Genealogical and Family History
STATE OF MAINE
Compiled under the editorial supervision of George Thomas Little, A. M., Litt. D.
LEWIS HISTORICAL PUBLISHING COMPANY
[Please see Index page for full citation.]
[Transcribed by Coralynn Brown]
[Many families included in these genealogical records had their beginnings in Massachusetts.]
Burke states in his "Landed Gentry" that the Kelley family may look back beyond the Conqueror, and derive themselves from the ancient Britons. The Kelley family of Devonshire, England, were probably of Celtic origin, as Irish families were settled in South Wales, Devonshire and Cornwall - descendants, it is believed, of "Fighting King Kelley," or Killie, whose manor was in the hudnred of Lifton, about six miles from Tavistvet, county Devon, and was in possession of the family from the time of Henry I. The earliest menton of the name in Irish history was A.D. 254, when Ceallach MacCormac is recorded as son of the monarch Cormac Nefadha. The King of Connaught has a son Ceallach, in 528. The Irish Archaeological Society in 1843 published "The Tribes and Customs of Hymany," in which is mention of a Chief of Hymany who lived A.D. 874, and bore the name Caellaigh; his grandson Muechadlo O'Callaigh was the firs to use this surname, the law being made by the celebrated Irish King Brain Boroimbe that "every one must adopt the name of his father as a surname." Thus the grandson of Callaigh became O'Callaigh, and the name was simplied to Kelley about 1014. Queen Elizabeth requested Colla O'Kelley to discard the "O," as it tended, by keeping up the clanship in Ireland, to foster disaffection in England. In Scotland, in Fifeshire, is a district called Kellieshire, and various branches of Kelleys were dispersed through England. The most probable signification of the name is: war, debate, strife. The spelling has been much varied, but its origin is undoubtedly as given above.
Many of the name came to this country, and their descendants, are proud of the connection with the ancient Irish rather than English lines. The arms given in Ireland are: A tower triple-towered, supported by two lions rampant, or. Crest: A greyhound statent ppr. Also: Gules on a mount sert, two lions rampant; and Azure in chief three estoiles argent. Crest: A hand holding by the horn a bull's head erased, or.
(I) William Kelley, descended from the above family, came from Cape Cod or Mohegan Island to Phippsburg, Maine, in the seventeenth century. He was probably a relative of the ancient jurist Judge Kelley, and also of David Kelley, of Newbury, Mass., believed to be father of Joseph Kelley, of Norwich, Connecticut, who was a seafaring man. The family records make slight mention of the Phippsburg ancestor, which omission is explained if he followed the sea and was often absent. His wife's name is not recorded.
(II) John, son of the emigrant, William Kelley, was born in Phippsburg, Maine, where he was a lifelong resident. He married (first) Mary Percy, and (second) Jannette Gilmore. He had ten children, among them sons John, William, James, Thomas and Francis.
(III) Francis, youngest son of Capt. John Kelley, was born in Phippsburg, March 7, 1802. For forty-two years he was one of the ablest shipmasters sailing from the Kennebec. He first shipped on his father's vessel when but fourteen years of age, and later entered the merchant service, rapidly acquiring a good knowledge of navigation. He was for years engaged in the North Atlantic, Mediterranean and West Indian trades, and retired late in life to his residence in Bath, Maine, where he died Aug. 8, 1892, leaving a good estate.
He married, Sept. 20, 1827, at Bath, Mary Rooke, born in Phippsburg, April 5, 1806.
1. John R., of whom further.
2. Mary, married Capt. Jiram Percy, and died aged fifty years.
3. Frances, died at Bath, aged forty-nine years.
(IV) Captain John R., eldest child of Capt. Francis and Mary (Rooke) Kelley, was born at Phippsburg, June 14, 1828, and died in Bath, Maine, May 12, 1901. He attended school first in the old stone schoolhouse in Phippsburg, and later in Woolwich. He began his seafaring career as a boy on his father's shp, at the age of sixteen. He rose rapidly through the various grades, and when only nineteen years old brought his father's ship home from New Orleans to Philadelphia. At the age of twenty-three he became master of the ship "Genoa." His career as master extended over a period of thirty-one years, and was highly successful, he having never suffered a more severe accident than the loss the the foremast of his last ship, the "Tacoma." During his career he commanded both steam and sailing vessels, his principal experience ship "Montant," which he took to the Pacific coast and navigated on a line between San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, and in the "Nevada," while plied between San Francisco and Panama. In most of the ships he sailed he was part owner, Charles Davenport and the Pattens being usually the other principal partners. His last voyage was made in the ship "Tacoma," around the Horn to San Francisco, where he left the ship and the sea in 1882, and returned to Bath, Maine.
