I knew very little about my adopted mother’s father, Forrest Kelley, as he died before I was born. I knew that he was a doctor in Winfield, Kansas, but I never knew where he went to school and what kind of training he had. Medicine and medical school is very different now than it was at the turn of the 20th century. Thanks to google and ancestry.com, I quickly found out where he went to school, when he graduated and all about the Kelley family. Dr. Kelley graduated from Creighton School of Medicine, class of 1906. Creighton is in Omaha, Nebraska.
I found the following biography of the Kelley family on ancestry.com. I remember visiting Beaver City, NE as a small child but didn’t understand the connection with Mom’s family. Forrest was born on May 18, 1878 to John Weller Kelley and Rosa Eveline Wilson. Rosa’s father was Robert Wilson and probably why Forrest named his son Robert Wilson Kelley.
Nebraska, The Land and the People, Vol. 3 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 1998.
Original data: Sheldon, Addison Erwin. Nebraska: The Land and the People. Vol. 3. Chicago, IL, USA: Lewis Publishing Co., 1931.
Mr. and Mrs. Kelley became the parents of four sons and one daughter, all of whom were graduated from the Beaver City High School and all of whom survive the loved mother with the exception of the second son.
Charles M., eldest of the children, was born December 14, 1871, and is now a resident of Beaver City, where he is engaged in the real estate business. June 6, 1894, he married Miss Millie Robbins, of Stamford, Harlan County, and they have three children: Jay Sterling, born March 3, 1895; Elizabeth A., born September 26, 1896; and Clark W., born July 10, 1906. These three children were graduated from the Beaver City High School. In May, 1917, the month following that in which the nation became involved in the World war, Jay Sterling Kelley enlisted for service in the United States Army, and prior to his embarkation for overseas service he was commissioned a first lieutenant of infantry in the command that became the Eighty-eighth Division of the American Expeditionary [p.50] Forces. He had nineteen months of active overseas service, received his honorable discharge in October, 1919, and in 1922 he was graduated from the celebrated Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he being now sales manager for a large automotive equipment company in the city of Chicago. Elizabeth A., second of the three children of Charles M. Kelley, is the wife of Harry A. Rollings, to whom she was married August 6, 1923. Clark W., youngest of the three children, is, in 1926, a successful teacher in the Nebraska public schools.
Alonzo W., second son of Mr. and Mrs. John W. Kelley, was born in the year 1873, and his death occurred September 5, 1924. In 1916 he married Miss Irene Henderson, of Atwood, Kansas, where she now maintains her home, with her three children: Mary E., Ruth and Lonnie Eve.
Dr. Forrest A. Kelley, the third son, was born in 1878, was graduated from the medical department of Creighton University, Omaha, and is now engaged in the practice of his profession at Winfield, Kansas. He married Miss Mary Romick, of Beaver City, in 1908, and they have four children—Margaret, Robert, Harriet and Patricia.
Winfield T., youngest of the sons, was born January 15, 1881, and in 1905 was solemnized his marriage with Miss Eve Hinshaw, of Beaver City, where they still reside and where he is engaged in the meat and grocery business. Of their home circle the honored subject of this review has become a member since the death of his wife.
Lavina A., the only daughter, was born September 7, 1887, and February 14, 1918, she became the wife of Carl Theobald, their home being maintained at Beaver City, and their children being four in number: Robert and John, twins, born November 7, 1918, Martha, born in June, 1921, and Carlton Kelley, born February 6, 1927.
I have copied the “Course of Study” from the Creighton School of Medicine Archives, Early Years 1892 – 1910
The curriculum included courses covering principles and practice of surgery, theory and practice of medicine, military surgery (“particular attention will be given to the primary care of gunshot wounds”), eye and ear (with weekly clinic at St. Joseph’s) and throat and nose (also one weekly clinic). Obstetrics was thoroughly covered, with an operative course conducted “upon the manikin”, and “a fresh foetus. . .employed in order to accustom the student to feel and recognize the different sutures and fontanelles.” also included were “Gynaecology”, anatomy, practical anatomy, chemistry and toxicology (3 years of lecture and lab), and physiology (illustrated by vivisection)., etc.
The requirements for graduation were fairly rigorous by the standards of the day. The candidate had to be at least 21 and of good moral character; he must have studied medicine for 3 years, meaning 3 full courses of lectures of 6 months each, the last year of which must have been at Creighton, etc., etc.
My mother told us a few stories about her father. Because he practiced in a rural community, he made a lot of house calls outside of Winfield to area farms. Sometimes he let his children go along for the ride. And Dr. Kelley’s father, when he was old and very forgetful, would just stay seated in the front seat of the car waiting for Dr. Kelley to get called out so he could also go for a ride.
The Kelleys did better during the Depression than a lot of folks, as Dr. Kelley often was paid with chickens or vegetables when the patients didn’t have cash. At least the family always had something to eat.
Forrest Kelley delivered so many babies in Cowley County, Kansas that he had a lot of babies named for him. Forrest became a very popular first name while he was practicing medicine. He kept a horse near Winfield and enjoyed riding.
Dr. Kelley’s death was devastating for the family as he had been such a strong father. He had the last say on everything, even on the Kelley girls’ boyfriends and husbands. But my mother adored her father and Granny loved her husband. After Forrest died, someone asked Granny if she was ever lonely being by herself and she replied that she was only lonely for one person.