Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Ad Astra Per Aspera

On the seal of Kansas great--
Great the seal and great the state--
Is a sky that bright stars gem.
And above, the apothegm,
Ad astra per aspera.

Ad astra per aspera!
Thus the Kansas pioneers,
In past battle clouded years,
Fought their fierce disputed way.
Not in battle's fine array,
Uniform and epaulette
And long lines of bayonet,
But with rifle and shotgun,
Uniformed in plain homespun,
Fought they--won--and realized
That their way was blood baptized.
Ad astra per aspera,

Brown is dead, but freedom lives.
Now, in peace, the teacher gives
His life to the Kansas youth,
Dreaming not of future fame,
Hoping not for deathless name,
Teaching virtue, honor, truth,
Love of country, loyalty,
That the dawning future age
Well may guard this heritage.
Satisfied that holding ground
May the way sometimes be found--
Ad astra per aspera.

Teacher! When the gate unbars
And swings open 'mong the stars;
When upon the streets of gold
You tread softly, as of old
In the schoolroom, may One greet
Your home coming with a sweet
Look of kindness. May He say,
"I am glad to welcome you!
I was once a teacher, too;
You, as I, thus found the way--
Ad astra per aspera."

-E.E. Kelley
Chanute, Kansas

Elmer Ellsworth Kelley was born in Warren County, Indiana on September 13, 1861. He came to Kansas in 1887, originally settling in Toronto. He was principal at their schools for six years then moved to Chanute where he was principal of the high school and then superintendent. He returned to Toronto in 1909, buying the local newspaper.

Kelley married Lillie Sutton in Indiana in 1882 and they had six children--Ruth (1884-1974), Marcia (1886-1979), Albert (1889-1940), Elmer (1891-1972), Thomas (1895-1967), and Katherine (1902-1999). Kelley passed away on January 31, 1940. Lillie died May 7, 1960. Both are buried in Valley View Cemetery in Garden City, Kansas.

The Kansas State Historical Society has a massive collection of letters, documents and genealogy compiled by Katherine Kelley Powell about her family with items dating back to the 1850s.

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