John R. Kelley is one of Bath's successful ship masters and ship builders, having in his early life followed
the occupation of his father by going to sea, and rising through all the grades of seamanship to commander. He
has sailed deep-sea-going vessels of Bath's best build, including steamers sent to the Pacific coast, retiring
while in the prime of life, investing in ships, and eventually becoming a ship builder and ship manager. Captain
Kelly is a native of Phipsburg, born June 14, 1828. His great grandfather was William Kelley, his grandfather John
Kelley, and his father was Francis Kelley, who was born March 1, 1803, and married Mary Rook, at Phipsburg, September
20, 1827, she having been born April 5, 1806. Capt. Francis Kelley commenced a sea faring life at the age of fifteen
years, and followed that occupation until his retirement when verging on old age, having first been in command
of coastwise vessels and then deep-sea-going ships, in which he was a part owner. During his later years he made
his residence in Bath, where he died at a very advanced age.
Although inclined to shun rather than seek positions, Capt. J. R. Kelley has been an alderman of the city, a trustee
and is president of the People's Savings Bank, and has held other positions of trust and responsibility requiring
sound judgment and reliability. Commencing in 1887, his firm, Kelley, Spear & Co., have built twenty eight
schooners, one bark, one barkentine, two steam barks, one steamer, two barges, and seven smaller crafts.
History of Bath and Environs,
Sagadahoc County, Maine.
BY: Parker McCobb Reed
Lakeside Press, Printers
Portland, Maine, 1894
Sagadahoc County, ME
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