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Ranney Family

                                               Ranney-Davis Mercantile Co.

March 15, 1899. Stockholders meeting held. There was an election of officers. J. A. Ranney - President and Treasurer, W. H. Davis and George W. Parkhurst, of Topeka, vice president and secretary, respectively.
Mr. Ranney will move his family here from Topeka and enter actively upon his duties.
Mr. S. T. Alton, who has been manager of the house in this city, retains his interest in the business here and becomes the principal owner of the house at Oklahoma City. Mr. Alton will take charge of affairs there and eventually move his family to that thriving city.
October, 17, 1901 newspaper clipping. J. A. Ranney. The vice president of the Parkhurst-Davis company, and president of its allied house, the Ranney-Alton Mercantile company, of Arkansas City, is a business man of long experience. Mr. Ranney is plainly a man of affairs and has had a commercial life extending over many years. He was born in Illinois fifty-two years ago and removed to Michigan at an early age, where among lakes and rivers, with the pleasures of skating, hunting, and fishing, his boyhood days were passed. Besides a robust constitution, he obtained a thorough academic education, both of which have been invaluable to him in his later career.
At the age of 22, he started a retail grocery store in Three Rivers, Michigan, on a capital of about $500. Success attended him in his first undertaking, and in an incredibly short time he was the proprietor of a large business. However, believing the west offered greater possibilities for him, in 1879 he removed his entire stock of merchandise to Wellington, Kansas, going into partnership with his brother. The new firm was known as Ranney Bros. Times were good and their trade was soon large and profitable, but the capital city of the state, at that time growing rapidly, held out so many advantages, both as a place of residence and point of trade, that 1881 found him establishing a large retail grocery house in North Topeka. The firm of Ranney and Forgeus was almost at once a well known one, the value of business done the third year of its history being second to that of no other competing grocery house in Topeka.
It was in 1884 that Mr. Ranney became a partner in the firm of Parkhurst, Davis & Co., purchasing the interest of M. S. Evans. For the next four years his efforts were constantly directed towards helping build up the business with which he has since been identified. When the branch house of Ranney, Alton & Co. was established in Arkansas City in 1888, Mr. Ranney removed to that place, taking the active management of the new enterprise, which developed, under his direction, into a jobbing business of no small proportions.

In 1895 Mr. Ranney removed his family back to Topeka and took up at that time the active duties as treasurer of the Parkhurst-Davis company. Returning to Arkansas City after four years, he again took charge of the wholesale house first established by himself. A year later, Mr. Alton, who had been connected with the business from its beginning, sold out his interest to Mr. Ranney and Mr. Davis. Since that time the entire management of the business has devolved upon Mr. Ranney and his son, Walter Roy Ranney, a young man of exceptional business ability. Besides being president and manager of the Ranney-Alton house, Mr. Ranney is a large stockholder and director in the Parkhurst-Davis house here and its branches in nearby towns.
Mr. Ranney is throughly well liked for his sterling qualities by those who have the pleasure of his acquaintance. He is social and friendly in his make-up and while aggressive and strong in the competitive fight for business, he is always fair, courteous and considerate. He is public spirited, broad minded, and shows his loyalty and faith in Kansas in a substantial way. Mr. Ranney has a delightful family, consisting of wife, three daughters, and one son.
While Mr. J. A. Ranney is the active head of the business and is conversant with its general affairs, a large and increasing volume of details and important matters are left to the care and charge of Mr. Walter Roy Ranney. He is a young man of natural business qualifications. He has the marked commer­cial instinct, and has received his business ideas from his father. He does a large part of the buying and in his purchases displayed excellent judgment as to values and quantities. He is well liked by everyone who does business with all the details of the buying and selling ends. He is conversant with the topics of the day and is altogether a good type of the coming young Ameri­can business men.
Walter Roy Ranney, Sr., was born May 19, 1879, at Three Rivers, Michigan. He married Elizabeth (Bess) Meade. She was born at Topeka, Kansas on November 9, 1882. They were married March 31, 1906, at Topeka. He died October ?, 1930, in Arkansas City. She died ?.
Walter Roy and Elizabeth Meade Ranney had four chil­dren: Joseph Addison Ranney, John Meade Ranney, Elizabeth Meade Ranney, and Walter Roy Ranney, Jr. Joseph Addison Ranney was born May 13, 1907, at Arkansas City and died January 28, 1910, at Arkansas City.
John Meade Ranney was born October 15, 1908, at Arkansas City.
Elizabeth Meade Ranney was born October 28, 1910, at Arkansas City.
Walter Roy Ranney, Jr., was born January 3, 1913, at Arkansas City. He died February 7, 1993, in Wichita, Kansas. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 1936. He established the Ranney-Hournung food brokerage company in Wichita, Kansas. He retired from business in 1965.
Helen Mabel Ranney was born January 1, 1890, at Topeka, Kansas.


Cowley County Historical Society Museum