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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - Joseph T. Kelley

SOURCE: "History of Champaign County, Illinois with Illustrations," 1878


JOSEPH T. KELLEY. Mr. Kelley has been a resident of this state since 1831. He was born near Harrisonburg, Rockingham county, Virginia, May 20th, 1809, and was the youngest of fourteen children. Abraham KELLEY, his father, was born in Ireland and carne to America at the time of the Irish rebellion, settled in Virginia, and served three years in our own Revolutionary war. In 1810 the family emigrated from Virginia to Pickaway county, Ohio. Kelley's oldest brother raised a company in the war of 1812. His father also joined another company, but being a very old man died within twenty-four miles of his home on his return after the close of the campaign. Kelley then found a home with his oldest brother, David, and lived with him till about eleven years old, after which he lived with his sisters till fifteen. At that age he found a home with Joseph Vance, at one time Governor of Ohio, with whom he lived until he was twenty. His schooling he got mostly in Champaign county, Ohio.

November 9th, 1829, he married Sarah W. VANCE, a niece of Ex-Governor Vance. In the spring of 1831, with his wife and child, he started on horseback for Illinois. He reached Danville, March 29th, 1831. His father-in-law, John W. VANCE, at that time owned the salt-works six miles west of Danville. Mr. Kelley made salt here about three years, living on corn bread, fat meat, and pea coffee. In 1834 he bought 320 acres of land a mile west of the salt-works and went to farming and dealing in cattle. From 1841 to 1848 he was farming exclusively. November 1848 he came to St. Joseph township, Champaign county, and rented of Cyrus Strong a tavern stand on the state road at the old town of St. Joseph. He kept that place till 1866. The death of his wife occurred in 1864. The spring of 1867 he went to live in the town of Champaign. December 24th, 1868, he married Mrs. Patience BULLOCK, and moved to section 33, township 22, range 10, where he has since been living. He has five children. John W., who is in the grain business at Indianapolis; James, who is living at Crisman, Boulder county, Colorado, engaged in selling goods at the mines; Margaret L., the wife of Joseph SHREVE, of Indianapolis, Indiana; Joseph D., living at Golden City, Colorado; and a daughter, Sarah, residing at the same place. Mrs. Kelley has four children by her former marriage.

He was formerly a member of the old Whig party and voted for John Quincy Adams for President. He was a strong Henry Clay man, and became a Republican on the formation of that party. He was the first postmaster at St. Joseph, and gave his name to the post-office on its establishment as narrated elsewhere in the history of St. Joseph's township.

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