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Below is a family biography included in The History of Polk County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  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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William C. Kelley, a prominent resident and native of Polk County, Mo., was born January 4, 1842, and is a son of George W. and Elizabeth (Orendorff) Kelley, the former of whom was born in the “Old North State,” and the latter in Kentucky, and died in Polk County, Mo., the father in 1869, at the age of eighty-one years, and the mother October 14, 1850. They were married in Logan County, Ill., July 17, 1822, and came to Missouri in 1836. The father, whose birth occurred July 25, 1789, was a blacksmith by trade. He and his brothers were the first white men to settle in Springfield, Ill., building the first log huts in that now prosperous city. After coming to Missouri, he turned his attention to farming and stock raising, and was very successful until 1852, when he lost all his property by a cyclone, and never recovered his losses. Of four sons and four daughters born to his marriage, only two children are now living: William C. and Russell W. The former was educated in the district schools of Polk County, and remained under the shelter of the parental roof until July, 1862, when he enlisted in Company E, Twenty-sixth Missouri Enrolled Militia, with which he served seven months, and was then transferred to Captain Price’s company of the same regiment, of which he remained a member until peace was declared. Since that time he has given his attention to farming and stock raising, and is now the owner of 300 acres of excellent farming land. Mr. Kelley is a member of the Republican party, a member of the Agricultural Wheel, and is one of the well respected and enterprising citizens of that county. December 14, 1870, he was married to Mary V. Watson, a daughter of Leander Watson. She was born in Webster County, Mo., March 10, 1851, and is the mother of three children: Amanda Annis, born October 18, 1871; William M., born March 7, 1874; and George L., born July 26, 1876.

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This family biography is one of 132 biographies included in The History of Polk County, Missouri published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Polk County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

To view additional Polk County, Missouri family biographies, click here

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