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Below is a family biography included in History of Shawnee County, Kansas and Representative Citizens by James L. King, published by Richmond & Arnold, 1905.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Hon. Parkison I. Bonebrake, banker and prominent and representative citizen of Topeka, Kansas, was born September 25, 1836, in Preble County, Ohio, and is a son of Rev. George Bonebrake. For many years the father of Mr. Bonebrake filled the arduous duties of circuit rider in Ohio so faithfully that his health became impaired, necessitating his retirement, in middle life, from the ministry of the United Brethren Church. During our subject’s boyhood, he removed to Iowa and embarked in a mercantile business.

Parkison I. Bonebrake enjoyed excellent educational opportunities, laying the foundation in the common schools and subsequently attending Cornell College at Mount Vernon, Iowa. His business education was acquired in his father’s store and this he put to good account when he came to Topeka, in the summer of 1859. This was early in the city’s life and men of his ability and enterprise were welcomed as they were needed. He soon became identified with public affairs, in 1866 being elected county clerk by the Republican party, in which office he subsequently succeeded himself for four terms. In the meantime he had so gained the esteem and confidence of his fellow-citizens, irrespective of party, that when he became a candidate for the Legislature he received every vote cast in his district, a unique condition of affairs and a marked testimonial to his sterling character. The financial ability which has later made him noted as a financier all over the State was very apparent when he drafted the excellent assessment and taxation laws which stood on the records for many years. In 1876 he was appointed to fill a vacancy in the office of State Auditor, to which office he was elected soon after, and Mr. Bonebrake is one of the few men who have served in a State office for three consecutive terms.

In 1882, upon retiring from the auditorship, Mr. Bonebrake declined other political honors, desiring to give his attention more closely to personal affairs. He organized the Central Bank of Kansas, and subsequently was one of the prime movers in the organization of the Central National Bank of Topeka, of which he was elected president, an office he has held for 21 years to the present day, his careful, conservative direction of the bank’s affairs making it one of the soundest institutions of its kind in the State. The other officers of the bank are as follows: Charles S. Downing, vice-president; Edwin Knowles, cashier; F. C. Thompson, assistant cashier. The directors include the president and the vice-president and the following well-known capitalists and business men of Topeka: Charles J. Devlin, V. B. Kistler, H. P. Dillon, Charles S. Gleed, A. S. Johnson, Eugene F. Ware and J. D. Norton. The latest statement of the bank, as rendered to the Comptroller of the Currency, November 10, 1904, is as follows:

Loans, Discounts and Securities $845,969.55
Overdrafts 711.09
U. S. Bonds and Premium 334,400.00
Real Estate 11,500.00
Furniture and Fixtures 2,500.00
Redemption Fund with U. S. Treasury 12,500.00
Cash and Sight Exchange 437,825.76
Total $1,645,406.40

Capital Stock Paid In $250,000.00
Surplus Fund 45,000.00
Undivided Profits 18,413.93
Circulation 250,000.00
Deposits 1,081,992.47
Total $1,645,406.40

In 1859 Mr. Bonebrake was united in marriage with Martha A. Lowe, and the two survivors of their family of four children are: Frank M., who is cashier of the Merchants’ National Bank; and Frederic B., who is vice-president and treasurer of the Osage City Grain & Elevator Company. The family belong to the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which Mr. Bonebrake has been a member since youth.

Mr. Bonebrake has never lost his interest in politics, and is now, as he has been for many years past, treasurer of the Republican State Central Committee. He has served many years as a member of this committee and much of the time as its chairman, and his advice and counsel have long been sought by party leaders. He is known to his fellow-citizens as preeminently a man of affairs, and the results he has accomplished justify the opinion. His ability has not been confined to his own affairs; in fact, Topeka owes much to his public spirit and personal endeavor. He has taken a very prominent position in inaugurating and perfecting many of the great business enterprises which have contributed so largely to Topeka’s commercial prosperity, notably the building of the water-works, of which construction company he was president and secretary, and the securing of important railroad lines to and through this point. He is vice-president of the American Bankers’ Association of Kansas.

Personally, Mr. Bonebrake is the soul of integrity. Although for many years he has held a commanding position in the business world, he is simple in his tastes and unassuming in manner. Few of his fellow-citizens know the extent of his charities, of the struggling youths he has helped, of the benevolent objects he has encouraged or of the religious enterprises he has furthered. In Parkison I. Bonebrake, the city of Topeka has a citizen of sterling worth.

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This family biography is one of 206 biographies included in History of Shawnee County, Kansas and Representative Citizens by James L. King, published by Richmond & Arnold, 1905.  For the complete description, click here: Shawnee County, Kansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Shawnee County, Kansas family biographies here: Shawnee County, Kansas

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