As the Union Pacific train carried him across the Great Plains in the summer of 1897, James Cash Penney had no choice but to see Kansas as a four-hundred-mile means to a better end. Just four days earlier his hometown doctor, and subsequently his widowed mother, had ordered him to leave the familiar confines of northwest Missouri for the dryer climates of the West. Penney was only twenty-one at the time and heading to Colorado without any thoughts or dreams of someday owning a chain of department stores.
Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains
Kruger, David Delbert (2012). "Earl Corder Sams and the Rise of J. C. Penney." Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains 35, 164-185.