Notable Kansas Citians from the Past

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1902 George Creel & John Slavens

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William Edgar Benson

William Edgar Benson, secretary of the Board of Education, was born in Chicago June 27, 1851, and came to Kansas City with his parents in 1869.  The following year he was a general delivery clerk in the post office, a position which ill health forced him to relinquish.
     After some time in Colorado, Mr. Benson returned to Kansas City, and was in the insurance and real estate business with his father and brother until 1877, when he was appointed City Clerk by Mayor Slavens.  Not only the term under Mayor Slavens, but two terms under Mayor Shelley were served by Mr. Benson, and with such efficiency and capacity for the public business that Mayor Shelley secured an endorsement signed by fourteen ex-Mayors demanding Mr. Benson's retention in office.  This endorsement was all the more extraordinary from the fact that it was non-partisan, Mayor Shelley being a Democrat and Mr. Benson a Republican.  The Mayors also were of both political parties.
     The city's first were originated by Mr. Benson, including all ordinances and proceedings from 1857.
   But it was as secretary of the Board of ducation that Mr. Benson has chiefly distinguished himself, the system originated by him having been widely copied in other cities, and having made him known to educators and educational boards everywhere.  By his system any action of the board or document filed can be instantly referred to.
     Mr. Benson was married in Colorado in 1875 to Miss Sallie Stephens.  They have two sons.
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