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Biography of Martin J. Kelly

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Martin J. Kelly. The removal of the Kelly family to Kansas nearly fifty years ago brought a remarkably virile and substantial stock of people into the state. Martin J. Kelly, who was a child at the time of the family removal, and for thirty years or more has kept himself very busily employed at farming, contracting, and banking, and is now cashier of the St. Paul State Bank at St. Paul. There were fourteen children, and as a family these children have made a mark in the world.

Their father was William E. Kelly, who was born in Tuam, Ireland, in 1839. He had all the natural wit and wisdom of the true Irishman, and was never at a loss for means to make himself independent in the world. When he was a small child his parents came to America and settled in Butler County, Ohio, where he was reared and married. He farmed there for a time, but soon after his marriage removed to Peoria County, Illinois. It was on the farm in that county that Martin J. Kelly was born August 17, 1865.

Four years later, in 1869, the family came to Kansas and located near Gardner in Johnson County. There William E. Kelly bought 160 acres of practically unimproved land, and made it the nucleus of a farm which had few peers in that populous and highly improved agricultural section. He was a very successful farmer, and in 1904 he retired and moved to Olathe, where he died in March, 1911. At the time of his death he owned 453 acres, and that body of land is still administered as an estate. William E. Kelly was a republican, a member of the Catholic Church and of the Knights of Columbus, and he had a great host of loyal friends and few enemies. He married Catherine Dowd, who was born in Connaught, Ireland, in 1838 and died at Olathe, Kansas, in November, 1910.

The pride which these parents took in their children was entirely justified. As already stated there were fourteen of them. Brief reference to their names and respective positions in the world is as follows: William H., a grain dealer at Edgerton, Kansas; Mary I., wife of W. D. Hendricks, who is in the insurance business at Olathe; J. D. Kelly, a general contractor at Kansas City, Missouri; Thomas T., whose name is known all over Kansas by his former service as state treasurer and is a contractor at Paola; Edward E., who died on the old farm at Gardner, Kansas, at the age of twenty-five; Margaret, who died at Wichita in 1912, the widow of William Sherr, who was a farmer; Martin J.; Rev. Bernard S., who is pastor of the Catholic Cathedral at Leavenworth, Kansas; Ella C., wife of Martin Geer, a rancher in Montana; Marian, a Sister of Charity at Topeka; Joseph A., in the real estate and loan business at Kansas City, Missouri; Anna, wife of J. A. Marshall, a farmer and livestock auctioneer at Gardner; Frank X. and Charles M., both on the old farm in Johnson County.

Martin J. Kelly spent the first twenty-one years of his life on his father’s farm. In the meantime he attended the public schools of Johnson County. On starting out for himself he and his brother Thomas began farming a place in partnership in Miami County, and they remained there eight years. After that for fifteen years Martin Kelly was associated with his brother, William H., in the milling and grain business at Edgerton. He and his brother, Thomas, again resumed relations as partners, and joined the Lantry Contracting Company of Strong City, Kansas, and for eighteen months they were engaged in building one of the most monumental pieces of railway construction in America, Raton Tunnel, near the City of Raton, New Mexico.

Since then Mr. Kelly has given his principal attention to banking. From 1900 until September 1, 1915, he was president and cashier of the Edgerton State Bank, and on October 1, 1915, became cashier of the St. Paul State Bank.

The St. Paul State Bank was established in 1892, its first officers being Paul Kimball, president; Walter Petty, vice president; and H. C. Carpenter, cashier. In October, 1915, a consolidation was effected between this bank and the Mission Bank. The present officers are: Patrick Diskin, president; B. B. Fitzsimmons, vice president; and Martin J. Kelly, cashier. The bank has its paid up capital stock of $20,000 and surplus and undivided profits of $6,500. The bank is well situated on Central Avenue at St. Paul.

Mr. Kelly is also a stockholder in the Midwest National Bank of Kansas City, Missouri. Politically he has always been a republican. For eight years he served as mayor of Edgerton. He is a member of the Catholic Church, and of St. Paul Council No. 760 of the Knights of Columbus. He and his family reside in a comfortable residence which they own on Main Street. In February, 1895, at Edgerton, Mr. Kelly married Miss Grace Scott. Her father, G. W. Scott, is a retired lumber dealer living at Kansas City, Missouri. Mrs. Kelly died at Edgerton in 1900, leaving two children, Paul, who assists his father in the bank, and Harold, who is a student in the St. Francis School at St. Paul. In 1912, at Kansas City, Missouri, Mr. Kelly married for his present wife Miss Minnie Harrington, daughter of D. A. Harrington, a retired contractor living at Kansas City, Missouri. Mr. and Mrs. Kelly have three children, Martin J., William H. and Mary Catherine.


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