Bio: Kelley, Will S. (1914)


Surnames: Kelley, Swift, Carter 

----Source: History of Eau Claire County, Wisconsin (1914) pages 752-754 

Will S. Kelley, the genial proprietor of "Kelley's Smoke Shop," in Eau Claire, was born at Lake Crystal, Minn., February 4, 1882, the son of Michael W. and Ellen (Swift) Kelley. Michael Kelley was a native of Ireland, but his wife was born at Portage City, Wis. Her parents were Edward and Ann Swift, both of whom were natives of Ireland. They came into the Northwest among the early settlers and were pioneers of Portage City as well as of Eau Claire. In 1856, when this part of Wisconsin was a wilderness, they settled in Brunswick township, where they cleared and improved a farm of 320 acres, which is still in the possession of their descendants. 

After coming to America and during his early manhood Michael W. Kelley held the position of fireman on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad, running out of Portage City. Subsequently he became associated with his brother John, and they operated a grist mill on the Eau Claire river. Later he went to Minnesota and for twenty years conducted a general store at Lake Crystal. In 1896 he settled permanently in Eau Claire and was employed as a traveling salesman for an Eastern manufacturing company, a position he held until his death, which occurred March 16, 1904, when he was 62 years of age. The family now consists of his widow, one son, Will S., and two daughters, Mae E. and Mrs. Angle Kelley Carter, who has one son, Jack. 

Will S. Kelley, the son of Michael W. and Ellen (Swift) Kelley, grew up at Lake Crystal and in Eau Claire, receiving his education in the common and high schools, but beginning to acquire business habits and training while yet a school boy, and laying the foundation for a successful career. After leaving school he secured a position as clerk and collector with Dunbar & Cathcart Company, which subsequently became the L. S. Dunbar Company, of Eau Claire, and remained with them for eight years. March 1, 1906, he accepted a position as traveling salesman for the Oscillating Sleigh Company, of Menomonie, Wis., and was with them until August 15 of that year, when he resigned with the view of going into business for himself. Accordingly on October 1, 1906, he embarked in the retail cigar and tobacco business, and "Kelley's Smoke Shop" is today the best and most popular cigar and tobacco house in Eau Claire, and is not surpassed by any in the Northwest. Mr. Kelley started his business on a modest scale, and the cause of the large patronage and wide popularity of his establishment is the man. He is a bright, keen, square and up-to-date business man, whose creed is straightforward and honorable dealing with all, and as such he is known, respected and trusted. As a consequence he has been so successful that at the early age of 32 he is already one of the substantial business men of Eau Claire, and has other valuable interests outside of his business stand. Naturally he is popular in the social life of Eau Claire, and is a member of the Elks, the U. C. T., Eau Claire Lodge, No. 97, and an adherent of the Episcopal church.



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