Kelley Family of New Bedford, MA

KELLEY (New Bedford family Haverhill branch). At New Bedford for several generations have lived what for designation may be termed the Haverhill-New Bedford Kelleys. Reference is made to some of the descendants of William Kelley and his wife Abigail (Cannon) Kelley, both natives of the town of Haverhill, one of whose sons, the late Henry C. Kelley, was in the earlier half of the nineteenth century a merchant in New Bedford, and his son, the present Charles Sampson Kelley, since young manhood has been one of the most active and useful citizens of the city, having coupled his name with most if not all of the projects which have tended to the developing and modernizing of the city, one whose efforts in this direction have been especially conspicuous; and who, as a business man, banker and broker, is the architect of his own successful career.

The name Kelley, which was originally spelled Kelleigh, can be traced back to a period prior to the Norman conquest, and its barons are undoubtedly descended from the ancient Britons. The principal manorial seat of the family in England has been for many centuries located in the small parish of Kelly (or Kelley) in Devonshire. Burke and Shirley both agree as to its great antiquity, and the latter asserts that the Kellys have been lords of the manor from the reign of Henry II. (1154-1189). All the Kelleys in New England prior to 1690, with the exception of David Kelley of Yarmouth, Mass., freeman, 1657, and possibly one other family, appear to have been of English origin, and in all probability were of the Devonshire stock.

The English Kellys furnished their share of early colonists in New England. Richard Kelly, the ancestor of the branch of the Kellys of New England here considered, was a resident of Exeter, in Devonshire. His son John Kelly arrived at Boston on the ship “Hector” in 1633, and is said to have come from Newbury, England. He settled in Newbury, Mass., in 1635, and was one of the early grantees there, receiving a four-acre house lot. His death occurred in Newbury in 1644. His children were Sarah and John.

John Kelly, son of John, was born July 2, 1642. He took the freeman’s oath in 1669, and prior to 1690 built a house at the foot of Graves Hill. About 1694 he moved from Old Town Hill, where his father had located and which was some distance from the original settlement on the shores of Parker river, to the upper woods (now West Newbury), and he was authorized to maintain a ferry at Holt’s Rocks. He died March 21, 1718. He married May 25, 1663, Sarah Knight, who was born March 23, 1648, daughter of Deacon Richard Knight; both were members of the Second Church in 1714; the wife died shortly after this date, and March 15, 1716, he married (second) Lydia Ames, of Bradford, Mass. His children, all born to the first marriage, were:

  1. Richard
  2. John, born June 17, 1668
  3. Sarah, Sept. 4, 1670
  4. Abiel, Dec. 12, 1672
  5. Rebecca, April 15, 1675
  6. Mary, May 27, 1678
  7. Jonathan, March 20, 1681
  8. Joseph, Dec. 1, 1683
  9. Hannah, Nov. 17, 1686
  10. Abigail, March 5, 1691

Abiel Kelley, son of John and Sarah (Knight), born Dec. 12, 1672, resided in Newbury, West Newbury and Methuen (now Salem, N. H.), in which latter place he was a large land holder, and he took a prominent and active part in the early church work of the places in which he resided. He died June 18, 1750. He married Rebecca, daughter of Samuel Davis, of Haverhill, Mass., Jan. 15, 1697, and their children were:

  1. Richard, born Oct. 24, 1697
  2. Sarah, born Aug. 14, 1699
  3. Mary, baptized March 29, 1702
  4. Rebecca, born Sept. 20, 1705
  5. Mary, May 2, 1709
  6. Abigail, March 16, 171,2
  7. Hannah, March 14, 1714
  8. Mehitabel and Ruth (twins), Aug. 18, 1716

Richard Kelley, son of Abiel and Rebecca, was born Oct. 24, 1697, and for a few years resided in West Amesbury, and in about 1727 removed with his father to Methuen (now Salem, N. H.). He held a commission as captain in the Provincial militia. On Sept. 28, 1721, he married Susannah Hoyt, of Amesbury, who was born Feb. 20, 1697, daughter of William Hoyt, a grandson of John Hoyt, one of the early settlers of the town of Amesbury. The children born of this union were:

  1. Rebecca, born Dec. 22, 1722
  2. William, Oct. 5, 1725
  3. Richard, Nov. 2, 1727
  4. Sarah, Nov. 28, 1730
  5. Samuel, March 2, 1733
  6. John, April 8, 1735
  7. Susannah, Nov. 11, 1738

William Kelley, son of Richard and Susannah, born Oct. 5, 1725, resided for a short time after his marriage in Pelham, N. H., but the later years of his life were spent at Haverhill. He married Sarah Beard, and their children were:

  1. Abner, born Aug. 3, 1751
  2. Abijah
  3. Simon
  4. Sally
  5. Moses

Abijah Kelley, son of William and Sarah, born April 19, 1753, lived on his father’s farm at the eastern end of West Meadows, West Haverhill. On Feb. 15, 1776, he married Tryphena Emerson, of Haverhill, and their children were:

