Page 673-674, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


M. C. Kelley, of Logan township, is a Butler county pioneer who has been identified with this county for forty-four years, and saw much of the development of this county from an unbroken and sparcely settled section to a populous and prosperous community. He recalls, with much interest, many of the early day experiences that were of the character to be found only in a new and primitively organized country. M. C. Kelley was born in Georgia in 1850, and is a son of E. M. and Elizabeth (Reynolds) Kelley, the former a native of Georgia, and the latter of Tennessee.

The Kelley family came to Butler county, June 1, 1872, and located on Government land five miles southeast of where Leon now stands. The parents spent their lives on this place, their first summer being spent in a tent under a tree on Hickory creek. Their remains are buried in a private burial ground on the old homestead.

M. C. Kelley was married, in 1881, to Miss Harriet B. Hayes, a daughter of Jonathan and Emily (Hankins) Hayes. Jonathan Hayes was a fifty years' resident of Illinois, and settled the town of Peru, Ill., He and his brother were among the first passengers on the Illinois river, and his sister and family were victims of the Black Hawk Indian Creek massacre, and were buried by General Whiteside and Abraham Lincoln. Congress has recently, it is said, erected a monument to those slain at this massacre. Her father was born in Virginia in 1811, and the mother was a Kentuckian, born in 1822. Mrs. Kelley is one of the following, surviving children born to Jonathan and Emily (Hankins) Hayes, the others being as follows: Mrs. Mary Machesney, Wellsford, Kans.; Mrs. Frances Allard, Troutdale, Ore.; C. W. Hayes, Grand Junction, Colo., and D. H. Hayes, Kildare, Okla. The Hayes family


came to Butler county in 1874, and settled in Logan township. Mrs. Kelley, is one of the real pioneer women of Butler county, and often during the early days, herded cattle on the plains when she was a girl. Her father was the first one to use wire for fencing in Butler county. This was in 1881.

Mr. Kelley relates many instances of primitive conditions which prevailed in Butler county in the early days. Their nearest doctor was at El Dorado, a distance of twenty miles, and most of the supplies were obtained from Emporia, which was about fifty miles distant. Prairie fires were one of the dreaded calamities of the early settlers on the plains, and the rule against setting fire on the prairie for any purpose whatever was very strict, and during the season of 1873, while Mr. Kelley and Bill Baxter were cropping in partnership, one day while Mr. Kelley was doing some improving about the place, he started a little fire to burn a bunch of prairie grass. Before he knew it, he had a regular old time prairie fire started, and knowing full well the esteem in which the other settlers would hold him when they discovered that he had set the fire, he mounted his pony in such haste that he lost his hat; but he tarried not to find it, and rode straight south, and did not return for a year. He hoped that by that time, that it probably had rained and put the fire out, and that his neighbors had forgotten about it. After returning, he found it an easy matter to compromise, by paying those who had met with any loss, on account of his private prairie fire.

The prices which the early settlers received for their produce in many instances were not sufficient to pay for hauling it to market. Money was scarce, and there was practically no demand for what the settlers had to sell. Mr. Kelley relates an instance of hauling a load of hay to El Dorado in 1882 with an ox team, in company with John Holt, and after trying to find a buyer for their hay for some time and being unsuccessful, they finally offered to sell it for enough with which to buy their suppers, but were unable to dispose of it even at that price. However, they even did better than that; they succeeded in getting their supper upon a promise to pay for it later, but there is no record that they ever paid. Mr. Kelley attended the election at which the township of Logan was organized in 1873. It was held at old Tommy Walker's place, and the first trustee of the township was Sam LeMoines. Mr. and Mrs. Kelley are well known in southeastern Butler county, and are among the substantial and highly respected people of that section.

Previous | Main Page | Biography Index | Next

Pages 673-674,