Elmer John Negy

1891 – 1985

 

Elmer J. Negy in a 5-passenger Essex stock car during a race

The Hudson Triangle

 

 

Great Bend Tribune

April 24, 1918 – Page 6

 

Elmer John Negy, (later known as “Colonel Jack E. Negy”), was born May 4, 1891 in Felsőnyárád, Hungary.  He was a son of Ferencz “Frank” Négy and Miczike “Mary” (Grossman) Nagy (anglicized from the original Hungarian of Négy Ferenc and Grossman Mária).  He immigrated to America, arriving in Baltimore, Maryland with an uncle, Lajos “Louis” Grossman (1860-1951), on October 15, 1908 from Hanover, Germany.  Elmer Negy arrived with $6 in his pocket and lived first with his Uncle Louis at Belle Plaine, Iowa.  He joined the United States Regular Army on December 29, 1910 as a “jockey” since he had actually been recruited to play polo on an inter-regimental polo team.  He served three years in the 13th Calvary chasing Poncho Villa and other outlaws along the Mexican border, when he wasn’t playing polo.  He was discharged from the service with the rank of second lieutenant on December 28, 1913 at Columbus, New Mexico.

Negy was married to Anna Sophia Kristensen (1897-1952) in April of 1914 in Manhattan, Kansas where his new father-in-law, Niels Christian Abel Kristensen (1858-1926), purchased the Golden Belt Garage at 117 North Third Street for Negy to operate.  Negy changed the name of the garage to the Blue Valley Garage and the new business became a distributor for Buick and Allen automobiles.

In 1916, Elmer and Anna were the parents of Irene Mary Negy (1916-1959), and were residing in Hutchinson, Kansas where he was working as a salesman selling Hudson automobiles for the Hutchinson Motor Car Company.

On March 15, 1916, Frank Fretzer of Hoisington, Kansas became the first man to accept a challenge from Elmer Negy for a race between Fretzer’s Buick Model 16 and a new Hudson “Super-Six” owned by the Hutchinson Motor Car Company.  The event was staged “on the Ellinwood (Kansas) road” and drew a large crowd of auto enthusiasts.  The race was run over a one-mile section of straightway from a flying start in single file with the Buick in the lead.  Negy passed Fretzer in less than a quarter-mile and then pulled away leaving the Buick far behind.  Negy then offered Fretzer a rematch that would give Fretzer a quarter-mile head start.  Fretzer excepted the terms and the cars raced again over the same one-mile section of road.  Even with the handicap, Negy was able to win that race too, much to the delight of the interested onlookers.  [Note:  It now appears that the two races between the Buick and the Hudson were a staged event and that “Frank Fretzer” was actually J. E. Frazier; originally from Coats, Kansas, who was in the process of opening an automobile agency in Pratt, Kansas.]

After Negy had won the two races against Fretzer, Victor Krebaum (1891-1918) of Great Bend, Kansas, challenged Negy to a race between his motorcycle and the Hudson “Super-Six”; a contest that Negy won easily.

Later in March of 1916, Negy challenged the Cochran & Beck Studebaker agency of Dodge City, Kansas to a race against a Hudson “Super-Six” he was driving with one of their Studebaker 6 automobiles saying that he could beat the Studebaker up the Spruce Street hill in Dodge City.  The agency declined the challenge saying that a Studebaker was not a “speed car”, but that they would except any such challenge Negy might propose that was not a “speed race.”  Their counter offer was to race Negy up the Spruce Street hill from a standing start from the Lum Street corner, with five men as passengers in each car, with both cars going the whole distance in high gear and each making a complete circle in the street halfway up the hill.  Negy excepted their proposal.  The name of the Studebaker driver was not recorded but, under the agreed to terms, the Studebaker 6 won the contest.  Thinking the contest would be a shoe-in for the Hudson “Super-Six”, Negy pointed out that the Hudson needed a tune-up so it was arranged for the same two cars to rerun the contest the following day.  The Hudson was tuned up but for the contest that day but the results were the same.