  1. Sally, born Oct. 22, 1778
  2. William, July 16, 1780
  3. Abijah, Feb. 24, 1782
  4. James, June 14, 1783
  5. Tryphena E., April 6, 1786
  6. Moses, Nov. 14, 1789

William Kelley, son of Abijah and Tryphena, born July 16, 1780, followed the sea and made his home in New Bedford until after the birth of his two children. He died Feb. 5, 1842. On Sept. 29, 1805, he married Abigail Cannon, of New Bedford, and their children were:

  1. John Helms, born in New Bedford, Nov. 4, 1811, married in August, 1833, Anne Maria Burbank, of Assonet, Mass., and had seven children
    1. Alexander Hamilton (born June 25, 1834, died in May, 1835)
    2. Mary Elizabeth (born Sept. 9, 1835, married Weston Alden Dexter, of New Bedford, and had children
      1. Emma Eliza
      2. Claribel
      3. Minnie Allen
      4. Alice Weston
      5. Henry K
    3. Abbie Maria (born in July, 1837)
    4. Catharine Bassett (born in October, 1839, died in September, 1840)
    5. Adaline Burbank (born May 6, 1842, married Jan. 31, 1862, Francis H. Small, of South Boston, and had children
      1. Minnie F., born in December, 1864, died in March, 1865
      2. Charles F., born Oct. 30, 1871
      3. Edward B., born in May, 1873
      4. Emma L., born Oct. 16, 1875, died in September, 1876
    6. Anna Hodges (born Feb. 8, 1848, unmarried)
    7. Herbert Nelson (born March 22, 1850, unmarried)
  2. Henry C. is mentioned below. Mrs. Abigail (Cannon) Kelley married for her second husband James Bosworth, a cobbler. She died Aug. 7, 1858, aged fifty-seven years.

Henry C. Kelley, son of William and Abigail (Cannon), born 25th of 7th month, 1815, in New Bedford, Mass., married 24th of 3d month, 1839, Ann Howland, born March 24, 1820, daughter of Joseph and Sarah (Howland) Allen, and granddaughter of James and Sarah (Howland) Allen. Mr. Kelley was a merchant in New Bedford, Mass., where he met an untimely death as the result of an injury, having been badly burned at a fire in the early morning of October 24, 1862. the fire being in a building at the northeast corner of Union and Water streets, New Bedford. Mr. Kelley was a member and vice president at that time of the Protecting Society, and was, in the line of duty when burned. He had been an active and one of the most efficient members of the society for nineteen years and this was his first injury. His death followed Nov. 9th of that year.

The following children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Henry C. Kelley:

  1. Joseph H. A., born Jan. 8, 1840, died Aug. 1, 1899. He married July 29, 1860, Myra D. Crowell; (second) in 1868 Emily Zavitz, of Detroit, Mich., who died Sept. 15, 1869 (no children); (third) Dec. 3, 1871, Isabelle F. Crawford, of Detroit, Mich., by whom-he had two sons, Frank Howland, born Aug. 23, 1872; and Henry Allen, born Jan. 14, 1875; and (fourth) Rose Cunningham, by whom he had two children:
    1. James Allen, born June 1, 1877
    2. Charles Bennett, born July 7, 1879
  2. Sarah H. was born April 13, 1842.
  3. Susan H. A., born May 29, 1843, married Oct. 21, 1876, Thomas T. Goodale, a partner and president of the Doliber-Goodale Company, of Boston (now the Mellin’s Food Company of North America), and has children:
    1. Charles Joseph, born Aug. 9, 1878
    2. Percy Allen, Jan. 15, 1883
    3. Arthur Howland, Jan. 14, 1886
  4. Charles Sampson was born Aug. 2, 1846.
  5. Anna Dunbar, born March 17, 1848, died Sept. 22, 1848.
  6. Anna Dunbar (2), born April 11, 1849, died Aug. 31, 1850.
  7. Abby C, born June 8, 1850, died March 25, 1852.
  8. Henry C, Jr., born Jan. 24, 1852, died Aug. 8, 1852.

