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History and GovernmentCongressional BiographiesOregon

James Kerr KELLY

(1819-1903)
Senate Years of Service:
1871-1877
Party:
Democrat

KELLY, James Kerr, a Senator from Oregon; born in Center County, Pa., February 16, 1819; attended the country schools and Milton and Lewisburg Academies; graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1839; studied law at Carlisle, Pa.; admitted to the bar in 1842 and commenced practice in Lewistown, Mifflin County, Pa.; deputy attorney general for Mifflin County, Pa.; went to the California gold fields in 1849, and later, in 1851, to Oregon Territory and settled in Portland, where he engaged in the practice of law; one of three commissioners for the codification of the Territorial laws in 1852; member, Territorial legislature 1853-1857, and was twice its president; lieutenant colonel of the First Regiment, Oregon Mounted Volunteers, in the Yakima Indian War in 1855 and 1856; a member of the State constitutional convention in 1857; member, State senate 1860-1864; unsuccessful candidate for election in 1864 to the Thirty-ninth Congress; unsuccessful candidate for election in 1866 for Governor of Oregon; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1871, to March 3, 1877; was not a candidate for reelection; chief justice of the State supreme court 1878-1882; resumed the practice of law in Portland, Oreg.; moved to Washington, D.C., in 1890 and continued the practice of law until his death there on September 15, 1903; interment in Rock Creek Cemetery.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present

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