The Kelleys, Father and Son

Imagine arriving home after two years of fighting in a war only to have your family send you away again to complete a devastating task.

That’s the story of my relative David Kelly or Kelley*.

In 1814, David arrived home near what is now Urbana, Ohio, after serving in the War of 1812. He walked in the door all Fred Flintstone-like with the wife and kids and pet stegosaurus running out to greet him. And after they all kissed and hugged, his young brothers put his coat back on his shoulders and shoved him out the door.

A cabin built in 1806 in London, Ohio, near where David Kelly settled. Source: Ohio History Connection

At the same time David was traveling, his father Abraham was also walking home from the war. Sixty five years old, the father of fourteen children, and a veteran of the Revolutionary War, Abraham must have had some piss and vinegar for the Brits to have gone out to fight again.

There was a lot for him to be mad at. Decades after the Revolutionary War, British soldiers still occupied American territory. Britain was capturing American sailors, about 10,000 in all, and forcing them to work for the British cause. Some Native American tribes, rightfully concerned about land encroachment, allied themselves with the British to stop American land expansion. With multiple enemies, Americans found themselves fighting on several fronts: the Atlantic coast, the Canadian border, New Orleans, and the Midwestern frontier.

My people, David and Abraham Kelly, were probably walking home from the Michigan Territory, where the American colonel in charge of invading Canada from the west ran from British and Native American troops and surrendered Fort Detroit without a shot fired. How embarrassing.

An Ohio militia camp during the War of 1812. Source: Library of Congress

So that’s what David had just survived when he hit the road again, walking or riding southeast to Pickaway County, Ohio. 24 miles later, a farm owner showed David to the barn where he found the body of his father wrapped in a blanket. Not nearly as happy a homecoming as David had just received.

David Kelly, later in life

The following is an excerpt of the source article. It is a biography of Abraham’s youngest son and David’s little brother, Joseph.

*Probably. David Kelly is probably my relative. I don’t know how yet, but I’m linked genetically to three of his children and two of his brothers. It’s all a game of darts at this point.

Sources: Early History and Pioneers of Champaign County (Illinois), Milton W. Mathews and Lewis A. McLean, pp. 61-62, biography of Joseph Thornton Kelley, Champaign County Herald, Urbana, Illinois, 1886. Accessed 12 Apr 2021 on Google Books (https://rb.gy/jdxala)

War of 1812, Jeanne T. Heidler, Encyclopedia Brittanica article. Accessed on 21 Apr 2021 (https://www.britannica.com/event/War-of-1812)

“He is a coward”, National Park Service article, Department of the Interior. Accessed 21 Apr 2021 (https://www.nps.gov/articles/surrender-of-detroit.htm)

Gretna Green marriages

Many of my Harburn relatives got married in Angola, Indiana, in the early 1900s. As life-long residents of Flint, Michigan, I always wondered why my grandparents and their siblings drove the two hours through southern Michigan, crossed the border, and got hitched in the furthest northeastern corner of Indiana.

It was especially bewildering because my grandparents, according to all sources, were not travelers. They moved exactly twice while they were married: from a farm into town, then down the street. They liked their town, church, neighbors, and home just fine. Thank you very much.

I’m sure I’m behind the times here, but I just learned about Gretna Green marriages, also known as marriage mills. Named after a town just over the English border in Scotland, Gretna Green became a haven for young English couples who did not want to jump through the hoops the English parliament made young couples jump through, including waiting x amount of time and spending x amount of money at the church for the ceremony. Scotland, on the other hand, allowed simple ceremonies with little political bureaucracy to hinder young lovers.

After I learned the term, I looked up “Gretna Green locations in the United States” and discovered that Angola was a common marriage location for people in southern Michigan. In fact, by the 1950s, Steuben County, where Angola is located, was issuing 1,000 more marriage licenses a year than Marion County, where Indianapolis is located.

