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Below is a family biography included in the book, Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published by Chapman Publishing Company in 1895.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JOHN M. KELLY. A volume devoted to the biographical sketches of Johnson County would be incomplete without an outline of the life of the above gentleman, who has gained an excellent reputation as an agriculturist, his estate being located on section 14, township 45, range 24.

Mr. Kelly was born in Morrow County, Ohio, November 16, 1840, and was the youngest child born to his parents, Robert and Jane (Young) Kelly, the former of whom was born in Pennsylvania. He made the trip to Ohio with his father when that now populous state was little more than a wilderness. There the grandfather was the owner of two farms, which his son Robert aided him in cultivating. The former also followed to some extent his trade of brick-maker, and as there were no conveniences for getting goods to and from the locality near his home, did considerable teaming for the other settlers. Robert Kelly was a thrifty and industrious tiller of the soil, and was well liked by all who knew him. He spent his remaining years in the Buckeye State, passing away in 1880, at the age of eighty-six years. His good wife was born in Ireland, and came with her parents to this country. They, too, made their home in Ohio, where she met and married Robert Kelly. Her death occurred in 1845, when our subject was only five years of age.

The district schools in the early history of Ohio were, as a rule, conducted by teachers possessing inferior education, and the school which our subject attended was no exception to this rule. However, he obtained a fair knowledge of the common branches, and afterward, when his presence was needed on the farm, he made good use of his leisure moments by reading good and instructive books.

In 1864 John M. Kelly became a Union soldier, enlisting in Company G, One Hundred and Thirty-sixth National Guards, and was mustered in at Columbus. He saw much hard fighting with his regiment for the following eight months, when he was discharged. Returning to his former home, he was employed in farming and operating a sawmill until 1879, when we find him en route for the Western States, his first location being in Iowa. There he remained but four months, when he went on a visit to Kansas. Finding the outlook in that state a little better, he remained there for sixteen months, but at the end of that time came to Missouri, where he has lived ever since, and during this long period has never regretted his choice of location. He is now the owner of a tract of one hundred and two acres, eighty of which are under advanced cultivation, and the remaining tract of twenty-two acres is still in timber. His farm is now one of the most fertile in this locality, which state of affairs has been brought about by his own industry. He has shown excellent judgment in the management of his business affairs, as well as in choosing for himself a wife, for the lady who has been his helpmate for nearly thirty years is intelligent, energetic, wide-awake and ambitious.

The marriage of our subject and his wife took place September 13, 1866, and resulted in the birth of seven children, of whom those living are Ollie, now the wife of James Rosbrough, a farmer of this county; and Jay, Elizabeth J., John Ray, Mary Agnes and Fannie B. Jennie May is deceased. The wife and mother prior to her marriage was Miss Mary Agnes, daughter of John and Jane (Murdoch) Hannum, natives, respectively, of Ohio and Pennsylvania. Mrs. Kelly was born in the latter state in 1837. With her husband, she is a member of the Old-School Presbyterian Church, of which they are liberal supporters.

Our subject in politics is a Democrat, and he furthers in many a quiet way the interests of his party. While in no sense of the word a politician, he has been prevailed upon to serve on the School Board, which office he is acceptably filling at the present time.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Johnson County, Missouri portion of the book,  Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published in 1895 by Chapman Publishing Co.  For the complete description, click here: Johnson County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Johnson County, Missouri family biographies here: Johnson County, Missouri Biographies

View a map of 1904 Johnson County, Missouri here: Johnson County, Missouri Map

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