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About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (Feb. 2, 1908)
The Omaha Sunday Bee
Goes Into th Horn
THE OMAHA DEE
Best t'hn. West
paces ro 4.
VOL. XXX VII NO. 33.
OMAHA, SUNDAY MORNINO FEBRUARY 2, 1908.
SINGLE COPY' FIVE CENTS.
JAMES E. KELBY AN EXAMPLE pF YOUNG MAN IN7 BUSINESS
Short But Convincing Story of the Rise of a Boy from Poverty to a Place of Prominence , and Responsibility With a Very Comfortable Salary by Dint of Hard Work and Perseverance
FROM a plodding student of the law and a newcomer to this
country in 18&7 to the position of general solicitor of the
Burlington road twenty years afterwards Is the proud
record of James E. Kelby. Born af little over forty-three
years ago on the Isle of Man, known In the time of Tacitus
an Mona Insula or Isle, or more anciently as Ubonla, Mr. Kelby has
carved for himself a home and fame in the new world. The tight
littlo Islet whose length does not exceed ' thirty miles and 'whose
breadth la about seven miles and whose area is about 220 square
ml log, is nearly equl-dlstant from England, Ireland and Scotland,
and parts of all three places can be seen easily from Sanefell's
Mount, the highest point of the isle, on a clear day.
Manx Land, made famous by Hall Caine, has never been con
quered, except at Its invitation or consent, and is today the most
Independent of British possessions. It was ruled by Northmen for
several centuries and afterwards by King Orry, the Dane, the Derbys
and later the Atholes. The British crown In 1829 acquired the
rlrhts of the Atholes In the island and benevolently assimilated It.
The paternal grandparents of Mr. Kelby migrated from England
to New Orleans about that time and both died there in 1847 of
yellow fever. Hip maternal great-grandfather was a preacher and
contemporary of John Wesley and rode the circuit with him. His
paternal grandmother was a relative of John Wesley. Tiring of
this country, his parents moved back to the Isle, of Man, where Mr.
Kelby was born.
The Isle of Man Is the one place of all the British possessions
where the principle of home rule exists. It has its own Parliament,
known as the House of Keys, which Is the supreme legislative body,
and a lieutenant governor representing the crown. It has been
suggested the Garden of Eden was In the little Isle of Man. Con
slder the ancient name Ubonla and the names Man and Mona. From
them you get the idea of man-bone, man's bone-woman, and Mona,
her name. Manx Land is peculiarly the home of the fairy, or
phanoderee. and ,tho tailless .cats and roosters. Its folklore and
, legend are, perhaps, unequaled In richness and teem with stories
of the fairy and the witch. The Inhabitants of the Island are In
tensely religious, sincere, Ood-fearlng people, the most of whoso
time is Bpent eliher at work or at prayer.
Doomed to Be a Preacher
Such were the early surroundings of James E. Kelby, who was
. brought up by Ood-fearlng parents. In his earliest youth he was
taught by his father and was able to read and write before he was
8 years of age. His father had a clergyman's career mapped out
for the youthful James and nothing was left undone to hurry along
his education to that end. He was sent to a private school for three
years and then attended an Episcopal academy for two years. Not
content with the usual methods of education, Mr. Kelby, sr., secured
the services of a Prof. Brown, a noted educator of that period, to
tutor his boy for college. His father's plan, for a ministerial career
was not to the liking of James, and when about to take his entrance
examinations he left home and came to the United States, being at
that time 16 years old. ' .
In preparation for the ministry James had often been called
upon to preach sermons and before he was 15 years old had
preached many sermons and was looked upon as a youth with the
brightest prospects iu the future In the profession chosen for him
by his father. The boyhood days of James at home were character
ized by an enforced devotion to things spiritual the more so as he
was to become a' minister and Sunday school and church twice
on- Sunday, prayer meeting; Wednesday and class meetings fre-
quently were a regular diet. It is said that the Manx language Is
a branch of the Celtic language, known as "Gad-Helic," which, of
course, Is given as the reason and accounts largely for the gad and
gab of the early years of James. The gift of gab has never left him.
