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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Johnson County, Arkansas published by Southern Publishing Company in 1891.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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J. M. Kelly has been a resident of Johnson County, Ark., for the past forty-six years, and like most of the noted figures of American history, he was reared upon the farm. His birth occurred in Missouri in 1837, to Daniel and Elizabeth (Monroe) Kelly, the former a native of Alabama, and the latter of Missouri, their marriage taking place in the eastern portion of the last named State. Of a family of eight children born to them the following are living: Rachel M. A., Lydia Priscilla, and J. M. (who was the youngest of the family). After coming to Arkansas the family settled in what is now known as Hagarville, which was then but a settlement without a name, but soon after went to Little Piney, where Mr. Kelly rented land and began tilling the soil. When the subject of this sketch was about fifteen years of age his father became crippled from a fall from a horse, and he then became the mainstay of the family, his slender shoulders being the only barrier between the family and utter want. He carried on his father’s business until he was twenty-three years of age, at which time he was married to Miss Rachel L. Stewart, a native of Tennessee, and a daughter of Joseph and Almira (Rogers) Stewart. Mr. Kelly, in 1872, purchased a claim and homesteaded 160 acres of land where he now lives, of which he has about 45 acres improved with fair buildings. His principal crops are cotton, corn, and some oats and wheat, and of the former raises from one-half to two-thirds of a bale per acre, and from twenty-five to thirty bushels of corn. He also gives some attention to fruit raising and the propagation of stock. He and his wife have a family of six children living: Jordina (wife of C. L. Bacchus), Ira Albert and Ida Alice (twins, the latter the wife of W. T. Curtis), Laura (wife of J. W. Harmon), Hester H. (wife of S. M. Curtis), and Sarah C. Upon the opening of the Rebellion Mr. Kelly helped to swell the ranks of the Confederate Army, becoming a member of Company C, Fourteenth Arkansas Infantry, of which he was elected orderly-sergeant, it being afterward consolidated with other regiments, and became the Twenty-first Arkansas Infantry. Mr. Kelly took part in the battle of Pilot Knob, and numerous minor engagements and skirmishes, in the above mentioned battle receiving quite a severe wound in the face. In 1886 he was elected to the office of county surveyor, serving one term, but in 1890 was elected county assessor, and for some time has also held the office of school director of the Fifth District—fifteen years. At the time that he became director the district was a very large one, containing four log structures, which, as Mr. Kelly says, would make a shade but not a shelter. By his efforts the district was divided, so that now, instead of having a two months’ school each alternate year, they have seven or eight months each year, and have, in all probability, as good school-houses as there are in the State. Mr. Kelly has always taken a deep interest in the cause of education, and the present excellent state of the schools of this section has been brought about largely through his efforts. He is interested in all matters pertaining to the public weal, and is an upright citizen in every respect.

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This family biography is one of 65 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Johnson County, Arkansas published in 1891.  For the complete description, click here: Johnson County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Johnson County, Arkansas family biographies here: Johnson County, Arkansas

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