WILLIAM KELLY, JR. - For thirty years William Kelly, Jr., has been identified with newspaper work, and during his residence of a quarter of a century in Kansas City, Kansas, has become widely known as circulator of the Kansas City Star, which is now one of the leading journals of the United States and very popular with the reading public in the states west of The Mississippi. He comes of honored Irish ancestry, being a son of William Kelly, Sr., and was born August 30, 1862, in Albany, New York.
A native of Ireland, William Kelly, Sr., was born in Edenderry, King's county, in 1836. As a youth of seventeen summers, he immigrated to the United States, landing in New York City. He was young, active, energetic and industrious, and found no trouble in securing work. He was subsequently a leather inspector in Albany for some time after which he was for a while engaged in agricultural pursuits in Franklin county, Kansas. Coming from that place to Kansas City, Missouri, he was employed in the freight department of the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company until his death, in March, 1898. He was a man of sterling integrity, a member of the Baptist church and belonged to Triple Link Lodge, No. 9, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of Kansas City, Missouri. He married in Albany, New York, Elizabeth White, who was born in Navan, Ireland, and is now living in Kansas City, Missouri. Four sons and two daughters were born into their home, and of these one son, Robert S., has passed to the life beyond, and five children are living, as follows: Eliza, wife of Walter P. Hayman; William, Jr., George H.; Joseph C.; and Emma, wife of Charles E. Rudy.
Brought up in Albany, New York, William Kelly, Jr., was educated in the schools of that city. Accompanying his parents to Ottawa, Kansas, in 1879, he remained on the home farm two years, assisting in its labors. Not content with a farmer's life and occupation, he located in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1881, entering the employ of H. T. Wright, a book and stationery dealer, and received sixty cents a day for delivering copies of a weekly newspaper published in New York. The following, year he became connected with the Evening Star, whose office was on Fifth street, near Main street, the present headquarters of the Salvation Army. It was then printed on the presses of the Kansas City Times, which was located on the opposite side of the street. The Evening Star is now named the Kansas City Star, and issues a morning edition called the Kansas City Times. Mr. E. L. Cottrell, one of the party that came from Fort Wayne, Indiana, with W. M. R. Nelson to assist in establishing the Evening Star, which Mr. Nelson edited, was the first circulator of that paper, while Mr. Kelly was made city collector. Mr. Kelly was also superintendent of circulation on the old Kansas City Times for a period of several years and subsequently went back to the Star, and with the exception of Mr. Nelson he is the only one of the force left that was then connected with the paper.
Mr. Kelly, removing to Kansas City, Kansas, in the fall of 1886 for the purpose of becoming agent and circulator of the Kansas City Star, has watched with pride and pleasure the healthful growth of the city from a population of fourteen thousand people to one of over eighty-five thousand souls. When he came here the daily circulation of the Star was less than eight hundred, the paper being brought to the Kansas side of Greater Kansas City in a small wagon. With the growth of the city and under the efficient management of its circulators - Mr. Kelly and his brother, George H. Kelly, who had charge of the Kansas City, Missouri, territory, the circulation of the paper has rapidly increased, twenty-three thousand copies being now daily distributed in Kansas City, Kansas, three large auto trucks being required to transport the edition that is circulated on the west side of the Kaw. Mr. Kelly has always been active in all movements for the betterment of civic conditions in his home town and is a member of the Mercantile Club, having been a director for a longer time than any other member. He has served the organization as first vice president and chairman of important committees. He has been president for three years of the Associated Charities and is a member of Tau Ro Mee, No. 30, of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He took a leading part in the law enforcement movement that has made Wyandotte county a law abiding community.
On July 25, 1885, Mr. Kelly was united in marriage with Kate Shemberger, at Burlington, Kansas. Mrs. Kelly was born in Goshen, Indiana, being the oldest of the three children, two daughters and one son, of Samuel and Anna (Brown) Shemberger. Mr. Shemberger was born, reared, educated and married in Michigan, and moved to Goshen, Indiana, about the year 1860. During the Civil war he served as a soldier in the Thirty-first Indiana Volunteers, being a member of Company A, and at its close moved with his family to Dallas county, Missouri, where for several years he was engaged in farming and stock raising. About 1875 he drove his stock through to Coffey county, Kansas, and, having bought land, engaged in the stock business for thirty years. Disposing of his property in that vicinity in 1905, Mr. Shemberger and his good wife have since lived retired in Burlington, Kansas.
Mr. and Mrs. Kelly have one child, a daughter Maude, who is a teacher of domestic science in the Kansas City, Kansas, high school, having graduated from the Kansas City State Agricultural College with the class of 1908.
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