So on the eve of his final preparation for the ministry James
et suit for this country and headed for Joe Davies county, Illinois,
where he had an uncle, with whom he visited for some time. Tiring
of the country life, he moved to Galena, 111., where he clerked In a
general store, and then in 1887 moved to Omaha, and has lived here
ever since. While in Galena he secured permission from Judge
W. D. McHugh to read some of the law books of his office and in
that way started on the road to the proud position he now occupies.
Judge McHugh moved tq Omaha about that time and Mr. Kelby
read law In his office In Omaha for a short time. With no funds
with which to attend a law school, ho. with others, conceived the
idea of forming the 'Omaha Law school, and this was done. Mr. .
Kelby being one of the promoters and organizers of the school.
Within two years after his arrival 'In Omaha he had mastered
enough of Blackstone and other noted writers of law books to take
the examination for admission to the Douglas county bar and was
successful In 1889.
N Dark Days for Youngster
During the time Mr. Kelby was rradlng law and subsequently,
after being admitted to the bar, he passed through the usual starva
tion period, many a time "carrying the banner" and longing for
some, quiet nook where he might lie down and sleep, and the strains
of "Home, Sweet Home" on some nearby piano brought tears and
dejection. His principal source of revenue during this starvation
period was the few dimes he earned by keeping the Justice docket
of Justice of the Peace Richard Dean Arden Wade and singing in the
Westminster Presbyterian church choir. During the year after he
was admitted to the bar Mr. Kelby entered the law firm of Switzler
& Mcintosh, but the business in his line did not pick up very fast,
if this story of Carl Smith, formerly of Omaha, Is taken to be true,
and Mr. Kelby admits that It is "substantially correct:"
"Reading with great interest the series of articles relating to
the chances of a young man for success In life. I am Impressed by
the recurrence of the statement that to the ambitious person an
opportunity will always come, and if that ambitious person is wise
enough to grasp that opportunity and make the most of It success
is very largely his from that time on.
"Well, it depends.
"Success Is bound to come, of course, if our beginner in his am
bition does the right thing at the right time, but if bis action is
all calculated for the advancement of himself, rather than the
proper performance of the work before him. he Is Just as likely as
not to fall, don't you think? If the young man hasn't gumption
he is likely to attempt to do too much at one breath, and by so at
tempting to fall utterly. It was Alfred Vargrave, was It not. who
was a man who achieved so little because of the much he conceived?
"Let us take a case in point. A study of It will show that suc
cess came -to one young man, not because he attempted wonders,
but because he was modestly anxious to keep from hounding for
ward Into the full view of the spectators. It Is the case of Jim
Kelby, and Jim Kelby's address Is, 'Assistant General Solicitor, Bur
lington ft Missouri Railway Headquarters.' Ten years ago Jim was
a hungry law student, battling around trying to fill all his head
with law and some of his stomach with food. He was 'a student
in the Justice shoo of R. D. A. Wade that same alphabetically
named Wade who created somewhat of a sensation last spring by
doing something or other probably very important, but most mys
terious In the matter of theosophy. Kelby's lines were reasonably
hard, and he ate sometimes and many times he did not. but he al
ways pounded away at Wade's law books. After awhile he. with
a drove of other quajdng culprits, appeared before the examining
committee of the' bar and In panicky distress be passed with high
Becomes a Real Lawyer
"He renounced Wade and the evil of bis vagabond Justice shop
and secured permission from the law firm of Switzler ft Mcintosh,
and not at all like the Joyous and Impecunious Wade Jim. I say."
obtained permission from this law firm to do all 1U bad debt col-
JAMES B. KELBT.
lecting for nothing. In return for which he was allowed access to had been disappointed several times In the trial of the cause and
me nrm s library, and (great delight of his soul) a little sign was
painted on the glass of the door, 'J. E. Kelby. Lawyer.' . It was a
modeBt little sign, away toward the bottom even below the words,
'Walk In.' Jim went In debt for the sign, but it was a good invest
ment, for It paid him a compound interest of pleasure on the obliga
tion to the painter. But nobody who 'walked in' ever asked for J.
E. Kelby, lawyer.
"Once toward the close of a court term it happened that both
declined to consent to continue. It was none of Kelby's business,
but he was loyally desperate and excited Just the same. He had
no money or he would have wired one of the members of the firm,
although there waB no 'chance of either getting back In time.