Now my grandfather was 33-years-old when he married it 1934, working in his parents’ florist shops. My grandmother was a school teacher. I don’t think they were hurting for cash so much as wanting a quiet and simple ceremony. They had a huge family. Having known them personally, I can’t imagine they’d have wanted a big fuss.

Sources:
1. HistoricUK.com. [https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofScotland/Gretna-Green/: Accessed on 15 Jul 2020.
2. Indiana Genealogy Society, Publications. [http://www.indgensoc.org/publications/email_alerts/2018/2018_02.pdf: Accessed on 15 Jul 2020]
3. Nelson Harburn and Bernice Wilson marriage certificate. Indiana, Marriages, 1811-1959, Steuben: 1934-1934, Volume23, Image 78 of 324. Accessed on FamilySearch.org 19 Jul 2020.

Kitty and Her Place of Birth

This is post #5 in my exploration of my 3x great-grandmother, who may or may not be Catherine James Bellamy James. You can start at the beginning of this thread here.

This post discusses the results of my research to answer the question: Where was Kitty born?

All but one of Kitty’s census records indicate that she was native to Virginia, but Virginia happens to be a big place with a long history. How do I narrow her birthplace down to a county or a region of Virginia?

My answer: I have been researching her FAN club, her Friends/Family, Associates, and Neighbors, to narrow things down.

I started with her husbands.

Elliot Bellamy’s researchers agree that he was also born in Virginia. His parents, William Lee and Eleanor Molen Bellamy were married in 1794 in Henry County, Virginia, near Martinsville. That’s along the border with North Carolina, south of Roanoke. Elliot was definitely in Gallia County, Ohio, by 1816 to marry Kitty, so the Bellamys migrated between 1794 and 1816, probably via the Kanawha Trail, a path through the land that would become West Virginia. Probably all of the families I discuss in this post traveled the trail to get to Gallipolis and Portsmouth, Ohio.

Kitty’s second husband, and my forefather, Jacob James’s birthplace is also exclusively listed as Virginia. The people I believe to be his parents, Josiah James and Mary Brock McCann, were probably married in 1800 in Bedford County, Virginia.

These marriage locations are pointing me to a clear region of Virginia in which to research.

To support this hypothesis, the people I believe to be Kitty’s family, John Jacobi and Julia Ann James, also have ties to this area. Please read my previous posts to learn why I think they are Catherine’s people. Their younger children, including all four of the brothers and sisters who married in Gallia County about the same time as Kitty and Elliot, were born in Bedford County between 1784 and 1802, according to their family researchers. One of their daughters (Catherine’s sister if I have the relationships right) Christina, married Lewis Settle there in 1803. John’s sister, Eva, married Samuel Hibbs in Bedford County in 1791.

I realize it’s risky to base my search on people I’m not sure are Jacob and Catherine’s parents, but I have to start somewhere, and I can’t ignore the confluence of so many surnames that the James Family researchers have discovered in our shared DNA matches, such as Basham, Angel, and Brock, in addition to the Bellamy family members living in the county at this time.

Kitty and the Double Life

Honestly, the more I research my third great-grandmother, Catherine James Bellamy James, the more I don’t think she’s my third great-grandmother. You can read why I think that at the beginning of this series of posts.

There are just some details in her records that don’t make any sense. Like, how was she running two households and two families 50 miles apart in the 1820s?

Here’s what I mean. Take a look at these two census records from 1830.

I know that the census records above contain the right men because they were in the exact same place with the same neighbors in other censuses: Elliot in 1820 and Josiah in the 1840 and 1850 censuses.

The top census record is from Scioto County, Ohio. It says Jacob James is in his 20s, is living with a woman the same age, and has 2 boys under the age of 5, one of whom I assume is Josiah.

The bottom census record is from Gallia County, Ohio, from the same year. It says Elliot Bellamy is in his 30s, is living with a woman in her 20s, and has 4 children under the age of 15.

