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UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture
Harry E. Kelley Papers, 1866-1935
3.0 Linear feet6 document boxes
Chronologically and by function.
Scope and Content Note
This collection contains the business and financial papers of Harry E. Kelley, a Fort Smith businessman, including correspondence concerning Kelley's interests in real estate, oil and gas development, railroad construction, and local improvements. Also included are records related to Kelley's activities as receiver for Bocquin and Reutzel, a failed business firm.
Harry Elsworth Kelley (1862-1946) was born in Kansas and died in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The son of Kansas Congressman Harrison Kelley, he moved to Fort Smith in 1887. He soon became involved in a number of business activities. Chief among Kelley's interests was real estate, first as a member of Lane, Kent and Kelley, then as a partner of M. D. Hunton, and finally as head of the Kelley Trust Company.
Besides buying, selling, and managing local properties, Kelley promoted the sale of mines in northwest Arkansas and timberlands in Phillips County. His interest in real estate expanded into additional pursuits. In 1887, Kelley founded the Fort Smith Natural Gas and Power Company. He also developed a gas well near Mansfield, Arkansas, in 1901, and Fort Smith's first natural gas field, Massard Prairie, in 1905. In addition, Kelley was heavily involved in railroad development, serving on the board of the Pittsburg, Columbus and Fort Smith Railway. Kelley was also involved with Fort Smith's street railway, gas and electric light plants, and waterworks, as well as a number of other local enterprises, including the "Fort Smith Journal," and a hotel. In addition to Kelley's interest in real estate, he was a leader in establishing the Ozark and Ouachita National Forests. In 1888, he served on a board that supervised the paving of Fort Smith's Garrison Avenue. This project soon evolved into a larger effort to improve Fort Smith's streets and sewers, and Kelley continued to serve on local improvement district boards for more than twenty years.
In 1890, Kelley and his partner, M. D. Hunton, were appointed receivers for the Fort Smith firm of Bocquin and Reutzel, which had been formed by Constant Frances Bocquin (born ca. 1831) and Henry Reutzel (1847-1913) in 1867. Before its eventual failure, the firm had widespread business interests, which included banking, cotton, coal mining, timber, farming, brick yards, and general merchandise. For more on the Reutzel family, see Mary Nell Euper, "Casper Reutzel,"
Journal of the Fort Smith Historical Society, Vol. 5, No. 1 (April 1981): 13-16.
Branner, John Casper, 1850-1922
Clayton, John M. (John Middleton), 1796-1856--Assassination
Cravens, William Fadjo, Jr., 1929-2012, collector
Forrest City (Ark.)
Fort Smith (Ark.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Kelley, Harry E., 1862-1946
Roots, Logan H. (Logan Holt), 1841-1893
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is available for viewing at the Arkansas Studies Institute.
Conditions Governing Use
The copyright law of the United States (Title 17-U.S. Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. The person using this material is liable for any infringement.
Copyright for correspondence in the collections belongs to those correspondents or their beneficiaries. Persons wanting to re-use those materials are advised to obtain permission from copyright holders.
Harry E. Kelley Papers, 1866-1935, UALR.MS.0052. UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture, Arkansas Studies Institute, Little Rock.
Footnote or Endnote info:
Description of item, file number, box number, Harry E. Kelley Papers, 1866-1935, UALR.MS.0052.