In the City of Perry, Dallas County, a loyal and popular native son of the county and a representative of one of its sterling pioneer families is giving a characteristically progressive administration as mayor, and here he is engaged in business as a buyer and shipper of live stock, besides being the owner of the old home farm on which he was born, in Spring Valley Township, the date of his nativity having been December 18, 1864.  He is a son of John and Eliza (Kirkland) Kelley, the former of whom was born in Ireland and the latter in New Haven, Connecticut, where their marriage was solemnized in the year 1851.  They came to Iowa in 1856 and made settlement in Dallas County, where John Kelley reclaimed and developed a productive farm, his death having here occurred June 23, 1878, and his widow having survived him more than forty years and having been one of the venerable and loved pioneer women of Dallas County at the time of her death, in 1924.  John Kelley and his young wife made the overland journey to Iowa with team and covered wagon, and they did well their part in the pioneer development of Dallas County.  They became the parents of seven sons and four daughters, and of the number only two are now living:  George W., who is one of the prosperous exponents of farm and dairy enterprise in this county, and James I., who is the immediate subject of this review.  David J., who resided at Perry, was deputy sheriff of Dallas County at the time of his death, in 1929.

Mayor Kelly was reared under the conditions and influences of the pioneer farm, early began to aid in its work, and in the meanwhile profited by the advantages of the local district school.  During the long intervening years he has never severed his association with the basic industries of agriculture and stock growing, and, as before stated, he is now the owner of the fine old homestead farm that was obtained by his father more than seventy years ago.  Since 1898 he has been successfully engaged in the buying and shipping of live stock, and though he has in this connection maintained his residence in the City of Perry he still gives a general supervision to his farm.

A Republican in political adherency, Mr. Kelley has taken lively interest in all things pertaining to the welfare and progress of his home city and native county, and after serving four years as a member of the city council of Perry he was elected mayor, in 1927, of which office he has since continued the efficient and progressive incumbent.  He is an active member of the local Rotary Club, is affiliated with both Lodge and Encampment bodies of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and he and his wife have membership in the Presbyterian Church.

November 12, 1892, was marked by the marriage of Mr. Kelley to Miss Fannie Camp, of Minburn, Dallas County, and her death occurred in 1897.  In 1900 he wedded Mrs. Anna Monroe, of Minburn, and her death occurred in 1902.  His third marriage was solemnized December 31, 1903, when Miss De Ette Kelsey, of Perry, became his third wife, and of the third marriage there is one child, Paul M., who was born August 17, 1910, and who attended Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana.  He married Beulah Barton, and they have a child, James Frederick.  Mr. and Mrs. Kelley likewise have an adopted daughter, Josephine, who was taken into their home when she was a child and who is now the wife of Stanley W. Ferguson, their marriage having occurred in 1925 and their home being now established in Ames, Iowa.


Harlan, Edgar Rubey

A Narrative History of the People of Iowa.

Vol IV. Chicago:  American Historical Society, 1931

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