Hugh J. McGowan was born in 1856 on a farm near
Liberty in Clay County, Missouri. He was educated in the
district schools, and worked in the fields until he reached the age of
nineteen. In 1895 there came the plague of grasshoppers, and
young Hugh grew disgusted with farming and came to Kansas City.
His first job was raking cinders from under a Wabash engine, and then
he worked as a section hand on that road, and after that he secured
employment from the Corrigans, who ran the mule car lines. He
curried mules first, then drove a car, and then after a term in a
commercial college acted as driver for a furniture wagon, furniture
packer, car accountant, and finally won a place on the police
force. In five months he was made sergeant, and for six years
served the city.
In 1886 he was elected County Marshal by the
Democrats, and refused a second term.
In 1890 Mr. McGowan became Kansas City Agent
for the Barber Asphalt Company, and from that time his career has been
meteoric. He is now general agent for the Barber Company for all the
West and Mexico, president of the Indianapolis car lines,
president of the company that controls the street car lines of
Cincinnati and Covington, and the general executive man of the
Widener-Elkins Syndicate, president of the Kansas City Gas Company,
and a director and officer in many huge corporations.
Mr. McGowan was married in 1887 to Miss Katie
Burnett, and they have four daughters.