Orris U. Kellogg

Orris U. Kellogg owned a 700-acre farm on the west bank of the Tioughnioga River where he bred and raised cattle and racehorses. His cattle were some of the most highly prized stock in the United States, and he had a racetrack on his property in order to indulge his love of light harness racing. Kellogg purchased the farm in 1876 and called it Riverside Farm. If you have ever driven down Kellogg Road, headed towards Blodgett Mills, there was a gorgeous barn standing with two houses. This was the O.U. Kellogg Farm.

.O.U. Kellogg was born in Taylor on September 19, 1848, to parents Stephen and Nancy Dillenbeck Kellogg. When he completed his early education, he went off to the University of Albany (now Albany Law School). He was so brilliant, he was not required to take the bar examination! And due to an oversight, he was admitted to practice before his 21st birthday! He graduated on May 26, 1869, and moved to Cortland where he began to practice law on June 3, 1869. This man was not one to waste time! Orris would practice law up until his death in 1935, and he was the attorney for many organizations with which he was involved. New York State Governor Nathan Miller began his law career in the office of Kellogg.

Kellogg was involved in many organizations, including the Cortland Trust Company, the Cortland County Agricultural Society, and both the Franklin Hatch Library and the Cortland Free Library. His heart was bound to bovine related interests, and he spent 20 years as the president of the Holstein-Friesian Association of America. He was also one of the organizers of the state Holstein Association.
Kellogg’s most lasting legacy has been the money that he and his brother Jasper gave to the Kellogg Free Library in Cincinnatus. Their generous gift has kept the library functioning comfortably for decades. In fact, the Kellogg Free Library gave a gift to Cortland County Historical Society to build our research center, which is aptly named the Kellogg Memorial Research Center.
Orris U. Kellogg was 86 years old when he took his last walk from his house to his barn. He was going to check on the livestock on February 10, 1935, and he fell on an ice patch which knocked him unconscious. He lay there until some children discovered him and ran for help. He was carried to the house and Dr. Higgins was called. He regained consciousness long enough to speak some, but he died shortly after. People were shocked by his death—he was an institution in Cortland County. His body was taken to the Kellogg Free Library in Cincinnatus where he lay in state before being removed to the Taylor Cemetery. He is buried in the family plot there.
Kellogg Farm, Kellogg Road

O.U. Kellogg never married, and his nephew Walter G. Kellogg was his heir. Whilst cleaning out his estate, Walter discovered a thank you letter to Orris from President Grover Cleveland. Kellogg had sent some hens to President and Mrs. Cleveland in 1887 and President Cleveland expressed their thanks and indicated that Mrs. Cleveland was “delighted with her bantams.” What a fun little discovery and a reminder that Cortland had more than one connection to President Cleveland. (Daniel S. Lamont was Secretary of War under President Cleveland and his childhood home is now the Lamont Memorial Free Library in McGraw.) ~Tabitha

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