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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 H. Kelly, merchant of Morrisville, Mo., was born in Botetourt County, Va., June 17, 1838, and is the son of John H. and Sarah E. (Hanes) Kelly, both natives of Virginia. Grand father Kelly was a native of the Emerald Isle, and after emigrating to America, settled in Virginia. Grandfather Hanes was of German descent. John H. and Sarah (Hanes) Kelly were married in Virginia, and never moved from that State. He died at the age of sixty-seven years, but she is still living, and is about seventy-one years of age. She is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, as was also her husband. In his political views he was first a Whig, next a Know-Nothing, and finally a Democrat. During militia days he held the position of colonel. He ran a hotel and blacksmith shop in Amsterdam, and was quite successful at this. In their family were thirteen children, three sons and ten daughters, of whom our subject is the eldest. He was reared in his native village, Amsterdam, and educated in the subscription schools, receiving a fair business education. When the disturbance at Harper’s Ferry occurred, he joined the Fincastle Rifles, and went to assist in quelling the affair. In June, 1861, he assisted Gilmore Breckenridge in raising his company, Company K, Twenty-eighth Virginia Infantry, Confederate Army, and was elected second lieutenant. At the end of the first year the reorganization took place, and he was chosen first lieutenant. After the seven days’ fight around Richmond he was promoted to the rank of captain of his company, which position he held until the close of the war. He was at the battle of Williamsburg, Second Manassas, Seven Pines, Gettysburg, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Plymouth, and Wilderness. He was never wounded nor taken prisoner. He then returned to this county in 1869, and the following year went to Texas, where he clerked in a store. In 1837 he came back to Polk County, and November 18 of the same year, he married Miss Laura L. McClure. Both he and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. He is a Democrat in politics. In the spring of 1874 he engaged in mercantile pursuits in Morrisville, and has been thus engaged since. In 1880 Thomas B. Lemmon joined him in business. Mr. Lemmon is the son of John S. Lemmon, and was born in Polk County, Mo., September 19, 1849. On reaching manhood he ran a mill at West Bend, this county, for about seven years. Two years later he went to Shady Grove, this county, and opened a general store, which he ran until he joined Mr. Kelly in 1880. January 1, 1871, he married Miss Sarah E. Treadway, a native of this State, who bore him eight children, seven now living : William E., John F., Nora L. (deceased), Ora, Jesse H., Francis A., Jefferson C. and James A. April 11, 1888, he lost his wife, and April 15 of the same year he lost his daughter, Nora L. He is a member of the Masonic order, and is treasurer of Pleasant Lodge No. 160. In politics he is a Democrat, and in his religious views he affiliates with the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. He and Mr. Kelly are live business men, and have a good patronage.

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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

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