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Beardsley, Henry Mahan, mayor, 3632 Locust Street

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

3632 Locust Street

3632 Locust St.

Whatever else may be said of the legal fraternity it cannot be denied that members of the bar have bee more prominent actors in pubic affairs than any other class of the community. This is but the natural result of causes which are manifest and require no explanation. The ability and training which qualify one to practice law also qualify him in many respects for duties which lie outside the strict path of his profession and which touch the general interests of society. Holding marked precedence among the members of the bar of western Missouri is Henry Mahan Beardsley, who has also attained distinction in political circles and is now may of Kansas City. Born in Knox county, Ohio, October 20, 1858, he is a son of George F. Beardsley and a representative of one of the old families of the Buckeye state, his grandfather having settled there in 1816. His mother, Mrs. Martha Mahan Beardsley, was born in the state of New York.

From early boyhood Henry Mahan Beardsley manifested the activity and the spirit of enterprise which have characterized him throughout his and entire life and gained him well merited success and prominence. When but ten years of age he raised garden vegetables to sell to the neighbors and at the age of fifteen was ticket seller for the county fair. In 1867 he became a resident of Champaign, Illinois, and at the age of eleven years secured a clerkship in a book store, where he remained for four years, devoting all of his time aside from the hours spent in a clerical capacity in preparing for college. When sixteen years of age he gave up a position which was paying him fifty dollars per month to enter the state university at Champaign, Where he pursued a four years’ course of study, completed by graduation with the class of 1879. He worked hard during the vacation periods, being engaged for two summers on the survey of the line for the railroad form Bloomington to Kankakee, Illinois, and one summer on survey work in Iowa, and during one of these periods he was accompanied by Alfred Gregory, now his law partner. In school Mr. Beardsley made a reputation as one of the best debaters and orators in the university and during this fourth years was at the head of his class. He graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Law, the next years won the degree of Master of Law and in 1906 the honorary degree of Master of Arts was conferred upon him. Following his graduation he was tutor in the chemical laboratory of the university for tow ears while reading law with George W. Gere, of Champaign, a prominent democrat of that day, as he preceptor.

Mr. Beardsley was admitted to the bar at Mount Vernon, Illinois, upon examination before the court of appeals in 1882, and soon afterward entered into partnership with his former preceptor under the firm style of Gere &amps; Beardsley, which relation was maintained until 1886, when he removed to Kansas City. A few months later Alfred Gregory followed and they formed a partnership, which was so continued until 1900. The admission of Charles K. Kirshener to the firm led to the adoption of the firm name of Beardsley, Gregory & Kirshener. The friendship formed in college days has continued through twenty-two years of active practice at the bar.

In April, 1883, occurred the marriage of Henry M. Beardsley and Miss Marietta Davis, of Monitcello, Illinois, who was a fellow student in the University of Illinois. Of the three children of the family, Eleanor was graduated from the University of Illinois in 1907 with the honors of her class and was a member of the Phi Delta Theta. She is now studying vocal music in Brussell, Belgium. George is now a student in the University of Illinois, and Henry, thirteen years of age, is at home. The family are members of the Westminister Congregational church, of which Mr. Beardsley is an elder, and though professional and other duties have made heavy demands upon his time, he has always found opportunity for active participation in church and kindred work. Since 1890 he has been a director of the Young Men’s Christian Association and since 1893 has been its president. He is a member of the Commercial Club and has likewise been a member of the board of associated charities and has labored earnestly, untiringly and effectively to ameliorate of hard conditions of life for the unfortunate. His efforts in behalf of municipal progress and improvement have been a tangible element in the city’s up building. He has been president of the board of public works and of the upper house of the city council and in 1906 was elected republican mayor of Kansas City after several times refusing the candidacy in previous campaigns. He is in publics not form preference but as a matter of civic duty. Regarded as a citizen and in his social relations, Mr. Beardsley belongs to the public spirited, useful and helpful type of men whose ambitions and desires are centered and directed in those channels through which flow the greatest and most permanent good to the greatest number. Though frequently solicited to become a candidate for high political and other public offices, he has eschewed them entirely up to his election to the mayorality but probably there is not a man of large private interests in this city that has felt a more hearty concern for the public welfare or has been more helpful in bring about these purifying and wholesome reforms which have been gradually growing up in the political, municipal and social life of the city. Unselfish and retiring, he prefers a quiet place in the background to the glamour of publicity but his rare aptitude and ability in achieving results made him constantly sought and often bring him into a promising results made him constantly sought and often bring him into a prominence from which he would naturally shrink were less desirable ends in view.

A Condensed History of the Kansas City Area: Its Mayors and Some V. I. P.s
Photo and bio of Henry Mahan Beardsley, or Henry Beardsley (1858-1938), mayor of Kansas City in 1906 and before that president of "the Kansas City Bar," residing during mayorship at 213 West Armour Boulevard.

A Memorial and Biographical Record of Kansas City and Jackson County, Mo.
Biographical sketch of lawyer and former mayor Henry Beardsley (1858-1938).

A Reaction against Reform
Article describing the reform policies of Mayor Beardsley leading to his replacement, including strict enforcement of anti-vice types of laws.