Leroy Arthell Kelly

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Leroy Arthell Kelly

Birthplace: Brigham, Iowa County, WI, United States
Death: April 10, 1991 (77)
Deerfield, Dane County, WI, United States
Place of Burial: Deerfield, Dane County, Wisconsin, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Louis (Lewis) Laverne Kelly and Mabel Doescher
Husband of Annie Elizabeth Caroline Kelly
Father of JoAnne Yvonne Kelly; Larry Arthell Kelly; Private; Private and Private
Brother of Lilas M. Kelly; Lillian Kelly; Private; Lester LaVerne Kelly; Vernon Dale Kelly and 3 others

Managed by: Dana Marie Kelly
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Leroy Arthell Kelly


Convicted of speeding in 1944- received $6 fine.

Bought Lee Farm in Deerfield on March 1, 1949:

Wisconsin State Journal March 20, 1949: A letter to this department from Deerfield recently, reveals that one of Wisconsin and Dane county's "Century Farms," the Lee farm, which has been in the family for 100 years, was sold this year by the four children of Severt Lee to LeRoy Kelly, Cottage Grove, who took possession of the farm on Mar. 1.

The farm was established in 1848 by Sjur Reque, great grandfather of the present Lees, with a 120 acre tract of land He continued to purchase land from time to time until at one time he owned 540 acres. At present, the original 120 acres are still in the 296 acres that remain in the farm.

Reque first built a log cabin on the farm, then replaced it with a stone house, for which he made all the lime required and the barn basement. When the Liberty church, nearby was built in 1849, the lime for that building was also made in the same kiln on the Lee farm.

The farm passed down from Reque to his son-in-law, Nels A. Lee, whose son Severt Lee bought it upon his father's death and owned it for about 30 years, until his death three year ago. His children have operated the farm until now. They are Nels Lee and Mrs. Otto Johnson, Deerfield; Mrs. Henry Fadness, Brooklyn; and Mrs. Harley Rasmussen, Belleville.

Dean E. K. Froker, of the University of Wisconsin college of agriculture, said recently at Platteville at a Farm Short Course meeting there, that century ownership of land indicates a real love of the land and a belief in the destiny of the community, and creates a sense of security in the welfare of the state and nation.

Wisconsin State Journal December 2, 1952:


LeRoy Kelly, Route 2, Deerfield, reported to sheriff's officials Monday that three of his Holstein heifers, valued at $750, were stolen from his farm along a town road west of Deerfield.

He said the cows, two of which are registered, have been missing for a week, but that a search of the area has failed to locate them.

Placed a want ad for a hired man in 1965 and 1966. Placed multiple ads to sell horses in 1965 and 1966.

From a family tree project by Kristen Farnsworth, 1979:

Leroy Arthell Kelly, (my grandfather) was born in the town of Brigham, Wisconsin on the Frames farm.

In his childhood he played violin for Box Socials and dances and claimed his band was at its best when he was 16 years old.

He stayed home and helped his dad until he was 23 years old milking cows by hand. He had to haul wood to town with a sleigh ten miles in the snow and cold. But he really found out what rough was when he got married and when the bills started piling in during those hard times. He trapped for mink, skunk, muskrat, and fox furs for $2.75 apiece which he used for his spending money. He usually only got one fox a year. He bought a pair of skis and he used to go downhill skiing. He never smoked or drank so he never had any habits to support. His dad used to raise and buy a lot of horses so they had a lot of colts to break for farm work. His mother was a good cook and gardener. She raised a lot of turnips and they'd all pitch in and help her with it. He said he was the spoiled one of the family. He was sick a lot when he was around 10 years old. He had rheumatic fever. He was sick every winter and missed a lot of school. He graduated from eighth grade. Evelyn always brought homework home for him when he was sick. For his enjoyment he went fishing, trapping and hunting, most of the time alone.

My memories of Gramps:

Gramps always seemed old to me. It seemed like he was always in the hospital or on crutches. When he wasn't on crutches, he walked with a cane. Gramps always liked being in the hospital because the nurses would wait on him and they were always so pleasant.