In April of 1916, Negy was demonstrating a Hudson “Super-Six” in Saint John, Kansas when another automobile dealer challenged him to a two-block race through town for a side bet of $15.  The Hudson Negy was driving, finished the course before the challenger could even go one block so Negy collected his money only to be arrested on the spot for speeding.  The fine, with court costs, was $59 leaving Negy to wonder if his being able to demonstrate the Hudson before the large crowd that had gathered to watch the competition, was worth his $44 net loss.  The race did land him a new position as a “daredevil demonstrator driver for the Hudson Motor Car Company”.

 

 

This photo of Elmer Negy was taken in a Hudson “Super-Six” on September 4, 1916 in front of the Hutchinson Motor Company in Hutchinson, Kansas, commemorating his record run from Hutchinson, Kansas to Pueblo, Colorado in the car on August 23, 1916.  On the side of the car is painted:
Won the WORLD’S RECORD

at 400-mile cross country course

HUTCHINSON to PUEBLO

9 HOURS, 20 MINURES

Hutchinson News photo

 

August, 1916 – Hill climb up Buck Hill near Pratt, Kansas

            Car:  Hudson “Skuper-Six” owned by the Hutchinson Motor Car Company of Hutchinson, Kansas

            Finish:  Negy, with five passengers, beat a Studebaker “Six” with only its driver on board.

 

In another demonstration, the Hutchinson News reported that Negy was able to drive a Hudson “Super-Six”, with three passengers on board, from Wichita, Kansas to Pueblo, Colorado (about 400 miles) in a new record time of 9 hours, 20 minutes on August 23, 1916.  Negy broke the old record for that distance on public roads, that had reportedly been held by Edwin George “Cannonball” Baker (1882-1960).

On September 13, 1916, Negy, along with three passengers, made the trip from Kinsley, Kansas to Larned, Kansas in a Hudson “Super-Six” in 28 minutes, beating the local Santa Fe train by several minutes.

In March of 1917, Negy drove a red Hudson “Super-Six” roadster from Phillipsburg, Kansas to Salina, Kansas, covering 162 miles in three hours, twenty minutes.

Following are the results of auto races that Elmer Negy is known to have competed in:

 

April, 1917 – 2-car race on a public road between McPherson, Kansas and Salina, Kansas

            Car:  Red Hudson “Super-Six” roadster

Finish:  A Marmon 34, driven by Reuben E. “Rube” Arnold (1878-1956), an auto dealer from Wichita, Kansas, had a head start but Negy caught him and passed him by going into the bar ditch along the side of the 2-lane road.  The pass showered the Marmon with dust so Negy backed off and let the Marmon pass.  He then passed the Marmon again, reaching a speed of 80 m.p.h. and, as he pulled away, Mr. Arnold waved farewell and gave up the race.

 

July 4, 1918 – 2-mile dirt oval – Dodge City Speedway northeast of Dodge City, Kansas

            Car:  Red Hudson “Super-Six” roadster sponsored by the Hudson Motor Company.

Finish:  Negy placed 2nd once and 3rd twice in these races.  It is known that he placed 3rd in the final 90-mile race behind Glenn Breed (1880-1960) of Salina, Kansas and Jake Strickler (1902-1966) of Enid, Oklahoma who was also driving a Hudson “Super-Six”.  Which races Negy placed in besides the final event, has yet to be learned.  Negy donated all of his share of the purse to the Red Cross.

Feature Race Winner:  Glenn M. Breed of Salina, Kansas, driving his own Hudson “Super-Six” #1, won all of these races.

 

Date unknown – Goff Hill  later known as Spring Hillon Cowley County Road 17 (formerly known as the Greens Farm Road) northeast of Arkansas City, Kansas

            Car:  Red Hudson “Super-Six” roadster

Finish:  Negy finished 2nd to a Studebaker 6 in a race up this hill.  The name of the driver of the Studebaker 6 was not recorded.

