Screeching Tires: The Two John Kelleys, Part 10

Did you hear that tire squeal a couple days ago?

Yeah, that was me.

I ordered all of the documents I came across, checked all the newspaper archives for obituaries, and I googled and googled and googled. Pretty sure there’s not another record of this family on the Internet. None of the documents indicated Milan John was or was not my family.

I made a list of death records I could order and genealogy organizations I could contact. Hopping online, I looked up Milan John’s family in my DNA records. Typed in Beardsley and Shailer and Collins, the married names of Milan John’s sisters, and Erie County, where Milan is located. A few matches came up, none of them seemed to connect to Milan John’s family.

I looked up Champaign County, Ohio, in my DNA matches and there were so many. To narrow things down, I searched the family Champaign John lived with in the 1850 census: Enoch.

Really? First entry? That’s all I had to do?

Yup. That’s the Elizabeth Kelley Enoch who housed John Kelley in the 1850 census in Champaign County, Ohio.

So that’s the squeal you heard—me stomping on the Milan John brakes and turning south to look into Champaign John.

Anybody need some obituaries and death records of a family I’m fairly certain now are not my relatives?

More to come.

Celia Kelley Collins: The Two John Kelleys, Part 9

Start from the beginning or read Part 8.

From the Norwalk Daily Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio), 11 Apr 1901:

Screen Shot 2018-08-20 at 1.19.25 PM.png

Argh. Another family obituary that doesn’t list siblings. One of these days I’m going to find an article that will mention John W. Kelley, so I can finally prove that Milan John and Champaign John are not the same.

While the obituary doesn’t mention the info I’m looking for, it does tell me a few other things.

  • Celia was only in Cincinnati for a year so I should look for her near Bellevue, Ohio, before 1900.
  • Celia’s daughter Anna was in Cincinnati in 1900. She married a Robertson.
  • Celia’s son John is still in the Bellevue/Milan/Norwalk area in 1901. He’s a suburban restaurant owner, and since the name of the restaurant isn’t mentioned, I’m thinking it’s the only restaurant around.
  • Celia’s son W. H. lived in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1901, so that’s probably where I’ll find him in the 1900 census.
  • Celia’s husband died in 1885 in Norwalk “by the cars.” Shiver. I’m not sure I want to know exactly what is meant by that, although I have an idea.

Celia was mentioned in the same newspaper the next day.

Gallimore mentioned in Celia Kelleys obit.png

A couple things interested me about this article. Berea is a suburb of Cleveland, about 60 miles from where the Collinses lived. Why would a reverend travel all that way to officiate the funeral? Why would a neighboring town care that he stayed?

Turns out he’d been the pastor at the Methodist church in Bellevue from the 1870s to the 1890s. A quick search of his last name in the Bellevue paper brought up his name a lot.

Sources for this post can be found here. Read the next part.

Research Plan Check 2: The Two John Kelleys

I was hoping I would have conclusive evidence by now that Milan John wasn’t my blood relative. Oh well. Will keep plugging away.

  • Research census and vital records for Milan John’s family.

Research Plan 2

  • Who are the peripheral people in the census documents?
    a. William Whiten?
    b. Elizabeth Enoch?
    c. John Enoch?

William Whitten lived in York, Sandusky County, Ohio, most of his life. He married Sarah Jane Mason in 1860. I did not find any obvious family relation to the Kelleys, so I’ve decided to put him aside and maybe come back for a deeper dig later.

  • Look for Amelia Kelley marrying a Beardsley in Milan area sometime between 1850, the date of the census, and 1870, the date of her recorded death.
  • Look for James and Fannie Kelley in 1860 and 1870 censuses.

I found them in Cleveland in 1860 and back in Norwalk in 1870. In 1880, they were living in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, with Fanny’s niece, Martha Preston. Fanny dies at the house of Martha Preston in Chicago, IL, in 1903. I haven’t found a death record or obituary for James Kelley yet. They had a son, William Shannon Kelley, born 1859.

  • Who are John and Celia Collins and why haven’t I encountered them before?
  • Find obituaries:
    • Tamar
    • Patrick
    • John W Kelley
    • Celia Kelley Collins Ordered 10 Aug 2018
    • John Collins Ordered 14 Aug 2018
    • Mary Kelley
    • James Kelley
    • Fannie Williams Kelley Ordered 8 Aug 2018
    • Ellen Kelley Shailer
    • Israel Shailer
    • Amelia Kelley Beardsley
    • Homer Beardsley
    • Amanda Kelley
  • Find Homer Beardsley after Amelia’s passing.


