William Edgar Benson, secretary of the Board of
Education, was born in Chicago June 27, 1851, and came to Kansas City
with his parents in 1869. The following year he was a general
delivery clerk in the post office, a position which ill health forced
him to relinquish.
After some time in Colorado, Mr. Benson
returned to Kansas City, and was in the insurance and real estate
business with his father and brother until 1877, when he was appointed
City Clerk by Mayor Slavens. Not only the term under Mayor
Slavens, but two terms under Mayor Shelley were served by Mr. Benson,
and with such efficiency and capacity for the public business that
Mayor Shelley secured an endorsement signed by fourteen ex-Mayors
demanding Mr. Benson's retention in office. This endorsement was
all the more extraordinary from the fact that it was non-partisan,
Mayor Shelley being a Democrat and Mr. Benson a Republican. The
Mayors also were of both political parties.
The city's first were originated by Mr.
Benson, including all ordinances and proceedings from 1857.
But it was as secretary of the Board of ducation that Mr.
Benson has chiefly distinguished himself, the system originated by him
having been widely copied in other cities, and having made him known
to educators and educational boards everywhere. By his system
any action of the board or document filed can be instantly referred
Mr. Benson was married in Colorado in 1875 to
Miss Sallie Stephens. They have two sons.