Feature Race Winner:  Studebaker 6

 

 

Hutchinson News

April 5, 1920 – Page 10

 

September 19, 1919 – ½ mile dirt oval – Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

            Car:  5-passenger Essex stock car

Finish:  2nd behind Bill Hendricks of Wichita, Kansas in a Mercer roadster in the 4-car, 10-lap stock car race.

Feature Race Winner:  George Clark of Dallas, Texas in a Duesenberg.

 

September 26, 1919 – ½ mile dirt oval – Pawnee County Fairgrounds at Larned, Kansas

            Car:  Essex stock car

Finish:  Negy won $100 by placing 1st in a 5-mile match race over ½ lap ahead of Merle Johnson who was driving a 6-cyllinder Buick.  Negy’s time for the distance was 7:40.0 and he donated his share of the purse to the Red Cross.  After Negy won the match race, he was challenged to another match race over the same distance by Lenard E. Kerbs (1895-1960) of Otis, Kansas who was driving a 16-valve Fronty Ford.  Negy pointed out that Kerbs’ automobile was not stock and declined the challenge, so Kerbs ran his Fronty Ford for 5-miles against time, covering the distance in 6:39.0.

               Feature Race Winner:  Elmer J. Negy of Hutchinson, Kansas, driving an Essex.

 

October 3, 1919 – ½ mile dirt oval – Barton County Fairgrounds at Great Bend, Kansas

            Car:  Essex stock car owned by Edward E. Cook (1880-1938) of Great Bend, Kansas.

Finish:  Negy’s Essex was the only stock car entered in these races so he ran exhibition laps for the assembled crowd of spectators.  He first ran ½-mile from a standing start in 45.0 seconds.  He then ran 1-mile from a flying start in 1:25.0 and then 5-miles in 6:52.4 from a standing start.

 

October 9, 1919 – ½ mile dirt oval – Pawnee County Fairgrounds at Larned, Kansas

            Car:  Hudson “Super-Six”

Finish:  Dr. Virgil O. Standish, Sr. (1883-1975) of the Standish Motor Sales Company of Larned, put up $1,000 on September 25, 1919 offering to race any brand automobile that was sold in Pawnee County, Kansas in the next two-weeks that would post a matching $1,000 in a winner-take-all event.  Negy initially except the challenge but then backed out one week later saying that the Hudson Motor Company would not back such a wager.  When Negy announced that he could not cover the wager, Dr. Standish withdrew his offer so the race did not take place.

 

October 14, 1919 – ½ mile dirt oval – Barton County Fairgrounds at Great Bend, Kansas

            Car:  Essex stock car

Finish:  It is known that Negy attended these races but it is not certain that he entered them.  When the local newspaper went to press the day before these races, he had not and his name does not appear in the race results.

Feature Race Winner:  Glenn Breed of Salina, Kansas, driving his own Hudson “Super-Six” #1

 

October 28, 1919 – ½ mile dirt oval – Pratt County Fairgrounds at Pratt, Kansas

            Car:  Essex stock car

Finish:  Lloyd Irven Lambert (1899-1967) of Pratt, took Negy up on his challenge that he (Negy) would pay $100 in gold to anyone with a stock car that could beat him in a 5-mile match race from a standing start.  Lambert’s Buick roadster had been stripped of everything that could be taken off of it and he got Johnny Mais, a professional race driver from Salina, Kansas, to drive the Buick for him in the race against Negy.  The two cars ran a time trial with Negy turning in the fastest time which he felt should earn him the pole position in the match race.  Mais complained that no time trial had been mentioned in advertising for the race so he felt that the pole position in the match race should be determined by a coin toss.  Negy won the coin toss and started the race on the pole.  Mais pulled ahead at first and let the first three miles but about 100 yards.  Negy then began to gain on the Buick and won the race by half a lap.

Feature Race Winner:  Elmer J. Negy of Hutchinson, Kansas, driving an Essex.