The Shipwreck: The Two John Kelleys, Part 7

Start from the beginning here or go back to Part 6.

In the 1880 census, I found Amelia Beardsley, daughter of Patrick and Tamer’s daughter, Amelia, living with her aunt Celia Kelley Collins. I know from a death record that Mother Amelia died in 1870 or 1871, but I wondered where her father, Homer Beardsley, was.

I don’t think it was uncommon for single fathers to place their children with family members at that time, especially when Homer’s occupation as a seaman is considered. His job required weeks, if not months, away at sea. I figured he was away during the 1880 census. Census searches after 1880 did not come up with any hits, so I googled him and found this:

Ships and Men of the Great Lakes

That is an excerpt of a list of people who were lost in shipwrecks mentioned in a book called Ships and Men of the Great Lakes. Homer Beardsley is also mentioned in another index of a book, Lake Superior’s Shipwreck Coast. Both indices say that Captain Beardsley died as a result of the wreck of the W. W. Arnold on 1 or 15 November 1869 off the coast of Two-Hearted River, Michigan. Following is an excerpt from the Traverse City Record-Eagle about Harborless, a book of poetry by Cindy Hunter Morgan.

Perhaps the strangest wreck was that of the wooden schooner W.W. Arnold in 1869. The ship met with a winter storm on Lake Superior only hours after departure from port and vanished.

One month later, a mail carrier whose route followed the shore reported he’d found a ship beached near the W.W. Arnold’s planned route, prompting men from the Masonic Order to search for the captain’s body.

They arrived to find the beach littered with debris. They found scraps of clothing and canvas, but were too late to recover the bodies before they decomposed.

And here is a newspaper clipping of the losses (although the site on which I found it gives no source):

Screen Shot 2018-08-17 at 9.52.15 AM.png

What a terrible way to go: listed as “ten in number” next to the monetary values of the vessel and its cargo.

Disclaimer: This may not be Amelia’s Homer Beardsley. There very well could have been more than one sailor named Homer Beardsley on ships in the Great Lakes. I have not been able to find a crew roster for the W. W. Arnold or an obituary for Homer Beardsley, despite looking in Google Newspaper Archive,, and But it seems reasonable that it is him, doesn’t it?

Amanda Kelly household 1870 census

The fact that keeps niggling at me is in Part 4 of this series Mother Amelia and Tamar are listed on the July 1870 census, even though I have death records stating that Mother Amelia died in childbirth in April 1870, and Tamar died of rheumatism in May 1870, making this census record virtually impossible. With the revelation of Homer’s possible death in November 1869, I now have 3 possible ghosts on this page.

Sources for this post can be found here. Read the next part.

A Surprise Sister: The Two John Kelleys, Part 6

Start from the beginning here or go back to Part 5.

In the post about Amelia Kelley (Part 4), I found out she died in childbirth in 1870 or 1871. I found her daughter, Amelia Beardsley, in the 1880 census living with the family of someone named John Collins. Young Amelia was listed as a niece.

I assumed Celia must be the blood relative, as opposed to John. Sure enough, a quick search in Ancestry confirmed that Celia was a Kelly.

Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 3.22.33 PM.png

And look at that: Patrick’s name is right there so I don’t have to prove that Celia is his daughter.

If he wasn’t mentioned in this document, there were other clues that she existed. First of all, in Tamar’s 1850 census record, John was listed as 26 years old and Mary was listed as 22 and then 4 more children were born every even year. A skip like that in a consistent line of births usually indicates that either another living sibling or the couple had lost a child. In his 1830 and 1840 census records, there was one young girl in the tallies I couldn’t account for. But I knew for sure there wasn’t a tragedy when Patrick’s obituary mentioned leaving 7 children behind.

So why is Celia so shifty and mysterious? She’s not. She wasn’t listed with her family in the 1850 census because she was already married and living with John Collins. The marriage record above states that she was under 18 at the time of the wedding and Patrick had to give his consent. By my count, Celia wasn’t much younger than 18 in 1844, though.

