William Kellogg Biography & Net Worth 

Popular Name: William Kellogg
Real Name: Will Keith Kellogg
Birth Date: April 7, 1860
Birth Place: Battle Creek, Michigan, United States
Age: Died on October 6, 1951 (aged 91)
Gender: Male
Nationality/Citizenship: American
Height: N/A
Weight: N/A
Sexuality: Straight
Marital Status: Married
Spouse(s): Ella Davis (m. 1880)
Carrie Staines Kellogg (m. 1918)
Children: 5
Profession: Businessman
Years active: N/A
Net Worth: $1 Billion
Last Updated: 2022

William Kellogg was an American industrialist best known as the man who founded the Kellogg Company, maker of a wide variety of popular breakfast cereals. The company which started by making only toasted cornflakes enjoyed immense success which motivated Kellogg to branch out to include the range of breakfast products the company produced and sold. He was an astute businessman and investor, blessed with great entrepreneurial and marketing talents. Through his hard work and unrelenting determination, Will made his company the market leader in the packaged food market in the United States for most of the first half of the 20th century. Born into a large family in Michigan, he quit his studies during his teens and helped his father in his business. He realized that he was naturally talented and blessed with a keen business sense that would greatly help him in his future endeavors. He later joined his brother John Kellogg in running the Battle Creek Sanitarium where the siblings pioneered the process of making flaked cereal. Following a dispute with John, Will went his separate way and launched the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company which eventually became the Kellogg Company. Along with being a highly successful entrepreneur, Kellogg was also known to be a generous philanthropist who played a significant role in the founding of California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, California. More details follow below.

Early Life

Will Keith Kellogg was born in Battle Creek, Michigan, US, on April 7, 1860, to John Preston Kellogg and Ann Janette as the seventh of their sixteen children. His father had a small broom-manufacturing business and both his parents were devoted Seventh Day Adventists who believed that Christ’s Second Coming was looming.

He was interested in business from a young age and by the time he was 13, he was helping his father’s business, selling brooms to local grocery stores. He dropped out of school as a teenager and joined his father’s business.

Professional Life

Will Keith Kellogg and his father worked together until 1880 when he enrolled in Parson’s Business College to complete a three-month program. By this time his elder brother John Harvey Kellogg had graduated from medical school and was in control of the Adventist Health Reform Institute which was later renamed the Battle Creek Sanitarium. Will joined his brother at the sanitarium, and since John did not have time for its daily operations since it was a popular one, he appointed Will as the business manager. The younger Kellogg performed the routine operations of the health center diligently and put in long hours of hard work. However, his pay was low and he also did not receive the recognition he deserved.

In 1894, Will accidentally discovered a method of making toasted wheat flakes which he considered to be a nutritious breakfast product. He showed it to his brother John who was delighted at the discovery. They soon realized that the method worked just as well with rice, oats, and corn.

In 1897, the brothers started the Sanitas Food Company which promoted their whole-grain cereals as a convenient and very healthy breakfast option. Will had great persuasive skills and helped market the cereals to the target consumers.

After a disagreement between the two brothers, Will left John and the sanitarium to start his own business, launching the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company in 1906. The company which initially sold only corn flakes later became the Kellogg Company and gradually expanded to include other types of breakfast cereals. Will worked long hours and focused on selling his products as unique and healthy. His advertising tactics worked, and it did not take a long time for Kellogg Company to become one of the market leaders in breakfast cereals in America.

A man that also had a long-time interest in Arabian horses, Will Kellog launched an Arabian horse ranch in 1925 in California. His ranch became popular for its horse breeding program and for its weekly horse exhibitions which were open to the public. These exhibitions were frequented by Hollywood celebrities. In 1932, he donated the ranch to the University of California.


While W. K. Kellogg never picked up any awards in business during his lifetime, his role in the packaged food business in the United States has always remained significant. He found success as the founder of the world-known Kellogg Company which produces an array of cereal and convenience foods, including cookies, cereal bars, crackers, toaster pastries, and fruit-flavored snacks. The company’s products are produced in 20 countries and marketed in more than 200 countries of the world as of today.

Personal Life

Will Kellogg’s first marriage was to Ella Davis back in 1880. The couple had five children, three of which predeceased him. After Ella died in 1912, he married Carrie Staines Kellogg in 1918.

He lived a long life and died at the age of 91 on October 6, 1951.

Philanthropic Endeavors

William Keith Kellogg spent most of his later years engaged in philanthropy. He was well-known for his big heart, and he funded many worthy causes with his personal wealth. In 1930, he established the W. K. Kellogg Foundation to help families afford treatment for injured and sick children. The foundation eventually broadened its focus, contributing to a range of charitable causes.

The California State Polytechnic University in Pomona was founded on the land donated by the late businessman. The Kellogg College in England was founded with financial support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

William Kellogg Net Worth

William Kellogg had a net worth of $1 billion dollars at the time of his demise many decades ago. He found success in his lifetime as the founder of the world-famous cereal maker and packaged food distributor known as the Kellogg Company.

Today, Kellogg’s products are marketed in more than 200 countries of the world. Its products include a variety of cereal and convenience foods, including cookies, cereal bars, crackers, toaster pastries, and fruit-flavored snacks.

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