George Kelley born about 1752

Three books have been published about my family; J Fred O'Kelly's 1966 book, Alethea Jane Macon's 1969 book, and Harold O'Kelley's 1985 book and they all make claim that George O'Kelley was the second son of Thomas O'Kelley and Elizabeth Dean.  To my knowledge no one has found George O'Kelley in any records how ever there was a George Kelley who engaged with large land transactions with Patrick Henry, he was associated with the Yahzoo Land Company but I have found nothing to indicate he was of our family.  Using my experience and resources I have not found any evidence to prove these authors got it right and since they don't tell share their evidence with us, I am not sure how much faith came be put in their conclusions about George being the second son.  In his book Harold O'Kelley shares his efforts but it appears he has confused the son, George O'Kelley with George Washington O'Kelley the second son of Charles and Mary O'Kelley George Washington O'Kelley was born in Mecklenburg in 1783 during the time when George Washington was very popular and sometime after 1805 he became an early Baptist minister who moved into Franklin Co GA very early and as the counties Banks and Madison were carved from portions of Franklin he is found in the records of these counties.  If George O'Kelley the son born in 1752 was a real person why doesn't he appear in Revolutionary War records?  The most likely reason must have been because he died before manhood or as a young man he was not in America at the time of the Revolutionary War.  Surely if he had been alive and in America he would have served, been drafted like his brothers and since no record of his service has been found, I must consider that George O'Kelley having been named after his Irish grandfather that he may have been sent to Ireland as a child to live with his Irish family while he was educated and likely he was ordained as a minister in the Church of England and once the war broke out he just never returned.  To an educated young man seeking opportunity, the rustic life of colonel America would not have been as luring as Dublin and if he was ordained in the Church of England the revolution would have prevented his return.  It is certainly possible that he could have been Sir Saint George O'Kelly who was a publisher in Dublin.

Assuming that J Fred O'Kelly, Alethea Jane Macon, and Harold O'Kelley got it right and George O'Kelley was the second son born about 1752, where did that name originate?  The naming custom was to name the first born son after his paternal grandfather, second born son after his maternal grandfather, and the third son after his father.   Thomas and George should be the names of the two grandfathers and William the third born son the name of Elizabeth Dean's husband and that appears to be supported by three census documents, the 1752 Lunenburg  Co Virginia Tithe Census, 1769 Lunenburg Co Virginia Tithe Census, and a later 1782 Mecklenburg Co Virginia State Head of Household government census document that lists a William Kelly and not a Thomas or James Kelly. 

Below are the George Kellys that I have found near the time my immigrate ancestor's father would have lived:

  1. Ensign George Kelley who served under Captain Robert Bellew in the Jacobite War of 1688 to 1691, Ensign George Kelley appears in the notes within Col Charles O'Kellys 1692 manuscript titled "Macariae Excidium",
  2. Rev George Kelly (protestant) of Knockcroghery (St John's) Parish Co Roscommon, he graduated Trinity Dublin Ireland 1706 and was the son of Edmund Kelly.  This Rev George Kelly was a nonjuroring protestant as was Rev John Chetwode and they believed that only the Stuarts were God appointed to be Kings and for his part in attempting to restore a descendant of King James I to the crown he was arrested and put in prison in the Tower of London where he lived until his escape in 1736.  He made his way to France where he spent the rest of his life as the secretary of Prince Charles.  He died about 1750. If an O'Kelly married a descendant of Rev John Chetwode as author W E Mac Clenny claimed, it would likely have been this Rev George Kelly.  A great deal of information including Rev George Kelly's daring prison escape can be found in the "History of the Irish brigades in the service of France, from the revolution ..." by John Cornelius O'Callaghan.  There can be no doubt that George Kelly's activities reached all the way to Virginia Colony as found in the online Library of Virginia state papers collections is the published speech of George Kelly about the incident. 
  3. George Kelley who appears in the below Co Wicklow court record. 

The earliest George Kelly that I have found in the Irish records is found as the Rector in the parish of Rathcooney Co Cork in 1641. This George would have been born in the early 1600s or late 1500s.

