The Fabulous Oklahoma Kelleys

| January/February 1989

712 Chaps Road, S.E. Rio Rancho, New Mexico 87124

The Fabulous Pawnee Oklahoma Kelleys, Minerva and Kenneth. They work hard at and support the Pawnee Show and are a great hostess and host who know how to really entertain their guests.

We arrived in Pawnee, Oklahoma two days before the Oklahoma Steam & Gas Engine Show, which started on May 6, 1988. After several attempts to locate the showgrounds, we drove into the Kelleys' yard to ask directions. I introduced myself to Kenneth. That's as far as we got. We did not get to the showgrounds that day. I had heard of the Kelleys for many years through magazine articles and several mutual friends like Chady Atteberry of Blackwell, Oklahoma, Harold Ottaway of Wichita, Kansas and Joe and Marie Richardson of Orofino, Idaho. The Kelleys knew of me through the same friends and my magazine articles about steam engines. Ken and Minerva asked us to stay that evening for a wonderful dinner-party. It was great seeing old friends and meeting new ones. The Kelleys' dinner-party invitations continued like that for the remaining five evenings we were in Pawnee. We sure had a great time.

Ken and Minerva are both avid collectors. It's hard to name anything they do not collect. Minerva collects cobalt blue glassware, old dishes, lacy pillows and ribbons, etc. She also weaves rugs and makes 30' long doll clowns as a hobby. All of Minerva's things are nicely displayed in her lovely home. Ken has two large Star metal buildings that are insulated and heated which are full of his collectibles of every kind imaginable. In addition to his steam engines, old tractors and steam passenger train, he collects antique cars. One of his automobiles is a completely restored 1911 Maxwell similar to Jack Benny's. His 1928 President Class Studebaker car looks better now than when it left the factory. The famous Anheuser-Busch Clydesdale eight horse hitch team visited his place and the engine show. As a memento of their visit, the brewery sent Ken a 10x20' picture of the Clydesdales which he has framed on the wall.

The Kelleys are fortunate in having substantial resources and possessions which they are more than willing to share with their friends. At the Oklahoma Steam and Gas Engine Show at Pawnee, Ken is happy to operate his little 6 HP Case portable engine on a feed grinder while his friends play with his 110 HP Case, his other steam engines and tractors and his H.K. Porter 2-4-0 steam passenger train. Ken's support and equipment plays an important part in the show. Minerva is a wonderful hostess and shares her lovely 3,000 sq. ft. home with her friends which is like grand central station with people coming and going. The Kelleys have open house during the engine show. Minerva works hard all day at the show and then comes home and fixes dinner for a large number of people and helps them party afterwards. The Kelleys can sleep and feed 30 guests. One portion of one of their insulated and heated Star metal buildings is fixed to entertain their friends during inclement weather. It is equipped with a large kitchen, dining area and lounge/living room. It has separate restrooms for women and men and is equipped with a shower room. This year the Kelleys invited 60 guests to a buffalo barbeque in honor of Helen Case Brigham and her husband, Arthur, better known as Brig. Last year in connection with the engine show, the Kelleys had a beef barbeque at their place for 500 guests. The barbeque spit is turned by a steam engine.

Ken has restored the following steam engines and tractors which are nicely painted, restored and in perfect operating condition: i.e. a 1917 6 HP Case portable steamer, 1920 10-ton Case road roller, Case steam traction engines, 1915 30, 1912 36, 1920 40, 1912 45, 1920 50, 1911 60, 1914 65, 1915 65, 1911 75 with 36' drivers, 1912 80 and 1913 110 #29514 and a 1920 20-40 Case tractor, 1922 30-60 Aultman Taylor tractor and two Avery tractors, a 1920 45-65 and 1925 25-50.


Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

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