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Ken Kelley's 1920 20-40 Case tractor with Mel Kestler, Helen Case Brigham and Ray Colburn of Tahlequah, OK.
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Ken Kelley firing his 1917 6 HP Case portable grinding feed at the 1988 Oklahoma Steam and Gas Engine Show.
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Ken Kelley and his perfectly restored 1911 Maxwell in one of his buildings at home.
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Ken Kelley at home with some of his John Deere tractors and Case steamers: 1915 30, 1915 65, 1911 60 and 1920 50.
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Ken and his 1943 35 ton narrow gauge 2-4-0 H. K. Porter steam locomotive #6557.
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Ken Kelley in front of his tractors, a 1920 45-65 and 1925 25-50 Averys and a 1920 20-40 Case.
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Ken Kelley and Mel Kestler by Ken's 1922 30-60 Aultman Taylor tractor in one of his home storage buildings.

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 10×20′ 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

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.

Ken’s 36′ narrow gauge passenger train operates on
approximately one mile of 90 lb. rail located on the Oklahoma Steam
& Gas Engine Showgrounds at Pawnee. The train consists of a
1943 35-ton 2-4-0 H.K. Porter locomotive #6557 with 175 lbs. steam
pressure, one flat car and two passenger cars with a capacity
always filled to capacity. During its trip around the showgrounds,
the train is held-up by a posse of several horseback riders and the
passengers are robbed and some kidnapped.

Ken has a large well-equipped shop with restroom, an 80′ bed
27′ swing lathe, milling machine, etc. He has a large stock of
engine parts and supplies, all properly kept in wall bins.

Ken purchased and started to rebuild his 110 Case steamer in
1973. He was short on information and needed many parts. He
remembered an article I had written in the July-August 1972 Iron
Men Album about spending a ‘Weekend With 110 Case’ that
belonged to Joe Richardson of Orofino, Idaho. Ken contacted Joe who
helped him locate the missing parts and Ken had his 110 Case
operating within a year. For 12 years thereafter, the Kelleys had a
barbeque party and dance for all the people that helped in finding
the needed parts. Last year 240 people attended his ‘missing
parts’ party. As a result of these parties, the Kelleys built
their large steam operated barbeque.

Ken was the former John Deere dealer in Pawnee. He was in the
farming and ranching business for 40 years raising and feeding
2,000 head of cattle originally from the Four 6666 Ranch in Texas.
He also was an oil well producer. Ken has been active in civic
affairs: President of the Pawnee Chamber of Commerce, President of
Pawnee County Cattlemen’s Association, been on Advisory Board
of Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association for 15 years and past
Director of Pawnee Bill State Park. Ken also, as honorary Lt.
Governor of the state of Oklahoma, served on the Governor’s
Oklahoma Commission of Goodwill. He has been an active member and
Treasurer of the Oklahoma Steam Threshers Association for 14

It was a pleasure to meet the Brighams. Helen and Brig are a
warm friendly couple. They are doing an excellent job as co-editors
of The Heritage Eagle, newsletter of the International J.I. Case
Heritage Foundation, Silver Spring, Maryland 20901. The foundation
held its first exposition on May 1-3, 1987 at the Pawnee engine
show which was a huge success.

The Oklahoma Steam and Gas Engine Show was held at Pawnee,
Oklahoma on May 6, 7, and 8, 1988. The show is one of the largest
in the country. It is a very aggressive show with plenty of action.
There are several things going on at the same time. A lot of people
were interested in and visited the operating 100-ton Allis Chalmers
Corliss steam engine on display. President Chady Atteberry kept
things running smoothly without any problems. The show had many
fine and unusual attractions including Chady and his ‘Elgin
Watch’ Case 40 on the 50% Case incline, Amos Rixman operating
the horsepower testing Prony brake, Lyman Knapp’s 1892 Canton
Aultman Monitor 10 HP traction steam engine, Kenneth Kelley’s
steam narrow gauge passenger train and his 110 HP Case traction
engine, etc. There was lots of good old fashioned delicious home
cooked food.

I am indebted to Arthur P. Brigham for his help and cooperation
in connection with this story of the Kelleys. Brig, with his expert
photography knowledge and camera work, took all of the excellent
pictures for this article.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment