"History of Northeast Missouri" Edited by Walter Williams,
Published by The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago Illinois 1913, Page 1325
HARRISON L. KELLY is one of the substantial farmers who so much toward making Missouri what it is--the home of industry and real manhood. He has succeeded in making his land yield him a prosperous income and has won the respect of his community by his industry and honesty. Of powerful physique, weighing about two hundred and fifty pounds, he has the appearance of a strong and true son of the soil, and his genial face reflects his innate kindness and hospitality.
The birth of Harrison KELLY occurred near Greenville, Michigan, on January 10, 1863. His father was George V. KELLY, who was born in Livingston county, New York, on the 4th of August, 1825, the son of William KELLY, a native of Kentucky. William KELLY was a soldier in the War of 1812, and did not move to New York until that brief struggle was at an end. He was married in Livingston County, New York to Harriet WHITING, and died in the same locality, in the year 1832, when his young son George was only seven years old. After the demise of his father, George KELLY went to live with a neighbor. When the child was twelve years old, he moved with his foster parents to Michigan, where he grew to manhood.
The first experience of George KELLY as a wage-earner was gained in the capacity of a teacher in the country schools of Michigan. He taught several terms, and finally, in the year 1847, was married on the 15th of March, to Julia A. DEWEY. Mrs. KELLY was born in Vermont, but came to Michigan as a child with her parents, Levi and Amanda DEWEY. Her family was related to the famous Admiral George DEWEY, who achieved such prominence in the Spanish-American War, and in the after years, the admiral entertained some of them at his home in Washington. After his marriage, Mr. KELLY continued to teach school for while outside of Washburn County, Michigan, and working nights and mornings, made barrels while teaching. In 1849, however, he laid aside the teacher's ferrule and took up the plow handle, establishing himself on a farm in Montcalm county, Michigan, where he remained until 1869. In that year, he moved to Missouri, where he first located on Hickory creek, Audrain county, and two years later moved to the farm six miles southwest of Vandalia, on which land his son is now engaged in the pursuit of agriculture. George Varner KELLY was one of the first to fence in and improve an all prairie farm. In the days when he secured and put under cultivation his two hundred and fifty acres, the entire surrounding prairie was like a vast common, dotted with herds of grazing cattle, owned by farmers in the vicinity. Accustomed to different methods of farming, however, and interested in raising of crops rather than growing of stock, Mr. KELLY fenced in his land, and in time converted the rolling prairie to well tended fields, which yielded him a considerable income.
George Varner KELLY died at Greenville, Michigan, the home of his youth, on June 24, 1894, and his wife followed him to the Beyond on July 16, 1902. Both lie in the Greenville Cemetery. Their children were Dewey, who died at Phoenix, Arizona in 1895, at the age of forty five; Altha C., who married Frank Rogers, and resides in Chicago; Emma A. and Ida J., whose deaths occurred at a short interval apart, while the bright and attractive women were still in early life, and whose untimely departure cast a shadow over the lives of their family and friends; Eunice Eula, who is the wife of Charles DEWEY, and resides near Greenville, Michigan; Harrison L. the worthy subject of this short sketch.
Harrison L. KELLY was only six years old when he came to Missouri with his parents. Upon reaching the age of discretion, he became a partner to his father in the discharge of the duties of the farm, and finally the full management of the place was placed in his hands. Upon the death of his mother, when the estate passed into his possession. Harrison KELLY found himself the owner not only of one hundred and fifty acres of the original two hundred and fifty, which his father had accumulated, but of quite a large amount of stock in the Bank of Farber, of which his father had been one of the founders. Harrison Kelly retained this stock for two or three years, during which time he served as president of the institution. At the end of that period, he sold out, and preceded to devote his life to the cultivation of the farm his father had settled in 1871.
By hard work and careful management, Mr. KELLY added eighty acres to the tract of land which he originally received from his father. He has also become the owner of town lots in Vandalia, which anyone familiar with that thriving town will recognize as a good investment. He has made many improvements to the farm property. His home, and the other buildings on the place are substantial and well built, and he has installed every necessity for progressive and up-to-date farming. He raises grain extensively, and has fattened a great many hogs for market. He has been very careful not to exhaust the fertility of the soil, and has so successfully kept his acres productive, that the land which cost about five or six dollars an acre in 1871, is now worth more than one hundred dollars an acre.
Although his position in the community might warrant his seeking public prominence, Mr. KELLY has ever been satisfied in playing his part as a private citizen, and has never sought or received office. He is an earnest worker in the Mt. Olivet Presbyterian church, and has given his services for some years as a deacon in that congregation.
The marriage of Mr. Harrison KELLY to Mary Margaret BARNES took place December 17, 1885. Mrs. KELLY was the daughter of William and Margaret (HILL) BARNES, both of whom were born and married in Pennsylvania. After their marriage the parents of Mrs. KELLY moved at once to Pike County Illinois, where they located on a farm on the road between Pittsfield and Barry Illinois. In 1881, they moved to Audrain County, where they bought some land six miles west of Vandalia. They lived on this property until their deaths. Mrs. BARNES passed away in 1886, and her husband on July 18, 1908, when in his eightieth year. Mr. and Mrs. BARNES had five sons, John, William, David and Albert, all of whom live in the vicinity of their old home, and Thomas, who died at the age of thirty nine, at Black Hills, South Dakota. They also were the parents of two daughters, Sarah, who is the wife of George W. PINES, of Audrain County, and Mrs. KELLY.
Mr. and Mrs. KELLY have no children of their own. They adopted a little girl, Mabel Isabel TALMADGE, when she was five years old, and kept her with them until her marriage. She is now the wife of Ira PEAS, who lives near Vandalia. Top