Bernard Warkentin

Bernard Warkentin

Male 1847 - 1908  (60 years)


Warkentin, Bernard

International Businessman & Banker: He was director of the Millers National Insurance Company of Chicago, The Terminal Warehouse Company of Kansas City, Missouri, and several other corporations. He was responsible for bringing thousands of well-to-do Mennonite immigrants from Russia to the Kansas great plains for settling farms for the planting of his turkey wheat. In Kansas, Warkentin operated several mills and promoted wheat growing, especially "Turkey Red" hard winter wheat. His work helped make Kansas the "Bread Basket of the World." He settled and built the first grist mill in Halstead, Harvey County, Kansas in 1870. The Halstead Milling and Elevator Company was organized in 1878. His mill had a reputation for quality whose output was sold throughout the United States and Europe.

In 1885 he ended his connection with the Halstead mill and organized the Newton Milling and Elevator Company. He organized the Blackwell Milling and Elevator Company in 1900 and became its president and manager until 1908. The business grew from a daily capacity of 10 barrels to one of 2,000 barrels from a grist mill to one of the large milling interests of Kansas.

He organized the Halstead State Bank and the Kansas State Bank of Newton, holding the offices of director and president until the time of his death. He was active in the founding of Bethel College at Newton, Kansas.

His death in Beirut, Lebanon occurred while he and his wife were traveling by train from Damascus to Beirut when a Turk grandson of Abd-el-Kader, travelling in an adjoining compartment, accidentally discharged a pistol. The fatal bullet penetrated the dividing wall of the compartment entering his back. He lived about eleven hours after the accident in a hospital in Beirut.

His wife accompanied his remains to their home in Newton where they lie interred in the family mausoleum which he had erected just before his departure for Egypt and The Holy Land.

Owner/SourceJulian Wall
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