Some back story: The children of Elliot and Catherine Bellamy were William, Nancy, Joshua and Bartlett. They were all born between 1817 and 1826-ish. My ancestor, Josiah James, is consistently described as being born in 1828 in Kentucky. All of the data of the children in these records checks out.

To give an idea of the geography between these two places, here’s a map of very southeastern Ohio. Kentucky is at the bottom across the river. West Virginia is the far bottom right across the river.

Accounting for all the little turns in the highlighted road and the fact that it takes an hour and a half to drive 58 miles, I’m guessing the land in between these cities is pretty hilly terrain. Granted, in 1830, folks would likely be traveling by boat, so the trip from Gallipolis to Portsmouth would be faster than going back upriver.

Some research of the James/Bellamy family suggests that Catherine was mother to both of these families at the same time, a sort of reverse polygamist situation. I just don’t think it can be true. First off, that’s a ways in 1830 for Catherine to be traveling to raise both families. And it would be very expensive for the wife of two farmers with 6 children to feed. Women did not have the kind of power back then to be able to move freely between households and keep their secret excursions under wraps.

Another reason I don’t think Catherine is the woman in both of these censuses is because I know that Elliot passed away in 1832 or 1833. I found his will on Ancestry on which his son William is executor.

So, in order for Josiah to have been born in Kentucky in 1828 to Catherine, not only would she have been married to another man and raising at least four other children, she would have been on an excursion in Kentucky while pregnant for some reason.

Divorce was uncommon in this place at this time for social and religious reasons. Evidence exists that the James children and the Bellamy children were close when they grew older. Josiah James and Bartlett Bellamy had a double wedding in May 1848. Josiah brought his father and Catherine out to Muscatine County, Iowa, to join William and Bartlett Bellamy in 1854. These facts suggest to me that there was no scandal between them.

So I don’t think Catherine was living with Jacob James in 1830. I do think Jacob had a wife before Catherine. To complicate things, though, I match genetically to descendants of all four of the Bellamy children.

If Catherine wasn’t Josiah’s mother, how could I be genetically linked to her Bellamy children?

Well, I’ve been researching that question.

What if Josiah’s mother was Catherine’s sister?

Like, after Elliot Bellamy and Josiah’s mother passed away, Jacob married his wife’s sister. It wasn’t an uncommon practice. It would explain the genetic ties. It would explain why the James siblings were tight with the Bellamys: they were brother-cousins. And it would make the descendants of Catherine Bellamy my 4th cousins instead of my half 3rd cousins once removed. For you DNA buffs out there, the shared centimorgans between those two relationships is virtually the same.

What do you think?

Sources are located in the links throughout the post. I found all of the censuses mentioned, as well as Elliot and Catherine’s wedding record, on Ancestry. The fact that she married Jacob James as her second husband can be found in censuses and in Joshua Bellamy’s biography on page 518 here.

Kitty and the Two Johns

This is the third entry in an on-going series of pretty much me writing out all of the weird stuff I’m finding about my third great-grandmother, Kitty James Bellamy James. To start this link, click here.

This post continues to discuss the research question: What were the names of Kitty’s parents?

So I narrowed Kitty’s father down to four men in my last post. After researching them further, I only found verifiable facts about two of them: John Jacobi James and his son, John Samuel James. I plugged John Senior and his wife into my Ancestry family tree to see if any DNA matches came up.

After seeing that I matched 13 of John James Senior’s descendants, I took a step further and plugged in John Senior’s parents’ names. I had 7 matches to 5 of John Senior’s siblings.

And I went back another generation and found that I matched to 8 descendants of John Senior’s grandparents. GRANDPARENTS!

We’re talking about people born in a section of the Holy Roman Empire known as Germania in 1714. There is no doubt in my mind that if John Jacobi James isn’t Catherine’s father then he must be her grandfather or uncle.

To read more findings, click here.

