Pages 849-851, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




JAMES P. KELLEY, who is now occupying the position of county clerk in Yates Center, was for some years identified with the building interests of this city and has been a resident of Woodson County for thirty years—years in which great changes have been wrought as civilization


has advanced westward, leaving in her wake all the improvements known to the longer-settled east. Mr. Kelley has ever manifested a commendable interest in everything pertaining to the welfare of the county and his fellow citizens, recognizing his worth and ability, have called him to the office which he is now creditably filling.

Almost half the width of the continent separates his present residence from the place of his birth, for he is a native of Fayette County, Pennsylvania, born May 12, 1845. The family is of Irish lineage and was planted on American soil by Alexander Kelley, the grandfather of our subject, who came from Cork, Ireland, to the New World and took up his abode in the Keystone state where he spent his remaining days, leaving a large family. One of the number, George Kelley, was the father of our subject. He too, was a native of Fayette County, born in the year 1806, and in 1848 he removed with his family to Stark County, Ohio, where he carried on agricultural pursuits, finding his time fully occupied with the labors of the farm, whereby he provided for his wife and children. He married Margaret Sholes and they were the parents of four children, of whom James P. is the youngest, After the death of the mother the father was again married, and by the second union had three children.

James P. Kelley was only three years of age when he accompanied his father to Stark County, Ohio, where he was reared, acquiring his education in the common schools and working on the farm through the period of his youth. He afterward engaged in teaching school and also learned the carpenter's trade, to which he has devoted many years of his active business career. In 1865 he removed from Stark County, Ohio, to Hancock County, Illinois, where he remained until coming to Kansas in 1870. He Iocated in what was then Owl Creek township, but is now Eminence township, Woodson County, and secured a claim, which he at once began to improve, for the land was in its primitive condition, not a furrow having been turned hitherto. He made the journey to this state with a company of people, some of whom are yet residing in Woodson County, and like him have aided in reclaiming the wild land for purposes of civilization. His training at farm labor in his youth proved to him a valuable experience when he began the work of cultivating his fields here. He continued the operation of his farm until 1889. when he became a resident of the county seat, again resuming work at the carpenter's trade. Evidences of his skill and ability in that direction are seen in some of the most substantial and attractive buildings of the city. In 1899, however, he was elected to the position of county clerk and the duties of the office now claim his undivided attention.

In May, 1872, Mr. Kelley was married to Miss Mary Patterson, a daughter of W. W. Patterson, a farmer of Woodson County who came to the Sunflower state from Tennessee. Their marriage has been blessed with two children, Ellora and Crystal, the former now the wife of W. R. Davidson, of Sedgwick County, Kansas. Although his father was a Democrat and


he was accordingly reared in that political faith. Mr. Kelley has always been a Republican, unwavering in support of the principles of the party of progress, and on that ticket he was chosen to the position which he is now filling. As a citizen he is honorable, prompt and faithful to every engagement, and as a man he has the esteem and confidence of all classes, of all creeds and political proclivities.

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