Thomas Kelso (1784–1878) was an Irish-American philanthropist and businessman, born in Clonis, Ireland, August 28, 1784. He died July 26, 1878 at his home on East Baltimore St. in Baltimore, Maryland.
The parents of Thomas Kelso died when he was a child. He had two older brothers and a sister. Mr. Kelso came to the United States at age seven in 1791, arriving August 2 with his older brother John. The Kelso boys' oldest brother George was already in the U.S. working as a school teacher, and was known to be in the Baltimore vicinity. By chance, the three brothers were reunited while [John and Thomas?] were visiting the school George taught in. With $100 from George, the three began a successful butchering business. In 1807 he married Miss Ellen Cross, daughter of John and Jane Cross, well known and highly respected citizens of Cecil County, Maryland.
His daughter, Mrs. Jane Guiteau, widow of Rev. S. Guiteau, never recovered from her father's death and died suddenly in December 1878.
During his career, he was a director in the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad for 37 years, president of the Baltimore Equitable Fire Insurance Company, vice president and director in the First National Bank of Baltimore, principal Director and principal stockholder in the Baltimore Steam Packet Company and the Seaboard and Roanoke Railroad Company, president of the Preachers' Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and member of the board of directors of the Baltimore President of the Board of Directors of the Male Free School and Colored Institute, which became Morgan State University. Thomas Kelso was a contemporary and associate of Enoch Pratt. They served together on the board of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad company. Politically, he was a member of the Baltimore City Common Council for several terms, when there was no salary attached to the position. His philanthropic efforts were his gifts to the Methodist Episcopal Church; he established the Kelso Home for orphans in 1872. The first location for the home was almost directly across the street from his residence.
- Baltimore City Death Index, Maryland State Archives
- The Late Thomas Kelso :Interesting Reminiscences Of The Life Of The Baltimore Philanthropist, (1878, July 28). New York Times, p. 8. ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2004) database. (Document ID: 81727180), Baltimore Sun, July 27, 1878, reprinted The New York Times, July 28, 1878
- 'Sudden Demise of a Daughter of the Late Thomas Kelso at the Carrollton Hotel', The Baltimore Daily News, December 1878
- The Monumental City: Its Past and Present, By George Washington Howard, Published 1873, J.D. Ehlers, Baltimore (Md.), pg. 256
- The Monumental City: Its Past and Present, By George Washington Howard, Published 1873, J.D. Ehlers, Baltimore (Md.), pg. 261, 477
- Morgan State University Spokesman 'Our Forefathers: The Founders of Morgan State', Feb, 8, 2002, Cox
- History of Baltimore City and County, from the earliest period to the present day: including biographical sketches of their representative men, John Thomas Scharf, p. 667
- "Got my mind set on freedom": Maryland's story of black & white activism 1663-2000, Barbara Mills, Heritage Books 2002, p. 345
- American railroad journal - Volume 27, J.H. Schultz, 1854, pg. 62
- Thomas Kelso's Will. (2 August 1878). New York Times, p. 2. ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2004) database. (Document ID: 80723965).
- Board of Child Care of the United Methodist Church
- Article from Enoch Pratt Library vertical file, Call Of Destitute Young Widow On Pastor Brought About Founding Of Kelso Home, Institution Established By Thomas Kelso, Wealthy Merchant In 1873. Jeffersonian, 17 April 1936
- Obituary of Thomas Kelso of Baltimore, (27 July 1878). New York Times, p. 5. ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2004) database. (Document ID: 81726944)
- The Monumental City: Its Past and Present, By George Washington Howard, Published 1873, J.D. Ehlers, Baltimore (Md.), pg. 51