Biography of George Kelsey


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KELSEY, GEORGE, was born in Theresa, N. Y., October 5 1843, a son of Jesse Kelsey and grandson of James Kelsey.

James Kelsey was born in Otsego county (August 4, 1776); and, on July 9, 1795, married Lydia Nichols (born April 29, 1780). They had twelve children—one of them Jesse (born February 14, 1807 died October 6, 1865).

Jesse Kelsey came (1820) with his parents to Theresa where he spent the remainder of his life. On February 10, 1835, he married Susan A. Shurtleff (born in Leray on April 7, 1814) a daughter of James Shurtleff, one of the early settlers of Theresa (For his biography see History of the Town). Mr. Shurtleff with his first wife Polly Atwood (born March 27, 1776), emigrated to this county from near Plymouth, Mass., in 1796, and of their ten children only two, Marietta (Mrs. John Tubbs of Alexandria Bay) and Susan Ann (Mrs. Jesse Kelsey of Theresa) still survive. To Jesse Kelsey and his wife were horn nine children: Jane, Justin, Eleanor, Jerome, Electa, George, Atwood, James E., Charles, of whom only George, James E., and Charles are living.

Jesse Kelsey was one of the most prominent men of Theresa. For a number of years he was engaged in a large business as speculator and stock dealer; but his later life was spent on a farm not far from the village. He was an ardent l)emocrat and supervisor of his town one term. He attended the Presbyterian church of which his wife is a member.

George Kelsey was educated in the Theresa public schools, in Goodenough’s academy and at the Belleville Union school. He began life as a clerk in Walradt and Davison’s store and in 1864 enlisted in the navy serving on the ship “Kansas” until the close of the war. In 1870 he succeeded Mr. C. B. Austin in the dry goods business which he still carries on. On January 25, 18’70, Mr. Kelsey married Annie L. Hamlin (born in Herrnon, St. Lawrence county, August 18, 1842, died September 17, 1885). They had but one child, Helen Marian (born April 17, 1872) who was graduated from Wellesley College in 1895, took a post-graduate course in Radcliffe College in the year ‘95—’96, and has since taught English and mathematics in Wellesley. Mr. Kelsey has held many public offices. He has been treasurer and president of the village, and during the years ‘78, 79, ‘80, ‘81, ‘82, ‘83, ‘84, ‘87, ‘88, ‘89 was supervisor of the town. In 1886, Mr. Kelsey was nominated by his party for member of assembly, and although he is a Democrat in a strongly Republican district was defeated by only twenty-one votes.

Our County and it's people
A descriptive work on Jefferson County, New York
Edited by: Edgar C. Emerson
The Boston History Co., Publishers 1898

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