Night of Work for Him
"He had access to the files, so he hunted out the papers in the
rnw and nnrpd nvfir them Ha flavoured them! tin rnnnnmad thorn.
Switzler and Mcintosh were dlgnlfledly, magnificently out of town. Then at 10 o'clock, at night he went, supperless, on a search for the
Jlme was sitting In the office when Baxter, assistant local counsel Swltzler-Mclntosh client and hurried fcim down to the office and
rry Va D.nll..i ii . .... .
. . uuiuukihu ranroaa. waiKea in. Baxter had a grievance talked the matter over with him. At
BmBi Dom awuzier and Mcintosh. He also had a notice to leave, and at 9 q'clock in the morning he had two affidavits prepared
iiit uuuee was 10 tne enect that a certain
3 o'clock he began writing,
a certain Very important caUBO, iho rllent nttrned nnd one he sifirned himself. Then, without hrnak.
many times continued, was to be called peremptorily to trial on the fa8t, he hurried Into court and took his place at the lawyer's table,
morrow. Jim was not a member of the firm and none of Its secrets and when the court called thla case he stiffened back for the fight.
were eniruaiea io mm, nut he had heara somewhat of this case and
he knew it was a most important one. The man who would win
that case would win a great deal of credit
"Now, you think this story Is going to end In the regulation
way, but it Isn't.
" 'Defendant's ready, your h6npr,'r remarked eminent counsel,
Mr. Greene, from the other side of the table, Just as though this
were a very small affair aud not the turning point In Jim Kelby's
llfe'. " ' V
. - "'Is plaintiff ready?' inquired the court.
"Kelby told Baxter of the impossibility of Switzler or Mcintosh , "ThiB was that turning point of Kelby's.
appearing to try their side of the action, but Baxter was obdurate "'Your honor,' said the break fastless, sleepless, supperless
against a continuance. The thing had hung Are too long already, youngster, 'I desire to present a motion for a continuance and to
he said, and went away. Then Jim hurried to the office of Greene, offer two affidavits in support.' And he handed up the work of the
the chief local counsel of the Burlington and Baxter's superior, and night.
told of the Swltzler-Mclntosh absenteeism. Mr. Greene, however, "Then, indeed, was the eloquence of eminent counsel displayed.
He talked shout the sin of continuing this case further' and the, n
noyance and venation of counsel going away and trifling with the
court. - It was reprehensible of counsel. Infamous of counsel. Then
he talked about Plato. Mars and the beautiful 'land of Valhalla.
And ho moved that the case be dismissed at plaintiff's cost.
"The court looked down on Kelby then. Up roEe Jim.
" 'May it please the court,' he said, 'I don't know anything about
Plato or Mars or tho land of Valhalla, for I haven't seen any of 'em
mentioned In theSo pleadings. But I do know that I haven't had
any breakfast or any sleep or any supper on account of fixing up
those affidavits, anj If they ain't strong enough, why, with eminent
counsel's permission and your honor's sanction, I'll withdraw "em
temporarily and amend 'em by putting in something about Plato
and Mars and Valhalla. Begging your "honor'a' pardon, I desire to
say there's nobody on earth who can properly try plaintiff's case
but Mr. Switzler or Mr. Mcintosh, and they're both out of town,
and I ask for a continuance. '
Plea Wins the Court
"The Judge looked thoughtfully amused and' eminent counsel
stared across the table as Jim, all earnestness and without a
thought ,of having said anything but what was exactly right, col-.,
lapsed Into his chair with the tears springing to his eyes.
" 'Case is continued until next term,' said the court.
"Eminent counsel, Mr. Greene, caught Jim at the door. 'Young
man,' he said, 'I wish you'd come up to my office this afternoon. I
want to see you.' Jim called, and from that day forward the little
sign, 'J. E. Kelby, Lawyer,' on Switzler & Mcintosh's door told an
Inferential falsehood. For Jim's office wasn't there any more, but
was wlh Charles J. Greene, and M3 allowance from the Burlington
road was always sufficient for him to buy breakfast or send tele
grams if he wished, and when General Solicitor Marquette died and
Senator Manderson succeeded him, .the first thing the senator did
was to steal the local counsel's young man and make him assistant
"Of course it would have been quite natural for most young
men to rush into court and try to prosecute that case and surprise
Switzler & MclntoBh with a fine, big. fat verdict on. their return
home, and that is, perhaps, what you expected.' But James E.
