A Twentieth century history and biographical record of Crawford County, Kansas, by Home Authors; Illustrated. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL : 1905. 656 p. ill. Transcribed by staff and students at Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas.

1905 History of Crawford County Kansas


Hon. Peter McCall, superintendent of the Devlin-Miller Mining Company at Frontenac, Kansas, has for a number of years been in responsible positions in the coal industry and has also been highly honored in political affairs. Mr. McCall is your true man of affairs, one who has "rubbed against the world" from the time he was at the tender age of eleven, who was an underling and in the ranks long enough to know the value of discipline and self-control, and who gradually achieved by honesty and industry inherent in his character and race a position where he himself has directed the efforts of others, and where his worth and individuality have gained their deserved rewards. From exact familiarity with one line of industry he passed to a corresponding familiarity with men, and he has wielded influence and leadership in circles large and small, his popularity at one time placing him among the Illinois state legislators, where his ability was no less effective than in managing an industrial establishment.

Mr. McCall was born in Northumberland, England, in 1857, a son of John and Anna (Flynn) McCall. His father was a native of Ireland, but became a miner in Northumberland, England. He emigrated to the United States in 1864, locating at Duquoin, Perry county, Illinois, where he began work in the mines, and in the following year sent to England for his family, who arrived in 1865. He continued his work at Duquoin until he was killed in a mine there, January 2, 1866. His wife died at the same place March 19, 1867.

Peter McCall was eight years old when he came to the United States, and at the age of ten was left an orphan, without a berth except such as he should make for himself. Thus circumstanced, after his mother's death he went to New Pittsburg, St. Clair county, Illinois, where on April 14, 1868, at the age of eleven years, he began working in the coal mines, and has been closely identified with the various phases of that industry ever since. He was employed in the mines around New Pittsburg until 1871, then went to the mines at Murphysboro, Jackson county, Illinois, and from there to the collieries at Collinsville, Madison county, in the same state, where he resided until 1883, having in the meantime been married to his estimable life partner.

From 1883 to 1885 he was in the mines of Macoupin county, Illinois, and then for about a year worked in nearly all the coal-mining districts of the west and south, including Texas. In 1886 he returned to Illinois and located first in LaSalle county and then in Bureau county, where two years later he had become so popular and well known that he ran as the Republican candidate for the legislature, and was elected and served two years in the thirty-sixth general assembly, including the extra session called by Governor Joe Fifer. As a lawmaker he was chiefly active in securing legislation safeguarding miners, and performed a valuable part in this direction. He is by nature a politician in the best sense of that term, presents a statesmanlike front on all occasions, and his winning personality gains friends by the hundreds.

From Bureau county Mr. McCall went to Brookside, Colorado, where he had charge of the coal mines, and in March, 1892, came to Crawford county, Kansas, to take the position of top foreman of the Chicopee mines of the Cherokee and Pittsburg Coal and Mining Company. Two years later the company sent him to Frontenac as foreman of the No. 1 mine, and he has made this town his home ever since. After being foreman of No. 1 for four years he was appointed assistant superintendent of the Frontenac Mines of the Mount Carmel Coal Company, and on September 1, 1903, became superintendent of the Devlin-Miller mine, located three miles north and one mile west of Frontenac, and which is owned by Charles J. Devlin, of Topeka, who is also president of the Mount Carmel Company.

As far as his responsible duties have permitted Mr. McCall has taken an active part in the Republican politics of this section of Kansas, for several years has been a delegate to the county and state Republican conventions, and was elected and served one term as police judge in Frontenac.

Mr. McCall was married in 1878, while living in Collinsville, Illinois, to Miss Anna Fox. They have eight children, as follows: Mrs. Anna Laidler; Miss Catherine, who is assistant postmaster at Frontenac; B. Loretto, John, Sarah, Peter, Nellie, and Charles Joseph. The family are all communicants of the Catholic church at Frontenac.