Timeline

January 7, 1826 — Oliver Hudson Kelley is born on January 7, the fifth child of a Boston tailor.

1847 to 1848 — Kelley leaves home and travels to Chicago. He works briefly as a reporter with the Chicago Tribune and receives training to become a telegrapher.

April 29, 1849 — Oliver Kelley marries 18-year-old Lucy Earle from Chillecothe, Ohio. That summer, the Kelleys travel to the new territory of Minnesota with a letter of introduction to Governor Alexander Ramsey.

1850 — When one branch of the legislature proposes a bill making Itasca the capital of the territory, Kelley rushes to stake a land claim near the trading post. The bill doesn’t pass and the Kelleys move to the property and learn to farm. They build a small one-and-a-half-story house and the first frame barn north of Minneapolis. They trade with the Ho-Chunk people camped across the river.

February 1851 — Lucy gives birth to a daughter, but dies two months later. Oliver's mother comes to care for the infant, but baby Lucy dies in early fall.

July 7, 1852 — Oliver Kelley marries Temperance Baldwin Lane, an Anoka schoolteacher, who also came to Minnesota from Boston.

June 12, 1854 — Oliver and Temperance have their first daughter, Julia Wilkin Kelley.

September 9, 1855 — Frances (Fanny) Louisa Kelley is born.

1856 — Kelley becomes postmaster, notary public, and justice of the peace of Northwood. A hotel, general store, factory, and school are built.

1857 — The financial panic forces Kelley to relinquish his interest in Northwood, and the town quickly dies.

January 19, 1858 — Grace Hortense Kelley is born.

January 7, 1859 — Garaphelia Kelley is born.

1860 — Kelley switches to market gardening of fruits and vegetables to sell to urban areas.

August 1862 — The U.S.-Dakota War begins, and Kelley complains to Gov. Ramsey that passing U.S. soldiers seized his horses and wagon.

December 4, 1867 — Kelley and six others form the Order of the Patrons of Husbandry, also known as the Grange.

1868 — Temperance’s niece, Caroline Hall, becomes Oliver’s assistant and is in charge of the Grange’s organizational work. She demands that women should have an equal role in the Grange.

November 24, 1871 — Because Kelley couldn’t pay off his mortgage, the farm is foreclosed. The family moves to Washington, D.C., and he works full-time as the secretary for the Grange.

1871 to 1874 — The popularity of the Grange grows exponentially across the nation. It succeeds in promoting legislation to regulate railroad rates and unfair weights and measures.

1873 — Kelley buys back the farm with some financial manipulation and help from relatives.

1875 — The Grange begins to decline in popularity. Kelley decides to return to the farm and rebuild a larger house to host his Grange office.

1875 to 1886 — His 21-year-old daughter, Julia, takes over the farm operation and expands it by 29 acres. With help from Fanny and hired hands, she runs the farm for the next 11 years. During the winter months, she joins her parents in Florida.

1878 — Kelley resigns from the Grange and founds a new city, Rio Carabelle, Florida. He serves as mayor, Franny as postmistress, and Grace as a school teacher.

1892 — The Grange recognizes Caroline Hall as “equal to a ‘Founder of the Order.’”

1901 — The Kelley family sells the farm and moves back to Washington, D.C. The farm passes through a series of private owners until 1935.

December 24, 1907 — Garaphelia Kelley dies.

1910 — The Kelley Farm is now referred to as “Riverside Farm” and is inhabited by Fred Clark, a friend and former neighbor of the Kelleys.

May 24, 1911 — Temperance Lane Kelley dies.

1913 — Shortly after his 87th birthday party, Oliver H. Kelley dies.

January 1, 1916 — Julia Wilkin Kelley dies.

December 11, 1917 — Caroline Hall dies.

September 6, 1923 — Grace Kelley dies.

September 12, 1925 — The family line ends when Frances Kelley passes away.

1935 — The National Grange obtains ownership of the farm. Efforts are made to repair the land and buildings. The Oliver H. Kelley Farm monument is constructed on Highway 10.

October 19 to 21, 1937 — The State Grange of Minnesota hosts the 65th Annual Convention at the farm.

1942 — The State Grange starts a youth camp at the Kelley Farm for young people to participate in instructional and recreational activities.

1954 — The National Grange opens the historic house to the public.

1962 — The National Grange transfers ownership of the Kelley Homestead to the Minnesota Historical Society.

July 19, 1964 — The Oliver Kelley Homestead is designated as a National Historic Landmark.

1975 — Restoration begins on the Kelley Farm. The barn, in bad condition, is completely reconstructed to the original style, with a few original beams and posts remaining.

1981 — A visitor center is built, and interpretive programming begins.

2015 to 2017 — The farm undergoes an expansion that includes a new visitor center and exhibits that tell a broader and more contemporary story of food and agriculture in Minnesota. This project was funded through a 2014 capital budget appropriation of $10.5 million from the State of Minnesota and private funding.