 

November 25, 1919 – 2-miles of straight 2-lane road then known as Rock Road later known as Cowley County Road 27 beginning south of Strother Field where the road turns east to Winfield, Kansas and proceeding south past Memorial Lawn Cemetery, ending at the Martha Washington School north of Arkansas City, Kansas

            Car:  Essex 4 stock roadster owned by Harry Horton of Arkansas City, Kansas

Finish:  Negy finished 2nd in a 2-car match race with a Cole Aero 8 stock roadster driven by Rea Hudson.

Feature Race Winner:  Rea Hudson in a Cole Aero 8 owned by Fred Krebbs of Arkansas City, Kansas and sponsored by the Hill-Howard Motor Company of Arkansas City, Kansas

 

Hutchinson News

April 10, 1920 – Page 5

  

January 2, 1920 – ½ mile dirt oval – Pratt County Fairgrounds at Pratt, Kansas

            Car:  4-cyllinder Essex roadster

Finish:  2nd, 50-yards behind Cyrus E. Millar of Belvidere, Kansas in a Stutz roadster, in a 2-car, 2-mile match race.

Feature Race Winner:  Cyrus Evans Millar (1893-1947) of Belvidere, Kansas

 

January 28, 1920 – 5-miles on Iuka road from the corner of the Joe Helsel Farm to the Section Line north of Iuka, Kansas

            Car:  4-cyllinder Essex roadster

            Finish:  Negy only ran against time and completed the distance in 4:50.0.

 

          In January of 1920, Negy drove a new red and green Essex demonstrator to Pratt, Kansas; Wellington, Kansas and Arkansas City, Kansas, placing the automobile on display at a local Motor Inn in each city.  Besides its eye-catching paint scheme, the car sported every option that Essex offered on new cars plus a hood which had the panels on its top and sides replaced with glass to allow for better viewing of the engine while it was running.  The car drew large crowds of onlookers wherever it went.

Negy became the authorized dealer for Haynes automobiles in central and western Kansas in March of 1920, building agencies in both Hutchinson and Great Bend, Kansas:

“Until October 1, 1920, we will (be) located at 28 South Walnut.  We have taken a long-time lease and will occupy after October 1, the present spacious quarters of The Hutchinson Motor Car Company at the Southeast corner of Sherman and Walnut” – Hutchinson News, April 5, 1920, page 10.

 

June 15, 1920 – ½ mile dirt oval – Barton County Fairgrounds at Great Bend, Kansas

            Car:  Haynes #8

Finish:  Negy’s name does not appear in the incomplete race results published in the Great Bend Tribune newspaper.

Feature Race Winner:  Harold Roller (1893-1964) of Abilene, Kansas in his 16-valve Roof Ford special

 

July 5, 1920 – ½ mile dirt oval – Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

            Car:  Haynes #8

            Finish:  Negy ran the 5th fastest 2-laps in time trials in 1:17.50.  Only the times of Leonard Kerbs of Otis, Kansas driving a Ford; Johnny Mais (1888-1961) of Salina, Kansas driving an Essex; Fred S. Lentz (1885-1952) of Hutchinson driving a Mercer chassis with a Hudson engine and Jake Strickler of Enid, Oklahoma driving a Hudson, were faster.

            3rd in the heat race for the fastest half of the cars from time trials, finishing behind Johnny Mais in an Essex and Fred Lentz in a Mercer chassis with a Hudson engine.

                2nd in the 5-car, 30-lap “free-for-all” behind Johnny Mais who was driving an Essex.

                Feature Race Winner:  Johnny Mais of Salina, Kansas who was driving an Essex.

 

 

Hutchinson News

April 5, 1920 – Page 10

 

September 20, 1920 – ½ mile dirt oval – Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

            Car:  Haynes #8

Finish:  Negy ran the 5th fastest 2-laps in time trials in 1:17.2.  Only the times of John Boyd of Oklahoma City driving a Hudson special; Lou Scheibell (1887-1926) of Des Moines, Iowa driving a Chalmers; Harry Dickson driving a Packard and Fred Lentz of Hutchinson driving a Hudson, were faster.

