Kelly Family

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THOMPSON G. KELLY, postmaster at Kelly Station, in Bethel township, is a life-long resident of that township, having been born there Aug. 25, 1855, and comes of a patriotic and honored family which has long been well and favorably known in this section of Pennsylvania. His father, Hamilton Kelly, was the first postmaster at Kelly Station, named in his honor (the post office was established there July 14, 1860), and the early records show that members of the family were associated always with the helpful activities of the communtiy wherever found.

James Kelly, to whom Thompson G. Kelly traces back his line of descent, was one of the first settlers of Indiana county, Pa., he and the Moorheads, Fergus, Samuel and Joseph, commencing improvements near what is now Indiana in 1772. Mr. Kelly was born in Ireland, of Scotch-Irish extraction, and came to America from the North of Ireland, settling in Lancaster county, Pa., in 1750. In 1770 he came to Indiana county and took up 400 acres of land at what is now Tunnelton, the Conemaugh river running through his tract. He lived on the Indiana county side of the river. He had four sons: James, who was State senator from Indiana county in 1834-38 and associate judge in 1842 (he married Sarah Ems); John; Samuel, who was a soldier in the Revolution (he married Elizabeth Hemphill); and Alexander.

Alexander Kelly, fourth son of James Kelly, Sr., settled in Armstrong county, Pa., and was the father of Hamilton Kelly.

Hamilton Kelly was a prominent man in his day, successful in business and highly esteemed by his fellow citizens. For some twenty years he was a steamboat man on the Allegheny river, owning two boats, the "LeClaire" (No. 1) and "LeClair No 2." At the time of this death, which occurred in December, 1875, he owned five hundred acres in Bethel township. He was quite prominent in local public affairs, serving as postmaster at Kelly Station and serving one term as sheriff of Armstrong county. The first church organized in the old township of Allegheny (now Bethel, Parks and Gilpin) was the Crooked Creek Presbyterian Church, incorporated by the court of Common Pleas of Armstrong county, June 21, 1843, and Hamilton Kelly was one of the five trustees named in the charter, to serve until the election on the first Monday of the following June. The church, called the "Union Church" on an old map, was located between the second and fifth bends in Crooked creek above its mouth. It was probably organized before 1825, by the old Redstone Presbytery, but interest lagged and for a number of years the church did not prosper.

Mr. Kelly was twice married, his wives being sisters, Lydia and Eveline Wolf, daughters of George and Susanna (Williams) Wolf, of Logansport, Armstrong county, farming people. The Wolfs are of German extraction, and the earlier members of the family were among the pioneers of Armstrong county. George Wolf (above) was a son of Jacob Wolf, who owned land in Washington township in 1826. By his will, not dated, but registered Dec. 19, 1838, he devises his estate to his wife during her life or widowhood, after her death to be divided between his sons David, George, Jacob, Joseph, Matthias and Solomon, and his daughters, Christina and Elizabeth. He also gave land for a schoolhouse. Among the first members of the Reichert Lutheran Church on its organization were David and John Wolf and their wives, and Jacob Wolf.

By his first marriage Hamilton Kelly had six children, four sons and two daughters, of whom we have the following account: (1) George A. became a river pilot, and was killed in a steamboat explosion at Tarentum. He married Mary J. McCaslin, and had two children, his widow and one daughter now residing at New Kensington, Pa. (2) James L. became a large landowner and prominent citizen of Armstrong county. During the Civil war he was a captain in the 14th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Calvery. He married Lane Falk, daughter of George Falk, of Dakota, and had one son, who is now deceased. (3) Robert M., the first merchant of Kelly Station, did business later at Youngstown, Ohio, and Chicago, Ill., upon his retirement settling at Youngstown, Ohio where he died July 9, 1913. He married Flodie McCombs, and they had one son and three daughters. (4) Emeline married Morrison Silvis, and both are deceased. Their son, Loyd, is a carpenter, and he and his sister Nora reside together. (5) Susanna became the wife of John Brown and lives at New Kensington, Pa. She has one daughter living. (6) Hiram C., of Pittsburgh, is engaged as conductor of a United States mail car. He married Lizzie Christy, daughter of Daniel Christy, and they have one son and one daughter living. By his second wife, Eveline, Hamilton Kelly had four children, one son and three daughters, namely: Thompson G.; Irene, widow of John Fergnam (she has two sons and one daughter living, Glenn, Kelly and Edna); Margaret, wife of David Bole, of Canton, Ohio (she had one child, which is deceased); and Bertha, wife of R. W. McCutcheon, of Ford City, Pa. (They have four children, three sons and one daughter, living). Mrs. Eveline (Wolf) Kelly died July 2, 1904.

Thompson G. Kelly was reared in Bethel township and obtained his education in the local common schools. He has been postmaster at Kelly Station for the last eighteen years, and also conducts a general store there. He is a member of the Lutheran Church, in which he has been quite an active worker, having served in the office of deacon for six years. His wife also belongs to that church. In fraternal connection he is an Odd Fellow, belonging to White Rock Lodge, No. 979, I.O.O.F., at Center Valley, in Bethel township.

In 1878 Mr. Kelly married Catherine Beatty, of Center Valley, like himself a member of a highly respected family of the vicinity. Her father, James Beatty, was a leading business man of Bethel township, residing at Center Valley, owned and operated a gristmill and general store, and also had a large farm. He was one of the charter members of the Bethel Lutheran Church, in Bethel township. To him and his wife Catherine (Richards) was born a large family.

Four children, two sons and two daughters, have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Kelly: (1) Charles W. was married June 24, 1903, to Nancy Martha McClymonds, daughter of Samuel N. and Josephine (Alexander) McClymonds, who are members of the Slate Lick Presbyterian Church. Mr. McClymonds was formerly engaged in farming, but is now engineer at the Rough Run pumping station, in Ford City, Armstrong county. Mr. and Mrs. Charles W. Kelly are members of the Bethel Church. They have two children, Kathryn E. and Jessie M. (2) Wylie E. married Mrs. Maude (Utley) Maloney and has one daughter, Thelma. (3) Grace E. married Lee R. Kness and has one daughter, Kathryn A. (4) Bertha died when two years old.

Source: Pages 395-396,  Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J. H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed July 1998 by Joyce Sherry for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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