Biography of Rev. Clinton Kelly

REV. CLINTON KELLY. – Reverend Clinton Kelly, one of the early pioneers of the Pacific Northwest, was born in Pulaski county, Kentucky, June 15, 1808. In January, 1827, he was converted, and commenced his life-work as a minister in the Methodist-Episcopal church, and ha since devoted his talents and energies for the benefit of his fellowmen, always denying himself the comforts and enjoyments of this life that he might the better assist others.

In 1827 he was united in marriage to Miss Mary Baston, by whom he had five children, three of whom are still living, – good citizens of Oregon.

His first wife died in 1837. He was again married in 1838 to Miss Jane Burns, to whom was born one child. She died soon afterwards, when he was joined in matrimony to Miss Moriah Crane; and to them were born nine children, Mrs. Sarah M., wife of Captain J.W. Kern, being the eldest.

At the secession of the Methodist-Episcopal Church South from the mother church, he took up his relations in that church; but seeing, though far off, the terrible strife that would result from slavery, he longed to get away from its influences, and, hearing of this far-off land, took up his march in 1847 across the plains for Oregon, where he arrived late in the year of 1848, and settled about two miles east of Portland.

By great industry and frugality he had surrounded himself and family with an abundance of this world’s goods. Though so well situated in life, he ceased not to teach men of Jesus and the higher life they might live by squaring their lives by his laws. His especial efforts were devoted to the temperance cause. He had seen much of the ravages of the drinking custom during his lifetime, and worked to abate its dreadful power. He spared neither time nor money in this work; and earnestly he fought. He made no enemies; for all felt that love for his fellow-men urged him to his work.

For forty-eight years he diligently served his God; and after a long life of usefulness, full of many sufferings and privations, he has gone to reign with Him. His last sickness was accompanied with most excruciating pain. For nearly a score of years he had been afflicted with a severe type of dyspepsia; and of late all food taken into the stomach seemed to turn to gas. It was found that his heart was diseased, the valves having become thickened from rheumatism, thus producing irregular action.

The two diseases combined causing a smothering sensation; and for the last three months he was almost continually in an upright posture. The disease completely baffled the best efforts of his physicians. His strong physical system refused to yield; and the fight was long and terrible. But amidst it all his mind was calm and serene; and with pleasure he looked for the summons of his Master. He passed to his reward on Saturday, June 19, 1875. His life was an example of integrity; and his memory will long remain fragrant in the hearts of scores and hundreds who have known and loved him.



History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington. 2 v. Portland, Oregon: North Pacific History Company. 1889.

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