Nathaniel Kelly, son of John and Elizabeth: Who’s The Daddy, Part 3

Candidate #3 on my list of potential 3rd great-grandfathers is Nathaniel Kelly, son of John Kelly and his first wife, Elizabeth Loar or Lohr.

Nathaniel Kelly was born January 13, 1806, in Greenbrier County, Virginia (now West Virginia). He married Margaret Smith in Logan County, Ohio, on June 30, 1831, at the age of 25.

Logan County Marriage Records 1774–1993,

The 1840 census has Nathaniel living in Lake Township, Logan County, Ohio, with a woman his age, who I assume is Margaret. There is also a boy between 10 and 14 and a girl under 5 in his household.

In 1850, Nathaniel and Margaret are in Monroe Township, Logan County, Ohio. They are listed immediately after his brothers: Peter, John Senior. Included in the couple’s household are Samuel Smith, aged 28, who I assume is a relative of Margaret’s, and Sarah Burgess, aged 9. The ages of these two don’t match the ages of the boy and girl in 1840. Also, Sarah Burgess is a name that has come up before in two places: Nathaniel’s grandmother’s name, and the wife of Abraham Kelly, another prominent Kelly in the county who I believe is related.

Nathaniel’s death is not known at the time I write this. His wife remarries a man in 1867, which most likely means Nathaniel passed away before then. His missing name from the 1860 census may mean he passed before 1860. 


I can’t rule Nathaniel out as the father of my ancestor, John W. Kelley.

Arguments against include the family bible only listing one marriage for him. Since Nathaniel married Margaret six years after my ancestor was born, Margaret is probably not the mother. 

Arguments for include that Nathaniel was within the age range, lived in the area, and had a boy living with him in 1840 that is about John’s age at that time. Nathaniel was 25 years old when he married, so that leaves room for him to have had another wife and family.

John Kelly, son of Peter and Mary: Who’s the Daddy, Part 2

So with Peter Kelly, Jr, off my potential daddy list, I turn to his brother, John.

According to a family bible and his father’s will, John Kelly, son of Peter and his first wife Sarah Burgis, was born July 18, 1781, in Shenandoah County, Virginia. He married Screen Shot 2018-12-03 at 2.10.53 PMElisabeth Loar in Augusta County, Virginia, on May 6, 1803. He and Betsy had two children: Polly, born in 1804 in Staunton, and Nathaniel, born in 1806 in Greenbrier County, Virginia (now West Virginia).

John married Susannah Osborn on August 3, 1806, in Greenbrier County. (Since John remarried the same year Nathaniel was born, I am inclined to believe Elisabeth died in childbirth.) Susannah was the daughter of a well-known Baptist minister, Josiah Osborn. A biography of one of their sons states that John and Susannah had 12 children. I have only been able to nail down 6 from records so far: John in 1807, Sallie in 1809, Elizabeth in 1812, Martha in 1814, Peter in 1816, and Harriet in 1819. Other researchers of this family have listed children younger than Harriet, but how do we know whose children they are. As you will read in the next paragraphs, this family was big into housing extended family. In 1820, the family moved near Bellefontaine, Ohio.

There’s a John Kelly in the Logan County census records for the years 1820, 1830, and 1840. As this family has so many Johns in it, I wasn’t sure these records were for this John Kelly and his family. Remember that censuses before 1850 listed just the head of household’s name and their families were recorded as hash marks representing their age and sex.

The 1820 census has 8 people total in the family. The hash marks match the ages of John and Susannah’s children. The only kids missing are Polly and Nathaniel, John’s children by his first marriage, who would have been 16 and 14 years old. It could be that they may have stayed behind in Virginia with other family members.

The 1830 census lists 18 people in John Kelly’s house. That’s certainly more than the 14 (12 children, 2 parents) I was expecting. But even 14 is too many because it assumes John and Susannah had a dozen children who survived. Three of the new people are easily spotted; there are a thirty, a sixty and a seventy-year-old man in the hashes. Their presence on the census makes me believe John is housing more than one family—probably his or his wife’s parents and a brother or brother-in-law. Four of John’s children would be in their twenties at this time so they may not be living with their parents. Most interesting, there’s a boy between 5 and 9 years old, and a boy under 5 years old on the record. My John Kelley ancestor was born in 1825 or 1826. More on this in a few paragraphs.

