O'Kelley Religion, Bibles and other Records

I write this knowing that many of my living O'Kelley cousins will find my account of our ancestors' religion distasteful but that doesn't change the fact that my account is supported by historical records.  Anyone can do their own research and draw their own conclusion but my O'Kelley ancestors had a long history with faith.  All modern Christians had many more ancestral grandparents who were Druids than were Christian and just as most today believe they are right so was it likely true for our Druid grandparents.  It wasn't until about 500 to 700 AD when Ireland was converted to the Roman Catholic faith and my ancestors became Christian and for the most part this was a true conversion and not one forced upon the Irish at the point of a sword as Christians forced it upon many other pagan nations. During the dark ages some say the Irish monks saved Christianity and its bible as both disappeared in most of the world.  There are records of O'Kelleys who built Catholic Churches and who became priest and bishops in the Roman Catholic Church which is to be expected as being church clergy or a warrior were the two primary ways to obtain power and wealth.  Even though they were Catholic, Irish priest ignored the constrains against marriage and they sometimes followed the Old Testament custom of having more than one wife.  Irish wives didn't take the surnames of their husbands as Irish surnames indicated one's relationship to their male ancestor thus an O'Kelly could have a wife who was known as "Ni Conal" and not O'Kelly.  "O" indicates grandson and "Ni" or "Nee" as it sometimes appears indicates granddaughter or in this case the granddaughter of Conal.  Surely some grandsons of such a union may have taken O'Conal and not O'Kelly as their surnames, something that can be seen in 19th century wills, that in order to receive an inheritance from a maternal relations, the maternal surname had to be adopted.  I could be O'Kelley because it was the maternal name of my ancestor so nothing can be assumed.

When Roman Emperor Constantine took Christianity and made it the state religion of the Roman Empire about 325 AD he created the capital crime of heresy and all free Christians who were in opposition to his new Roman State Christian church were put to death and their "Holy Books" destroyed.  The Pope in Rome was the supreme head of all Christians including when they came into being the Kings and Queens of England and Ireland and this was a policy that the Roman Catholic Church was able to continue by the force of arms until about 1517 AD when a German Monks named Martin Luther challenged the Pope's authority and this opened a flood gate of opposition but none was as successful as the English King Henry VIII for in his youth he had been forced to marry his deceased elder brother's wife and having lived as husband and wife for more than 20 years and she having bore him a daughter, King Henry VIII grew tired of his brother's wife in the mid 1520s and he sought from the Pope an annulment supporting his claim with Leviticus 20:21 but when the Pope continued to deny the annulment, King Henry perhaps influenced by Martin Luther and others declared himself head of the Christian Church in England, Ireland, and portions of France and forced his English Christian ministers in 1534 to sign an oath of supremacy which declared him the head of the Christian Church in his Kingdom.  He had his ministers declare his marriage annulled and he married Anne Boleyn in 1533 then using his army and their swords he set out to force England and Ireland to turn their backs upon the faith of their fathers and grandfathers and great grandfathers before them and accept him, the King of England, as God's representative on earth thus becoming protestant.  King Henry seized church wealth and burned both Catholic Churches, bishops, and priest in England and Ireland in his attempt to wipe out Catholics.  He commissioned and created The Great Bible, the first English State bible used to replace the Catholic Bible.  I believe for King Henry VIII these changes had more to do with whose pocket the money went into than the 12 hundred years of corruption of the Catholic Church but no matter his motivation he set in motion hundreds of years of civil war in both England and Ireland between the Catholics and Protestants and that war continues in Northern Ireland even today. He also set into motion centuries of war between England and the loyal Catholics of Spain and France.  These centuries of religious wars likely were the influence that caused our Founding Fathers to seek a separation between religion and government.  Catholics and Protestants both claiming to be followers of Jesus Christ have been fighting and murdering each other somewhere in our world for almost 500 years and not just in Northern Ireland as in the 1920s it raged in Mexico and much of this I believe occurs because of ignorance as I have heard Baptist ministers stand before their church and make the claim that the Baptist did not evolve from the Roman Catholic Church, they came from John the Baptist.  I have found no historical evidence to support such a claim.  The fact that the Baptist and all protestant denominations use some version of the King James Bible, is proof beyond question that their protestant church roots begin with Martin Luther and from King Henry VIII the great grand uncle of King James which resulted from the sexual lust for Anne Boleyn and while many refuse to acknowledge this truth, it does not change the fact that the King James Bible has its roots in the bible that Roman Emperor Constantine commissioned in 325 AD for his newly established Roman Catholic Church, the state religion of Rome.  If the Baptist were independent of their Catholics origins as they claim, they would have a completely different Bible of much greater antiquity than the Bible used by the Catholics or the King James protestants so no one owns the high ground, both Catholics and the later Protestants have a great deal of innocent blood covering their "Holy Bibles" while each claiming their bible is the inspired word of God and one has to know this to understand the lives our ancestors were forced to live and why our immigrant ancestor was likely driven out of Ireland the land of his fathers and to Virginia to start a new life and my family line.  It is accepted that my immigrant ancestor arrived in Virginia as protestant but most descendants know nothing about how he came to be protestant, for him it wasn't as simple as it is for his descendants as it is not known if my ancestors had a choice or if their conversion from the Irish Catholic teachings of their fathers to become Protestant was voluntary but because my ancestor arrived in America about 1746 as protestant it seems certain that he was born into a minor Irish Landed Gentry family or a family of craftsmen who converted to the protestant faith in their effort to prevent the confiscation of what little land, property, or business because no one really cared what religion the poor Irish Catholic were, there was no real organized effort to convert them but in 1746 to be protestant was to be a member of the State Church of England which wasn't much different in their beliefs and practices than being Catholic, the primary difference was who headed the Christian Church on earth, the pope or the king and who received the forced tithes. 

