Franklin Billings Kellogg

Compiled by D. A. Sharpe


Franklin Billings Kellogg was born December 22, 1856 at Potsdam, Saint Lawrence County, New York.  He lived till December 21, 1937, passing at St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota. 


He married Clara May Cook on June 16, 1886.  She lived December 30, 1861, born in Rochester, Minnesota, till October 1, 1942, when she died in St. Paul, Minnesota.


Frank is the half sixth cousin, twice removed to me.  Our complicated relations are developed here.


Joseph Kellogg and his first wife, Joanne Foote are the fifth great grandparents of Frank.  Joseph Kellogg and his second wife, Abigail Terry are the seventh great grandparents of mine.


Samuel Kellogg (son of Joseph & Joanne Foote) and Sarah Day Merrill are the sixth great grandparents of mine.


Stephen Kellogg (son of Joseph & Abigail) and Lydia Belden are the fourth great grandparents to Frank.  Stephen and Samuel are half-brothers.


Stephen Kellogg, Jr. and his first wife, Abigail Lomis, are the third great grandparents of Frank. I am the first cousin, seven times removed of Stephen Kellogg, Jr. and his second wife, Mary Cook.


Frank is a fifth cousin, once removed, to Will Keith Kellogg, founder of the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company (now the W. K. Kellogg Company) in 1906. Frank also is a fifth cousin to Charles Curtis, Vice President of the United States serving with Herbert Hoover.  Frank also is the fifth cousin, once removed to Clara, his wife.


Frank's prominence is captured in this following article, quoted from the sources cited at the end of the article.  The most significance in this marvelous life of prodigious works was his earning of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1929 for his work as United States Secretary of State on a peace treaty with European nations.  He is one of the few Americans to win the Nobel Peace Prize, an annual international award that began in 1901.  Another of our family's members was the first American Nobel Prize winner in 1906, United States President Theodore Roosevelt.  


"Frank Billings Kellogg, was a farm boy who rose to international preeminence as the co-author of a treaty to outlaw war, is a uniquely American story.  Frank Kellogg was born in Potsdam, N.Y., but the Kellogg family, becoming part of the westward movement which gripped the country at the end of the Civil War in 1865, settled eventually on a wheat farm in Elgin, Olmsted County, Minnesota.


"Kellogg's formal education was sketchy.  He attended school for a year or two in New York State and from his ninth to his fourteenth year went to a country school in Minnesota.  After five years on the farm, he entered a law office in Rochester, Minnesota, supporting himself as a handyman for a Rochester farmer and teaching himself law, history, Latin, and German with the aid of borrowed textbooks.  Having passed the state bar examination in 1877, he became the city attorney for Rochester, and two years later the attorney for Olmsted County.


"A cousin, Cushman Kellogg Davis, the leading lawyer of St. Paul and, later, a United States senator, recognizing Frank Kellogg's energy, tenacity, and skill, invited him, in 1887, to join his law firm.  In the next twenty years Kellogg earned a substantial fortune.  He became counsel for some of the railroads, the iron mining companies, and the steel manufacturing firms that developed the rich Mesabi iron range in Minnesota and, consequently, a friend of some of the great business figures of the day, among them, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Sr. and James J. Hill.


"Despite such associations, Kellogg achieved national fame as a 'trustbuster.'  In 1904, he proffered his opinion to a St. Paul newspaper that the General Paper Company, a trust which was the marketing agency for numerous paper companies in Minnesota and Wisconsin, was a combination in restraint of trade.  President Theodore Roosevelt, whom Kellogg had come to know and to visit occasionally at the White House, then asked him to prosecute the company as a special attorney of the U.S. government. Kellogg's legal victory was complete. He won another antitrust victory against E. H. Harriman and the Union Pacific Railroad, and a third in 1911 against John D. Rockefeller, Sr. and the Standard Oil Company in one of the most dramatic legal battles of the pre-World War I era.  In 1912, he was named president of the American Bar Association, a professional organization of attorneys, originating in 1878, and having had 141 annual Presidents as of 2018.  Kellogg was the 35th President. 


