Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918


John William Chelander

JOHN WILLIAM CHELANDER is junior member of the furniture and undertaking firm of John Chelander & Son at Randolph, Riley County. He has had a very successful career, and for a young man has shown a wonderful amount of ability and is as public spirited as he is thorough in the performance of his duties as a merchant.

He was born in Sweden, May 6, 1885, and as an orphan child was brought to America at the age of three months. At the age of four he was adopted by John Chelander and wife, and grew up at Randolph, where he gained his education. What he learned in school was supplemented by practical vocational training in the shop and business of his foster father, John Chelander. In 1905 he was made a partner, and has since assumed many of the heavier responsibilities of the firm of John Chelander & Son. In 1907 he married Jessie J. Larson.

His foster father, John Chelander, was born at Hedemora, Sweden, September 17, 1844, and during his youth in Sweden he learned the cabinet maker's trade. After coming to America he was employed in that line in St. Joseph, Missouri, for seven years. While living there he married Bertha Catharine Johnson.

The name Chelander has been closely identified with the business affairs of Randolph for forty years. In 1876 Mr. John Chelander located there, and he soon afterward opened a cabinetmaker's shop and furniture store. A natural extension of the business was undertaking, and in 1905 he entrusted a share of the business responsibilities to his son, John William, forming the partnership of John Chelander & Son. Besides their business at Randolph they conduct a branch store at Cleburne.

Mr. John Chelander is a genius in mechanics. He is not only a skilled worker in wood, but has shown almost equal proficiency in the manipulation of metal in various forms of useful construction. He is a practical inventor, and is now engaged in perfecting an automobile driven by steam power. He is one of the most highly thought of citizens of Riley County.


Transcribed from volume 4, pages 1799-1800 of A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; originally transcribed 1998, modified 2003 by Carolyn Ward.

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