John’s family is back down to 8 people in the 1840 census. Of course, most of his children were married and gone by this time. Harriet, the youngest daughter that I know of so far, would be 21. I looked ahead and noticed she would marry in 1842. There is a 90-year-old man listed. The two boys listed in the 1830 census also appear on this census, ten years older. Could one of them be my John Kelley?

John the elder’s wife passed away in 1844.

In the 1850 census, John is listed with people this time. John is 68, Martha Price is 36, Jonathan Yeck is 18, Mary Ann Williams is 16, John Price is 9, and Harriet Fuson is under the age of 1. I’ve verified that Martha is this John Kelly’s daughter, and Harriet Fuson is his granddaughter. I’m not sure who the others are yet. The fact that this is the right man in the right county makes me think the previous censuses are also him. My thinking here is, if we know he moved there in 1820 and he is listed there in 1850, he most likely stayed there in between.

In the winter of 1859, John Kelly dies in Logan County.


I can’t rule out this John Kelly as the father of my ancestor.

Reasons I’m leaning toward him not being the daddy: John Senior already has a son named John. The family bible lists Senior’s children rather meticulously; there are only 8 births listed, which leads me to believe 4 children did not survive birth.

Screen Shot 2018-12-03 at 2.14.43 PM.png
page 9 from the family bible in my possession (but procured from Margaret Gerdeman)

On the other hand, John was 43 in 1825 when my ancestor was born, so he could still have children. My ancestor named one of his son’s John Henry Osborn, which makes me think there’s a connection to Susannah. There’s the question of the missing six children John and Susannah are to have had, and the question of the two boys in the 1830 and 1840, who may be John’s or maybe somebody else’s. Of course, there’s also the possibility that John and Betsy or Susannah are my ancestor’s grandparents. John’s sons Nathaniel and John Junior are old enough to be my ancestor’s father. I guess I have my Who’s The Daddy? Parts 3 and 4 now.

Peter Kelly, Jr.: Who’s the Daddy, Part 1

Now that I’m 97 percent certain I’m researching the right Kelley/Kelly family, my next task is narrowing down potential fathers.

Using Peter Kelly’s will, I determined that two of his sons, Peter Junior and John, could be my third great-grandfather’s father.

I had already known that Elizabeth Enoch had a brother named Peter because they were mentioned in a biography of Elizabeth’s husband, John.

Peter Kelly, Junior, was born in Staunton, Augusta County, Virginia, in 1799. He moved to Logan County with his family in 1820 when he was 21 years old. He married Sarah “Sally” Smith in Logan County in 1822.

The Ancestry community in general believes he and Sally had Mary in 1823, Jeremiah in 1824, Henry in 1826, Elizabeth in 1829, and John in 1830.

In the 1830 census, he is listed as having 2 sons between the ages of 5 and 9 and 1 son under the age of 5. Jeremiah and Henry are probably the two sons between 5 and 9; John is probably the one under age 5.

As the History of Champaign and Logan County excerpt above states, Peter Kelly was a county sheriff, not an easy job so early in the European history there. At the Logan County Library in Bellefontaine, Ohio, I confirmed that a Peter Kelly served as sheriff of the county twice: from 1831 to 1834 and again from 1839 to 1840. The couple had more children that I won’t mention here because I am only concerned about his children born around 1825.

In 1840, he has 1 son between 15 and 19 and 2 sons between 10 and 14, which corresponds with Jeremiah, Henry, and John’s birthdates.

In 1850, everyone except Jeremiah is present and living in the same county they were in the previous censuses.