Kelby, lawyer was bright enough to put his chanco for making a
hit away from him, and in bo doing he made a greater hit than he
had dreamed of." ,
Since he. has been in the employ of the Burlington road cases
have come thick and fast enough to satisfy the most indefatigable
worker, and especially siuce the passage of the Hepburn and other
bills by congress, since which time scarcely a move1 la made by any
of the officials of the road until after it is submitted to the legal
department for approval. Times have changed in railroading.
Formerly a road would do anything to get the business, but now the
rules as laid down by congress and the Interstate Commerce com
mission are followed implicitly, and woe unto ,the official who varies
from the rules and law. - .'."
Busy Man of Law Now
As general solicitor of the Burlington lines west of the Missouri'
Mr. Kelby must look after the legal end of the business in six states,
nearly all of, them having recently passed new laws for the'govern-"
ment of railroadsi For over . year the heavy work of the office
has fallen upon the shoulders i Mr. Kelby because of the indisposi
tion of General Manderson. .... V , '.
Mr. Kelby was married Inll84 to Miss Eugenie De ' Haven of
Council Bluffs and they have one child. 3 years old. Miss Aulta
Kelby. Love of nature Is one of the dominant features - of Mr.
Kelby's life, and the boy who, was not permitted in his youth to
whistle on Sunday and who never saw a playing card until coming
io tms country now often puts in his Sunday in communing with
nature. He often makes fishing excursions to the northern lakes
and occasionally shoulders a gun. In search of the game with which
western Nebraska abounds. To the end that he might the more
readily satisfy his love for-nature Mr. Kelby a few years ago bought
a 160-acre Improved farm two miles northwest from Florence and"
here he moved his family. During the summer. Just passed Mr.
Kelby received a flattering offer for his farm, and, taking Into con
sideration the time lost in reaching his office, he concluded to sell.
He now lives at 3436 Lincoln boulevard, which la a more speciflo
address than saying Bemis park, where the home is, located.
Modest to a degree that he does not take credit to himself for
the many things he does, Mr. Kelby has forged his way to the front
by hard work. "Volumes could be said of the gbod characteristics
of James E. Kelby, but nothing can be said of his faults, as he has
no bad ones," said a lifelong friend and associate In talking over
the recent promotion of Mr. Kelby. 'He Is a true friend,' and that
Is about the best thing you can say about any man, for' true friend
ships are the finest things In this life." - 4
"With the reorganization of the legal department of the Burling
ton road and the placing of more responsibility on the Omaha office,
the officers of the road did not look farther than Mr. Kelby in their
search of a man to take the place of General Manderson, who" was
given the position of consulting solicitor of the lines west of the
Missouri river. The boy with training tosUhe ministry is now ad
vising the employes of the great Hill line to live up to the laws.
Mr. Kelby is a member of the American Bar association, of the
Omaha club and of the Masonic fraternity.-
Out of a Dark and Silent World Into a Brighter One
Blind, Deaf and Dumb Anita Now a Wage Earner and No Longer Shut Off from Rest of Humanity as She Was for Sixteen Years
ERE is a friend. Anita. She has come
to take you to work."
A friend? That Is a new word.
Anita had learned only yesterday the
meaning of the word work, but she
had never yet known the name friend.
Cautiously her arm extended, carefully the
delicate finger tips stroked the shoulder, the arm,
the wrist of another girl. The other girl grasped
the slender fingers in both her hands, patted them
gently, squeezed them lovingly and a thrill of re
sponsive appreciation swept through the blind
A friend. Was this a friend? . Someone to
love, to go to work with? A shade of hesitation
clouded the brow of the blind girl. If this friend
M to lead her through the streets she must be
unlike herself, therefore could she understand her
Those who cannot see or hear or speak may
not be trusted outdoors alone. Those who can see
and hear and speak do not understand the sight
less silent ones.
