Kellogg Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Kellogg Surname Meaning

The surname Kellogg is curious in that it crossed the Atlantic from England to America where it established itself. However, by the time that William Kellogg had started his Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and brought them to England, the Kellogg name had virtually disappeared in England.

Originally, Kellogg was an occupational name for a pork butcher, derived from the Medieval English kellen, meaning “to kill” or “to slaughter,” and hog, meaning hog or pig. The surname first appeared as Kyllehog in Essex in the 13th century. It is possible that the surname Kellowe (which appeared in Essex records in 1420) might have been an early variant of Kellogg. Less likely is the similar-sounding Kelloch of Scottish origin.

Kellogg Surname Resources on The Internet

Kellogg Surname Ancestry

  • from England (Essex)
  • to America

England.  Essex has an early notation of the Kellogg name – a Geoffrey Kyllehog in its Court rolls of 1277. The first record of a Kellogg family was in Debden, Essex in 1525 where Nicholas Kellogg was recorded as being taxed. Nicholas’s son Thomas is believed to be the ancestor of the Kelloggs from Great Leighs who embarked for America two generations later.

By the time of the 1881 census Kellogg had almost disappeared as a surname in England. Only five Kelloggs were recorded then, in locations as far apart as London and Liverpool.

America. Joseph Kellogg and his brothers Samuel and Daniel were Puritans who had left their home in Essex for America in the 1630’s. Most Kelloggs in America are the descendants of these three brothers.

Joseph settled in Hadley, Massachusetts, Samuel in Hatfield, and Daniel helped found Norwalk, Connecticut. Samuel Kellogg was among the party of English captives taken by Indians and marched to Canada in the 1677 raid on Hatfield.

Later, many of the early Kelloggs moved through the Hudson river valley in New York state. The descendants of Daniel generally stayed in New England; while those of Joseph and Samuel had begun a migration to the Midwest by the 1800’s.   Still, the greater number of Kelloggs were living in New York state by the time of the 1840 census. By 1920 they had spread out to Michigan and California.

Michigan  Francis Kellogg was one who made the migration from New England to Michigan. He started a lumber business at Kelloggville (named after him) near Grand Rapids in the 1850’s. Another was John Preston Kellogg who had been born in Hadley, Massachusetts:

  • one of his children was John Harvey Kellogg, perhaps America’s first health fanatic.
  • another was Will Keith (W.K.) Kellogg, born in Battle Creek, Michigan in 1860. He was the founder of the Kellogg’s breakfast cereals that are now ate all around the world.

California.  Meanwhile, Dr. Albert Kellogg had been drawn to San Francisco by the 1848 Gold Rush. He was a botanist and devoted much of his time to the study of trees in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Others who made the trek west were the brothers Florentine and Frank Kellogg from Illinois.

“Frank had made the migration to California, starting out in a wagon train that included the ill-fated Donner party. When the Donners and a few others decided to try a “new shortcut” to California, Kellogg elected to stay with the main party. He arrived in northern California in time to join Major Fremont and fight in the Mexican War.”

Frank’s son Clay Kellogg made a name for himself for his civil engineering works in Orange county. His home in Santa Ana has been preserved as a museum and his descendants today run Kellogg Garden Products in southern California.

Louisiana. There were also Kelloggs in NW Louisiana by the mid 19th century.  Titus Kellogg, together with his wife Lucy and their children, came in 1838 after his business in Ohio had failed.  However, the cotton worm destroyed their cotton crop, Titus died, and Lucie returned to Ohio.  Before she died in 1881, Lucy recorded the details of her family’s trip from Ohio to Louisiana and the troubles that they experienced there.

Samuel Hiram Kellogg, born in Tennessee, was also in Louisiana by the 1840’s, arriving from Mississippi.  Later Kelloggs here settled in Red River parish.

One Kellogg line from Hadley, Massachusetts migrated first to Vermont and then in the 1830’s to Illinois.  William Pitt Kellogg, a friend to Abraham Lincoln there, came to Louisiana after the Civil War as one of the early northern “carpet-baggers.”  A Republican, he was elected Senator and then Governor of Louisiana in the years from 1868 to 1883.

The entire Kellogg line was first traced in Timothy Hopkins’ 1903 three-volume work Kelloggs in the Old World and the New. The author had a number of connections with the Kellogg family, being raised by “two elderly maiden Kellogg great aunts” and marrying Mary Kellogg Crittenden, a niece of his adopted mother.

Kellogg Surname Miscellany

Joseph Kellogg and His Family.  Joseph Kellogg was a selectman in Hadley, Massachusetts for many years.  He and his sons had grants of land and he was on the committee to lay out lands and for the purchase of Swampfield from the Indians.  He and his family were responsible for keeping the ferry open between Hadley and Northampton.  He was also the sergeant of the military company and was in command of the Hadley troops in the famous Turner’s Falls fight on May 18, 1675.

