Biography of Joseph M. Kelly
Columbiana County, OH Biographies

Joseph McKee Kelly, deceased, was for many years a prominent factor in the affairs of East Liverpool and Columbiana County during the period of its greatest industrial and social development. He was born in Bucyrus, Ohio, Aug. 7, 1835, the son of James and Margaret (McKee) Kelly.

The Kelly family came to America from Ireland about 1718. Four brothers settled in Burke, or Buck County, Pa. James Kelly was born in Westmoreland County, Pa., Dec. 4, 1810. He was a bridge and canal builder and died in East Liverpool, Oct. 2, 1877. He was a Republican and a member of the First Presbyterian Church. His wife was born in Westmoreland County, Pa., in 1813 and died in Minneapolis, Minn., Feb. 22, 1894. Mr. and Mrs. Kelly bad two sons: Joseph McKee, the subject of this sketch; and Jay A., born at Lisbon, Ohio, in 1845. He died in East Liverpool, Dec. 31, 1898, and is buried in Riverview Cemetery.

Joseph McKee Kelly received his education in the publlc schools and attended Oberlin College. He was an oil buyer and operator in the Island Run and Smith's Ferry district, at first independently and later as a representative for the Standard Oil Company in the same district. He was connected with the laying of the first pipe line for carrying oil laid in the world. The ilne extended from the Island Run oil field to Smith's Ferry, where it was first loaded into barrels and afterward into large oil tanks built on flat cars. Mr. Kelly was also a gas operator, being associated with Col. H. R. Hill, under the firm name of Hill & Kelly. He was later a representative for the Bridgewater Gas Company in this city. The Hill & Kelly gas line was the first in East Liverpool. They produced the first natural gas in the world for manufacturing purposes which was in 1878. He was also one of the founders of the Riverview Cemetery Association, and for many years its secretary. He was a stockholder and director in the First National Bank since its organization and for a number of years its first vice president. He was one of the organizers of the Union Building & Loan Company and president of that bank. He served as a member of the board of education for more than 25 years. Mr. Kelly died in East Liverpool, Jan. 24, 1910.

Mr. Kelly was married Dec. 14, 1858, to Miss Sarah Thompson, who was born at Milroy, Mifflin County, Pa., May 1, 1839. She died June 25, 1892, and is buried in Riverview Cemetery. On Oct. 29, 1893, Mr. Kelly was married to Miss Caroline Thompson, also of Milroy, Pa., born. in 1844. She died June 6, 1909.

To Joseph McKee and Sarah (Thompson) Kelly were born five children, as follows: (1) Mary Alleen Kelly, born at Eden Valley, Huntingdon County, Pa., Sept. 11, 1862, died Aug. 14, 1892. She was unmarried.

(2) Alfred Thompson Kelly, born at Eden Valley, Pa., April 16, 1866. He attended Oberlin College, was a graduate of Princeton University, and a teller in the First National Bank of East Liverpool. He was also extensively interested in stockraising near Spruce Creek, Pa. He was married Nov. 7, 1900, to Sarah Thompson of Spruce Creek, Pa. Mr. Kelly died July 16, 1909, and is buried in East Liverpool. He was a Republican, a member of the First Presbyterian Church and the Cosmopolitan Club.

(3) John Charles Kelly was born at Eden Valley, Pa., attended Oberlin College, and is a graduate of Pennsylvania Military College where he received the degree of Civil Engineer. From 1900 until 1906 Mr. Kelly served as county surveyor of Columbiana County and from 1901 until 1920 was city engineer of East Liverpool. He is a civil engineer, served as city surveyor for many years, and is now president of the National Drawn Steel Company. He is a Republican and was elected county commissioner, Nov. 4, 1924. Mr. Kelly was married Oct. 28, 1908, to Loucile Hackett a native of Michigan and was reared and educated in Arthur, N. D. She was educated in Three Rivers, Mich., and the University of Michigan at Ann Harbor, Mich. He is a member of the Phoenix Club, Belmont Club, 32nd degree Mason, Pilgrim Cornmandery, Knights Templar, Al Koran Shrine, Elks Lodge, East Liverpool Country Club and the Ohio Society of Engineers.

(4) Dorothy (Kelly) Vodrey was born in East Liverpool. She attended Wilson College and was married May 16, 1901, to William H. Vodrey. She is a member of the Emmanuel Presbyterian Church.

(5) George Harrington Kelly was born in East Liverpool and is a graduate of Princeton University and the Law School of Western Reserve University. He is an attorney in Cleveland and treasurer of the White Motor Company, also of Cleveland. He was married June 4, 1902, to Miss Laura Gaylord, of Cleveland. Mr. Kelly is a Republican, and a member of the Union and Country clubs of Cleveland.

Mr. Joseph McKee Kelly was a Republican and a member of the First Presbyterian Church.

History of Columbiana County, Ohio
By: Harold B. Barth
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianapolis 1926

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