I believe that if left to their own liberty it is likely my ancestors would have never became protestant and my modern family would be catholic today but religion cannot be the total blame for the fall of the once great Irish O'Kelly families because many factors play a part.  When the Normans who were descendants of the Vikings came from France and invaded England in 1066 AD and once established they later invaded Ireland in 1172 AD, they were all Christian, it was Christians invading Christians and it was the coming of the Normans into Ireland that set in motion the fall of most all the great Gaelic Tribes of Ireland including almost a dozen different and some non related lines of families named O'Kelly.  My research based in DNA and records have caused me to believe that our immigrant ancestor may have came from the O'Kellys of Breagh who more than any other line of O'Kellys were impacted by the  1172 AD Norman invasion of Ireland but they continued in some reduced form, they still held some power, wealth, and land in the Counties of Meath and West Meath until 1649 and the coming of the English Protestants headed by Oliver Cromwell and his Army of Round Heads when the O'Kellys of Breagh were said to have been annihilated and their survivors scatter throughout Ireland likely setting in motion the immigration of my ancestor from Ireland to Virginia in 1746. 

Author W. E. MacClenny in his 1910 book "The Life of Rev James O'Kelly" makes it clear that Rev James O'Kelly was a member of the Church of England when in 1774 he began to preach as a lay minister, he was a follower of John Wesley and to be clear Wesley was a devote member of the Church of England who only sought to reform the behavior of the church by causing it to embrace more conservative practices.  They were known as Methodist but were of the Church of England.  Sects such as Baptist were in their infancy and were outlawed, it was illegal in Virginia Colony to establish any church other than a church authorized and established by the English government and headed by the King of England so our Revolution wasn't just a break with the King of England, it was also a break from the strangle hold that the King of England via his Church of England exercised over the government of the people of England and its colonies and to fully understand this one must know that when the Revolutionary War broke out, the English bishops left Virginia most returning to England and for almost a decade people living in Colonies had no church authority as it was the English Church ministers who held the legal authority to perform marriages, preside over funerals, baptize and christen the children, these were so tightly controlled and taxed by the English Church that after the war American born "lay" ministers like Rev James O'Kelly formerly of the Church of England had to do something remarkable, for the first time since the Roman's high jacked the Christian faith in 325 AD, government had no say over the Christian church in America so these lay ministers had to create a new church which was independent of both the King of England or the Pope the two primary heads of the Christian church.  I don't think most Christians understand this today, most think their Christian faith has always been independent of government, my own father once told me when I was a child that the Baptist descended from "John the Baptist" certainly something he had been told yet he never questioned why a follower of "John the Baptist" would embrace a bible first created by the Romans and then recreated in English form by an English King.  "John the Baptist" does have followers today in Northern Iraq but their beliefs are nothing like that of American Baptist nor do they embrace any of the revised versions of the King James Bible.   