"Kellogg was a member of the National Committee of the Republican Party from 1904 to 1912 and a delegate to its national conventions in 1904, 1908, and 1912.  In 1916, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, taking his seat on March 4, 1917, in time to vote for America's entry into World War I on April 6.  During his six-year Senate term, he favored agricultural legislation, sought to find a balance between laissez-faire and governmental control of economic life, supported Woodrow Wilson in all his efforts, and tried hard to obtain Senatorial ratification of the Treaty of Versailles and of the Covenant of the League of Nations, although he had some mild reservations about the Covenant.


"A poor campaigner, Kellogg lost his try in 1922 for a second term in the Senate.  In March 1923, President Harding sent him on his first diplomatic mission as a delegate to the fifth Pan-American Conference, which was held in Chile, and after his return, President Coolidge, who had succeeded to the presidency following Harding's death in August, 1923, named him as ambassador to the Court of St. James' - much to his surprise and that of a grumbling press.  The most important diplomatic affair in which he figured in his fourteen months in England was the London Reparations Conference convened to accept the Dawes Committee report.


"In 1925 Kellogg succeeded Charles Evans Hughes as secretary of state in Coolidge's cabinet, holding the position until 1929. His policy toward Mexico on critical problems of oil and land expropriation, which were solved by legal rather than military means, toward Nicaragua despite armed intervention at one point, and toward the Caribbean and South American nations has been described as one of 'retreat from imperialism;'  his policy toward China with whom relations were troubled by outbreaks against foreigners in Shanghai and Nanking and by problems of tariff autonomy and abolition of extraterritoriality was one of 'goodwill;'  and, in general, his policy toward Europe was one of isolationism, in part because there were few significant diplomatic problems with European nations.


"In pursuance of his faith in the efficacy of the legal arbitration of international disputes, Kellogg arranged for the signing of bilateral treaties with nineteen foreign nations.  Of the eighty treaties of various kinds which he signed while in office - a total breaking the record set by William Jennings Bryan from 1913 to 1915 - none was so important to him as the Pact of Paris, commonly called the Kellogg-Briand Pact.


"Negotiations for the pact originated with Aristide Briand, the French foreign minister, who released for publication on April 6, 1927, the tenth anniversary of America's entry into World War I, an open letter proposing a bilateral Franco-American treaty of perpetual friendship denouncing war between the two nations.  Kellogg, at first cool to the proposal, countered on December 28, 1927, by suggesting to Briand the adoption of a multilateral treaty renouncing war as an instrument of national policy.  Once he suggested that Kellogg devote his prodigious energies to making it a reality.  The Pact outlawed war and provided for the peaceful settlement of disputes.  The Pact was signed in Paris on August 27, 1928, and proclaimed on July 24, 1929, with sixty-four signatories.


"President Herbert Hoover proclaimed the Kellogg-Briand Pact on July24, 1929, a document which renounced war as an instrument of foreign policy.


"Kellogg did not lose faith in the validity of the Pact in his remaining eight years of life even though it was characterized by one Senator as an 'international kiss' and was broken by armed conflict in Manchuria within months of its proclamation.


"Of the eighty treaties of various kinds which he signed while in office - a total breaking the record set by William Jennings Bryan from 1913 to 1915 - none was so important to him as the Pact of Paris, commonly called the Kellogg-Briand Pact."




"Kellogg returned to St. Paul early in 1929 and during the months that followed traveled extensively in America and in Europe to receive many honors, among them the Nobel Peace Prize, the French Legion of Honor, and honorary degrees from many universities.  


"In 1930, he filled Hughes's unexpired term on the Permanent Court of International Justice, and was then elected to a full term of his own. Because of failing health, however, he was forced to resign from the Court in 1935 and retired to his home in St. Paul where he died in 1937 on the eve of his eighty-first birthday of pneumonia, following a stroke."


Frank B. Kellogg appeared on the cover of Time Magazine September 28,1925.  No children were born into this marriage.


His final home was at 633 Fairmont Avenue in St. Paul, Ramsey County.  He died in 1937 where he lived in St. Paul, Minnesota.  His ashes were interred in the National Cathedral in Washington, D. C.




1. Robert H. Ferrell, (Frank B. Kellogg) in The American Secretaries of State and Their Diplomacy, Vol. XI, P. 57.


2. Ibid, P. 81.


From Nobel Lectures, Peace 1926-1950, Editor Frederick W. Haberman, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1972




Compiled by

Dwight Albert (D. A.) Sharpe

805 Derting Road East

Aurora, TX 76078-3712