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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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WILLIAM HENRY KELLY. Among the leading and representative farmers of Johnson County, stalwart and sturdy tillers of the soil, there is none who stands a more prominent figure than the gentleman of whom this notice is written. He came to this state from Illinois, where his birth had occurred in Madison County, on the 27th of October, 1840, and is one of a family of nine children born to George W. and Eliza (Meeker) Kelly, but only five still survive. The father was born in this state, July 4, 1811, and while young he removed with his parents to Illinois, where he grew to manhood. Learning the carpenter’s trade, he followed that occupation for several years, and later began devoting a portion of his time to farming. Finally he gave up his trade entirely, becoming a prosperous farmer of Illinois, where he resided until 1867, when he again came to Missouri. He made Johnson County his home until his death, which took place in May, 1882. Abner Oliver Kelly, the grandfather of our subject, came to this state from Virginia almost a century ago, becoming one of its earliest pioneers. After passing some years of his life in this almost unbroken wilderness, he removed to Illinois, where his declining days were passed.

Under the parental roof William H. Kelly grew to manhood, acquiring a limited education in the primitive schools of those days. Arriving at an age when the problem of life first confronts one, he began to think of a future for himself. Having been reared to a farm life, he decided to follow that occupation, and his later success has proved the wisdom of his choice. At the age of twenty-three he began farming, operating rented land until 1891, when he purchased his present farm in township 47, range 27, which he cultivates in connection with one hundred acres of rented land. He is a thorough, practical farmer, and his success is well merited.

On the 11th of August, 1861, Mr. Kelly joined the boys in blue, becoming a member of Company E, Second Regiment of Illinois Volunteer Calvary, serving under Captain Tipton and Colonel Noble. For three years he remained in the service and was in many important engagements, including the siege of Vicksburg and the Red River campaign. On the 8th of April, 1864, during one of the important battles of that campaign, he was severely wounded and was conveyed to St. Louis Hospital, at New Orleans, where he remained until he had sufficiently recovered to return home. He received a thirty-days furlough, after which he again joined his company, and was in active service until his discharge. He was mustered out at Springfield, Ill.

Shortly after the twenty-fourth anniversary of his birth, Mr. Kelly decided to take a partner for life, and on the 22d of February, 1865, he married Miss Alice Morehouse, a daughter of William Morehouse, a native of England. She is a most estimable lady and has the love and respect of all who know her. Thirteen children came to bless their union, of whom the following are still living: Elizabeth, who is married and has four children; Alice, who is also married and has one child; and John, Charles, Louisa, George, James, Anna, Frank, Jesse and Eunice, who are still with their parents.

Mr. Kelly is an affable, courteous gentleman, and his hospitality and kindly nature win him many friends. In politics he is a Republican, and is a stanch supporter of the party principles. He is an earnest Christian gentleman, holding membership with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and his name is always found on the donation lists for any worthy charity.

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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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