Most people do not realize that the King James Bible was an English Government publication that was forced upon the people, they had no choice or that the one used today has been revised more than a dozen times to correct translation errors calling into question how it could be the inspired word of God if it had errors and causing wonder how many more errors does it contain.  At the time the King James Bible was created, the popular English language version of the Roman Emperor Constantine Latin Catholic Bible was the Geneva Bible but its margins contained the comments of its authors who didn't just deny the Popes authority over Christianity but also questioned the divine authority claimed by the Kings over the people so to solve this challenge to his authority King James commissioned for his state church his own bible that established beyond question his divine authority and control over his subjects.  The very early King James Bibles confirm this in their introduction pages where it says the bible is authorized to be read in churches and most people today do not know that groups such as the Puritans and Quakers rejected the King James Bible.  When the Pilgrims landed in America almost two decades after King James commissioned the creation of the King James Bible the pilgrims did not bring that bible with them, they used the Geneva Bible.   When I was as child in school I was taught the Pilgrims came to America to escape religious persecution but what I wasn't taught was King James and his bible was the source of their persecution, that they came to escape his wrath and the religious practices forced upon them by the English King and his government, practices such as Christmas and Easter, holidays that the Pilgrims called pagan and not authorized by Jesus Christ and it was that conservative evangelical Christian view that resulted in the son of King James being beheaded and the English government taken over by zealots like Oliver Cromwell and his Roundheads who turned their murderous zeal upon Ireland and my ancestors.  Like King Henry VIII I believe Oliver Cromwell and his Roundheads were only using the Christian faith as justification for the killing of those with property so they take their property and enrich themselves, that it was greed that drove their religious fever and my Irish ancestors paid the highest price for Oliver Cromwell greed so it is difficult to truly know what being a Protestant Irishman in 1750 actually meant for my immigrant ancestor but I am certain that he would have had much different religious views than his descendants have today.  This may explain why my immigrant's sons appear to not be able to read or write English, after all the primary reason to learn was so one could read the King James Bible and decide for themselves, those in opposition to that bible may have found no need to learn to read or write English as it may not have been accepted as The BIBLE by my immigrant ancestor but today the King James Bible is regarded as THE ONLY BIBLE among my family elders and cousins, an irony to this story.  It is certainly possible that my immigrant ancestor and his sons may have knew how to read and write in Latin and even Gaelic as an 1886 newspaper article about Nimrod O'Kelley a grandson of my immigrant ancestor that he had more than "an ordinary education".  Oliver Cromwell is an example of what can happen when religious zealots of any faith are given power, they always kill and murder the innocent in their zeal to serve their God and Oliver Cromwell being Christian was no different than any other tyrant which is why after his death his body was dug up and hung from the Castle gate in London in disgrace a poor punishment for his sins against humanity as he murdered not just Irish but also English and Scotts. 

But the demise of the Gaelic Irish was our ancestors own fault because in Ireland our ancestors were never united, never of one mind, petty kingdoms were always fighting and growing up in the 50s considerable violence in Northern Ireland appeared on the nightly news.  Violence between the Native Irish Catholics and the Protestants who are mostly descendants of those planted in Ireland by English King James in early 1600, or those who came with Cromwell in the 1650s or the Dutch soldiers who came to Ireland with German born English King William of Orange in the 1690s because each time the foreign soldiers of fortune were paid with the lands taken from the native Irish who repeatedly tried to expel the invaders from their homeland.  As a young student in the 1960s I tried to come to understand why in my lifetime this was so and there were no sources available to give me that knowledge.  From my viewpoint it was one side blaming the other and no one explained what it was all about but thanks to the Internet and the thousands of very old books that Goggle has blessed us with at my advanced age I have come to understand the complexity of this issue and how it impacted my ancestors.  At the time my immigrant ancestor arrived in America, somewhere around 1746 considerable strife had recently occurred once again in England, Scotland, and Ireland.  Since King Henry VIII one monarch after another tried to conquer the Irish and having failed they began a policy of clearing the Irish from their lands in the east and forcing them to move west. I have found records as early as the 1550s of the clearing and transport of the Irish but King James took this to a new level when he began to transport them in mass to America and the Islands where they were sold along side of blacks on the slave auction block as live time slaves.  Most "Red Necks" as they came to be called because their white skin turned red working in the sun, they did not survive as many native Catholic Irish men, women, and children were worked to death on the sugar plantations for the profits of the English Protestant merchants.  As the lands were cleared of the Irish King James began a policy of "planting" English and Scottish protestants in eastern Ireland thus creating the "Scots Irish" who were Irish born Presbyterian English and Scottish people.  King James didn't like the Presbyterian as they challenged his authority as the head of the church but Presbyterian were more desirable than Catholics and their plantation in Ulster and Leinster in Eastern Ireland helped rid England and Scotland of the undesirable Presbyterian.  When King James died his son King Charles I became king and he continued many of his father anti-native Irish policies. 