You can read more about Rev George Kelly in the booklet titled Origins of the surname O'Kelly by Anthony Mathews.  But the story given by Anthony Mathews has problems because St Marks was built in 1757 and George Kelly was born in 1687 and was ordained a deacon in 1706 the year Mathews gives as the year George became the Rector for St Marks.  He wrote two books, "The Speech of Mr George Kelly, 2nd of May, 1723 in his Defence against the Bill then depending for inflicting Pains and Penalities Upon Him" 1723 and later "Memoirs of the life, travels and transactions of the Rev. G. Kelly from his birth to his escape out of the Tower in 1736".  George reportedly died in 1750.  Rev George Kelly may have been an ancestor of Daniel Kelly of Cargins which is ten miles southeast of Frenchpark as it was said that the Kellys of Cargins were early devout protestants 1 but the Mucklon O'Kellys lived closer to Rev George Kelly, they had both Church of England Ministers and a large number of this family served as officers in the British Military which could account for how William Denis O'Kelly obtained a commission in our Revolutionary War and the Mucklon O'Kellys are in the records as naming a son George and among the 34 George or Geo Kellys found in the Applotment Tithes 9 appear in Taghboy Parish and that is where we find George Kelly living at Mucklon in 1828 who appears in Sir Bernard Burks book, "A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Ireland" and this makes it certain that George Kelly of Mucklon is not our George O'Kelley but DNA, the protestant religion, and given name of George which only appears in the Mucklon family pedigree makes it likely that I may descend from the Mucklon Kellys or their close cousins.

It is claimed that after George Kelly escaped the tower of London in 1736 he made his way to France where in 1744 he became the secretary to Prince Charles Edward Stuart and he traveled with Charles to Scotland where the Jacobites put up one final attempt to restore the Stuarts to the English crown.  They were defeated and I find it of interest that William Kelly my ancestor seems to have come to America about 1746 and there is a ship record for a William Kelly coming to Virginia.  Perhaps another interesting detail is William Kelly and Elizabeth Dean named their fourth son Charles in 1756 a name that until about that time wasn't widely in use among the Kellys.  If was my Irish grandfather Rev George Kelly and he was the secretary to Prince King Charles then it is certainly possible that my grandfather Charles born in 1756 was named after Prince Charles Edward Stuart.  Certainly adds an interesting story to the O'Kelly ancestors but that story may not have a single bit of truth to it, it may all just be coincident.

There is a more likely probability that seems supported by my DNA which indicates that the family of my immigrant 5th great grandfather lived in and around KillyCooley in the Parish of Donagh co Monaghan Ireland and George O'Kelley born about 1752 could be the George Kelly who is found living at  Carneyhome in the Clones Parish along the Co Fermanagh and Monaghan border in 1832.  Many of the ancestors of my closest DNA matches can be found in an around KillyCooley providing cause to believe that my ancestors were the O'Kellys who lived around that area for centuries.

Comment - I have found nothing that includes or excludes the below Kelleys with our family.  I  provide this documentation to aid other family researchers.  Rick O'Kelley

Court Record

The Lunacy of a Blacksmith Commission of Lunacy: Mr. Hack, and Mr. Bracken of the Royal Council sat today in the Nisi Prius Court for the purpose of inquiring into the state of mind of Mr. Aaron Kelley, a blacksmith residing in the county of Wicklow, Ireland. Parentage of Mr. Kelley was Patrick Kelley and Rachel Wineas of Kildare, Ireland. The petitioners were Mr. George Kelley and Mr. Thomas Kelley, brothers of the alleged lunatic, whose property is estimated at 120 pounds a years, arising out of a farm which he holds in the county of Wicklow, a quantity of stock, values at 100 pounds, and a small sum of money in the hands of his solicitor. Mr. Stone and Mr. Eharck appeared on behalf of the petitioners. Mr. McKenn attended on the part of the alleged lunatic, and his sister, Anne. It was stated the brothers wanted to have Aaron taken away for his wife’s safety. The hearing was begun and many witnesses were called. Rev. Father O’Malley stated that Kelley came to him and said he wished to consult him with reference to a vision which he had from God, who communicated to him that there was no more sin in the world; he said that the difference between the Almighty and the devil was to be made up, and that he wished to inform the Emperor and him of it. He further believed that all Medical people would kill you on sight. He further stated that his family including his wife and children tried in vain to poison him repeatedly. He stated the fire in his blacksmith shop was started by ghosts. He believed he was a wealthy landowner with many servants. After many other testimonies the Judge said for the family’s safety Aaron Kelley would be institutionalized for the rest of his natural life. As for the money his brothers declared he had it was to go to his wife and his living children. At the end of the trial Aaron was removed to Dr. Dolster’s Asylum in Wicklow, Ireland. The closing date of the hearing in Wicklow was the 3rd month and the 8th day of the year of our Lord 1762. Aaron Kelley lived until aged 74 in the year 1776. It was stated he never saw family members again. Author: Longford Meade of Medical Instructions

1See page 23 of "The recollections of Skeffington Gibbon, from 1796 to the present year, 1829; : being an epitome of the lives and characters of the nobility and gentry of Roscommon; the genealogy of those who are descended from the kings of Connaught; and a memoir of the late Madame O'Conor Don.