             Negy won the 2nd 3-car heat race in 3:58.0 over Fred Lentz in a Hudson and Jeff Crafford in a Ford.  All three drivers were from Hutchinson.

Feature Race Winner:  John Boyd of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma who was driving a Hudson special.  It was announced at the races that the Hudson special that Boyd was driving, cost an “Oklahoma Cherokee Indian oil millionaire” $32,000 but that claim was untrue.

 

September 24, 1920 – ½ mile dirt oval – Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

            Car:  Haynes #8

Finish:  Negy ran the 9th fastest 2-laps in time trials in 1:17.0.  The times turned in by John Boyd of Oklahoma City driving a Hudson special; Fred Rogers of Ponca City, Oklahoma driving a Dodge; Harry Dickson driving a Packard; Lou Scheibell of Des Moines, Iowa driving a Chalmers; Tuck Fordyce (1887-1945) of Hutchinson driving a Mercer; Fred Lentz of Hutchinson driving a Hudson; Earl Roberts (1894-1976) of Hutchinson driving a Studebaker and Jeff Crafford of Hutchinson driving a Ford, were faster.

 Feature Race Winner:  John Boyd of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma who was driving a Hudson special.  It was announced at the races that the Hudson special that Boyd was driving, cost an “Oklahoma Cherokee Indian oil millionaire” $32,000 but that claim was untrue.

 

October 8, 1920 – ½ mile dirt oval – Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

            Car:  Haynes #8

Finish:  Negy ran the 7th fastest 2-laps in time trials in 1:12.6.  Only the times of Harold Roller of Abilene, Kansas in a Ford special; Leonard Kerbs of Otis, Kansas in a Ford; Johnny Lee (1893-1955 of Wichita, Kansas in a Dodge; Jake Strickler of Enid, Oklahoma in a Hudson;  James “Toots” Higgins of Newton, Kansas in a Hudson special and Fred Lentz of Hutchinson in a Hudson special, were faster.

            Going into the 1st corner on a false start (the starter did not display the green flag), Negy crowded “Toots” Higgins Hudson special and the two cars made contact causing Higgins to crash through the inside fence into the infield.  Higgins’ Hudson suffered a smashed radiator and was damaged too badly to restart the race.  A rear wheel was torn off of Negy’s Haynes and he was disqualified for his crowding maneuver.  With only two cars being able to restart the race, it was canceled and those two cars were added to the next match race’s lineup.

                Feature Race Winner:  Bill Bryant (1887-1947) of Hutchinson, Kansas in a Hudson special.

 

October 9, 1920 – ½ mile dirt oval – Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

            Car:  Haynes #8

Finish:  Negy’s name does not appear in the published results of these races.

               Feature Race Winner:  Harold Roller of Abilene, Kansas in a Ford special.

 

June 14, 1921 – 1 mile dirt oval – Kenwood Park Speedway at Salina, Kansas

            Car:  Marmon

Finish:  Negy finished 1st in the 5-mile stock car race in 5:43.6 in front of W. C. Snyder in a Nash and D. S. Snyder in a Hupmobile.              

Feature Race Winner:  Elmer J. Negy of Hutchinson, Kansas, driving a Marmon

 

The Albany News

February 10, 1928 – Page 4

 

 

 

 

In 1961

 

 

 

 

 

July 4, 1921 – ½ mile dirt oval – West Side Racetrack in Wichita, Kansas           

Car:  Haynes #8

Feature Race Winner:  No feature race was run due to a lack of both entries and of paying spectators.

 

In November of 1920, Negy, along with partners Charles S. Fulton (1881-1940) and Frank Sutton (1880-?), all being from Hutchinson, were granted a charter by the state of Kansas to operate the Southwestern Motor Company in Hutchinson.

Late in November of 1920, Negy was delivering a new Essex touring car to a customer in Great Bend, Kansas who had purchased it, when the vacuum tank exploded 2-miles east of Nickerson, Kansas.  Negy was slightly singed in the accident but the new Essex was completely destroyed in the resultant fire.

