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Rigby, Robert M., #27 Janssen Place

Kansas City, Missouri Its History and Its People 1800-1908 by Carrie Westlake Whitney, vol. III, 1908

Robert M. Rigby, who has been a promoter of one of the leading printing establishments of Kansas City, is a native of Chicago. His father, Robert M. Rigby, Sr., was born in Liverpool, England, and in 1852 came to America. Two years later he located in Chicago, where he engaged in the machine business. He built the first iron bridges in that city, also the crib in the lake for the waterworks. He superintended the construction of the first tunnel under the river there and was the thus prominently connected with many public works, which indicated the growth and development of the city. He also built the first ferry boats to convey trains from Detroit, and operated extensively in general contracting as senior member of the firm of Rigby, Russick & Smith. He owned considerable property in the early days of Chicago but the fire of 1871, after his death, caused a loss of nearly all of this. The mother of our subject was, prior to her marriage to Mr. Rigby, Miss Susanne Bronson, of Detroit, Michigan.

Robert M. Rigby, of this review, was educated in Chicago, and in 1879 came to Kansas City. Here he entered the employ of Ramsey, Millett & Hudson, as a bookbinder, continuing with that house until 1882. He then returned to Chicago but was not satisfied with his native city, believing that Kansas City had a great future before it and that it offered excellent opportunities to young men. Accordingly in 1884 he returned and established himself in a blank book business. Later he incorporated the Rigby Printing & Stationery Company, continuing at its head for ten years and developing a good business. On the expiration of that period he associated himself with John H. Ramsey of the old firm of Ramsey, Millett & Hudson. Mr. Rigby has been successful in the printing business in Kansas City for twenty-three years.

As We See’ Em R.M. Rigby

From As We See’ Em; A Volume of Cartoons and Caricatures of Kansas Cityans, ca. 1908.

His plant is located at Nos. 411-12 West Sixth street, where he employs a large force, the minimum being eighty, the maximum one hundred and ten. The business of this firm for the past year amounted to two hundred thousand dollars. It has thus gradually developed to extensive proportions and now has a very large and gratifying patronage. The company prints the Bell Telephone Directory and makes a specialty of large catalogue work. Mr. Rigby is widely recognized in business circles as a man of marked financial enterprise, keen discrimination and executive force, and moreover, having thoroughly acquainted himself with the printing business in every detail he is well qualified to direct the labors of those who serve him.

In 1880 Mr. Rigby was married to Miss Helen Curtis, of Kansas City, who was a native of Warrensburg, Missouri, and died in 1891. Lillie, their eldest child, born in Kansas City in 1881, became the wife of Ed Cohn, of this city, and died, leaving one child, Wanda. The second daughter, Nellie, born in Kansas City, is at home. Robert Rigby, Jr., the eldest son, was born in Chicago, is married and lives in Denver. Grace, born in Kansas city, is the wife of Robert Bennett. Francis, born in Kansas City, is deceased. For his second wife Mr. Rigby chose Miss Lizzie Curry, of Kansas City, whom he wedded October 22, 1893, The children of this marriage are Glen L. and Dot, both born in Kansas City. Mr. Rigby owns considerable income property here and has other business interests. He is a lover of fine hoses and is the owner of Sunny Slope with a trotting record of 2:10 1/4 and Jannetta C., a trotting mare, and Howe Lambert, a fast road horse. All are fine specimens of the noble steed and Mr. Rigby finds great pleasure and delight in driving. He owns and occupies a beautiful home at No. 27 Janssen place, In the southeastern part of the city, and his property and his business interests are the visible evidence of a life of well directed industry and indefatigable enterprise.