John Kelsay Biography


        Col. John Kelsay was born in Wayne County, Kentucky, October 23, 1819. He was born of Scotch-Irish parentage and was the son of Alexander and Jane (Kelley) Kelsay.

        At the age of ten years in 1829, his parents moved to Cooper, subsequently Morgan County, Missouri. He lived in that country when scholastics was one of the most difficult things for a youth to obtain; but his mother being a woman of rare attainments, added to a fund of comprehensive and practical sense, he gained his first knowledge of books from her. To that mother's early teachings, a moulding of life's aims and character, the Judge owes much of the favorable results crowning the efforts of his after life.

        At the age of 21 years he began the study of law in 1842, and in July 1845, was admitted and licensed in Missouri, where he practiced until 1853.

        At the age of l8 years he was commissioned a Captain of Militia and two years later promoted to Major. In 1844 he was elected to the state legislature of Missouri.

        December 23, 1846, he was united in marriage to Miss Martha C. Monroe, daughter of General Monroe, a leading citizen of the above state, and in 1853 he crossed the plains to Oregon, arriving in Benton County in September, and immediately began the practice of his profession in Corvallis.

        On the breaking out of the Rogue River War, Col. Kelsay organized a company with which he went south, where he took an active part against the Indians, accounts of which will be found in the History of the Indian Wars.

        In 1857 he served as chairman of the Military Committee in forming the state constitution, and in 1868 was elected judge of the supreme court of the state, to fill the unexpired term of Judge R. E. Stratton.

        January 5, 1864, Col. Kelsay married a second time to Miss Countner, by which union there were two children, Annie and Lyman P.

        He died (sic)

Arthur F. Benson's Original Biography Document