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KELLYVILLE, TX

KELLYVILLE, TEXAS. Kellyville, four miles west of Jefferson in Marion County, was the site of one of the state's first heavy industry experiments, the Kelly Foundry, Furnace, and Plow Company. Kellyville was originally called Four-Mile Branch and was a popular campsite for wagoners in transit between Jefferson and other communities throughout northeast and north central Texas. In 1848 Zachariah Lockett and John A. Stewart established a small foundry and furnace at Four-Mile Branch, at which they manufactured plows, repaired wagons, and made spare parts for other agricultural equipment. George Addison Kelly joined the firm in 1852 as foreman of the company's operation. Kelly became a partner in the firm in 1858 and established himself as sole owner by 1860.

Four-Mile Branch became known in local parlance as Kellyville during this two-year period, though official records listed its name as Kellysville. Although its growth was interrupted by the Civil War, the company produced ammunition and farming implements for the Confederacy, and a considerable community of employees grew up near the ironworks.

After the war Kelly added to his plant by purchasing Nash's Iron Foundry in western Marion County, and in 1874 he rebuilt his blast furnace at Kellyville, increasing his smelting capacity. In 1883 the name was officially changed to Kellyville. The Kelly Plow Company was the community's focus; it provided a prosperous economy that produced two churches, a school, a hotel, and a post office, which was established in 1883. By 1880 the Kelly Iron Works was listed as the state's outstanding producer of agricultural implements, the Kelly Blue Plow being its most popular finished product. However, due to the loss of cheap water transport following removal of the Red River Raft, a fire that destroyed his furnace, and a joint-stock arrangement with the state Grange not suitable to him, Kelly closed his foundry and moved his plow production operation to Longview in 1882. Kellyville rapidly declined.

After the removal of George Kelly's manufacturing enterprise Kellyville began to resemble other Marion County farm communities, which depended primarily on truck farming, beef cattle, and small dairy operations. The post office was discontinued in 1908, and Kellyville's population declined from about 1,000 in 1860 to twenty by 1933. In 1936 the Texas Centennial Committee erected a historical marker commemorating the Kelly Iron Works. Today Kellyville stands as a small rural community whose economy is tied to the burgeoning tourist trade of Jefferson's historical district and Caddo Lake State Park.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

T. Lindsay Baker, Ghost Towns of Texas (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1986). Vera Lea Dugas, "Texas Industry, 1860–1880," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 59 (October 1955). Mrs. Arch McKay and Mrs. H. A. Spellings, A History of Jefferson (Jefferson, Texas, 1936).

Mark Howard Atkins

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Mark Howard Atkins, "KELLYVILLE, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hvk12), accessed August 20, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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