My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in The History of Phelps County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  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.

* * * *

Col. William C. Kelly, prosecuting attorney of Phelps County, Mo., was born November 18, 1836, in Maury County, Tenn., the son of Hardy and Elizabeth (Shelton) Kelly, and grandson of Elijah Kelly, who was of Irish birth. Hardy Kelly was born in South Carolina in 1796, and was a Methodist minister by profession. When a young man he went to Maury County, Tenn., with his father, and was married in that State. In 1840 he moved to Carroll County, Ark. now Boone County, and in 1856 he moved to Springfield, Mo. In 1861 he became a resident of Rolla, where he died in 1866. He was engaged in ministerial work for about thirty years, being a local preacher. Elizabeth (Shelton) Kelly was born in Maury County, Tenn., in 1800, and was the daughter of Stephen Shelton, who was a physician by profession, and of considerable note in Tennessee; was the author of “Shelton’s Domestic Medicines.” Mrs. Kelly died in 1876. To Hardy Kelly and wife were born eleven children seven of whom are now living, Col. William Kelly being the third in order of birth. He was educated in the common schools, but has added materially to this by observation and general reading. He attained his growth on his father’s farm, and at the age of eighteen became a disciple of Blackstone, Hon. James P. Spring, of Fort Smith, Ark., being his preceptor. In 1855 he was admitted to the bar at Springfield, Mo., and commenced practicing in Greene County, where he continued two years. In 1856 he married Miss Margaret D. Ross, a native of Tennessee, and six children were the results of this union: Alice, wife of F. P. Rutherford, of Houston, Mo.; Jefferson D., Christopher L., Lulu, John and James B. In 1857 Mr. Kelly went to Marshfield, Mo., where he remained until 1861, when he joined the State Guards, and was elected major of the First Missouri Regiment, in McBride’s brigade, which joined the army under Gen. Price. He was in the fight at Wilson’s Creek, Dry Wood and Lexington. About six months after he was appointed by Gen. Price to recruit a regiment in Missouri and Arkansas. He raised eight companies, and was elected lieutenant-colonel, but Gen. Hindman reorganized the army, discharging all the officers who had been elected, and filled their places by appointment. But an officer with the ability of Col. Kelly could not remain idle, and he was appointed by Gen. Price to conscript troops for the Confederate service for the north sub-district of Arkansas, which position he filled up to the raid of 1864. He was then placed on the staff of Gen. Marmaduke, and a part of the time was in command of about 100 men, being a scout of that general. After the war Judge Price, of Springfield, Mo., and Col. Kelly, formed a law partnership at Batesville, Ark., which lasted two years, when Judge Price moved to Springfield and Col. Kelly to Rolla, where he has remained in the practice of law up to the present time. In 1872 he was elected by the Democratic party as prosecuting attorney of Phelps County, and has since filled that position. He is a man of high legal ability, being one of the leading members of the Phelps County bar, and has filled the office of prosecuting attorney in an efficient and able manner. He has carefully guarded the public welfare, sparing neither time nor hard work to do his duty, and his whole duty, showing impartiality in performing the obligations of his office. He is a fluent speaker, and challenges the high esteem of all his many friends Mrs. Kelly died in 1881, and March 22, 1883, Col. W. C. Kelly married Mrs. Mary J. Ellis, who died in June, 1884. In December, 1886, he married Miss Lucretia Fore, a native of Kentucky. The Colonel is a member of the Masonic fraternity, Royal Arch Chapter, was High Priest for four years, and is also an ancient member of the I. O. O. F.

* * * *

This family biography is one of 71 biographies included in The History of Phelps County, Missouri published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Phelps County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

To view additional Phelps County, Missouri family biographies, click here

To view a map of Phelps County, Missouri: Phelps County, Missouri Map

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of other family biographies.