In a nutshell most all of the native Irish wanted rid of the English yoke something every red blooded America can appreciate but the English descendants who came with the Normans or were later planted in Ireland wanted to remain part of England because they knew they would be expelled or murdered as they were during the 1641 Irish uprising that occurred while England was in the mist of a Civil War between English Catholics and English Protestants and that war concluded with Oliver Cromwell and the protestant extremist taking power, they executed their English King Charles I, took the properties of the English Catholics for their own then turned their violence towards Ireland.  Oliver Cromwell and the Roundheads slaughtered the Irish in retribution for their 1641 slaughter of the English and Scottish planters.  Cromwell wanted the punishment to be so great as to prevent any future Irish rebellions and Cromwell expelled many native Irish who had been living on their ancestor's lands for a thousand years from the east to the west of Ireland to free up their lands to be used to pay his army.  Along the western coast Cromwell pushed back the native Irish one mile and gave those lands to his solders as to prevent Spain or France from coming to the aid of the Irish Catholics.  Cromwell was a socialist, in the English Civil War he took land from the rich and gave it to the poor.  That was the way things were done, those who lost the war, lost their lands and homes, those that won received those lands and homes of the defeated as their reward and this was done during my immigrant ancestor's grandfather's lifetime, my immigrant ancestor would have known of this as surely as my son's know of the great 1929 depression that their grandfather was born into.  It is likely during this time when my ancestors lost most all they had as it is said that the O'Kellys of Breagh were either annihilated or scattered, my ancestors may have taken refuge in Donagh Parish Co Monaghan with relations.   There is only one way to understand the brutality committed by both sides as there are records describing how native Irish Catholics took English and Scottish Protestant settlers to a bridge over freezing raging water, forced them to disrobe and then pushed every man, woman, and child in and those who managed to gain shore were shot, hacked, or clubbed to death but there are also records that describe the burning, hanging, and hacking to death of the native Irish Catholics by the English and Scottish Protestant settlers so no group of Christians holds the high road in this battle that has been going on in Ireland since the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1172 and for the most part, it has all been fueled by greed, the common people on both sides are trying to feed their families while the Gaelic Nobles and English Gentry killed and murdered to fill their purse.  William Blake an 18th century poet said it best:

By William Blake

O for a voice like thunder, and a tongue
To drown the throat of war! - When the senses
Are shaken, and the soul is driven to madness
Who can stand? When the souls of the oppressed

Fight in the troubled air that rages, who can stand?
When the whirlwind of fury comes from the
Throne of God, when the frowns of his countenance
Drive the nations together, who can stand?

When Sin claps his broad wings over the battle,
And sails rejoicing in the flood of Death;
When souls are torn to everlasting fire,
And fiends of Hell rejoice upon the stain.

O who can stand? O who hath caused this?
O who can answer at the throne of God?
The Kings and Nobles of the Land have done it!
Hear it not, Heaven, thy Ministers have done it!

