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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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KELLY, James

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Dubuque Daily Herald, September 27, 1896, p. 7
KELLY, James. (Ireland--Unknown). Kelly sailed for the United States in 1852. For two years he lived with an uncle at Lancaster, Pennsylvania and attended the high school. For two years he engaged in clerking in a general store owned by the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Pennsylvania Railroad Company. (1)

At the end of that period, Kelly came to Dubuque, where for two years he was employed as a salesman by the firm of McGuire & Co., dealers in books and stationery. In 1853 he began business for himself on a small scale, opening a news stand which he stocked with periodicals and home newspapers. His business increased with the growth of the city's population, and he added a stock of books and stationery. His store, Kelly & Son, was located at 747 Main Street and was 21x70 feet in dimensions. (2)

In 1895 the firm of Kelly & Son, now a bicycle shop, established the American Cycle Club of one hundred members. The purpose of the club was to supply each member with wheels. With a "cooperative plan" of $2 per week for fifty weeks, members entered a drawing held each week. The holder of the winning ticket received the first wheel for $2 and the second for $1. At the end of the fifty weeks, each member had a bicycle. The store carried several varieties of bicycles including "America," "Monarch," "Specter," "Crow," "Telegram," "Belvidere," and "Aradare." Members had their choice of machine. Ladies and gentlemen were members. (3)



1. Portrait and Biographical Record of Dubuque, Jones and Clayton Counties, Iowa. Chicago: Chapman Publishing Company, 1894, p. 156

2. Ibid.

3. "Bicycle Parade," Dubuque Daily Herald, April 11, 1895, p. 8