John and Celia were in Norwalk from 1844 until at least 1885. They had 5 children together, plus they took care of Amelia Beardsley, Celia’s niece. John died in 1885 in Norwalk. Celia died in Cincinnati in 1901. I await both of their obituaries from the Rutherford B. Hayes Library, which I will post when I receive them.

Sources for this post can be found here. Read Part 7 The Shipwreck.

Patrick Kelley biography: The Two John Kelleys, Part 5

Start from the beginning here or go back to Part 4.

Patrick Kelley was born on the southern coast of Ireland in Dungarvan, County Waterford. He was probably born in 1796. Other researchers cite his birthdate as March 17, but I have yet to find a corroborating document. He immigrated to the United States in 1813 and joined the army shortly thereafter. The timing of his enlistment would mean he fought in the War of 1812, which, despite its name, lasted until 1815. I have not been able to pinpoint his military records as there are many Patrick Kellys in the ranks.

After his time in the army, he accompanied his captain, Adam Swan, of Stonington, Connecticut, along with five other men to the wilds of the Western Reserve, a large swath of land adjacent to the western border of Connecticut and extending into present-day Ohio. He settled near Norwalk, Ohio, the hamlet named after the Connecticut town from which they had left.

History of Huron County, p. 202

I’m fairly certain this is our Patrick because his marriage record to Tamer (or Tamar or Tamour or Famour or Fanny) Wilson takes place in Norwalk, Ohio, in 1824. So I know they resided there at that early time in the history of the town.

Kelley Wilson marriage record.png

I also think it’s him because Patrick is the only Kelly/Kelley listed in the 1830 census of the area. His name appears on the same page as Seth Keeler, one of the men mentioned in the historical excerpt above as accompanying Swan and Kelley to the area. Kelley’s obituary also states he was “among the first settlers of this part of Ohio.”

Between 1830 and 1840, they may have moved from Norwalk to Milan, Ohio, or the boundaries of the proximate towns may have changed. Patrick and Tamer raised their 7 children: John W (born 1824), Celia (born 1826), Mary (born 1828), James (born 1831), Ellen (born 1833), and the twins, Amelia and Amanda (born 1838).

Patrick died on 29 May 1847 in Milan. The cause is not clear. He was laid to rest in Milan Cemetery. Probate records exist that name Tamer and John W. as executors. I believe a will exists in the records but it is not published online.

Patrick Kelley obituary 1847.png

Sources for this post can be found here. Read Part 6.

Amelia Kelley: The Two John Kellys, Part 4

Start from the beginning here or go back to Part 3.

After reviewing my research plan, I’m setting my sights on Amelia. In my experience, the people who come up quickly in search engines often have the most documentation of their life events. Plus, I’m curious if my hunch about Tamar and Amelia’s death records being next to each other is correct. So I’m going to see if I can find Amelia’s marriage record.

A quick search on Ancestry pulls up this file:

Homer Beardsley married Amelia Eliza Kelley in Erie County, Ohio, in December 1862. This record fits all of my parameters. But how do I know for sure it’s Tamar’s daughter?

Searching Homer and Amelia Beardsley in the censuses pulls up this record:

Amelia and Homer are living with her sister and her mother, who is listed as “Fanny.” That’s another name I can use to search for Tamar, besides Tamour and Famour. Amelia has a daughter Amelia born in April 1870. (See the column that says “Apr” in baby Amelia’s record? That’s for the birth month of babies born within the year.)

Wait a minute.

Didn’t Amelia’s death record say she died in childbirth in April 1870? And didn’t Tamar die a few days later? How could mother and daughter be listed together with the baby?

*looks back at Part 2 post* Yes. Amelia died on April 29, 1870; Tamar died 4 days later on May 3, 1870.

So when was this 1870 census taken?

July 29, 1870? How is that possible? Was the census taker interviewing ghosts?

*looks back at death records* The dates on the page are going back and forth between 1870 and 1871. Maybe Amelia and Tamar died in 1871 instead? Maybe Sister Amanda was the one being interviewed by the census taker and she mentioned them without explaining that they had passed? Or maybe she mentioned them in the interview and didn’t bother to correct the census taker that they were no longer living.

What happened to baby after Mama Amelia’s death? I have to know.

