Houston Whiteside

william houston whiteside

Houston Whiteside, dean of the Reno County Bar Association, one of the best-known lawyers in Kansas, founder of the Hutchinson News and probably the oldest continuous resident of the city of Hutchinson, a man who has witnessed the development of that bustling city from the days it consisted of a few unsightly shanties stuck up in the dreary sands of the original townsite and who has aided very materially in the development of the city to its present exalted status, is a native of Tennessee, he having been born in Shelbyville, that state, in 1847, son of Russell Porter and Mary Ann (Houston) Whiteside, the former of whom, born in 1824 died in 1854, and the latter, born in 1824, died in 1912.

Russell Porter Whiteside was born near Shelbyville, Tennessee, member of a pioneer family of that section, and was reared on the paternal farm. His elder brother, Thomas C. Whiteside, was a prominent attorney in Shelbyville, and upon completing his schooling he entered his brother's office and began the study of law, presently being admitted to the bar and becoming a partner of William H. Wisener in the practice of the law, with offices at Shelbyville and Lewisburg, quickly taking his place among the leaders of the bar thereabout, entering upon a most promising career, which was cut short by death at the early age of twenty-eight.

Russell P. Whiteside married Wary Ann Houston, who was born near Concord, in Cabarrus county, North Carolina, daughter of Dr. William and Sarah (Phifer) Houston, who emigrated to Tennessee with her parents when seven years of age, her father having located there at that time on a large tract of land which had been granted to his father by the government in consideration of his distinguished services in behalf of the armies of the patriots during the Revolutionary War, her father having been the colonel of the Third North Carolina Regiment, the same in which Doctor Houston's father had served in the capacity of captain.

 Dr. William Houston became one of the leading plantation owners in the Shelbyville neighborhood, a large slave-holder and an extensive breeder of cattle. Russell P. Whiteside was a Whig and a member of the Presbyterian church, the sterling character of the man being attested by the fact that he had been an elder in the Presbyterian church for some time previous to his death, at the early age of twenty-eight. To him and his wife two children were born, the subject of this biographical sketch having had a sister, Annie, who married William E. Hutchinson, partner of his brother, C. C. Hutchinson, founder of the city of Hutchinson, this county. Upon the death of Russell P. Whiteside his widow married, secondly, George T. Hutton, a farmer of Bedford county, Tennessee, who died about 1890, and to this second union three children were born, Emmette, Samuel and Leota, the latter of whom married Doctor Conn, and all of whom reside in Hutchinson.

Houston Whiteside was reared at Shelbyville, Tennessee, his elementary education being received in a private school there, the same being supplemented by a course in Shelbyville College, which was interrupted by the military activities in that section during the Civil War, during which time the schools were closed. After the war, Mr. Whiteside began teaching school near Shelbyville and was thus engaged for three years, at the end of which time he went to Mississippi, where for a year he operated a cotton plantation, after which he entered the law office of his uncle, Thomas C. Whiteside, at Shelbyville, where for two years he gave his most studious and intelligent attention to the theory and practice of the law, laying there the foundation for the notable success he later was destined to achieve in the practice of that exacting profession. In the spring of 1872 Mr. Whiteside came to Kansas and on May 16, of that year, arrived at Hutchinson, which had been platted the year before and which at the time of his arrival consisted of but a few shanties. Recognizing immediately the need of a proper-medium of expression for the promotion of the interests of the promising town site, Mr. Whiteside, in connection with Perry Brothers, of Miami county, this state, founded the Hutchinson News, he taking editorial direction of the same. The next year, 1873, he bought the interests of his partners and operated the paper alone until 1875, in which year he sold the same, the growing interests of his already extensive law practice demanding his undivided attention. In November, of the year of his arrival in Hutchinson, Mr. Whiteside was elected county attorney for Reno county and was re-elected in 1874. From the time he retired from editorial direction of the Hutchinson News until the time of his practical retirement from practice, in 1907, Mr. Whiteside occupied a very high place at the bar of Reno county and from the first was recognized by both the bench and bar of this section as a vigorous and useful force in affairs. From the date of its organization, more than thirty years ago, he has been the president of the Reno County Bar Association and in every way has labored to maintain the high dignity of the bar in this county. Though most of the time Mr. Whiteside has conducted his practice alone, he from time to time has been associated in partnership with W. H. Gleason, A. C. Malloy, W. E. Hutchinson and James McKinsty. Mr. Whiteside is a Republican and from the time of his arrival in this county has given close attention to the political affairs of the community and of the state at large, though never having been a candidate for office, his large law practice having required all his time. For several terms, however, he served as city attorney, under appointment of the city council, in which public capacity he performed excellent service, and for twenty-five years was district attorney for the Santa Fe system. Frequently, Mr. Whiteside has been a delegate to state and congressional conventions of his party and has been regarded as a useful factor in Kansas politics. He also has given his close attention to business affairs and helped to organize the Hutchinson Commercial Club in 1892. He was president of the first flour-mill company in Hutchinson and for years was president of the Water, Light and Power Company and at different times has been actively connected with various real-estate and banking companies, though not now thus actively connected. He still owns the quarter of a section of land which he preempted near Hutchinson, on the west, and is the owner of other valuable farm lands.

On February 22, 1889, Houston Whiteside was united in marriage to Julia Clementine Latimer, who was born at Jackson, Tennessee, daughter of diaries Latimer and wife. Charles Latimer was a Virginian, who was graduated from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis and for many years was an officer in the United States navy. During the Civil War he was federal superintendent of railroads, located at Jackson, Tennessee, and after the war took service in the engineering department of the Lake Shore railroad, which company he served for some years as chief engineer, with headquarters at Cleveland, Ohio, later going to the Erie Railroad Company, in the same capacity, and died in Cleveland in 1887.

To Houston and Julia C. (Latimer) Whiteside two children have been born, a son and a daughter. Houston, Jr., born in 1891, graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1912 and served as an officer in the Twenty-third Regiment, United States Infantry, until his resignation in 1914, since which time he has been giving his attention to his father's extensive business interests in and about Hutchinson; and Ada, 1893, who supplemented her schooling in the public schools of Hutchinson by a course in a finishing school for young women at Greenwich, Connecticut, and married Wirt Morton, superintendent of the Morton Salt Company, of Hutchinson. The Whitesides live in a handsome and hospitable home at 504 Sherman street, east, in the city of Hutchinson. Mr. and Mrs. White-side are members of the Episcopal church, of which Mr. Whiteside was a vestryman for many years and senior warden for twenty years. He has been chancellor of the diocese since its organization and takes a warm interest in church affairs. He is a member of the Masons, the Knights of Pythias and the Anti-Horse Thief Association. Mrs. Whiteside is highly accomplished in music and has done much to promote music in Kansas. She is well known as the finest vocalist in the state and one of the best amateur singers in the whole country. (History of Reno County, Kansas, George W. Dunn, Page 205-208)

Houston Whiteside Home

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His home still stands and is located in the Historic Houston Whiteside District.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Homes.  Located at 504 East Sherman, this home is one of many stately historic homes is the Houston Whiteside District.  

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