Gramps had the biggest hands I have ever seen. At least they seemed that way. What also struck me about his hands were how thick his finger nails were. I remember my grandma soaking them in water and then trying to cut them with scissors. Gramps had the wildest hair I have ever seen. It was thick, coarse, curly, and stood straight up in all directions. Gramps wore glasses, but he never looked through them - always over the top.

Gramps loved music. He could play anything with strings. I remember him playing his banjo and fiddle for us. He could also play guitar and mandolin. He had pretty bad arthritis in his later years so the only instrument he played was his harmonica. It always sat next to his chair on the table.

Gramps was also an avid hunter. As he aged, he would just drive his truck to the edge of the woods and wait for the deer to come out. When he saw one, he would shoot right from the cab of his truck. Sometimes he didn't even take aim. He got a deer every fall. My grandma used to tell a story of when she and Gramps were walking in the woods. They heard a squirrel or chipmunk rustle in the bushes and Gramps grabbed his gun and fired off a shot at it. My grandma asked him if he got it and he answered, "You heard me shoot, didn't you?"

Gramps was never much of a cow man, but he loved tractors and horses. I think the reason he had cows was so he could justify having tractors and horses. My dad tells the story of the last grade cow in their herd. He was in college and decided to ship one of the cows. He pointed her out to Gramps so he would know which one to send. My dad went back to school and came back home the next weekend. The cow he wanted to cull was still in the herd and the last grade cow was gone. Gramps shipped the wrong cow. He milked the cows every day, but he never really knew them apart.

Gramps enjoyed field work, but he wasn't particularly careful. I remember one time he dropped one of the counter weights from the front of the tractor on himself and broke some bones. My dad tells of the time Gramps took the manure out with the manure spreader and stepped over the PTO. He got his long underwear caught on it and it ripped his long underwear out from under his clothes. The last time Gramps ever drove the tractor was when I was probably nearing 10 years old. My dad sent him out to the field to chop a load of hay to put in the silo. The last thing he said was "Make sure you check the fuel. I think it's getting low." Gramps never bothered to check. He went out to the field, chopped the load, and was on his way back when he ran out of fuel. My dad happened to be on the side of the barn and saw him coming with the tractor, chopper, and full chopper box in tow, rolling down the field road toward the barn. He could see him pumping the break and trying to steer. Luckily, the tractor veered to the right and he got caught on the fence. Gramps managed to pull out over 50 feed of fence, but it stopped him and no one got hurt. Like I said, it was the last time he ever drove the tractor.

Gramps loved sweets. I remember him putting honey on his chocolate cake. He also dumped a lot of sugar in his coffee. People used to say that he didn't have just one sweet tooth, he had a mouth full of them.

Gramps was kind of a teaser. He used to poke at the barn cats with his cane to see what our reaction would be. He also used to hide my sister's "bucket of things" around the farm and watch her look for it. My grandma had no appreciation for his sense of humor. I think he used to do things just to get under her skin. One time she slipped and fell in the barn and Gramps was snickering at her from the corner. As she was getting herself up she shouted, "What are you laughing at, you old shit?" My mom tells of the time Gramps decided to get a new truck. One day while my grandma was at work, he went out and bought one. When she came home she saw a different vehicle in the driveway and came down to the barn and asked my mom who the visitor was. She said, "No one. I think Gramps got a new truck." My grandma snarled, "He better not have!" and stormed off to the house. Another time my grandparents were doing chores and Gramps must have had a cold or something because he was breathing rather noisily. My grandma told him to quit making all that racket. He responded by saying, "Well I gotta breathe!" My dad tells of the time he and Gramps went into the house to have lunch after chores. Gramps was huffing and wheezing as he sat down in his chair. My grandma asked him, "What's wrong with you?" He answered, "Well, I had to climb that hill." I would hardly call the minor grade from the barn to the house a hill, but he proabably just wanted to see what she would say.

Sometimes it seemed like my grandparents didn't know each other very well. My grandma made Gramps oatmeal every morning for breakfast before she left for work. Every day he would come back to the house, throw the oatmeal and the pan out on the lawn for the cats, and he would make himself a few bowls of corn flakes. My grandma used to tell people how much he loved oatmeal. He never once told her he hated it.