The native Irish spent centuries of blood and fortune trying to drive out the English but they were always feuding with each other making it easy for the English to re-conquer them so having failed in their 1641 Irish uprising to drive out the English once and for all the Irish Gentry decided they wanted the next best thing, a Catholic King wearing the English crown.  With the death of Cromwell, England restored the crown to the grandson of King James I, Charles II and he was more sympathetic to the Irish Catholic cause, he established a commission which restored some of the lands taken by Cromwell to the Irish Gaelic Catholics but when King Charles II died the crown pasted to his Catholic younger brother King James II and he sought to fully restore Catholics which alarmed the English Protestant Parliament resulting in him being expelled as the King of England and they offered the English crown to foreign born German Prince William of Orange who was married to Mary the daughter of King James II and the great granddaughter of King James I.  This created a split in the Kingdom, having failed to eject the English from Ireland in 1641 the Irish Catholics favored the Catholic English King James II the grandson of the King James I and the Catholic Irish were joined by many English and Scottish protestants who also favored an English born King of the Stuart line even if he was Catholic but other English and Scottish protestants wanted only a very protestant anti-catholic King even if they had to accept one born in Germany because they were seeking to protect their power and the wealth they had taken from the Catholics just a few generations before.   Those English, Scottish, and Irish supporters of the Catholic King James II were called Jacobites and the English Protestant Parliament supporters who embraced German Prince William of Orange became Williamites and they offered William the crown of England Scotland, and Ireland if he would bring his Dutch protestant army setting the stage that had been causing death and destruction in Ireland for the past 300 years, during the lifetime of my immigrant ancestor and it likely caused him to come to America as he being a protestant born into a native Irish O'Kelly family, he would have found life very difficult and very dangerous and deadly during his lifetime and it is entirely possible that my immigrant ancestor fought in the Battle of Culloden on April 16 1746 and it was that defeat that prompted him to resettle in Virginia that same year never to speak of his Irish homeland to his sons.  Authors J Fred O'Kelly, Alethea Jane Macon and Harold Ernest O'Kelley all make the claim that my immigrate ancestor arrived in America as a protestant but I don't think these authors fully understood what that truly meant for a native Irishman born the the first quarter of the 18th century and this religious and political contention is likely the reason nothing is known about our Irish family as it could only bring our family trouble if it were spoken of in Virginia.   Having been defeated and certainly some being hunted, my immigrate ancestor likely just wanted to blend in and hide out in the backwoods of Virginia.   Our immigrant ancestor could not have lived in Ireland and not have been subjected to the religious wars that raged during his youth. 

I believe that no one alive today caused any of this nor can those of English descent living in Northern Ireland be expected to give up the lands in Ireland that King James gave to their ancestors.  Our ancestors both English and Irish were always fighting always killing, always trying to justify their murdering actions by claiming God was on their side so no one is blameless but we can do differently which is why we need to know the truth about our ancestors and why I think it is important to know our history.   I often tell my wife and sons how lucky we are to have been born in our time and place but I am not sure they truly understand just how lucky we are.  In my researching about the medical practices of our ancestors I came upon this book about something that today isn't even considered an illness today and the treatments given were commonly accepted treatments for all illnesses just a little over 100 years ago and they have been in practice for more than 2000 years and while our ancestors got this so wrong, millions around our world believe that the same ancestors who bleed and blister the bodies of the sick to cure them somehow got religion right.  Why does that make sense to anyone? 

There are some early O'Kelley Bibles but to my knowledge there are none that exist for my immigrant ancestor or even his American born sons which may be indicators that none of them could read or write something supported by their marks on papers that bear their name.  O'Kelley Bibles can be a treasure troves of valuable information.  I am interested in every bible record.  It aids my research to see copies of the actual pages as there are many clues that can be learned from the handwriting and spellings in these bible records, the information they present is only part of the treasure.  Perhaps the most often neglected clue is the date the bible was printed and the printer.  By dating the bible it aids in knowing the time frame as to when the bible records may have been create.  Rarely are oral stories about a 100 year old bible accurate so all these things can aid an analyst in discovering clues.  Below are the bibles that I have knowledge about.

