Biography of John Calene

John Calene. The mercantile interests of Sylvan Grove, Kansas, are well represented by stable and intelligent business men, and one of these is John Calene, who is president of the Calene mercantile Company and is identified with other enterprises of importance. Mr. Calene was born in Sweden, near the great City of Stockholm, July 17, 1856. His parents were L. E. and Christine Calene, both of whom were born in Sweden, the father in 1822 and the mother in 1825, and both died in Dickinson County, Kansas, the former in 1880 and the latter in 1907.

L. E. Calene grew to manhood in his native land and was married there. In 1866 he came to the United States with his family and for several years was a farmer in Henry County, Illinois. In 1870 he came to Dickinson County, Kansas, one of the early settlers in that section, and secured a homestead right to eighty acres of land and lived there until his death. In the meanwhile he had acquired other tracts and he left an estate of 240 acres when he died. He was a fine man in every way and was respected and esteemed by his neighbors in Dickinson County. Before he left Sweden he served as a soldier in the regular army, as the law provided, but was a quiet, peaceable man and a faithful member of the Lutheran Church. His family consisted of six children, namely: Erick, who is a farmer near Enterprise, Kansas; Anna, who lives on the old home farm in Dickinson County; Peter L. and Louis, both of whom are deceased; Christine, who is the wife of Fred Schermerhorn, a merechant at Wilson, Kansas.

The youngest of the family, John Calene, was ten years old when his parents came to the United States and he attended school for several years afterward and then worked on the farm of his uncle, P. E. Calene, in Dickinson County, for two years. At the age of fifteen years he decided to prepare for a mercantile career and with this end in view entered a store at Enterprise, in which he was clerk until 1880, when he embarked in business there for himself and continued until 1886.

In 1887 Mr. Calene came to Sylvan Grove and for the following four years was connected with the store of Schermerhorn & Lang, and subsequently, until 1903, was cashier in the Sylvan State Bank. In that year he bought a one-half interest in the Berger Brothers mercantile establishment here and in 1912 became the owner of the other half interest and still owned the controlling interest since the business was incorporated as the Calene Mercantile Company, he being president. He had a fine location on Main Street, his substantial building affording him floor space of 50×80 feet and additionally he had a basement and two storage buildings. The stock earried is large and carefully selected and his patronage comes from the city and a large outlying district. In the building up of this business Mr. Calene had demonstrated the effect of industry, honesty and perseverance. He is also a stockholder and one of the directors in the Sylvan State Bank.

Mr. Calene was married in Lincoln County, Kansas, in 1890, to Miss Camilla Kreiser, whose parents are deceased. Her father, Henry Kreiser, was formerly a merchant at Denmark, Kansas. Mr. and Mrs. Calene have five children, namely: Laona, who married Clifford Nogstrom, a native of Topeka, Kansas, who is managing engineer of the Southwestern Telephone Company, and they reside at St. Louis, Missouri; Glenn, associated with his father in business at Sylvan Grove; John, a student of medicine in Rush Medical College, Chieago; Edwin and Raymond, both of whom were graduated from the Sylvan Grove High School in 1917. Mr. Calene and family reside in their comfortable residence on Kentucky Avenue, a choice section of the city.

Mr. Calene had always been an active, interested and useful citizen, never accepting any public office except membership on the school board, but favoring all candidates who, in his opinion, have the good of the city at heart. Politically he is affiliated with the republican party. His connection with the Masonic fraternity had been of long standing and of great importance. He belongs to Sylvan Grove Lodge No. 359, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, of which he is past master; Medicine Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, in Barber County, Kansas; Alderman Commandery, Knights Templar; and Wichita Consistory No. 2, thirty-second degree. He is also a Shriner, belonging to Isis Temple at Salina, Kansas. Additionally he is a member of Sylvan Grove Chapter, Eastern Star; Sylvan Grove Lodge, Ancient Order United Workmen, and to the Knights and Ladies of Security, being a valued member of every organization.



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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