He had married first, probably in England, to Joanna.  Their children, all born in America, numbered seven: Joseph, John, Martin, Edward, Samuel, Joanna, and Sarah.  Joanna died in 1666 and a year later he married Abigail Terry.

Abigail was before the court in 1673 for wearing silk (which was contrary to the law), but she was acquitted.  He fathered nine more children with Abigail: Stephen, Nathaniel, Abigail, Elizabeth, Prudence, Ebenezer, Jonathan, Joseph, and Daniel.

Joseph Kellogg died in 1707.

Reader Feedback – Kellogg from Connecticut.  My great grandfather was Amasa Kellogg.  He was from Connecticut before coming to Michigan.  He served in the Civil War from New York.

Robert Kellogg (

Lucy Fletcher Kellogg in Louisiana.  Like her father, Lucy Fletcher’s husband farmed, turned his hand to merchandising, and ran an ashery where he bought the potash from local farmers’ timber burning to process into pearl ash.  But like so many ventures at this time, his failed.

Titus Kellogg then began a search for a new frontier which took him to Louisiana and Texas.  In Louisiana, he bought soldiers’ bounty land warrants for many thousands of acres, only twelve hundred of which he took possession of.   He also bought a farm in Claiborne parish.

Travelling through the month of August, the family departed from Cincinnati in a covered wagon.  Despite their northern background, the Kelloggs had six adult slaves, each with families.  Lucy made no mention of slavery as an institution in her autobiography and gave only the most oblique references to slaves, in order to distinguish them from her “white family.”

In Louisiana a dear sister lived nearby and the emerging careers of her children gave her pleasure.  But bad luck struck again in the form of a cotton crop lost to the boll weevil and the death of her husband.  Having, as she said, “never been well contented in Louisiana,” Lucy returned to the North, making her home in Keokuk, Iowa with her two children.

Reader Feedback – Kelloggs and Slavery.  I would like more information on the slaves owned by the Kellogg family. My great grandparents came from the South and so little of their history is known. Just trying to find some family history. My grandfather was named Charlie Kellogg.

Irene Slater (

WK Kellogg and His Corn Flakes.  Will Keith, who had been trained as a broom maker, worked at the Battle Creek sanitarium which his brother John had started.  Here he helped create health foods for the patients.  Through the brothers’ experimentation with wheat, they happened on a method of flattening wheat berries into small thin flakes. When the flakes were baked they became crisp and light, creating an easy to prepare breakfast when milk was added.

In 1906 he started his own producing company, the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flakes Company.  It is now the Kellogg Company.  Thus the ready-to-eat cereal industry was born.

Clay Kellogg in Orange County.  The descendants of Orange county, California pioneer Hiram Clay Kellogg held a family reunion in 2008 at the historic Kellogg House in Santa Ana.  Clay Kellogg had been the Orange county surveyor between 1894 and 1899, responsible for many of its roads and bridges.

In 1898 he had designed and built a Victorian house on Orange Avenue in Santa Ana – a home for himself, his wife, Helen, and their four children.  Because of Hiram’s love of all things nautical, the dining room was built oval, giving it the look and feel of a ship’s wheelhouse.  Three generations of the Kelloggs were to live in the house before the family donated it to the Museum.

The house had been spared from demolition in 1980 when it was moved to its current spot to the corner of Fairview and Harvard streets.  At its new location it is the centerpiece of the Discovery Museum of Orange County.

Kelloggs in 1920.  The table below show the distribution of Kelloggs in the United States, according to the 1920 US census.

State Numbers (000’s) Percent
New York    0.5    16
Michigan    0.3    11
California    0.3     9
Elsewhere    1.9    64
Total    3.0   100

Reader Feedback – Kelloggs in Oklahoma.  My father Samuel Kellogg moved to Oklahoma from the San Francisco/Bay area in search of his father Estel Kellogg. He located his father there and also his brothers Joe, Marty, and Tom Kellogg.  Samuel started working in industrial buildings and making a home for his family. We are still located here in Shawnee, Oklahoma.

Konner Ray Kellogg (

Kellogg Names

  • William Pitt Kellogg came to Louisiana after the Civil War and emerged as its carpet-bagging Republican Governor in the 1870’s.
  • Morris Kellogg founded the M.R. Kellogg Company in New York in 1901, a company – now known as KBR – which went on to be a leader in power plant construction and in oil industry process engineering.
  • W.K. Kellogg from Michigan founded in 1906 the Kellogg Company which today produces a wide range of breakfast cereals around the world.

Kellogg Numbers Today

  • 5,000 in America (most numerous in Michigan)

Kellogg and Like Surnames

From our selection, these are the surnames of those who have made their business mark in America – as pioneers, inventors, developers, or corporate leaders – over its long history from colonial to modern times.


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Written by Colin Shelley

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