WEBSTER WIRT HETHERINGTON
From the beginning of his active career almost, until the time of his death, Mr. Hetherington was one of the most distinguished, capable and honored business men of Atchison, and his name figures conspicuously in connection with the banking interests of the city. All who knew him esteemed him highly for his sterling worth, for at all times he was true to manly principles and to straightforward business methods. His career was a busy and useful one, in which he not only achieved success for himself but also promoted the prosperity of the city with which he was identified. It is the enterprise and character of the citizen that enrich and ennoble the commonwealth. From individual enterprise have sprung all the splendor and importance of this great west, and Mr. Hetherington was one of those who contributed to the material progress and substantial improvement of Atchison.
A native of Pennsylvania, he was born in Pottsville, December 19, 1850, and was the eldest son of William and Annie M. (Strimphler) Hetherington. He acquired his education in Gambier College, in Ohio, and left that institution in order to enter the Exchange National Bank at Atchison, of which his father was the founder and for many years the president. He was only eight years of age when he arrived in this city, and when his literary education was completed he was made cashier, and for many years was an active factor in maintaining the high reputation which the bank always enjoyed. Upon his father's death, in 1890, he was elected to the presidency, and occupied that position until his own death, on the 28th of January, 1892. He formed his plans readily, was determined in their execution and made but few mistakes. He possessed keen discernment and sound judgment, and had much of that dignified bearing which marked his father. His gentlemanly manner and uniform courtesy attracted attention everywhere and won him respect in all classes of society. He was widely known in financial circles, and enjoyed an especially valuable acquaintance among the financiers of New York, with whom he had many transactions in western securities. When the Rock Island road built its Kansas and Nebraska extension, Mr. Hetherington made arrangements to purchase all the municipal bonds it received from the counties and townships through which it passed. The deal was successful, and won him the confidence of the New York brokers through whom he sold the bonds. In 1889 he received from W. P. Rice, of New York, ten thousand dollars in cash and also traveling expenses for himself and wife on a tour in Europe, in payment of his services in going to London and assisting Mr. Rice in interesting English capitalists in American enterprises. Through the judicious management of his extensive business interests he won a handsome fortune.
On the 18th of November, 1875, Mr. Hetherington was united in marriage to Miss Lillie Miller, the eldest daughter of Dr. John G. and Anna B. (Bennett) Miller, both of whom were natives of Pennsylvania. The Doctor was a prominent physician and for many years followed his profession in Atchison, where he was well known. Mrs. Hetherington is a lady of culture and refinement and with her family she occupies one of the most elegant homes in this locality. By her marriage she became the mother of five children, two sons and three daughters, namely: Ruthanna, at home; Mary Louise, who is a student in a private school in New York city; Webster Wirt, who is a student in a military college in Michigan; Gail and Harry Hale.
Mr. Hetherington always displayed a genuine public spirit in all measures and movements for the public good. He was firm in his convictions, yet had due consideration for the rights and opinions of others. He bore an unassailable reputation and inspired personal friendship of great strength, and had the happy faculty of drawing his friends closer to him as the years passed by.