James E. Ely, who is successfully engaged in the real estate business at Coldwater, is a native Kansan, who through good business judgment, industry and great enterprise has become one of the leading business men of Comanche county. Mr. Ely was born on a farm in Barton county, Sept. 24, 1881, and is a son of Thomas W. and Anna C. (Gordinier) Ely, who took up their abode in Kansas, in 1880. Thomas W. Ely, the father, is a native of England, where he was born in 1848. He came to Canada at the age of fourteen and to the United States when fifteen years of age and located in Ohio, where he remained until his removal to Kansas, in 1880. In 1887 he engaged in the drug business at Great Bend, being very successful. He now has become a large property owner in Barton county and still resides in Great Bend, though he is now retired from active business life. His marriage to Miss Anna C. Gordinier occurred at Sandusky, Ohio, in 1877. She is a daughter of Ira Gordinier, a nephew of President Martin Van Buren, and a Civil war veteran. The issue of this union was six childrenfour sons and two daughters: Thomas J., born in 1878, died in 1909; James E. was second in order of birth; Charles W., born in 1882, died in 1908; Tressie M., born in 1884, is a university student, now engaged in teaching; Effie B., born in 1886, a university student; and Ira C., born in 1889, a jeweler at Great Bend, Kan.
James E. Ely received his preliminary education in the public schools of Barton county and graduated in the Great Bend High School. He then attended the University of Kansas two years, earning his own expenses in the meantime. In 1905 he began his independent and active business career by locating at Coldwater, Kan., where he engaged in the real estate business, in which he was successful from the start. His land sales are extensive, his deals involving as much as 10,000 acres, and much of his time is spent in travel in connection with his business. He is financing the establishment of an Industrial Mission and Institute at Sibu, on the Island of Borneo. The work is under the management of the M. E. Board of Foreign Missions. This is the first venture of this kind on the island. Mr. Ely belongs to that class of energetic, progressive and capable men who have done so much toward the development of western Kansas, and through his efforts in that direction and through his own personal success he deserves to rank as one of the representative citizens of the state.Page 388 from volume III, part 1 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 December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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