De Kay, John Wesley (1872 -1938)
John Wesley De Kay was born on July 20, 1872, in New Hampton, Iowa, of Dutch extraction. After completing an apprenticeship as a printer, he moved to South Dakota where he owned several local newspapers and a large cattle ranch. From profits made in business, in 1899 De Kay opened a meat-packaging plant in Mexico, where he became known as the “sausage king” of Mexico.
The self-made millionaire tried his hand as a playwright. He wrote Judas, which performed for one night only in New York in 1910 before being banned as scandalous. He also authored over twenty books on a variety of topics, from politics to Mexican history. Ever keen to flaunt his wealth, De Kay owned a castle in France, a mansion in England, and a suite in New York’s Hotel Ansonia. In 1907 he married Anna May Walton and had three children.