Earlier Ancestors of Michael Kelly

There were many Kelly families living in Barry Co., Michigan in the mid 1800's and it seems highly likely many of them were children of Michael Kelly and Mary Lynch, likely from the Parish of O'Briens Bridge in the eastern part of the county.  Their stories seem typical in that they came with nothing, worked hard, saved and made a new life for themselves.  All of them were born in Ireland and came to America during the great famine years from 1846 to 1850.  At least two (Bridget and Michael) have documented links to County Clare, Ireland.  The death certificates of several of them list Michael Kelley and Mary Lynch as parents.  Many passed through New York, working there a few years and saving money to bring other family members to America and buy land in Barry County.   Michael and Bridget worked around Rochester, Monroe Co., New York. Bridget is said to have stayed with her sister Kate when she first arrived in America.  Their stories are intertwined with other Irish immigrant families; Clancy, Smith, Ryan, Murphy etc., all common names in County Clare.

Some of them helped build St. Rose Catholic Church in Hastings. Michael and Honora Kelly, along with their daughter and son-in-law Mary Jane and C. F. Brooks have stained glass windows dedicated to them, likely indicating they were major benefactors.  Four of the Kelly's and their spouses: Patrick and Julia, James and Mary, Michael and Honora, Martin and Honora Smith; and many of their descendants are buried in the Catholic cemetery, Mt. Calvary in Hastings.

The most important evidence that Michael (b. 1826) is the son of Michael and Mary Lynch is that Mary is buried in Mt. Calvary cemetery with Michael and several members of his immediate family.  The following is a sketch of what is known about these first generation immigrants.  

Generation No. 1


Children of MICHAEL KELLY and MARY LYNCH are:

i. BRIDGET2 KELLY b. ca 1808, Ireland; d. 23 September 1903, Barry Co., Michigan; m. DANIEL CLANCY, County Clare, Ireland; had 4 children, 3 of whom died in Ireland, and one, Mary A., who came to America with husband Daniel Clancy about a year after Bridget. 
ii. JAMES KELLY b. 1820, Ireland; d. 22 February 1910, Irving Twp., Barry Co., Michigan; m. MARY E. SHEA
iii. PATRICK KELLY b. 1822, Ireland; d. 4 November 1870, Hastings, Barry Co., Michigan; m. JULIA MURPHY
iv. JOHN KELLY Potential Son; Needs confirmation
v. MICHAEL KELLY b. 1826, County Clare, Ireland; d. 5 December 1883, Irving Twp., Barry Co., Michigan; m. HONORA SHEA 12 January 1853 in Monroe Co., New York. 
vi. HONORA KELLY b. Abt 1835, Ireland; d. 21 October 1910, Barry Co., Michigan; m. MARTIN SMITH

Generation No. 2

2. BRIDGET KELLY was born 1808 in County Clare, Ireland, and died 23 September 1903 in Barry Co., Michigan. She married DANIEL CLANCY in County Clare, Ireland. Bridget is buried in Irving Cemetery, Barry Co., Michigan with her daughter, Mary A. and husband William B. Poland.  Note 1 Obituary-Bridget


i. DANIEL CLANCY b. February 1840, County Clare, Ireland; d. Ireland
ii. THOMAS CLANCY b. May 1842, County Clare, Ireland; d. Ireland
iii. MICHAEL CLANCY b. August 1844, County Clare, Ireland; d. Ireland
iv. MARY A. CLANCY b. 1 January 1847, County Clare, Ireland; d. 11 July 1918, Irving Township, Barry Co., Michigan; m. ca 1867, William B. Poland

3. PATRICK KELLY was born 1822, and died 4 November, 1870 in Hastings, Barry Co., Michigan. He married JULIA MURPHY in Ireland.  Both Patrick and Julia are buried in Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Barry Co., Michigan. [1870 Census Michigan, Barry Co., Rutland Twp.]


i. MARY KELLY b. 18 August 1844, Ireland; d. 26 January 1910, Barry Co., Michigan. Buried Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Barry Co., Michigan next to brother James and parents Patrick and Julia Kelly; m. James Ryan of Patrick Ryan and Bridget McGehen Note 2
ii. BRIDGET KELLY b. 1849, New York
iii. JOHN KELLY b. 1852, New York
iv. JAMES KELLY b. 1855, Michigan; d. 23 October 1875 Barry Co., Michigan; buried in Mt. Calvary Cemetery with Mary and parents

4. JAMES KELLY was born 1820, and died 22 February, 1910 in Irving Twp., Barry Co., