top of page

The Kelley Line

Here is another branch of my family tree that is shorter than I would like it to be. Part of it is due to the different spellings of a common name (Kelley vs. Kelly). Another is a discrepancy about my earliest identified and confirmed ancestor, John Kelley, and his year of birth (1835 or 1839?). His tombstone states his birth year was 1835 while death notice records his age as 65, which would place his birth year in 1839.

Regardless, the story of my Kelley family in America begins in Delaware. Other than that, the assumption is that prior ancestors emigrated from Ireland, which would also be supported by the results from all of my DNA tests.

The earliest record I could find was of John Kelley (Kelly), age 11, living with the Samuel Dewees family, a farmer in Murderkill Hundred, Kent County, Delaware.

1850 Census

I have not yet determined how an 11 year old boy came to be living with this family. The census in 1850 did not indicate familial relations. The only pieces of information we know are that he was born in approximately 1839 in Delaware.

In 1860 and 1870 he was living and working for Henry H. Moore as a farm hand, located in Little Creek Hundred, Kent County, Delaware.

On 24 August 1872 he married Rachel Elizabeth Sapp. They would have 6 children (Thomas Howard, Mary L., William H., Eula Belle, Joseph George, and John Hall).

The family would gradually move to Salem County, New Jersey.

John Kelley died on 19 August 1904. Rachel passed away on 15 December 1926. Both are buried in Chestnut Grove Cemetery, Elmer, Salem County, NJ.


bottom of page