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William Kelley was born about 1785.  The 1850 Delaware Census gives him age as 65.  The date on his tombstone is a little hard to read, but it indicates he was born about  1785.  The census always has him younger.  so there is always a doubt as to his mother. 

He was the son of Samuel Kelley Samuel was married first to Rebecka.  She died in 1783 leaving Samuel with a young daughter, Elizabeth.  The tombstone and census records give his birth year as 1785.  Samuel married Margaret Grey on Sept. 4, 1787 by whom he had four more daughters. Was William an early birth for the couple?

 According to Biographical and Genealogical History of the state of Delaware, page 564 , which I found years ago in the Philadelphia Historical Society collection, "William Kelley was born on the family homestead in Mill Creek Hundred of New Castle County.  He inherited part of his father's land. It stated that "He was an intelligent and progressive man, exerting his influence among his neighbors in behalf of improvements in methods of agriculture.  He supported the Whig Party."   Actually the land had come from Rebecka's father.  When William's older sister Elizabeth married, she sued William and his sisters because "she had been left out of the will".  See Samuel's story for more information on the property.

The Delaware Census New Castle County, Newark of 1810 lists William Kelley as head of household:
  William Kelley  3 males 16-25. 1 female 10-16, 1 female 16-26, 1 female 26-45, and 1 female >45.
As William was the only son with five sisters, I believe the census should move 2 males to the female side 16-26. 

The Biographies went on to state that "William Kelley married Catherine ann Morrison, daughter of Douglass Morrison and Elizabeth Wilson Morrison of Mill" creek.  A news clipping from the Delaware Historical Society reads:
    "Oct 19, 1821 Married Tuesday evening by Rev. A.K. Russel, William Kelly to Catherine Morrison, daughter of Douglas Morrison.
     Both of White Clay Hundred."

The History of the State of Delaware printed by J.M.Runk in 1899 contains the children of William and Catherine Morrison Kelley.  There were said to be 
       George Kelley
       Samuel Kelley
       John Kelley
       Elizabeth Kelley
       Ann Kelley

The 1850 Delaware New Castle, Mill Creek Hrd Census Page 70 confirms ages and three of the children:
    William Kelley age 65 born Delaware - farmer
    Catherine Kelley age 50 born Del
    Elizabeth Kelley age 22 born Del
    John Kelley age 17 born Del - farmer
    Hannah Kelley age 13 born Del
    Henry Barr age 10, black born Del

I can find Samuel Kelley on both 1850 and 1860 Census, born 1825.  George died and is buried next to his parents.  Again the numbers are hard to read, but it looks like
 "died June 13, 1838 aged 15 years 11 months"

William Kelley appears on all the Census reports as head of household during his adulthood.  His home was often filled with people I cannot identify.  There is the lot:  1810 and 1815 are above
1820 Delaware Census New Castle County White clay Creek Hnd
       1 male under 10 ???????
       1 male 16-18 ??????
       1 male 16-26  is this the same guy as 16-18??
       1 male 26-45  William Kelley
  1 female under 10  ???????
       2 females 26-45  maybe 2 of his sisters??  - perhaps married to male 16-26 with 2 children??
       1 female over 45  probably Margaret Grey Kelley

1830 Delaware Census New Castle County White clay Creek Hnd
     1 male under 5  (Samuel Kelley ?)
       2 males 5 - 10  (George Kelley ? &????????)
       1 male 15-20  ( maybe the male under 10 in 1820)
       1 male 30-40  (William though he is closer to 45  or the male 16-26 in 1820)
       1 male 60 - 70  (???????  or William??)
       2 males 80 - 90  ( I cannot even guess)
       1 female under 5  (Elizabeth Kelley)
       1 female 15- 20 (the under 10 from 1820)
       1 female 20 - 30 (Catherine Morrison Kelley)
       1 female 70 - 80 (probably Margaret Grey Kelley)

   1840 Delaware Census New Castle County White clay Creek Hnd
     1 male 5 - 10  (John Kelley)
       1 male 10-15  ( Samuel Kelley)
       1 male 20-30  (? )
       1 male 40 - 50  (probably William though he is now closer to 59)
       1 female under 5  (Hannah Kelley)
       1 female 10-15 (Elizabeth Kelley)
       1 female 30 - 40(Catherine Morrison Kelley

William and Catherine
are both buried in plot 62 of the White Clay Presbyterian Church Cemetery at the intersection of Kirkwood Highway and Polly Drummond Hill Road.  The Tombstone reads " Catherine M. Kelley 1800 died 1891, Oct. 18  William Kelley  1785, Died 1854, Feb. 11. Unfortunately, the White Clay historical records were lost to fire many years ago.

Catherine M. Kelley was living with the family of her daughter Hannah (Ann) and Robert Taylor in Mill Creek hundred - just next to White Clay Creek Hundred on the 1870 and 1880 census. It is unknown where she was between 1854 and after 1860. 


If you know the answer please CONTACT US

1. Confirm names and birth dates of all the children?
4.  Where was Catherine between 1854 and 1860?

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Doc; gdkel030.html
Date created: 3/20/2007
Date edited 8/18/2013
Date edited 4/20/2015
Date edited 7/8/2015 
Date edited 1/3/2020