After his return he had three ships - the "John R. Kelley," "E. F. Sawyer" and "Charles E. Moody" - built at the yards of Goss, Sawyer & Packard, and after the collapse of that firm he became in 1886 senior partner in the new firm of Kelley, Spear & Company, which launched its first vessel from the Goss & Sawyer yards in 1887, and its one hundred and sixth in 1901, a week prior to his death. In 1890 the firm was organized as the Kelley-Spear Company, incorporated, of which Capt. Kelley became president. For nineteen years prior to is death Capt. Kelley was a trustee of the People's Deposit and Savings Bank, and for ten years its president. He became president of the First National Bank in 1899, having previously served that insitution as vice-president and director. He had been president of the Sagadahoc Real Estate Association for about two years, vice-president of the Worumbo Mills for a like period, and trustee of the Old Ladies' Home for a number of years.
Capt. Kelley's extensive knowledge of maritime affairs and his integrity and fairness led to his frequent appointment as referee in admiralty cases, and his opinion was considered as a synonym for justice. He had also served as trustee of some of the largest estates ever probated in this country, and was executor of the three hundred thousand dollar estate of the late Charles E. Moody. He was managing owner of a great fleet of vessels, and had large interests of his own, but it was the responsible positions which he held which wore upon him most, and the work and worry incident to his multiplicity of duties was undoubtedly responsible for the breakdown of his spended constitution, which began, however, with a severe accident which occurred about ten years before his death. He was thrown from his sleigh and dragged by one foot behind a galloping horse over a rough, icy street for about one hundred yards. He was seriously ill for some time afterward, was left permanently lame, and suffered internal injuries the effects of which he felt to his last days.
In politics he was independent. He served the city as councilman two years, and as alderman three years. He was a Master Mason, and an honorary member of Dunlap Commandery, Knights Templar.
He died May 12, 1901, and the Bath Daily Times paid him the following high tribute: "He was a thorough business man, a person of the msot sterling integrity, and a genial gentleman who will be sadly missed, not only by the business interests to which is ability and integrity were of such untold value, or by the friends to whom his hearty handshake meant so much, but by many of the less fortunate among Bathies who have been the beneficiaries of his charitableness and generosity. He sympathized with the poor, and gave largely of his substance to all who were worthy. He contributed freely to the cause of religion, and has at various times remembered the Congregational Church of Woolwich, Winter Street Congregational Church, and the People's Church of Bath, with generous contributions. Most extensive means were brought to his aid during his long and painful illness, and after every resource had been exhausted which the kind and loving hands of his family could bestow upon him, he laid down his life's work without a murmur, and Bath loses one of her grandest and noblest citizens."
Captain Kelley married, Aug. 18, 1852, Abihail P. daughter of Colonel Joshua and Abihal (Gould) Baker, of Woolwich, Maine, pioneer settlers of that town. She was educated in the Woolwich public schools, and subsequently taught school in her native town until her marriage. She was a woman of more than ordinary intelligence, a devout and consistent Christian, and for many years a leading member of the Advent church, contributing by her substance and influence largely to the prosperity of the church of which she was a devoted and enthusiastic leader. Although a quiet and unassuming disposition, she was to the last of her life a great reader, and always took a lively interest in current events. For many years a needy family enjoyed the comfort of her charity and assitance, and by them she will always be greatly missed and lovingly remembered. She died Sept. 5, 1908, and a local paper said of her: "Although she had lived far beyond the average span of life, she retained with wonderful vigor all the faculties of a richly cultivated mind and special senses, being able to read the finest type without the aid of glasses, and although she was one of those older lovable types of womanhood the number of which are passing away too rapidly from our midst. The last days of her life were very pathetic, and those who witnessed them and felt the influence of her strong Christian individuality will forever remember her beautiful interpretation of the Holy Scriptures and the doctrine of immortality."
Florence, only child of Capt. and Mrs. Kelley, now wife of G. Fred Mitchell, devotedly ministered to the widowed mother in her declining years with all the skill and comforts which affluence and loving hearts could command.