Biography of Grant Elwood Kelsey

Grant Elwood Kelsey. General farming and the raising of live stock are engaging the attention of many foresighted men in Kansas. Many of these have additional interests as had Grant Elwood Kelsey, a well known citizen and prosperons agriculturist of Menoken Township, Shawnee County, but their land and its rich yielding occupies the first place in their affections.

Grant Elwood Kelsey was born on a farm in Dearborn County, Indiana, March 14, 1867. His parents were Scott and Mahala (Allen) Kelsey, who are mentioned elsewhere in this work. He attended the country schools in Indiana and later near Topeka, Kansas, and still later spent two years in the agricultural college at Manhattan, from which he was recalled home by the illness of his father. He was then nineteen years old and the eldest son and the management of the home farm fell upon him. In 1889 he entered a mill at Oxford, Kansas, and learned the milling business under his uncle, B. F. Kelsey, and during the three years he remained there his only brother had charge of the farm.

After he returned to Shawnee County, Mr. Kelsey, at the solicitation of the Farmers Co-operative Store Company, became manager of the store and continued in that position until 1892 when the business was sold to the owner of the Exchange Grocery of Topeka and the company was dissolved. Mr. Kelsey had made money for the stockholders, their business being the retailing of farmers’ supplies. In 1896 he bought forty acres of his present farm, working it with his brother M. T. Kelsey, until 1897, and in 1899 bought more land, from his father and in 1911 purchased forty acres more. He now had an eighty acre estate of his own and rents 200 additional acres which he devotes to corn and potatoes, making a specialty of the latter as did his father, who was a very successful potato grower. Mr. Kelsey engages in general farming and also gives much attention to the raising of hogs and horses and to breeding Jersey cattle. His land is situated on section 11, range 13, in town 14, and all the excellent improvements in evidence he had put here, they indicating good judgment and provision for still larger operations in the future.

Mr. Kelsey was married to Miss Henrietta Jones, September 12, 1891, and they have four children: Allan Lauren, who is connected with the Santa Fe offices at Topeka; and Myron S.; Albert Lloyd and Viola Frances, all at home. Mrs. Kelsey is an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and Mr. Kelsey is liberal in contributing to church movements and other benevolent causes. He had been affectionately called “an open-door” man because of the generous and ready assistance he had rendered in his neighborhood in times of public calamity, three disastrous floods having visited this region in the last twenty-five years.

In his political principles Mr. Kelsey is a progressive republican as he had always been a progressive citizen. In 1908 he was an alternate delegate to the state republican convention and for eight years he served as precinct committeeman. He had long been identified with the Masonic fraternity and had attained the thirty-second degree. He is a member of Silver Lake (Blue) Lodge No. 50, in which he had held all the offices, and of the Commandery and Consistory at Topeka. He is financially interested in the elevator at Kiro and was one of the organizers and is a member of the board of directors of the Kiro Mercantile Company, which did a business of some $90,000 in 1915. He is one of the active members of the local Grange. A careful farmer and excellent judge of stock, Mr. Kelsey had wide influence with his neighbor agriculturists and cordially co-operates with the progressive ones who are demanding better conditions in every way, especially the establishing of good roads.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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