Wednesday, August 19, 2015
James W. L. Slavens (1838-1905) = Civil War Veteran. Republican. Co-founder of the Women’s Christian Association. Kansas City Treasurer (1867) and Mayor (1876; 1895). He was born on August 3 in Putnam County, Indiana to Hiram B. Slavens.
James was mostly self-taught and prepared himself for college by reading many books. He entered the law profession in 1861 after he graduated from Asbury University in Indiana in 1859 with high honors.
In 1859, he married Martha (Mattie; Mary) McNutt, in Douglass County, Illinois and to this union eight children were born: five sons and three daughters.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted in the 73rd Illinois Volunteer Regiment, serving in the Quartermaster Department under General George H. Thomas.
In the fall of 1865, James came to Jackson County, Missouri and practiced law with his brother, Luther C., for seven years. Then he became one of the first meat-packers, forming a partnership with E.C. Pattison, Wm Epperson and later J.C. Ferguson.
James was a member of the Grand Avenue Methodist Church, first organized in 1863 by Rev. A.H. Powell. A lot was purchased at the corner of 6th and Walnut to build on, but during the war, the society broke up and the lot sold. Rev. Nesley reorganized in 1865. In the late 20th century, an office building with an attached church on the east replaced the earlier, spired brick edifice dedicated by Dr. Bishop Thomas Bowman. It is located at 9th and Grand, close to the Federal Reserve Building in Kansas City.
Slaven’s financial success enabled him to donate to many charitable organizations. When he became mayor, he contributed his salary to them.
He died as the result of a stroke on February 10, 1905 at the Old Soldiers’ Home in Leavenworth, Kansas.
More to Read =
1. A Condensed History of the Kansas City Area: Its Mayors and Some V.I.P.s 1850-1950 ” Assembled by George Fuller Green. City Historian. The Lowell Press; Kansas City, MO. 1968
Places to Visit =
1. Former Mayoral Residences at 10th & Jefferson and 3016 Oak Street, Kansas City.