|Birth: ||Jul. 13, 1830|
New York, USA
|Death: ||Aug. 11, 1904|
From - Portrait and Biographical Album of Green Lake, Marquette an d Waushara Counties, Wisconsin / Publication: Published 1890, Acme Publishing Co., Chicago
William N. Kelley, one of the prominent members of the bar of Waushara County, was the first settler of the town of Plainfield, in which he yet resides. He is a native of the Empire State, having been born in the town of Middlebury, Genesee County, July 13, 1826. His parents were Thomas and Sina R. (Baker) Kelley, the former a native of Schenectady, NY, the latter of Connecticut. The paternal ancestry of the subject of this notice has been traced back to Thomas O'Kelley, as the name was originally spelled, of Waterford, Ireland. Thomas Kelley, the fifth, was the first American ancestor, and his son, the grandfather of William N. was also named Thomas. The maternal grandfather of our subject was Elnathan Baker, a native of Massachusetts, who served as a Captain during the Revolutionary War in the Colonial army. The grandmother's maiden name was Butler, and she was a relative of the famous Butler who espoused the cause of the British in the war for independence.
When a lad William N. Kelley removed with his parents to Genesee County, which was a part of the Holland Purchase, and in 1840 the family emigrated to Illinois, settling near Elgin. The first of the Kelley family to come to Wisconsin was Peter S., an uncle of William. He located in Wausau, where he erected or purchased a mill and engaged in lumbering. He died in Plover early in the spring of 1844, of small pox. On the death of their relative, the family removed to Wausau, Mr. Kelley, Sr., having been appointed administrator of his brother's estate. His oldest son purchased the mill above mentioned, but soon afterwards sold it to our subject, who engaged in its operation until 1849. In the month of October, 1848, he came to what is now the town of Plainfield, where he made a claim and erected a house on section 24, it being the first dwelling erected in the town. He sawed the lumber for the house at his mill in Wausau, floated it down the Wisconsin River to Stevens' Point, and hauled it thence to its destination with ox-teams. On Feb. 18, 1849, he removed his father's family from Steven's Point into the house that he had erected. There, as before stated, a claim was made and 160 acres entered when the land came into market, forty of which were owned by William N. Plainfield has been the home of Mr. Kelley since October, 1848, though for several seasons thereafter he was engaged in rafting lumber down the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers to St. Louis. He finally deeded the forty acres of land which he had entered to his mother, and in 1845 settled on section 26, where he improved a fine farm and made a beautiful home at which he still resides.
On July 7, 1851, his father died suddenly of heart disease. The mother survived him until 1872, when she also was called home. Thomas Kelley was educated to the medical profession, which he followed before coming West, but devoted his attention to other pursuits after his arrival in Wisconsin. His health was much impaired during the last years of his life and he died at the age of fifty-seven. He was a quiet, unassuming man, highly esteemed by those who knew him, and he and his wife were faithful and devout members of the Free Will Baptist Church. Their family numbered thirteen children, four sons and nine daughters, but only four are now living: Thomas R., is a resident of Utah Territory; William N. is the next younger, and is followed by Benjamin F. and Luanna, wife of Morris Robinson, of Neenah, Wis.
About the year 1855 William Kelley began the study of law, and devoted such time to it as he could spare from his other duties. In 1868 he was admitted to the bar, and for the past fifteen years has given nearly his entire attention to the practice of his profession, his office being at his residence on the farm.
Mr. Kelley was married Oct. 15, 1852, to Miss Ruth M. Bently, daughter of Jesse Bently, who in 1850 settled in the town of Plainfield, emigrating to Wisconsin from his old home in Tioga County, Pa. Two sons and a daughter were born of their union – William R., whose farm adjoins that of his father; Walter A., at home; and Viletta M., wife of William Decker, whose farm adjoins that of our subject.
For more than forty years Mr. Kelley has been a resident of the town of Plainfield, no other citizen having resided within it for so great a period. He gave the name to the town and when the village was organized it was also called Plainfield. He has been identified with its best interests from the beginning, and has labored zealously for its prosperity and welfare. He is a man of much more than average ability. Though his advantages for education in early life were limited, being such as the primitive schools of the frontier afforded, he has ever been a careful student, and being blessed with a remarkable memory is well informed on all subjects pertaining to the issues of the day. He excels as a lawyer and advocate, being an eloquent and persuasive speaker. In his political affiliations he is a Democrat, and socially is a prominent Mason, belonging to both the Blue Lodge and the Chapter. It is safe to say that no man in Waushara County enjoys a wider reputation than Mr. Kelley, and his ability and enterprise are everywhere recognized.
Thomas Kelley (1795 - 1852)
Sina Rezene Baker Kelley (1796 - 1869)
Ruth Miller Bentley Kelley (1834 - 1892)*
Violetta Mary Kelley Decker (1853 - 1913)*
William R. Kelley (1855 - 1917)*
Walter A.V. Kelley (1861 - 1908)*
Russell Thomas Kelley (1826 - 1915)*
William Norman Kelley (1830 - 1904)
Benjamin Franklin Kelley (1832 - 1914)*
Luanna C.A. Kelley McAllin (1839 - 1909)*
Plot: Row 6, Lot 9
Created by: Ben
Record added: Sep 05, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 41573890
Added: Sep. 7, 2009