Sources:

1. Personal records from DNA test.

Kitty James and the Unknown Parents

This is a continuation of my research on my 3rd great-grandmother, Kitty James Bellamy James. For the start of this thread, click here.

In this post, I am writing about my findings to the research question: What were the names of Kitty James’s parents?

If Kitty married in Gallia County when she was a teenager, it stands to reason that her family was living nearby. Right? Running with that theory, I gathered the names of all the Jameses in the county in 1820. My research for 1810 didn’t go very far because early records for Ohio are spotty.

I work in Excel spreadsheets. It’s just who I am.

Five Jameses lived in Gallia County in 1820: Bartlet, John in Gallipolis, John in Green Township, Joseph, and Henry. Let’s look at them one at a time.

Bartlet is 27-45 years old and living with a woman 19-26. I’m thinking because of the age of the woman and the lack of kids in the house that Bartlet is on the lower edge of the age range and newly married.

John of Gallipolis is between 27-45 with two women in the same age range. There are three children under the age of 10 and a young woman who is 19-26 in the house. With an older John nearby, I am thinking this is John Junior.

John of Green Township is over 46 years old living with a man and a woman between 27-45, two men between 19-26, a woman between 17-18, a girl between 11-16, and a boy under 10. According to the Gallia County Cemetery records, John James died June 1, 1845, in Gallia County at 92 years old. His wife Julia Ann died in 1851 at 83 years of age.

Joseph is over 46 years old living with 3 people between 19-26 and 8 kids under 16. This is pretty clearly a 3-generation household.

Henry is 27-45 living with a woman 19-26. No children in the house makes me think Henry is in the lower end of the age range and newly married.

Map of Gallia County Townships. Source: Wikipedia

Next, I researched all of the Jameses who married in Gallia County around the time of Kitty’s marriage in 1816 in the hope of compiling a list of possible siblings. I found four people with the last name James—Rachel, Polly, Henry, and Elizabeth.

  • Rachel married Jesse Allison in 1813
  • Polly married Samuel Boggs in 1815
  • Elizabeth married Samuel Callahan in 1818
  • Henry married Susan Williams in 1819 (my inferences about him above were correct!)

Interesting that the surnames of the non-James grooms match maiden names and middle names of people I found death information for. Interesting that the name Kitty gave her third son was Bartlett. Interesting that Familysearch.org has a family tree for John and Julia James. Very interesting that I found DNA matches to descendants of two of the circled people below.

Entry for John Jacobi James on familysearch.org

For more of my findings, click this.

Sources:
1. Federal Census Year: 1820. Location: Springfield, Green, Gallipolis, and Harrison Twp, Gallia County, Ohio; NARA Roll: M33_88; Image: 81. Accessed on Ancestry.com, 7 Mar 2020.
2. Ohio Marriages 1800-1956, Film 004016313, FamilySearch.org.
3. John Jacobi James profile on FamilySearch.org. GQH1H-H1H.
4. Julia Ann Callaghan profile on FamilySearch.org. L71R-6JB.
5. Personal records from DNA test.

Kitty James and Child Marriage

In the little free time I’ve had lately, I’ve been focusing on my 3rd paternal great-grandmother, Catherine “Kitty” James Bellamy James. No, the second James isn’t a mistake. All evidence points to Kitty’s second husband having the same surname as her maiden name. Whether or not they were cousins has yet to be proven (that I’m aware of).

My first question about Kitty was what year she was born.

Her age jumps around a lot from census to census. From them, though, I gleaned a range from 1796 to 1810. They consistently give Virginia as her birth state.

She first appears in a document by name when she married Elliot Bellamy or Bellomy in Gallia County, Ohio, just across the river from West Virginia.

[Transcription:]

Richard Newman and Polly Rickman.
Elliot Bellamy and Kitty James:
The State of Ohio, Gallia County.

I do hereby certify that Richard Newman and Polly Rickman was lawfully joined together in the holy bonds of matrimony, on the 15th day of August 1816, by me the undersigned; Also Elliot Bellamy and Kitty James, on the first day of September, was lawfully joined together in the holy bonds of wedlock in this present month, by me.

