H. B. Kelly
Posted By: Tammy (email)
Date: 3/21/2015 at 08:44:19
H. B. Kelly
As you ask for a record of the old settlers of Grundy county, I think I can register as one of them, so I will give you a few lines to establish the same. I was born in the town of Kendal, Orleans county, New York, on January 22nd, 1842. Father moved from there with his family in 1846 to Dane county, Wis., settling on a farm 14 miles east of Madison. I attended country schools until 15 years of age, then high school in Madison for two terms, working on the farm during the summers. In 1859 I attended high school at Albian, Dane county, during the winters until the spring of 1861. In April of that year the Civil war was declared and I enlisted under the first call in the 3d Wis. Inf., Co. K. In 1863 I was discharged on account of general disability. They sent me home to die, but I was not disposed to obey orders just them. In the fall of 1864 I felt better so on Sept. 4th I was married to Jennie McComb, of Dane county. I followed farming in Wisconsin until the fall of 1868, then moved to Blue Earth county, Minn., and followed farming there until the fall of 1874. I was called to Iowa on account of the sickness of my sister in Butler county. On arriving there I found she was buried that day. My brother, Charles, lived in Grundy county, so I drove down to see him as it had been ten years since he left Wisconsin. I arrived there Sunday morning just as the sun was coming up. After breakfast we called on several of my old schoolmates who had moved from Wisconsin and bought farms, and the large corn fields, hogs and cattle looked good to me and I found land could be bought from $10 to $15 per acre, while in Minnesota it was held from $30 to $40, so I just informed my brother that I would move to Iowa in the spring. I returned to Minnesota and the last of April I packed our goods in two covered wagons, my wife drove one, I drove the other, and my dog drove eleven head of cattle and two colts. We were nine days on the road, arriving here on the 9th of May at my brothers. It was too late to rent a farm then, but as luck in my favor a man mortgaged his crop and skipped out and I moved onto his farm owned by a man in Waterloo and I harvested them on shares, doing fine. I purchased 120 acres of prairie in Grant township for $8.00 per acre, but it was too late when I got my deed to break any of it that year so I rented the same farm I had moved on which I worked while I broke up my own, and finally bought it at $23.00 with his share of the crop, and I still own that farm, Northeast Quarter Section 33, in Grant, where I lived until 1894, when I moved to Grundy Center, having been elected as secretary of the Grundy County Farmers Insurance Co. I rented a house the first five years and then bought the Thompkins house where I still live, but it seems lonely now, as I lost my lovely companion Jan. 7th, after living together for 60 years last September. We have raised a family of seven children, four girls and three boys, all living but one son, who died twelve years ago. They all live in Grundy county but one girl in Lake Park, 13 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren, all living in Grundy county. They were all present while my wife was sick, and she knew them all and seemed to enjoy their presence. She never complained and left us like going to sleep. She was a great worker in the W.R.C. and is missed by her friends and relatives, but we know she is at rest. Our loss is her gain. I am now past my 83rd birthday, and will soon join her where parting never comes.
H. B. Kelly
--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 26 March 1925, pg 8
Grundy Biographies maintained by Tammy D. Mount.
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