A newspaper clipping index I discovered at the Logan County Historical Society lists a Judge Peter Kelly (Junior) dying in West Liberty, Ohio, on 10 December 1856 of Lung Fever. He was in his 58th year and was a native of Augusta County, Virginia. The index says this information was in the 12 December 1856 edition of the Bellefontaine Republic newspaper. I need to find this obituary because an index isn’t a strong source.

Findagrave confirms a Peter Kelly was buried in Fairview Cemetery in West Liberty, Ohio, in 1856. He is next to Sarah Kelly, Elizabeth, and Belle, and his other children are also linked in his record. They are Sarah Kennedy, Anna Deck, Martha Patterson, and John Kelly.

Analysis: I don’t think Peter Junior is likely to be the father of my ancestor John Kelley, who was born (most documents agree) in July 1825.

1. The censuses agree as to the number of sons Peter had in 1830, 1840, and 1850, and they consistently match the ages of Peter’s known children.

2. Peter’s son Jeremiah became a well-respected reverend in this county. His life is well documented. He was born in October 1824, exactly nine months before my John Kelley relative was born. It’s possible Sally bore two sons that close together, but not probable.

3. Peter and Sarah named a son John in 1830. It’s possible they named two sons the same name, but not probable.

4. As an upstanding member of the community—earning a mention in his brother-in-law’s biography I might add—Peter Kelly and his family would be well recorded even at this early time. All of his living children would have been recorded.

Looking Up: The Two John Kelleys, Part 12

Start at the beginning or just go back to Part 11.

In my hunt for finding Elizabeth Kelley Enoch’s family, I’m homing in on the basics. I want to start with when was Elizabeth was born.

The 1850 census says she was born in Virginia and she was 47 years old. That means her birth year was 1802 or 1803. I find her in Salem Township, Champaign County, Ohio, in the 1860 and 1870 censuses. Her birth year is consistent at 1802 or 1803, and her birthplace is listed in both as Virginia. has a listing of an Elizabeth Enoch at the Mount Tabor Church Cemetery in Mingo, Champaign County, Ohio.

The county is right; the husband is right. The page also lists children buried nearby and their names match up as well. Doing the math on the gravestone, Elizabeth would have been born 9 April 1803. Those age breakdowns on gravestones are so exact I tend to trust them.

Plugging her and John’s name into the family search database, I pull up a death record.

This is the death record of Elizabeth and John’s son John Enoch III. It states that Elizabeth was born in Augusta County, Virginia. With that lead in mind, I go to Google looking for Kelleys in Augusta County. That’s where I find this:

These are a few pages from The Papers of John C. Enoch III, Sterling, Kentucky, a book by an Enoch family member! How perfect is that? I immediately see the info here matches what I’ve come up with so far. Looks like John Enoch Sr.’s death might be a typo since this page says he died three years before his first child was born. But mistakes happen. We have Elizabeth’s parents’ names, though. I notice, though, that this book either doesn’t have source documentation or it isn’t on a page that Google books allows me to see. So this info isn’t the most reliable at this point.

Further down on my list of Google hits, I find the following excerpt from David Enoch Family in Ohio, 1798–1953:

He [John Enoch, Jr.] lived with his family and aided in the operation of the mill at West Liberty until his marriage, which important event in his life occured on the 25th of July, 1822, the lady of his choice being Elizabeth Kelley, a native of Augusta County, Virginia, born in 1803. Her parents were Peter and Mary Mole Kelley. Mrs. Enoch came to Logan County, Ohio, with her parents, at the age of seventeen year, the family locating near West Liberty. There Mr. Kelley was engaged…

It’s an unfortunate place for an ellipses. What was Mr. Kelley engaged in? That’s the info I want to know! Mental note: Somewhere there’s a record where that paragraph continues! Argh.

There’s so much more about the Enoch family in this book, including:

He [John Enoch, Jr.] was married to Miss Kelly, a sister to Peter Kelly, now deceased, formerly Sheriff of Logan County.

The good news is that this book is well-documented. And now I know that Elizabeth left Virginia to live in Ohio with her parents in 1820. And she has a brother named Peter who was the sheriff in town. That’s quite a bit to go on. Things are looking good!

Sources for this post can be found here.