where he has made his home continually since, with the exception of occasional residences for a few months in New York city. In 1873 he became associated with the late James W. Parker in the business of carrying the United States mails, and the association with Mr. Parker continued until 1886. Mr. Pease thereafter became associated with his brothers in the business of carrying the United States mails and continued with them until 1897, when he retired.
On the 10th of October, 1878, Mr. Pease was united in marriage to Mrs. A. V. Skidmore, nee Van Atta, formerly a resident of Kentucky. Mr. and Mrs. Pease occupy an enviable position in social circles, and their home is celebrated for its hospitality, which is enjoyed by many of the best people in Atchison and this section of the state. His life has been one of activity and his success has been due to the ability with which he has recognized the opportunities of the moment. He has depended on the present and not the future for his advancement, and through a long and honorable business career he has steadily worked his way upward, gaining a capital that numbers him among the wealthy men of the state, and at the same time winning the high regard of all by his straightforward dealing and his irreproachable methods.