First Mayor of Kansas City

1825 – 1887

William S. Gregory was the first mayor of Kansas City (one of twelve buried in Elmwood). He was born on August 4, 1825 in Shelby County, Kentucky. He moved with his wife, Elizabeth, to Jackson County, Missouri in 1844 and operated a grocery store on the levee. He was one of the settlers to petition to incorporate the Town of Kansas.

Gregory was elected mayor of the fledgling city on April 18, 1853. During his time in office, he appointed a city treasurer, assessor, marshal, tax collector, and attorney. He also helped write the city charter and signed Kansas City’s first laws. However, he only served 10 months as mayor. It was soon discovered that the city charter required the mayor be a resident of the incorporated area. Because his farm was outside the city’s eastern limit of Locust Street, he was deemed ineligible to be mayor. Gregory resigned and Dr. Johnston Lykins finished out the term, beginning in February 1854. Gregory continued to serve as an alderman. It should be noted that there were only 63 residents in Kansas City at the time.

As a southern sympathizer, Gregory moved to St. Louis during the Civil War. He returned to Kansas City in 1867 and established a very successful wholesale grocery business. William Gregory died of kidney failure on August 11, 1887 after a lengthy illness.

In 1930, a city resident pointed out that no street in Kansas City had been named for its first mayor. The Park Board adopted a resolution to rename 71st Street as Gregory Boulevard in his honor.

Notable Burials