George Marion Kellam, of Topeka, a Kansas pioneer of the territorial days, has through a long career of useful activity contributed his part toward laying the foundation for the future of this great commonwealth and has also experienced the remarkable changes in Kansas during the first half century of its statehood. He can recall but one associate of his earliest days in Kansas that is yet livingJohn W. FarnsworthMaj. T. J. Anderson, of Topeka, having recently died. Mr. Kellam is a native of Irasburgh, Vt., where he was born May 13, 1828, and is of English descent. His father, Sabin Kellam, was a native of Connecticut and accompanied his father, Nathaniel Kellam, from Connecticut to Barre, Vt., and thence to Irasburgh, Vt., in 1806, making the latter journey with ox teams along a path which they had blazed through the forest for twelve miles the fall before. There were no roads, and the trail, such as it was, was very difficult to travel. Arriving at Irasburgh, Nathaniel Kellam, the grandfather of George M., built a log cabin and resided there until his death. Sabin Kellam was the youngest son of a large family of sons and daughters, and was born in 1788. He was reared in Vermont, received his education in the log school house of that day, and there learned the tanner's trade, at which he was engaged at the time his son, George M., was born. He also cleared a home from the Vermont forest, but his arduous labors in that direction greatly impaired his health. He entered actively into the public and political life of his community and held many offices of trust during his active career. During the war of 1812 he served in the Vermont state militia to guard the border, and was near enough to hear the cannonading between the squadron under Commodore McDonough and the English fleet on Lake Champlain, on Sept. 14, 1814, when, in about two hours' time, McDonough gained a decided victory and captured all of the larger vessels belonging to the English fleet. Sabin Kellam married Miss Lydia Davis, a native of New Hampshire and a teacher in the Irasburgh schools at the time of their marriage, about 1810. They became the parents of ten children, the five elder being daughters and the five younger ones, sons.
George M. Kellam was the eldest son of this family, his sisters and brothers being Lydia, Augusta, Almira, Frances Emily, Jane, Charles C., Edward P., Joseph S. and Dana D. Of this family there now (1911) survive George M. Kellam, of this review; Dana D. Kellam, who resides at Langford, S. D.; and Mrs. Frances Emily Nye, of Douglas county, Kansas. The mother died at Irasburgh, Vt., in 1857, and the father continued to reside in Vermont until 1869, when he came to Topeka, Kan., and resided there until his death, in 1871. George M. Kellam spent his youth on the home farm, aided in clearing it, and attended the country schools near his home. On Jan. 15, 1857, he was united in marriage to Miss Julia Smith Emerson, who was born in Irasburgh, Vt., the daughter of Stephen P. and Almira (Knapp) Emerson. Stephen P. Emerson was born in Vermont and his wife in Moores, N. Y. Mrs. Emerson was a relative of Congressman Knapp, of Lowell, Mass. Mr. Kellam and his bride left Vermont on March 6, 1857, arrived in Topeka, Kan., on March 22, and have been continuous residents of Shawnee county ever sincea period of fifty-four years. Topeka then had but a few houses and about 200 inhabitants. Game was plentiful, and on the plains surrounding Topeka Mr. Kellam has seen buffalo by the thousands, deer, antelope, and all kinds of feathered game. He preëmpted a quarter section of land where now is located the suburb of Oakland, and after paying $150 for his claim, had $50 left as a capital with which to begin life in a new and undeveloped country. He has spent his whole active career engaged extensively in farming and stock raising. He owns a fine ranch of 680 acres in Monmouth township, Shawnee county, fifteen miles southeast of Topeka, known as the "Clover Hill Farm" and resided there until 1900, when he removed to Topeka. He continued to operate his farm, however, until 1907, when he leased it to a tenant, and since that time has lived practically retired from business. Mr. Kellam has always been interested in raising fine stock of all kinds. He brought from Irasburgh, Vt., the first Morgan horses, two stallions and three mares, to Kansas in 1859, and for the last twenty-seven years has been a breeder of a fine strain of Galloway cattle, which breed he was also the first to introduce in Kansas. He has owned some of the finest of that strain in the state and has won many premiums on them at different fairs and stock shows where they have been exhibited. The successful career which he has enjoyed has all been the result of his own well directed efforts. His arrival in Kansas was during the troublesome times prior to the Civil war, in which he served as a member of the state militia. He was in the battle of the Blue against Price, and, while he was not in the Lawrence fight when Quantrill raided that town, he came to its aid as soon as he could and with Judge Kingman helped to bury the dead. He has been a Democrat all of his life and has held several local offices. He is a Master Mason and served as tyler of the grand lodge for several years, having filled that office at the laying of the cornerstone of the state capitol building. He is also a member of Lincoln Post, No. 1, Grand Army of the Republic, at Topeka. Besides his farm properties he owns a comfortable home at 909 West Tenth avenue in Topeka, which was formerly owned by Mrs. Annie L. Diggs and in former years was the state headquarters of the Populist party. Mr. Kellam donated many young trees from his ranch for the state capitol grounds and for the campus of Washburn College, and has always lent his support to every public movement of a commendable nature.
Mr. and Mrs. Kellam became the parents of three childrenone son and two daughters. Sabin Emerson Kellam, the son, was born in Topeka, Feb. 10, 1858, and was killed by lightning on Aug. 2, 1901, while on a load of hay at the home ranch. He was a most estimable young man and was single. Emma J. Kellam, who married Bestor G. Brown, of Topeka, died leaving a daughter, Helen May, a graduate of the Barstow school in Kansas City. Mary Augusta Kellam, the youngest daughter, resides with her father in Topeka. All of the children received a high school education. Mrs. Kellam died at the Topeka home in 1902; she was a member of the Congregational church. Mr. Kellam is now eighty-three years of age, full of years and experience. When asked what advice he would give the young man starting out in life independently he replied that the greatest concomitant to the young man in a successful business career was strict honesty and integrity. He was a member of the first grand jury ever called in the state and the late Justice Brewer was the foreman of that grand jury. Mr. Kellam also served on the jury that decided the first murder case in Topeka. Ex-Governor and United States Senator James Lane defended the murderer and ex-United States Senator Martin was the prosecuting attorney.Pages 1481-1483 from volume III, part 2 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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