David Robertson J.P.

[End of transcription]

According to later records, Kitty would have been anywhere from 6–21 years old on her wedding day. Gallia County was frontier in 1816, so I can’t imagine marriage laws were very strict, but I doubt they’d let a 6 year old marry.

Unlike his peers, Justice Robertson did not expressly state that the wives whose marriages he officiated were of legal age. But he does use the term legal. I couldn’t find a specific age of consent law for Ohio for 1816, but I did find that the age of consent for women in Ohio in 1851 was 14 (p. 213; Statute 24). Probably Kitty was at least 12, so I’m putting her birth year between 1796 and 1804.

A year and a day after her marriage she had her first son, William, named for Elliot’s father. William’s birthdate was etched into his tombstone, and the 1820 and 1830 censuses corroborate that she had two living children before 1820. Doing the math, it seems she was pregnant three months after the wedding. Her quick pregnancy supports my inference that Kitty was at least 12 years old (probably older).

I know. I only covered Kitty’s birthdate in this post, not her whole life. I’m sorry. I write short things, and Ive been researching Kitty for a long, long time so I have a lot to say. For the next part of my research, click here.

Sources:

1. Elliot Bellamy household. Federal Census Year: 1820. Location: Ohio Twp, Gallia County, Ohio; NARA Roll: M33_88; Image: 81. Accessed on Ancestry.com, 7 Mar 2020.

2. Elliot Bellamy household. Federal Census Year: 1830. Location: Harrison Twp, Gallia County, Ohio; Series: M19; Roll: 131; Page: 126; Family History Library Film: 0337942. Accessed on Ancestry.com, 7 Mar 2020.

3. Jacob James household. Federal Census Year: 1840. Location: Green Twp, Gallia County, Ohio; Roll: 395; Page: 61; Family History Library Film: 0020165. Accessed on Ancestry.com, 7 Mar 2020.

4. Jacob James household. Federal Census Year: 1850; Census Place: Nile Twp, Scioto, Ohio; Roll: M432_727; Page: 74A. Accessed on Ancestry.com, 7 Mar 2020.

5. Jacob James household. Federal Census Year: 1870; Census Place: Clay, Harrison, Missouri; Roll: M593_. Accessed on Ancestry.com, 7 Mar 2020.

6. Frank Young household. Iowa State Census Year: 1885; Location: Ward 2, Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, Iowa. Accessed on Ancestry.com, 7 Mar 2020.

7. Ohio County Marriage Records, 1774-1993; Film Number: 000317652; Page: 32. Elliot Bellamy and Kitty James, Gallia County, Ohio, 1 Sep 1816. Accessed on Ancestry.com, 7 Mar 2020.

8. Century Publishing of the American Digest, West Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1902. Page 213, Statute 24. Accessed on Google Books, 7 Mar 2020 (https://bit.ly/2VTcFte).

9. “Child Marriage, Common In the Past, Persists Today,” Andrea Dukakis, Colorado Public Radio, 4 Apr 2017. Accessed on CPR.org, 7 Mar 2020 (https://bit.ly/2TBXOSB).

Mysterious Poisoning

Mysterious Poisoning.png

Minnie Benner is my 3rd great-grandmother. Paris green, also known as Schweinfurt green, emerald green, or Vienna green, is an insecticide, rodenticide, and pigment invented in 1814 in Schweinfurt, Germany.

Sources:
Article: “Mysterious Poisoning,” Evansville Journal (Evansville, IN), 17 Mar 1896, p. 1, col. 2, art. 2. Accessed on genealogybank.com, 19 Dec 2019.

photo credit: Wikipedia commons

Transcript:

MYSTERIOUS POISONING.

Members of the Benner Family Ill.

Paris Green Though to Be the Cause of the Attack.

