Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens

JOHN KELLY. The vast majority of men are not their own employers. They are working for some one else and must continue to do so. The tendency of modern business is toward more economical production and this means larger establishments and fewer employers. Out of the ranks will come some captain s of industry who will have large business enterprises of their own; but their number will be insignificant compared with the army of toilers who work for some one else. There are few men who are not compelled to sell their services in their youth in order to get a start in life, but lucky is he who does not remain a hired man too long, thereby losing confidence in himself and incapacitating himself in a way to be able to go it alone. One of the business men of Springfield who had the tact to quit hiring out and start in business for himself when the proper time came is John Kelly, who first came to Springfield forty-four years ago, and for nearly four decades has been identified with the business of the city, thus literally growing up with the town.

Mr. Kelly was born in Ireland, June 13, 1849. He is a son of Patrick and Mary (Heckey) Kelly, both natives of Ireland where they grew up, were educated in the common schools, and there were married and devoted their lives to general farming. The mother was a daughter of a physician. John Kelly spent his early boyhood in the Emerald Isle, and there received a limited education by attending night school. He was sixteen years of age when he emigrated to America. He penetrated to the interior, first locating at Fulton City, Illinois, where he remained about a year, then went to Montana, Utah and Colorado, remaining some time in the West, then came to Springfield, Missouri, in 1870, arriving here in February, but soon thereafter he went to Neosho and started in the liquor business for E. F. Kinney. After remaining there a year he came back to Springfield where he remained until 1876, when he went to Fort Worth, Texas, and spent two years there, then lived at Parlor Point, Texas, two years. From there he went to Colorado, where he remained six months, then returned to Springfield in the fall of 1880 and continued working at his profession until 1883, when he started in business for himself in partnership with E. F. Kinney, in the liquor business on Commercial street, but two years later the partnership was dissolved and he struck out for himself near the corner of Boonville and Commercial streets, where he conducted his business for fifteen years, then moved to Mill street where he has remained to the present time. He has prospered in a financial way, and has always been regarded as a law-abiding citizen.

Mr. Kelly has remained unmarried. He has been a Democrat ever since he was old enough to vote, but has never aspired to office. He was confirmed in the Catholic church in infancy, and has always adhered to the same.


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