Known O'Kelley Bible Records ( I have listed them in order by when the records were created):

Francis O'Kelly - 1838

Thomas OKelley b 1799 Bible Records - dated December 26th and 27th 1838.  These bible pages represent Francis O'Kelly b 1761 and follow a line of his family for about 100 years.  These are the earliest known records, they show how our name evolved from O'Kelly to OKelley and then finally to O'Kelley and these records are written by several generations of writers but I am certain that much of it was copied from another source and recorded in this bible at one setting probably after 1862.  We can see this in the writing on the first page and the writing for Dora on the third page dated 1862 were done by the same hand.  The death records are not recorded in order of date of death as one would expect to see it if the records were added as the deaths occurred.  What is unique about these bible records is Thomas, his wife, or one of his children recorded Francis as one would presume he spelled his name at that time.  We know that Francis nor Delilah made these first entries as the handwriting that recorded their births and marriage also recorded their death.  It is logical to assume that this bible belonged to Thomas because in 1838 when the first records were created his oldest child had just turned 8 years old.  The writing seems too developed for an eight year old so it is much more likely that Thomas made the entries himself after 1862 but before his own death in 1868.  I suspect there may have been a previous family bible that was destroyed during our American Civil War and the original bible was probably replaced and the records copied from another ancestor's bible.  I believe this is likely because Thomas's death is recorded in a different hand.  My assumption is this bible belonged to Thomas and was handed down to his children and then to one of theirs. Robert Edward O'Kelley is the last to be recorded in the bible.   It is unknown who possesses the original bible today but these copies live on. 

What additional details can we learn from these copies?  What we know is the four pages are numbered beginning with Page 677 and ending with Page 680.  A search of the Internet finds that these page numbers with the same exact headings for Family Record Marriages on Page 677, Family Record Births Page 678, Family Record Births and Deaths Page 679, and Family Record Deaths Page 680 appear in an 1816 King James Version of the Bible printed by Mathew Carey making the bible maybe 50 years old before the 1838 entries were recorded sometime between 1862 and 1868.  Mathew Carey also printed a much earlier Catholic Bible in America but it is believed only about 500 were printed and because of their rarity I have not been able to learn if these exact pages also appeared in that Bible.


Benjamin O'Kelly after 1851
These bible records are on file with the DAR and they begin with the birth of Benjamin F O'Kelly b 1814 this bible was published in 1851 when Benjamin was 37 years of age.  It is unknown when he acquired the bible. 


William Alvin O'Kelley 1852 bible American Bible Society Copyright 1852 - Family Bible Records for William Alvin O'Kelley and Family.

Rebecca Patton after 1852 This record is believed to have come from a bible belonging to Rebecca Patton.  Like many of the others is shows the spelling of our last name without the apostrophe and in the records before 1848 without the second "e".
George Wellborn O'Kelley 1866
Family Bible pages believed to have come from a bible owned by the George Wellborn O'Kelley Family.  It places Charles O'Kelley's birth in about 1760. 
Francis C O'Kelley 1871 bible
J Fred O'Kelly in his 1966 book states, "Mrs. Carl C Walker, Conyers Ga, a descendant of Francis and Delilah has an old family bible which contains proof that Charles and Francis Kelley of Mecklenburg Co Va were the same men as Charles and Francis O'Kelley of Oglethorpe Co Ga.That bible has been located in the possession of her son, Charles Walker.  It was printed in 1871 and begins with the family of Francis C O'Kelley born in 1761.  The bible does not explicitly state that Francis Kelley of Mecklenburg is Francis O'Kelley of Oglethorpe but I suspect because the bible gives the same marriage information for Francis O'Kelley of Oglethorpe as the marriage records found in Mecklenburg that J Fred O'Kelly used this to come to his conclusion, one that I think is well founded in fact.  I hope to come into possession of copies of the records within this bible and make them available.  I suspect this bible likely belonged to Effie Kate O'Kelley's father, Thomas Dean OKelley but it could have belonged to her grandfather, Dr Francis C O'Kelley a contemporary of Dr Thomas K O'Kelley.  It is likely Dr Francis C O'Kelley was Dr Thomas K O'Kelley's source for his belief that James was the name of our ancestor.
Dr Thomas K O'Kelley - after 1900 Great, great, granddaughter Judith Ries wrote and published "A Patchwork of Memories, a Knowles/O’Kelley genealogy" in 1976 a book, a copy can be found in the St Louis Mo Public Library and within her book she describes the finding sometime after the death of Dr Frank M O'Kelley in 1957 five hand written pages that contain what is believed to be the family records of her family.  I have seen copies of these five hand written pages and have compared the writing to known examples of Dr Thomas K O'Kelley's handwriting found in his pension records within our National Archives and I conclude that these pages were written by Dr Thomas K O'Kelley.  While I find the pages to have been written by the grandson of Benjamin and Mary O'Kelley, that alone doesn't prove the data is valid as the pages begin with the birth and marriage of James O'Kelley and Anna Dean
Earnest B OKelly - 1902
The Earnest B OKelly b 1878 bible page is also a remarkable record as it may be the latest handwritten record showing the name spelled as OKelly.   It is difficult to know when this bible page was created, it appears almost all of it was written at one time in pencil but there are what might be two later entries written in pen but all of the writing appears to be by the same person.  My guess is this had to have been written after the 1902 marriage.  It should be noted that James D OKelly the father of Earnest is buried in Oklahoma and his gravestone bears the name of O'Kelley.  This is a common theme, we will find records sometimes written in the hand of the ancestor that shows their name spelled one way and find their gravestone with the modern spelling.  Earnest B is also buried in Oklahoma and his gravestone  as does is son, Raph Leo O'Kelly bears the spelling of O'Kelly.  This bible record and gravestones show how some O'Kellys migrated the name to O'Kelley while some in the same family did not.  It is unknown who possess the original bible. 


