William H. Dawson was born in Iowa in 1858 and came to Kansas in 1870 with his parents. They located at Independence where he learned the marble trade from his father.
Winfield Courier, June 15, 1876. GEORGE DAWSON, ESQ., of Independence, passed through town on Monday morning on his way to Wichita to deliver sundry monuments sold by his enterprising firm of the first-named place.
On January 9, 1879 the Courier reported the following item. "Mr. Wm. Dawson and Mr. James Anderson of Dawson & Son's marble works at Independence, were in the city during the holidays. They intend to start a branch of their marble works in this place."
The Courier reported on the following week "Dawson & Son are putting up a building on the corner of Ninth avenue and Millington street. They are going to start a branch of their marble works at Independence. Mr. Wm. Dawson will have charge of the business at this place."
On January 30th the Courier reported "We would call attention to the 'ad' of the new firm of Dawson & Son, marble dealers. They have had years of experience and can get up as fine a tombstone or monument as can be procured anywhere. This is the first enterprise of the kind that has been started in the city and they will undoubtedly have plenty to do."
April 13, 1882 - Courant - Noble E. Dawson, a brother of our Wm. Dawson, has recently been appointed stenographer of the House of Representatives at Washington.
Courant, December 1, 1881. Some weeks ago we mentioned the fact that Mr. E. E. Thorpe, from New York, was figuring on starting a tannery in our city. We are now glad to say that the project is an assured fact. Mr. Thorpe has purchased a lot on South Main street, a well has been dug, and the excavation for the cellar is being made. Messrs. Benton & Connor have the contract for the stone work, and J. W. Randall the carpenter work for the building, which, if the weather proves favorable, will be completed about the first of January. This adds another industry to Winfield, of which we shall have more to say as the work progresses.
Winfield Courier, December 20, 1883. Marble Works Removed. W. H. Dawson has removed his Winfield Marble Works to his new building on South Main street. The building is the one formerly owned by the Kansas Tannery. Mr. Dawson has enlarged the works, put in new machinery, and is able to turn out a better grade of work than ever before.
Traveler, February 11, 1885. Wm. Prince, agent of the Cowley County Marble Works of Winfield, interviewed our people Monday and Tuesday on the subject of tombstones.
Winfield Marble Works at 1309-1317 Main Street. Mr. Dawson died in 1935, unmarried, and left the business to his long time employee, Vernon G. Kropp. Mr. Kropp changed the company name to W. H. Dawson Monument Co. to honor and maintain Mr. Dawson's name. Mr. Kropp died, unmarried, in 1969 and left the property to his sister Odessa Kropp and left the business to his long time foreman, Robert E. Flottman.
The Flottman family history is told in the "Cowley County Heritage" book. Mr. Flottman died in 1976, leaving the business to his two sons, Robert Lee and Melvin Ben Flottman. They named long time employee Jerrold R. Calvin as manager of the Company. In 1979 they incorporated the company as Dawson Monument Co. Inc. and Mr. Calvin and his son Tom Calvin bought into the company.
In 1990, Robert Flottman was President and Ben Flottman was senior vice-president of the Dawson Monument Company, Inc.
The Pauline Jones book "Bluestem Country" reports that the Dawson building was constructed in 1882 and originally provided quarters for a tannery.
Winfield Courier, March 20, 1884.
Rev. P. F. Jones has sold his half interest in the stone building on south Main, now occupied by the Winfield Marble Works, to W. H. Dawson for $950.
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