This is the 1880 census. In Norwalk, Ohio, a town 10 miles south of Milan, Amelia Beardsley is listed as the niece of John and Celia Collins. (Postscript: I also notice she is listed as being 10 years old here, not 9, the age she’d be if the recorder of Mother Amelia and Tamar’s death had made a mistake on their death year.)

Huh? Who are they? And where is Homer?

Okay so new questions to look into:

• Who are John and Celia Collins and why haven’t I encountered them before?

• I have somewhat solid dates on Tamar and Amanda’s deaths. I also know Patrick died before 1850 because he isn’t listed with the family in the census. Try to find their obituaries.

• Find Homer Beardsley after Amelia’s passing.

Sources for this post can be found here. Go to Part 5.

Research Plan Check 1: The Two John Kelleys

Time to take a look back at my research plan to stay on track:

  • Tamour is an odd name. Looking her up might bear some results.
    I found her death record and her name attached to son James’ marriage record in Familysearch. An Ancestry search pulled up diddly.
  • Research census and vital records for Milan John’s family.

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 12.49.32 PM.png

I’m big into spreadsheets. Above, you can see I built a timeline for the Milan Kelley family. To the left, I have their birth and death dates and then I lay out a grid at 10-year intervals to create a timeline. When I find a family member in the census, I enter their location in the appropriate column. That way I can see what censuses I’m missing, and I can easily track where everyone is in any given decade. The color coding is to remind myself that the 1856 column isn’t a census column. I added it to show James’s location at time of marriage.

  • Who are the peripheral people in the census documents?
    a. William Whiten?
    b. Elizabeth Enoch?
    c. John Enoch?
  • Look for Amelia Kelley marrying a Beardsley in Milan area sometime between 1850, the date of the census, and 1870, the date of her recorded death.
  • Look for James and Fannie Kelley in 1860 and 1870 censuses.

For Real: The Two John Kelleys, Part 3

Start from the beginning here or go back to Part 2.

I’m not starting with researching the two Johns—Milan John and Champaign John—for two reasons.

The first reason is John Kelley/Kelly is a common name, especially so in northern Ohio at the time. Take a look at this:

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 10.26.10 AM.png

Guess why it’s called Kelleys Island. Yep, tons of Kelleys lived there in the mid-19th century. Milan, Ohio—the town Milan John hails from—is at the bottom edge of the map. For some reason, someone decided that Kelleys Island was in Erie County, the county that Milan is a part of. All of the other islands there belong to Sandusky County. Just my luck: the Kelleys on the island and the Kelleys in Milan show up in the same census.

The second reason I’m not researching Milan John and Champaign John right away is that I tried and got nothing.

My John Kelley relative married Eliza Hurd in Champaign County, Ohio, and moved to Iowa in 1854, staying put until he passed away in 1895. There is not one hint as to his roots in all of the documentation I’ve found on him.

Looking into Milan John and Champaign John in censuses PREVIOUS to 1850 isn’t an option until I know their fathers’ names. That’s because censuses before 1850 only named the head of household. The rest of the family was tallied into columns for their age group. So in the 1840 census, both Johns would be a number in the column “Male: 10-15 years old” in the box to the right of their fathers’ names.

Looking for Milan John AFTER 1850 turns up little. A John Kelley married a Fanny Daniels in Erie County in 1847. But, like I said, the county includes all of the Kelleys on the island, so who knows at this point if that’s Patrick and Tamar’s son.

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 10.14.09 AM.png

My strategy is to track John’s siblings and hope I find records that list the family. Obituaries usually give names and places of residence. They also provide the married names of the sisters. Those married names will eventually help me search for DNA matches.

It makes sense for me to do the same for Champaign John. But my only lead there is Elizabeth Enoch. I have verified Elizabeth’s maiden name was Kelley (more on that later), but she is 23 years older than John. She was born in Virginia; John was born in Ohio. Is she a much older sister, or an aunt, or a cousin?

I don’t know.

And how do I know the other Kelley family researchers are wrong? Maybe someone did the research and proved it, but didn’t post any of their documentation on the site. My theory that Milan John isn’t my guy is just that: a theory. Better to look into commonly held line first in this case, I think.

That’s why I’m taking a circuitous route to first prove Milan John isn’t my ancestor.

Sources for this post are here.

Read Part 4 here.