A Narrative History
The People of Iowa
SPECIAL TREATMENT OF THEIR CHIEF ENTERPRISES IN
EDUCATION, RELIGION, VALOR, INDUSTRY,
EDGAR RUBEY HARLAN, LL. B., A. M.
Curator of the
Historical, Memorial and Art Department of Iowa
THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Inc.
Chicago and New York
JAMES I. KELLY. 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 bing 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 teh 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
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 soleminized 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.
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