No, she must have been too hasty. Only her
mother could comprehend her thoughts and feel
ings. This seeing, speaking stranger could never
have anything in common with Anita.
A sudden hug and kiss broke in upon her
doubts. A swift touch of her shoulders, a quick
tap on her head, indicated that her companion
would have her put on her coat and hat Ah, the
friend did know how to speak to her, after all.
She would trust herself to her guidance, then, and
go with her.
This little scene wjis the beglnnlng'of a friend
ship exist Ir.g between two girls employed by the
Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind 'at the new
printing plant at 306 West Fifty-third street, Xew
Shut In from the world had been Anita for
sixteen long years, ever since she was a baby of 1.
Every avenue of usual communication has for her
been closed; only by a code of signs evolved by
necessary Interchange of Ideas can she communi
cate with her mother, the one person who, can
make herself understood by the deaf, 'dumb and
As a blue-eyed baby Anita tbJdled . prattling
from one room to another of the fla where she
was born, while her father and mother toiled and
saved toward the little farm which was to bo their
home, hardly had .the country home become a
reality whfn disaster followed upon disaster.
The co'.tage burned, the father died and the
mother returned to the city to earn a living for
herself and her daughter. One malady after an
other visited the child, each robbing the little one
of some essential faculty. The ears refused to
bear Intelligence to the brain, the tongue soon for
got its lew words, the eyes no longer beheld the
glories of the world. The little maid was shut in
to a life of silence and darkness.
A few years' attendance at school saved the
brain from atroihy and motherly love suggested
light tasks to be performed at home to occupy
mind and hands. The child learned to wash and
iron, to wash the dishes, to tidy the rooms and to
sew. - Recently she acquired the skill to make
flowers of colored papers.
"The burden of the blind is not their blind
ness, buftbeir enforced idleness," says Helen
Keller. And bo Anita's days offered scarcely
enough variety to make their recurrence a Joy.
"Who can blame her for not wanting to get up
In the morning?" says her mother. "I'm sure I
says to myself. 'Let the poor thing sleep,' and I
don't disturb her. But now It's so different. Lor,
she can't stay In bed o' mornings now, she's so
afraid Lily'U come for her unexpected. She's
up pud" dre:,ed and her room in order so to be
ready to go in case they send for her."
The employment of this girl by the managers
of the Ziegler Magazine has opened the door wide
to a new existence. To earn mony, to save every
cent of it, too, Is a delight never dreamed of dur
ing all the many years of quiet solitude.
Now for eight days of each month does she
find herself busy, walking slowly down the length
of a table piled with sheets of paper, each plainly
numbered by raised figures In the corner to be
sorted for the magazine, and placed on another
table for the cover. Back and forth, back and
forth, dependent wholly upon the sense of touch,
does the girl walk and work all day, receiving at
the. end of the eight days eight crisp dollar bills,
whose rattling vibrations are music to her
A sense of entity possesses her as never be
fore. No longer a cumberer cf the earth, but one
who Is in some degree self-supporting,, she wears
an expression of self-respect and dignity never
before characterizing her.
The bright expression flitting over her r
and obliterating the usual air of self-repression
when her new-found friend approaches shows the
change that has come Into, her life. Until this
new experience came into her life no person save
her mother had entered the fastnesses of this
"How do they communicate?" asks the ob
server, who notices the girls together during the
noon hour. N
When the whistle blows the girls, of course,
stop work, all but Anita. There are several other
bliud girls employed in the same loft, but none of
them are deaf. Anita works on until Lily comes
. to cause her to drop the paper.
Slipping her arm caressingly around the blind
girl's waist, the fair-haired companion leads her
to a table in a corner apart from where the other
girls are eating. Daintily she spreads the lunch
eon fro u their two baskets, carefully she assists
her friend to enjoy the bread and butter and Jam
with an occasional cookey or sweetmeat for a sur
prise. Not a word Is exchanged. No glance, no whis
per, no laughter, no Interchange of girlish confi
dences mark this midday meal. Yet a look of
serene happiness Is visible on each countenance,
as by unexplalnable telepathic correspondence
messages of good will. comradeship and
comfort transmit themselves, from one to the
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