Tag Archives: Winfield

. . .and Surprise! . . .more on The Kelley Family and Winfield, Kansas

Cowley County Historical Society Museum

Cowley County Historical Society Museum

The Kelley grandkids may remember the stone schoolhouse on the next corner down from Granny’s house on Mansfield Street. It had a playground and we used to go over there when we were visiting Granny. It is now the home to the Cowley County Historical Society Museum.

This is their web site — http://www.cchsm.com/home

The Cowley County Historical Society Museum is housed in one of Winfield’s original schools built in 1886. The native stone building and its historical displays keep local history alive and available to the people.

I emailed the historical society today and asked how I could get a copy of Dr. Kelley’s obituary and they emailed a copy back very quickly. Many thanks to Shawn at the Cowley County Historical Society! That is the fastest response to a genealogical question I have ever received.

Dr. Forrest A. Kelley's Obituary

Dr. Forrest A. Kelley’s Obituary

I have also wondered why Forrest and Mary Kelley ended up in Winfield. In a book (that is online) titled “The Cowley County Heritage Book”, I found that Dr. Kelley bought Dr. Rall’s general medical practice and I bet that is why they ended up living in Winfield.

This piece is actually about the Ralls family, but tells how Dr. F.A. Kelley took over Dr. Ralls’ practice. The section on delivering babies sounds like the same stories I heard from Mom about her father.

The ironic thing is that the Ralls returned to Winfield and lived on the corner across the street from Granny on Mansfield. The Ralls and the Kelleys were great friends.

The first home of Dr. & Mrs. Ralls was on Fuller Street. About a year later they built a house at 801 East Eleventh. In 1910 Dr. Ralls realized he could not keep up physically with the night work required of general practice. Dr. F.A. Kelley took over this practice, while Dr. Ralls and his wife and children went to New Orleans and Chicago where he again entered medical schools to practice eye, ear, nose, & throat. Thinking he would not return to Winfield, he had sold his home on Eleventh. He bought the family’s present home at 922 Mansfield.

Dr. Ralls retired from practice in early 1965. The next months were spend driving around the back roads in this part of the county. He loved pointing out who had lived at this or that place, that he had attended a birth at this or that place, and had slept on the kitchen floor awaiting the birth. The standard obstetrical fee was (hopefully) $10. Often it was paid with chickens, vegetables, eggs, or most anything else available.

Traveling to these rural areas was done by horse and buggy, if the roads were reasonably dry. If not, the trip might be made to the Tisdale area by hand car on the tracks, a farmer perhaps meeting him with a horse.

915 Mansfield Street, Winfield, Kansas

915 Mansfield Street, Winfield, Kansas. Granny Kelley’s Home.

Granny’s stone house seemed like a mini castle to me as a child. It doesn’t seem as big these days. It had a mysterious basement that was actually just a dirt cellar. On the front porch, someone had carved a likeness of their dog into the stone. It was probably carved by one of the masons or the builder. I remember hearing that the house was a “Caton” stone house. There are many beautiful buildings and bridges in Winfield made out of this native stone.

This is the link to the official Winfield site and a slideshow titled “Historic and Caton Homes”.


The Kelleys were staunch Presbyterians. Tim and I were christened at Granny’s house probably in 1951.

Kelley Grandchildren Christened Here Sunday

Kelley Grandchildren Christened Here Sunday

Below is a photo of my family with Dr. Jackson, formerly of the First Presbyterian Church in Winfield. Dr. Jackson officiated at the service.

Dr. Jackson with Page Family

Dr. Jackson with Page Family

Below is a photo of Granny with the newly christened grandchildren. Granny is holding Joe’s arm still to keep him from launching a plane at the cameraman.

After christening at Granny's house.

After christening at Granny’s house.

I included this photo of Joe on a pony in front of Granny’s house to show the native stone work. Joe must have been pleased by the pony because he is actually sitting still for this photo.

Joe on Pony in Front of Granny's House in Winfield, Kansas

Joe on Pony in Front of Granny’s House in Winfield, Kansas

Dr. Forrest A. Kelley, Graduate of Creighton Medical School, Class of 1906

Dr. Forrest Kelley

Dr. Forrest Kelley

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.

Dr. Kelley in his Car

Dr. Kelley in his Car

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.

Forrest A. Kelley

Forrest A. Kelley

Forrest A. Kelley and his Horse

Forrest A. Kelley and his Horse

Creighton School of Medicine, Class of 1906

Creighton School of Medicine, Class of 1906

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.

Forrest A. Kelley

Forrest A. Kelley

More Photos of Granny & Grandfather Kelley

I love looking at old family photos and having the internet and a computer has made sharing them so easy.  I have a lot of Daddy Ray’s slides that I need to scan and make into digital files.  All families are different in what they save and who ends up with the photos.  I remember Granny Kelley having a drawer full of family photos in her attic.  I wish I had been old enough at the time to appreciate what they were.

That said, I’ve scanned a few more of the photos that Mom (Harriett) saved.

Granny and Grandfather Kelley

Granny Kelley with Christie and Susan. Photo taken in 1949

Margaret, Bob, Patricia and Harriett. Taken Christmas of 1939.

Mary Rommick at age 16

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