Biography of John R. Kellogg

JOHN R. KELLOGG. – No compilation that purports to give representation to the leading men of Union county would be complete were there failure to incorporate therein an epitome of the career of the venerable and esteemed gentleman whose name is at the head of this article and who has the distinction of being among the very first dauntless men who made permanent settlement in this favored section, and who is no less distinguished by his faithful labors in all the long years since that have resulted so well in the development and progress of Union county, as well as in the upbuilding of her institutions and the bettering of his fellows.

On July 20, 1830, in a village in Oswego county, New York, there was born a son to Martin P. and Melvina (Potter) Kellogg, the subject of our humble sketch. The father was a faithful laborer in the ministry of the Methodist church and moved from place to place, taking our subject at an early age to Holmes county, Ohio, and also to various other sections of that classic commonwealth. At the noted Oberlin College of that state John R. was trained not only in the lore of books, but in the sound principles that have characterized him in his later life of worthy service. At the age of twenty-three he departed from his alma mater and took up the life of the educator, manifesting capabilities and perseverance at the inception that betokened the gratifying success that he gained later in this realm. He continued in various counties of Ohio, then removed to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and in 1855, we find him in the new country of Iowa, teaching school in Wayne county, where five years were spent in successful instruction, and then he enlisted in Company I, Fourth Iowa Infantry, serving as fifer for the company, and attending the rallies until they were ready to go to the front, and then he was appointed fife major, but after one short month’s service he was taken sick so as to be incapacitated for further service and was forced to resign. In 1862 he fitted the popular ox team outfit and measured the plains from Iowa to the Grande Ronde valley, having some difficulty with the savages on the route, but none since that time, as he has constantly befriended them. He took the place where he now lives, three miles north from Lagrande. He erected a cabin, improved the land, bought more and steadily added by industry and management until he has a fine estate, excellently improved and free from all debts and a competence that his thrift and labor have provided for the golden time of his life.

In 1858 Mr. Kellogg married Miss Rocsa A., daughter of Daniel and Rebecca (Thornton) Hill. She was born in July, 1840, crossed the plains with her husband, enduring her share of all hardships of pioneer life and is still vigorous and healthy. They have reared two adopted children, having none of their own, and these two daughters are now married. Mr. Kellogg has always allied himself with the Republicans, although that party was weak in the beginning of this county. He is, and always has been, active in politics, and has been in the field for office several times.

Formerly Mr. Kellogg adhered to the Methodist church, but is now a member of the United Brethren, and for thirty years he has been superintendent of a union Sunday school, wherein he has done excellent work and has left a record capable of much good. In the early days here Mr. Kellogg taught vocal music and had such pupils as Governor Geer, Professor Horner and others. He is now one of the substantial men of the county and has the joy in his retired days of seeing the fruits of his hands in the institutions and good springing up around him.


An Illustrated history of Union and Wallowa Counties: with a brief outline of the early history of the state of Oregon. Western Historical Pub. Co., 1902.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Discover more from Access Genealogy

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Scroll to Top