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Below is a family biography included in The History of Jefferson County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1888.  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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Lewis Kelly, deceased, late in the employ of the Iron Mountain Railroad at De Soto, was born in the State of Pennsylvania in the year 1840. His father, John Kelly, now of Peoria, Ill., immigrated to Illinois when Lewis was a small boy. The latter was reared in Peoria, and received a common-school education. At the breaking out of the late war his patriotism and love of country was manifested in his speedy resolve to assist in subduing the rebellion. He therefore enlisted in the Seventeenth Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and served faithfully for three years, participating in all the battles of his regiment from Port Gibson to the capture of Vicksburg. His first railroad service was in the employ of the Chicago & North-Western Railroad Company as fireman. In 1869 he located in De Soto and entered the employ of the Iron Mountain Railroad, where he continued the remainder of his life. He filled the position of engineer for over twenty years, and so faithfully did he perform every known duty that he endeared himself, not only to his employers, but to all with whom he was associated. August 12, 1867, he married Miss Mary Byers, a native of York County, Penn., and a daughter of John Byers, deceased. In the spring of 1887, Mr. Kelly’s engine ran off of a bridge into a river carrying him with it, but two cars piled in upon the engine, pushing it out of the water so Mr. Kelly’s head was above water; he was in reach of the limbs of a tree, which he seized and pulled himself up, and was thus rescued. The cold contracted at this time seemed to affect his heart, and was the primary cause of his death, which occurred January 3, 1888. Mr. Kelly was a prominent member of the A. O.U. W., and was one of the oldest and most highly respected members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers of De Soto.

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This family biography is one of 224 biographies included in The History of Jefferson County, Missouri published in 1888.  For the complete description, click here: Jefferson County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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