By Emory L. Hamilton


    Mrs. J. C. Mitchell of Appalachia, VA has in her possession an old fire-damaged Bible belonging to some of the Kelly family which has names and dates recorded as below:

Patrick Kelly born June 2, 1707

John Jackson Kelly born June 2, 1707

Matthias Kelly born December 28, 1777

No doubt this is a direct Kelly line and it remains for some family genealogist to make the connections.
    This manuscript begins with a Matthias Kelly, who was probably a son of John Jackson Kelly, Sr., who had married Rebecca Jackson and lived in Tennessee. Matthias Kelly married Abigail Sturgill, daughter of John and Jemima Wells Sturgill. After their marriage they lived for awhile in Kentucky, probably Harlan County where some three or four of their oldest children were born. Sometime in the 1830's they moved to the vicinity of Big Stone Gap which is his lifetime was known as the Three Forks of Powell River. All this section was then Lee County, becoming Wise County in 1856. Matthias is said to have operated one of the first stores in Lee County somewhere in the Big Stone Gap vicinity.
     Sometime in the 1850's he moved his family to Milam, in Sullivan County, Missouri where he lived through the Civil War years and had moved back to Wise County by 1870. While living in Missouri his son Franklin Newton Kelly married on May 9, 1861 to Salomey Jane Neighbors, and they had a son, John William Kelly born May 19, 1862. Franklin Newton enlisted in the Missouri State Militia as a Bugler in Company C of the 1st Cavalry Regiment commanded by Captain James McFerrin, and was killed April 28, 1864, near Warrensburg in Johnson County, Missouri. 
     Two birth dates have been uncovered for Matthias Kelly and which one is correct remains to be proven. The first is December 28, 1797, and second December 28, 1800. He died December 15, 1872, and is said to have been buried about halfway between his old home site and Cadet alongside the L&N Railroad on a knoll and it has been said a large tree is growing out of his grave.
     On January 3, 1818 he was married to Abigail Sturgill, born November 30, 1801. After the death of her husband, Abigail went to live with her oldest son, John Jackson Kelly at the Brick Store in upper Lee County in Turkey Cove. She died here and was laid to rest in the Jonathan Richmond Cemetery across Highway 58 from her last home, now the Dave Isaac place. Abigail's picture, her loom, and some cloth she wore are now on display in the Southwest Virginia Museum at Big Stone Gap. Their children were:

John Jackson Kelly, born October 6, 1821, married Jane Booth
Anna Kelly, born February 15, 1824, married Hiram Davidson

Rachel Kelly, born November 23, 1825, married (1) a Gibbs (2) a Stoner

Jemima Kelly, born October 30, 1827, married Elkanna Gilley

Rebecca Kelly, born October 23, 1829, married a Marion

Matthias Kelly, born April 7, 1832, married Rebecca McKnight

William Henry Kelly, born February 20, 1835, married Mary Creech

Patrick Jasper Kelly, born March 24, 1837, married Mary Jane

Sarah "Sally" Kelly, born April 5, 1839, married a Spencer

Franklin Newton Kelly, born May 25, 1842, married Salomey Jane Neighbors

Jane "Jennie" Kelly, born 1845, married a Parker

     John Jackson Kelly, oldest son of Matthias and Abigail, lived on Callahan Creek, at or near the present Appalachia, VA. Kelly Branch of Callahan, still bears his name. He owned large acreages of land on Callahan, Looney and Roaring Fork Creeks of Powell River. He reared his large family here where he operated a grist mill, blacksmith shop and gun smith shop. He made "flint- lock rifles, bear traps and tools for the pioneer settlers."
    After his children had all married and gone from home he sold his large land holdings to the coal companies and bought the old Gen. Jonathan Richmond home and Brick Store in Turkey Cove in the edge of Lee County just west of Big Stone Gap. Here he spent the remainder of his life, dying on June 30, 1909, and was laid to rest in the Richmond Cemetery. He married Jane, the daughter of Rev. William Booth, who was born October 21, 1817 and preceded him in death on January 17, 1893.

Their children were:

Matthias Kelly, born December 1, 1840, died April 13, 1908, married Mary McKnight
William Jasper Kelly, born August 15, 1843, married Katherine Day (2) Lura Clarkston

Clerinda Kelly, born November 24, 1844, married John Lewis

John Jackson Kelly, Jr., born February 26, 1847, married Ella Jane Lewis

David Kelly, born March 20, 1848, married (1) Abagail Stidham (2) Roxanna Lewis

James J. Kelly, born October 9, 1849, married Sophia Robinette

Isaac Newton Kelly, born March 20, 1851, married Mary Olinger

Abagail Kelly, born February 17, 1853, married Lafayette Wade

Dorinda Emeline Kelly, born October 24, 1854, married F. M. Clarkston

Sarah Jane Kelly, born November 4, 1856, died young

Jemima Kelly, born September 8, 1858, married Sampson Bishop

Rebecca Marion Kelly, born September 8, 1858, married William Coldiron (Jemima and Rebecca were twins)

John Jackson Kelly, Jr., fourth child of John J. Kelly, Sr. and his wife Jane Booth, was born at the old Kelly home on Callahan Creek February 26, 1847. He married Jane Lewis and settled at what is known today as Kelly View, on Route 23, between Norton and Appalachia. Here he built a six room, two story log house where his family of twelve children were born, Dr. John Jackson Kelly, Jr. being the eleventh born of these children, several of whom died young.


Emerson Kelly

Lawrence Willard Kelly married Genette Kilgore

Dr. J. J. Kelly, Jr., married Trula Watkins

Minter Dale Kelly never married

Lora Jean Kelly never married

Gustova Bronx Kelly never married

Viola Kelly married Lawson White

Oprha Kelly married Rossiter Rapp 

    Pages 35 to 38

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