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Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 780


This is the grave of W.K. Kellogg.

Born in 1860 in Battle Creek, Michigan, Kellogg grew up with the Seventh Day Adventist ridiculousness, like his brother John Harvey. But he wasn’t considered this exceptional genius like his brother so got a job selling brooms as a young adult. In fact, he was seen as a weird loner who nobody liked. But then John Harvey started his Battle Creek Sanitarium and Will ended up helping him out, doing bookkeeping and working as a shipping clerk and cashier. You can read the John Harvey grave post for all the details about this. What makes W.K. interesting is the break up between the brothers. John Harvey’s cereals were bland, created for health purposes and not for money making purposes. But W.K. saw the cash involved. He wanted to do the one thing that would ensure the cereal sold: add sugar. John Harvey was horrified. But Will insisted and they broke apart. The final straw there was John Harvey allowing C.W. Post to observe the whole process and steal it to make money off it with what became Post cereals. John Harvey was also an absolute prick to Will. He expected his little brother to shine his shoes. John had a huge house. His sanitarium made $4 million a year. He paid Will $87 a month.

In 1906, W.K. started the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company. This became Kellogg’s cereals. And he was right–the money was there. People loved this stuff. He was pretty good at providing it. He became a millionaire while John Harvey was giving yogurt enemas in Battle Creek. He bought a huge horse farm in Pomona, California that specialized in Arabian horses, which obsessed Kellogg. It was one of Will’s horses that Rudolph Valentino rode in The Sheik. He established big foundations. He also was the first person to put modern nutrition information on packaging such as we are used to seeing today. He also pioneered the practice of putting toys in cereal boxes to help kids want to buy the product.

Will never spoke to his brother again. He died in 1951 at the age of 91.

W.K. Kellogg is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Battle Creek. Michigan.

That clock looking thing on the grave is the most Protestant thing I have ever seen.

If you would like this series to visit other food capitalists, you can donate to cover the required expenses here. Henry Heinz is buried in Pittsburgh and Francis Grigg, inventor of the tater tot, is in Salt Lake City. Previous posts in this series are archived here.

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