One of the ablest and best known business men of Atchison county, is Philip Killey, a lumber dealer of Effingham. To a student of biography there is nothing more interesting than to examine the life history of self-made men and to detect the elements of character which have enabled them to pass on the highway of life many of the companions of their youth who in the outset of their career were more advantageously equipped and endowed. The subject of this review has through his own efforts obtained an honorable position and marked prestige among the men of his adopted county, and it must be said that with signal conspicuousness he is the architect of his own fortunes, and his success amply justifies the application of the somewhat hackneyed but most expressive title, "a self-made man."
Mr. Killey was born August 1, 1845, on the Isle of Man, where his parents, Philip and Catherine (Quirk) Killey, were also natives, married and spent their lives. He obtained a good common school education in his native land and then worked for several years as clerk in a general store in Ramsey, on that island. At the end of that time he went to Australia, and spent four years in gold mining in Ballarat. In 1871 he returned home, where he spent a year. During that time he was married to Miss Jane C. Lace, a daughter of Enos and Catherine (Clucas) Lace.
In 1872 Mr. Killey came to the United States with his wife, locating at Atchison, Kansas, where he engaged in the grain business, in which he remained six years. He was very successful in his enterprise and continued in this line until 1879, when he was appointed grain inspector for Atchison county by the board of trade, and subsequently grain inspector for the state. He held these two offices for nineteen years, fulfilling his duties to the satisfaction of all concerned. In 1897, after retiring from official business, Mr. Killey bought the interest of Gilbert Campbell in the lumber firm of Campbell & Walker at Effingham, the name being then changed to Walker & Killey, and in October, 1899, he purchased the interest of Mr. Walker and became the sole proprietor. He deals extensively in lumber and building materials and has large yards and does a large volume of business, having yards at Netawaka, where the business is done under the name of Netawaka Lumber Company, and managed by Percy L. Killey, a son of Mr. Killey.. Their business methods are reliable and their earnest desire to please their patrons has secured to them gratifying success.
In 1879 Mrs. Killey died, leaving two children, Florence and Percy Lace, the latter engaged in the lumber business at Netawaka, Kansas, as mentioned above. Mr. Killey was again married in 1884, his second wife being Catharine Lace, a sister of his first wife. He owns a fine farm of two hundred acres, seven miles west of Atchison, which is under good cultivation. Personally Mr. Killey is a man of fine, pleasant manners and highly esteemed by his fellow citizens. He has proved himself in all the relations of life an earnest, honest, upright man and a citizen of whom any community might justly be proud.