Yesterday afternoon Mrs. Minnie Benner and her daughter, Anna Benner, living at 1007 Outer Fifth avenue, were taken suddenly ill. They symptoms were those of poisoning, and a physician was at once called.

The suspicions of the ladies were verified by the medical attendant, who told them they had probably taken something poisonous in their food. The two ladies were very ill, and for a time the attack threatened to prove fatal. They are thought to be out of danger now.

The only explanation for the poisoning is that there might have been some Paris green on the potatoes, which had been a part of their dinner. Another member of the family felt the effects of the poison slightly, and those three were the only ones of the family to partake of the potatoes at the meal. The others felt no ill effects.

 

And She’s Dead Again

Two weeks ago, I wrote that finding an obituary had resurrected my 2x great-grandmother, Fannie Grace. This post won’t make much sense if you don’t read that post first.

I found an obituary of another of Fannie’s brothers.

This time Mary, who I believed to be my 2nd great-grandmother, has the last name Elder, has moved to Oklahoma, and had been identified as a half-sister to Willis Grace. I know that Thomas Grace, the brother whose obituary appeared in the previous post, and Willis are full brothers to my 2nd great-grandmother, Fannie, so I did a little more digging.

Turns out that, while I was correct that Fannie’s father did not have any other daughters, I had forgotten that Fannie’s mother, Rachel Boyt Grace, had been married previously.

So Mary Price Elder is my half-2nd great-grandaunt, Mary McGinnis.

And my 2nd great-grandmother, Fannie Grace Romine, is presumed to have died between 1901 and 1910. This theory is strengthened by the fact that on Fannie’s son’s (my great-grandfather’s) death certificate a different woman is listed as his mother. It seems like Fannie’s name would be there if she had been around much in her son’s life.

A Resurrection

A while back, I plugged in a simple family tree on the genealogy website MyHeritage and signed up for their notification emails. I like that, even though I’m not a paying member, the emails update me on records the site has found for my ancestors.

Here’s a recent one I received showing a hit on a 2nd great-granduncle, Thomas Grace:

As you can see, this newspaper hit is for an article that ran in Prescott, Arizona, but I know that Thomas Grace lived near Parma, Missouri, all his life. Why would a Missouri man’s obituary run in an Arizona newspaper?

Since I’m not a member of My Heritage, I searched on the internet and found free issues of the Prescott Evening Courier on Google Newspapers.

This article is from the November 12, 1938, edition of the newspaper.

Turns out Tommy is mentioned because his daughter, Trulia Grace Head (that’s a whopper of a name, right?), and his brother Charles were living in Prescott at the time.

This standard funeral notice is an ASTOUNDING find for me because it resurrected an ancestor that I had presumed dead.

My 2nd great-grandmother is Fanny Grace. She appears with my great-grandfather in the 1900 census. But in the 1910 census, she disappears.

Her husband, Edward Romine, had remarried in 1901. In most of her son Albert Clayton’s records, Edward’s second wife is listed as his mother. So, I concluded that Fannie had passed away.

But, Nate, no one named Fanny is listed in this obituary.

True. But listed in the survivors is a sister named Mary Price. The thing is, based on Fannie and Thomas’s father’s military records, Thomas only had one sister. Fannie.

So I believe Mary and Fannie are the same person. Perhaps my great-grandmother’s full name was Mary Frances Grace.

There are a few things I can do now that I know Thomas had a sister living in 1938. I can search for Mary Prices, which you know I already tried. There’s only one Mary Price in Nevada, Missouri, in the 1940 census, and I’ve proven she isn’t my gal.

I can try to find divorce records from around 1900 from the Parma area now that I know Fannie didn’t die. I can check the obituaries of Fanny’s siblings who passed after Tommy to see if she is listed and where she is living. I can check the Missouri Vital Records website to see if any Mary Prices are my 2nd great-grandmother.

Do you have any other suggestions? I would love to hear them!

Sources for this entry will appear here shortly.