Senator Michael Joseph Kelly View All Years

Compiled Historical Information
Date of Death: 1/10/1911
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Assemblies Served:
Senate: 22 (1888) - 25 (1894)
Home County: Iowa
Michael Joseph Kelly
Iowa County

Senator White, from a special committee, submitted the following report and moved its adoption:

Mr. President: Your committee appointed to draft resolutions commemorative of the life and services of Ex-Senator M. J. Kelly, beg leave to submit the following report and resolutions:

Michael Joseph Kelly was born March 22, 1850, in County Tipperary, Ireland.

When a child of two years his parents brought him to America settling first at Port Byron, New York, and six years later moving to Muscatine, Iowa. Here he attended the public schools and learned the trade of tinsmith. At the age of eighteen he took up his residence at Lytle City, Iowa County, Iowa, a year later moving to Des Moines, where he worked at his trade for some years.

In 1870 he was united in marriage with Margery Lytle, daughter of B. F. Lytle, the founder of Lytle City. To this union eight children were born, three of whom preceded the father to the great beyond. Those who with his wife survive him are Attorney B. E. Kelly of Denver, Colorado, Joseph P. Kelly, of Edmonton, Canada, Mrs. B. E. Hakes, of Williamsburg, Iowa, Bert Kelly, of Long Beach, California, and Mrs. Sarah Ainsworth, of Denver, Colorado.

In 1874 Mr. Kelly returned to Lytle City and engaged in the mercantile business continuing there until 1883 when he moved to Williamsburg, Iowa. In the meantime, recognizing the value of education, he spent a term in the law department of the State University. At Williamsburg he established the well-known firm of Kelly & Lytle which continued to be one of the leading mercantile firms of Iowa County until its disolution, in 1906, when Mr. Kelly decided to make his home in Colorado. As a merchant he was a marked success.

He held many positions of private and civic trust, in all of which he acquitted himself with high honor and credit. He was for many years president of the Williamsburg Savings Bank and was a member of the Board of Supervisors of Iowa County. He wielded a wide and beneficent influence upon his community, his wise, fearless and ready counsel being advantageously sought by his town, his community and his neighbors

In 1887 he was elected to the Twenty-second General Assembly of Iowa from the Senatorial District composed of Iowa and Johnson Counties, and was re-elected in 1891. During his last term he was president protem of the Senate. The State University being located in his district he looked carefully after its needs. As a legislator he was a steadfast and valued advocate of the interests of the people and exercised a wise and beneficial influnce upon the legislation of his time.

His signal achievement in rising by sheer force of his own native ability from the unknown tinsmith to the successful man of affairs having a large part in molding and directing the business, moral, intellectual and legislative advancement of the state of his adoption, is a monument to his perseverance and integrity of purpose and an inspiration to the young men of Iowa.

He died at Denver, Colorado, on January 10, 1911, and was buried on the 16th day of January, 1911, at Williamsburg, Iowa, amid the loved scenes of his early struggles and successes and near the friends he loved so well; fit resting place for his body tired with its labors for them and his. Peace to his soul.

Whereas, Honorable M. J. Kelly, a member of this body in the Twenty-third and Twenty-fourth General Assemblies, has been called from this life,

Therefore be it Resolved, That the Senate of the State of Iowa has heard with deep sorrow and regret of his death and that it recognizes the high character of his services to his state.

Resolved, That the Senate take this occasion to acknowledge its recognition and express its high regard and appreciation of the worth of the character and public services of M. J. Kelly, and to extend to his family its sincere sympathy in their great bereavement.

Be it Further Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions, engrossed and duly authenticated, by the President and Secretary, of the Senate, be presented to the family of the deceased.





The resolutions were adopted unanimously by a rising vote.