Elmer and Anna Negy divorced in 1921.  Elmer then married Myrtle Dickie (1896-1986) in Abilene, Texas in 1923.  They became the parents of Barbara Kate Negy (1924-1975), Nancy Negy (1927-1927) and Anna Dickie Negy (1929-2004) but Elmer and Myrtle divorced shortly after daughter Anna’s birth.  Elmer soon married Ethel June (Potter) Comley (1885-1937), who was the divorced wife of a Wichita lumberman, but Myrtle Negy sued Ethel in Denver, Colorado for $100,000 for alienation of affection.  Elmer and Ethel Negy divorced in October of 1930, remarried later that same year but separated again just 12 days after that.  They divorced again in 1932.  Again, they remarried only to divorce in 1933.  This time, Ethel charged Elmer with cruelty and non-support.  In turn, Elmer sued Ethel’s mother, Margaret Nancy “Maggie” Potter (1858-1952), for $150,000 for alienation of affection.  Elmer and Myrtle (Dickie) Negy were eventually remarried.  Elmer married Katie Lou (Hollandsworth) Harris (1905-1982) in 1937 in Memphis, Tennessee but that marriage was not legal as his last divorce from Myrtle did not become final until 1940, so Elmer was married to Katie again in 1948, again in Memphis.

Elmer Negy filed for bankruptcy in federal court in Wichita, Kansas in 1922 and then moved to Texas where he became the Wholesale Manager for the Nash-McLarty Motor Company.

On September 25, 1922, with Dallas County Undersheriff A. A. Love and a reporter from the Dallas News on board, Negy drove 178 miles from Dallas, Texas to Gainesville, Texas in 3 hours and 4 minutes of actual running time in a 1923 Nash “Six”.

On October 5, 1922, Negy “put a 1923 Nash through its paces over some of the roughest roads to be found in Tarrant County, Texas”.  The run was “officially certified through three of the five passengers including Police Commissioner John Alderman and George Kelly of The Star-Telegram staff, the former acting as observer and the latter as official timekeeper…”

Around October 1, 1923, Negy drove local Nash dealer Clyde Ragland and a “host of Avalanche representatives” from Lubbock, Texas to Post City, Texas in a Nash, making the 104-mile round trip in 1 hour and 55 minutes. 

Negy became the Ford automobile dealer in Woodson and Throckmorton, Texas and, in February of 1928, he, “drove a standard new Ford Sport Coupe” from Throckmorton to Albany, Texas, with “Judge Owen” as passenger.  In doing so, they traveled the 40 miles in 40 minutes.

The March 22, 1928 issue of The Rockdale (Texas) Messenger reported that Negy “drove his Ford Model ‘A’ demonstrator 40 miles in 37 minutes recently over dirt roads with many curves, hills and creeks.  After this rigid test, the radiator was only slightly warm.”

In 1933, Negy moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming and then had moved on to Houston, Texas by 1935.  It was around this time that he began calling himself “Jack E. Negy”.  He was residing in Dallas, Texas in 1940 and assumed the honorary title of “Colonel” Jack E. Negy around that time.  In 1942, he was employed by the Triangle Conduit & Cable Company in Dallas, Texas.

By 1964, the Negys had moved to Golden Beach, Florida where he went into the banking business with another former automobile dealer, Jacques Mossler.  Mossler was found murdered later that same year.  The Negy’s remained in Florida for a few more years before they returned to San Antonio, Texas where Jack Negy again went into the banking business, joining the Groos Bank of San Antonio.

Jack Negy passed away in Dallas, Texas on April 7, 1985.  He is buried in the White Rose Cemetery at Wills Point, Van Zandt County, Texas.  If you know anything more about Elmer John Negy a.k.a. Colonel Jack E. Negy, please contact Bob Lawrence at: sprintguy @ cox.net

 

Elmer Negy has been identified in the man at left in the photo at left in the ad above.

Dallas Morning News

September 26, 1922 – Page 9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autograph signed June 5, 1917

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you:

Brad Chilton and Dr. William Sutherland