Charles O'Kelley - aft 1912

I have received copies of four pages that reportedly came from a bible belonging to a Barnett.   At the bottom of the first page is the birth record for Charles O'Kelley the son of George Washington and grandson of my 5th great grandfather Charles.  Because he is listed in these records the Barnett family tradition is he was either orphaned or a foster child and the Barnetts took him in.  There is no evidence this could be true, Charles is well documented, his father and mother lived well into his adulthood, his grandmother lived almost as long as he did and he had two uncles that were Justice of the Peace and almost all his relations in that area owned slaves so I can't see how Charles could be an orphan or foster child.  I question if these records actually came from bible pages.  They appear to be are flat page scans, there is no evidence of distortion that one sometimes will see when scanning pages from a bound book and another oddity is of the page sizes of the scans.  Some are large and some are just clips causing me to wonder if this may have come from a larger collection and the person who scanned them tried to limit the view to only Barnett records and might have mistakenly left Charles in the scan.  I also believe all the records were written by the same person but it appears over a life time.  It was suggested that the bible might have belonged to a Nancy Harrison Anthony but her death is recorded or at least a Hancy Harrison Barnett Anthony's death is recorded but the marriage record is recorded as Mancy so we know that Nancy could not have made her own entry recording her death and the two different spellings of Nancy isn't something one would expect Nancy to have done. 

I am certain that these pages did not come from a bible but from a bible study guide and it was probably used by the church secretary to record membership data and that is why we see the odd page sizes and clips, the scanner was trying to limit who would be in the scans as to provide only those who relate to the person requesting the scans.  They may have come from a disassembled book or a library collection.  I suspect Charles was a mistake that the person doing the scanning just failed to clip him off the Barnett records and that gave birth to a family myth that Charles was adopted.  I also believe Charles was recorded on that page long after his death because he died in 1852 and was probably buried under the spelling of O'Kelly but this record show the more modern O'Kelley spelling that became popular after 1850.

Update March 22 2011 - The connection between the Barnett's and Charles O'Kelley can be found in Alethea Jane Macon's book on page 23.  Charles's father, George Washington O'Kelley was a Baptist Minister in Georgia.  Also a minister was Lewis Chandler and he married Susannah Barnett.  They had a son named Pleasant Barnett Chandler and he married the daughter of George Washington, the sister to Charles O'Kelley, and her name was Mary O'Kelley.  It is very likely they all attended church together and that is the true source for Charles's name to appear on the Barnett pages. 


Records written or signed by the hands or our Ancestors.

Charles Dean OKelley - 1833

Charles Dean OKelley (as he signed his name) was a Justice of the Peace in and for Walton County Georgia.  I have found two documents that he wrote and signed.



James OKelley - 1846
James was the older brother of the above Charles Dean OKelley and he was a Justice of the Peace in and for Madison County Georgia.  I have found a document that he signed but I am certain he did not write. 


Charles William O'Kelley -1889 Rev Charles William O'Kelley was a Baptist minister and the Justice of the Peace for Lancaster Township, Crawford Co Arkansas.  He was the grandson of the above Charles Dean O'Kelley.


Letter Written by Stephen Charles O'Kelley