Walter Kelso

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Walter Kelso

Date of Birth: August 8, 1892
Date of Death: 1964
Place of Birth: Galveston, Texas
Known For: Kelso fowl


By Norris Pannell (The Gamecock, February 1993)

Galveston Island is an island off the coast of Texas, on the northeastern end of which is Galveston. The length is 30 miles with population at 6,200. Galveston has a railroad service geared to its needs as a port. Truck lines entering the city provide freight and passenger service. Galveston’s industries are shipping, warehousing and railroading which are geared up for the cities industrial activities. The Gulf, Colorado, and Santa Fe railroad have their general office at Galveston. Over half of the products raised, refine or made are exported from Galveston in that vast coastal area.

I will mention the John Sealy hospital, which is known worldwide. And also the beautiful mansions that were built before 1900, that lasted out the hurricanes and are still beautiful.

The terrible day for Galveston was September 8, 1900 when 5,000 people perished. They know there was something out there but in those days their equipment wasn’t accurate enough and they waited too long to leave the island and they got cut off.

Mr. Kelso was born on August 8, 1892, in Galveston, Texas, and his mother and father were pioneer settlers of Galveston. Mr. Kelso started out as a messenger boy for Western Union. He then started working for his brother in the construction business. Mr. Kelso took over the company in 1921, and later changed the name to Gulf Coast Construction Co. He was responsible for the 1939 Causway, which connects Galveston Island with the main land. And of course this firm helped build the sea wall around the city.

Mr. Kelso started with gamefowl after he attended a meet at Opelousas, La., and said he was so impressed with their courage and gameness. He stated by 1927 he was doing well in the business world. He hired himself a feeder. He also stated he has close business relations with John H. Madigan and started using some of his fowl.

I have always wondered if Madigan and Kelso didn’t first get to know one another when they were working for the Western Union. Anyway I do know that Madigan was working for the Western Union when he made the Texas Rangers.

Something I forgot: In the Civil War, Galveston was the confederates great port, a pivotal point in the movement of supplies. In 1862, the city was taken by union forces. It was retaken a few months later. On New Years Day in 1863, the Battle of Galveston was fought and when the Civil War ended, Galveston was still held by the confederacy.

In Galveston, parks and garden abound. It is sometimes called “Oleander City” because there is more than a million bushes of more than sixty varieties, ranging from purest white to deepest crimson, that bloom virtually the year around. The Oleander Fete is held annually in the spring. So this is what Mr. Kelso chose to name his fowl, “Oleander Reds.”

After Mr. Madigan’s death on September 16, 1942, Mr. Kelso fell heir to his fowl. Many thought Mr. Law would get them but Mr. Madigan chose Mr. Kelso.

Mr. Gus Frithiof fed for Mr. Kelso and Mr. J. M. Frost at the same seasons. They all three highly recommended one another.

If you’re ever touring Texas, you might want to visit Galveston, Texas. It has an international airport and all that. Besides, you can see the Causway that Walter A. Kelso built. And Galveston has lots of history.

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