Gramps used to occasionally cook lunch for himself. The only dish I remember him making was scrapple - basically a pan full of lard and left over meat and potatoes. Gramps only knew two settings on the stove - "high" and "off." You always knew Gramps had been cooking when the kitchen was full of smoke.

Gramps liked to play Euchre and 500. I remember playing Euchre with him a few times. Gramps never missed a chance to make trump. If there was one in his hand, he was going to order.

I never saw Gramps lose his temper, but my dad said there was a time when he and Larry were supposed to be out doing chores but they were in the house watching t.v. Gramps came in and caught them and threw the t.v. against the wall and broke it. They didn't get a t.v. for over a year.

Gramps wasn't the kind of grandpa who took you on his knee and told you stories. In all honesty, I never really talked to him much and I never really knew how much he knew about me. During his last few years he went to the Colonial Club in Sun Prairie once a week and played cards and had "general maintenance" taken care of - getting a bath, his nails cut, etc. At his funeral, the woman who worked with him at the Colonial Club came over to me and asked me if I was the grand daughter who always showed the calves at the fair. Up to that point I never knew he even noticed us.

Kelly, LeRoy Arthell DEERFIELD - LeRoy Arthell Kelly, age 77, passed away unexpectedly at his home, on Wednesday, April 10, 1991. He was born on June 9, 1913, in the Town of Brigham, Iowa County, the son of Lewis and Mabel (Doescher) Kelly. He grew up as an old time fiddle and banjo player and farmed in the Towns of Arena and Deerfield until his retirement. He was a member of St. Paul's Liberty Lutheran Church, Deerfield. He leaves to mourn his wife of 54 years, the former Annie Smith; two daughters, JoAnne Farnsworth of Deerfield, and Judith (Warner) Halverson of Stevens Point; a son, Daniel (Jane) Kelly of Deerfield; a daughter-in-law, Pam Kelly of Deerfield; 15 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; four brothers, Lester (Jean) of Sun Prairie, Willard (Leona) of LaCrosse, Ellard (Kathleen) of Barneveld, and Vernon (Mildred) of Mt. Horeb; and three sisters, Evelyn (Virgil) Jabs of Barneveld, Lilas (Albert) Miller of Barneveld, and Lillian (Robert) Theobald of Marshall. He was preceded in death by his parents; and a son, Larry Arthell Kelly in 1983. Memorial services will be held on Saturday, April 13, at 1:00 p.m. at ST. PAUL'S LIBERTY LUTHERAN CHURCH, Deerfield. There will be no visitation.

I had the opportunity to talk with Marvin Kelly at his sister's funeral on 10/30/2012. He was sharp as a tack. We bonded over our similar shingles experience (both of us had them in the eye). Marvin told me he never went to high school because Barneveld didn't have one and he would have had to drive to Arena. Arena was too far away to walk and his dad wouldn't let him drive the car every day because his dad told him there was plenty of work around that didn't require a high school education. He told me that he was 12 years younger than my grandpa, so he lived with him for a summer and helped him on his farm. He said he was able to fix Gramps' baler using used parts he found in town. According to Marvin, Gramps liked having him around because he was a good helper and handy around the farm. Plus, he would get up early and go get the cows. Marvin re-iterated what we all know: My grandfather was not one to make sure there was fuel in ANYTHING. Marvin said, "If you have the gas cap off and you're looking inside, why don't you just fill it up as long as you're in there? It's a hell of a lot easier than walking back from the field after you run out!" But that was Gramps.

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Leroy Arthell Kelly's Timeline

June 9, 1913
Brigham, Iowa County, WI, United States
February 28, 1937
Brigham, Iowa, Wisconsin, USA
April 1, 1940
Age 26
Brigham, Iowa, Wisconsin, United States
Age 26
Brigham, Iowa, Wisconsin, United States
November 5, 1952
Stoughton, Dane, Wisconsin, USA
April 10, 1991
Age 77
Deerfield, Dane County, WI, United States