Connelley, William Elsey, writer of historical works on the West, was born in Johnson county, Ky., March 15, 1855. The family was founded in Kentucky by Capt. Henry Connelly, a soldier in North Carolina in the Revolutionary war. Mr. Connelley's father, Constantine Conley, Jr., was in the Union army and his property was destroyed in the Civil war, which made it necessary for the young man to make his own way in the world. With such help as he could get he qualified himself to teach in the common schools, teaching his first school when seventeen. He continued in this work ten years in Kentucky, when he came to Kansas, settling at Tiblow (now Bonner Springs), Wyandotte county, in April, 1881. He taught one year at Tiblow, then secured the position of deputy county clerk. In 1883 he was elected county clerk of Wyandotte county, and in 1885 was reëlected. In 1888 he engaged in the wholesale lumber business at Springfield, Mo., in which he continued four years. He engaged in the banking business in Kansas City, Kan., in 1893, but in the panics which followed he lost all his property. He moved to Beatrice, Neb., in 1897, and took up the business of abstracting land titles and loaning money for eastern people. In 1897 he was offered a position in the book department of the publishing house of Crane & Co., Topeka, which he accepted and filled until 1902, when he went to Washington with Hon. E. F. Ware, commissioner of pensions, and took a responsible place in the civil service. This he resigned in 1903 to go into the oil business at Chanute, in which he was successful. In 1904-5 he made the fight in Kansas against the Standard Oil company, securing the enactment of laws which have saved the people of Kansas a million dollars annually. Mr. Connelley was always an enthusiastic student of history, and his library is one of the largest in the West. He is an authority on American history, and has written the following works: The Provisional Government of Nebraska Territory, John Brown, James H. Lane, Wyandot Folk-Lore, An Appeal to the Record, Kansas Territorial Governors, Memoirs of John James Ingalls, Doniphan's Expedition in the Mexican War, Quantrill and the Border Wars, Ingalls of Kansas and the Founding of Harman's Station. With Frank A. Root he wrote the Overland Stage to California, and he edited the Heckewelder Narrative. All these have been published. Mr. Connelley belongs to numerous historical associations, is a life member of the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society, the president of the Kansas State Historical Society, and is a member of the National Geographic Society and the Kansas Society Sons of the American Revolution.Pages 404-405 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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