Duncan McKellar spent the earlier years of his life in the city of London, province of Ontario, Canada, where he was born in 1829. Mr. McKellar comes from a long lived race, many of them dying from sheer old age and some almost reaching the century mark. Mr. McKellar has always been associated with public matters; was commissioner in his Canada home for a period of eleven years. In his early life he lived on a farm, then he engaged in the saw mill and lumber business for fifteen years.
Prompted by the failing health of his wife, Mr. McKellar came to the new western country in 1870, and settled near Ottawa, in Franklin county, where he farmed two years. Mrs. McKellar was Margaret McCall. The hope of benefitting her health proved futile and she died in May, 1871, leaving a son and daughter, Donald P. and Mary A. Donald is a prosperous man, owning a tract of land near Jamestown and is salesman for the J.C. Gibson Granite and Marble Works of Atchison. The daughter is married to A.J. Certain, a produce buyer of Clyde.
In May, 1872, Mr. McKellar came to Jewell county and homesteaded land in the southeast corner of the county. When he took up his claim, the land for miles around was unoccupied, but within a few months the tide of emigration did not leave a vacant quarter section. Mr. McKellar traveled extensively through the Rocky Mountain region and was on the town site of Leadville when that city was platted, and assisted in building the Harrison Reduction Works, the first masonry done in Leadville. This was in 1877.
He helped to organize, was the first justice of the peace, and was instrumental in the establishment of the first postoffice in Allan township, Jewell county, Kansas. He circulated the petition and his uncle, Archibald Paul, who died in 1901, was appointed postmaster. It fell to Mr. McKellar to supply a name and he said inasmuch as they were hoping for better things he would suggest West Hope and it was adopted.
In 1879 Mr. McKellar returned to Canada and married Mary O'Neil, who is a member of an old Ontario family, her father locating in that province on the site of London in 1819, and helped to survey the new town. R.H. O'Neil, of the banking firm of R.H. O'Neil & Sons, was a brother. He was a prominent banker there for forty-five years and never held a note in his possession that drew over six per cent interest. He died in 1900. J.H. O'Neil, another brother, has been in the town of Lucan, Ontario, for almost half a century, and is a wealthy lumberman.
By the second marriage Mr. McKellar has a daughter, Frances, who in 1898, in company with her mother, visited Canada, where she took a course in music. She is a bright and talented young woman. She assists her father in the office; is capable and perfectly conversant with the business.
Mr. McKellar sold his homestead in 1893. In 1885 he took his pre-emption right of one hundred and sixty acres in Jewell county, which he still retains. In the same year he came to Jamestown and established a real estate, loan and insurance business which he continued until the present time with the exception of a short interval when he sold goods on the road.
In 1897 he bought the B.F. Gould residence, which he has remodeled, laid walks of flagging, planted trees, etc., making it a desirable residence property. Mr. McKellar is one of the eight men from Kansas appointed by Governor Lewelling as a delegate to the Gulf Transportation Congress held in Chicago in September, 1892.
Mr. McKellar's parents emigrated to Canada in 1825, settled in the wilderness of woods, cleared the land and lived there continuously until their deaths. They were the parents of eight children, the eldest was a daughter, Catherine, who died in 1863. Mr. McKellar is the eldest of seven sons who grew to manhood. John, is a farmer in Canada. William was a major in the Twenty-sixth Battalion of the British army and saw fifteen years of service in Canada and Scotland.
He had retired from the service and was killed by a cable car in Loudon, Canada, in 1899. It was during a strike, a raw recruit turned a switch and suddenly reversing it the car ran over Major McKellar, cutting his arm off, mutilating his breast, and killing him instantly. He left a wife and two children. He was a division instructor and was sent to various points in Scotland and Canada. He graduated from the military school in Toronto and in tactics from a military school in England, where he received his commission.
Archibald was a hardware merchant. During the invasion of 1867 he was captain of a militia and while in this service he caught the cold which caused his death. Four of the McKellar brothers were in the battle of Ridgeway. Peter, a blacksmith in Ontario, lives within three miles of the old homestead. Malcom, a lieutenant in the invasion of 1867, was young and tender, unusued to hardships, and like his brother, caught cold from exposure, from which cause his death ensued. Dugald died in 1892.
Most of Mr. McKellar's ancestry and relatives were in public life and military men. His father was a major in the Canadian rebellion of 1836. Four of his paternal granduncles who were army officers under Napoleon participated in the battle of Waterloo. General Archibald McKellar, member of Kent county, and minister of agriculture, was a second cousin.
Mr. McKellar is a Democrat, but his father and brothers were Tories (equivalent to Republican), and when he ran for commissioner they all voted against him, but he was elected, receiving two to one. Mr. McKellar is now serving his third term as mayor of Jamestown and has conducted the city's affairs in a satisfactory way. He has been township clerk for a number of years and has held other minor offices in the city and township.
He is a prosperous business man, has a large list of farm and city properties for sale and represents the best insurance companies to be found and enjoys the confidence of his patrons. He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows of fourteen years' standing and has been through all the chairs of the order and is a member of the Encampment. Mr. McKellar and his family are members and workers of the Christian church. At the last convention Mr. McKellar received the nomination on the fusion ticket for probate judge of Cloud county and run with credit to himself and the party that nominated him, but the Republican sentiment defeated him. Had Mr. McKellar been elected he would have undoubtedly proven an efficient officer.
Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm.
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