Charles Sampson Kelley, son of Henry C. and Ann Howland (Allen), was born Aug. 2, 1846, in the house on the northeast corner of Acushnet avenue (formerly Third street) and Griffin street, New Bedford, Mass. At the age of sixteen years, owing to circumstances, he was thrown upon his own resources for his livelihood and to aid in the support of his widowed mother. Leaving the public schools before he had fully completed his education, he took hold of the problem, beginning in humble positions in the stores of New Bedford and with that energy, self-reliance and ability which have characterized his entire subsequent career. After some two years of such service, he, in 1864, entered the banking office of Mr. Edward L. Baker, who in May, 1865, sold his business to Samuel P. Burt, with whom Mr. Kelley remained as clerk and bookkeeper for a decade, in the meantime becoming acquainted with the governing principles of the laws of banking and with the business and patrons of the concern. In the spring of 1875 was formed the firm of Messrs. S. P. Burt & Co., the new members consisting of Gardner T. Sanford and Mr. Kelley. The banking and brokerage business of this concern, which had been previously conducted by Mr. Burt alone, became thoroughly successful and continued so. On the death of Mr. Burt, June 2, 1884, the junior members assumed the entire business of the firm, which has steadily grown in popularity and in the confidence of the community, while its success has been far greater than that of any similar house in this section of Massachusetts. In looking after the large business of the concern there was a period of six years during the nineties when Mr. Kelley traveled nearly one hundred thousand miles, during which time he formed the acquaintance of many of the most prominent and successful business men in this country. From time to time he has written many interesting accounts of these trips, which have appeared in the New Bedford Evening Standard. And in this connection it may be noted that Mr. Kelley edited “New Bedford,” a manual of some sixty-five pages, giving interesting statistics relating to the history and industries of the city, published in 1891; in 1893 another edition of sixty-three pages appeared, and since then the statistics of the city of New Bedford have been published annually.

Mr. Kelley has had many business connections outside his own firm. He has been, from its organization, a director and was at one time vice president of the Doliber-Goodale Company, of Boston, now the Mellin’s Food Company of North America, manufacturers of the popular and widely sold Mellin’s food. He has served as vice president of the New Bedford Board of Trade and to him is credited largely the present life and activity of the New Bedford Board of Trade. He was active in the two Industrial Exhibitions of New Bedford’s manufactured products, held in 1887 and 1888, being chairman of several of the committees and treasurer of the funds connected therewith. He was active in producing the elaborate and useful book, illustrated, of New Bedford, published in 1889, he serving as treasurer of the committee having the project in charge, and in other ways was a valuable member of that body. In 1888 he declined a unanimously tendered nomination for the presidency of the Board of Trade.

In institutions and organizations outside of business channels he has also found fields of active labor for public good; few men, indeed, in his time have given their time and energy, more freely and unselfishly to local beneficent objects than he.

Mr. Kelley is a member of the Wamsutta and Dartmouth Clubs of New Bedford, and was president of the former for three years; he was formerly a member of the Algonquin Club of Boston. He was active in securing for the Wamsutta Club the beautiful property on the corner of County and Union streets; was treasurer and an active member of the building committee, and in 1891, in recognition of his services in this connection, he was voted unanimously the thanks of the club and elected an honorary member – the first and up to that time the only member holding that distinction.

Mr. Kelley was also active in the erection of the elegant Y. M. C. A. building in New Bedford; was chairman of the construction committee and treasurer of the building committee, and with the general secretary of the association secured nearly all the names to the subscription paper pledging funds in aid thereof, being also a liberal contributor himself. At the laying of the cornerstone, Oct. 6, 1890, he was presented by Governor Brackett, in behalf of the Association in appreciation of his services, the silver trowel with which the Governor had just laid the stone. Mr. Kelley was one of the original members of the Y. M. C. A., organized April 30, 1867, of which the present association is the outgrowth. He is now (1912) the only living member of the original organization. He was its first treasurer, holding that office thirteen years, and in 1909 was chairman of the building committee having charge of the new addition.

Mr. Kelley has also served as president of the New Bedford Protecting Society, which is composed of some seventy-five of the leading men of the city. He organized in 1890 the Veteran Firemen’s Association, and was its first president. His political affiliations have been with the Republican party, and he has done much work for that party, but has firmly declined to accept tendered political preferment.

On June 8, 1871, Mr. Kelley was married to Sarah Anthony, born May 22, 1843, in Taunton, Mass., daughter of Edmund Anthony, founder of the New Bedford Standard, and his wife, Nancy J. (Hodges) Anthony. To this union have been born children as follows:

  1. Sarah Elizabeth, born Jan. 5, 1873, married June 19, 1895, Mayhew E. Hitch, and has two children
    1. Mayhew R., Jr. (born Jan. 3, 1901)
    2. Sarah (born Feb. 12, 1905)
  2. Caroline Swain, born. May 28, 1876, married Nov. 29, 1898, Charles Gardner Akin, and has two children
    1. C. Gardner (born Aug. 5, 1900)
    2. Carolyn (born Oct. 4, 1901)
  3. Charles S., Jr., was born Dec. 19, 1879

Representative Men and Old Families of Southeastern Massachusetts: containing historical sketches of prominent and representative citizens and genealogical records of many of the old families. 3 Volumes. Beers & Chicago. 1912.

1 thought on “Kelley Family of New Bedford, MA”

  1. Thomas Charles Kelley

    I’m the son of Charles Sampson Kelley III, my name is Thomas Charles Kelley and I currently live in Thailand with my wife “Yuphaporn Kelley” and my daughter “Supakpanit Kelley”. My daughter has just been notified she has been selected as a Early Direct Admission to Mahidol Univ, in Bangkok, Thailand. Dec,4 th. 2020.

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