JOHN MARTIN KELLEY was a real estate developer and contractor in South Jersey and elsewhere in the first decades of the 1900s. A short list of the projects completed and of his other interests, published in 1926, bears this out.

South Jersey: A History 1624-1924


In addition to being the head of the largest and most important contracting firm in South Jersey, John Martin Kelley is one of the leading realtors, builders, land developers and financial men in Southern New Jersey. He is prominent in all civic and political affairs and in club and religious circles. 

John Martin Kelley was born in Camden, February 28, 1870. the son of James Kelley, a native of Ireland and an employee for over forty years of the West Jersey & Seashore Railroad, he died in 1910; and the son of Julia (Byrne) Kelley, who died shortly after her husband. 

Educated in the Liberty School, Camden, Mr. Kelley entered the business world at an early age. His first work was as cash boy in the store of Strawbridge and Clothier, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with which company he remained two years, and thereafter, up to the time he entered in business for himself, John Martin Kelley was secretary to J. J. Burleigh, Vice-president of the Public Service Corporation. 

Mr. Kelley organized the Kelley-McFeeley Company, general contractors, with offices at No. 432 Market Street. Camden. In 1916, planning a gigantic contracting concern, he bought out his partner and set about the reorganization of the firm. On May 10. of that year, Mr. Kelley organized the John M. Kelley Contracting Company, which in a few years became the leading concern in its field in South Jersey, Mr. Kelley as its president, treasurer, and general manager. 

Since its inception, the company has done much important work for the city of Camden, and for the county of Camden, and indeed, for the entire State of New Jersey. It has built two-thirds of the celebrated White Horse Pike between Camden and Atlantic City, laid all of the original street paving in Merchantville, Haddonfield. Audubon, Oaklyn, Woodlynne, and Gloucester; has rebuilt seven miles of the Burlington Pike, between Camden and Palmyra, seven miles of the Marlton Pike, from Camden to Ellisburg, paved Mount Ephraim Pike from the city line to Yorkship Village, Kings Highway from Ellisburg to Mount Ephraim; laid Belgian block paving and rebuilt double trolley tracks from Cove Road, Merchantville to Twelfth Street, Camden; built tracks and paving in Beverly and Riverton; constructed several large bridges, notably the Strauss-Basculle lift bridge over the Newton Creek between Camden and Gloucester; erected the concrete arch bridge on Nicholson Road over Newton Creek; built the Public Service Trestle Bridge from Warren Street, Gloucester, to Yorkship Village; constructed all of the slips, launching ways and concrete piers of the Pusey & Jones Shipyards, Gloucester; constructed sewage disposal plants and sewer systems in many communities, including Plainfield, Oaklyn, Toms River, Palmyra, and Pennsauken Township; built several main connecting sewers in East Camden, and about twenty-five miles of sewerage system in Pennsauken Township; laid the entire conduit system of the Public Service Corporation on Broadway, Federal and Market streets, Camden.

An official in nearly a score of real estate concerns, Mr. Kelley has developed many subdivisions and sections of Camden, notably the beautiful Parkside section, now the leading residential section of Camden. Mr. Kelley is a director in the Southern Towns Realty Company and the Royal Realty Company, of Miami, Florida; in the Parkside Land Company, the Forest Hill Realty Company, the Green Acres Company, the Investors Securities Company, the Boardwalk Land Company, the O. K. Investment Company, the White Horse Pike Land and Development Company, of Camden, New Jersey; the Harrison Manor Realty Company, the West End Land Company, the Kelley-Stewart Land Company, and the J. R. Quigley Company, of Gloucester, New Jersey, the latter being one of the largest lumber and builders' supplies businesses in South Jersey; the Jensen Manufacturing Company, of Palmyra, New Jersey, makers of laundry equipment. In addition, he is a director in the West Jersey Title and Guaranty Company, the Economy, the Shipbuilders' Home, the Bishop Bayley and the North Camden Building and Loan Associations. 

On January 28, 1904, Mr. Kelley organized the Shipbuilders' Home Building and Loan Association from among the employees of the New York Shipbuilding Company, the record of which association he is very proud. This association has operated successfully for over twenty-one years, and now has assets amounting to $976,124.11. During this period of years, the association has had only one foreclosure, which is rather a unique record for a building and loan association. 

The P. A. Stewart Company, of which Mr. Kelley is treasurer, developed the borough of Highland Park, and the well-known Monmouth Terrace section of Gloucester; the White Horse Pike Land and Development Company developed Stratford, another borough: while the Harrison Manor Realty Company developed beautiful Harrison Manor in Gloucester.

Mr. Kelley is a member of the Knights of Columbus in the Haddon Heights Chapter, at the time of the organization of which he was Chancellor of the Camden Council of the order, he belongs to the Tavistock Country Club, the Camden Kiwanis Club, and the Camden Club. He is affiliated with the Church of St. Rose of Lima, of the Roman Catholic denomination, in Haddon Heights, Camden, where he makes his home. 

Mr. Kelley married Anna Gertrude O'Brien, a native of Camden, and daughter of Thomas and Anna O'Brien, natives of Ire1and, in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, April 29, 1894. Mr. and Mrs. Kelley have seven children: 1. James Walter. 2. Paul Joseph. 3. Maurice Aloysius. 4. John Martin. 5. Anna Gertrude. 6. Edmund Francis. 7. Robert Joseph. 


Philadelphia Inquirer - January 31, 1904

E,G,C. Bleakly - New York Shipbuilding Corporation
William J. Bradley - Thomas J. Moore - John M. Kelley
Central Trust Company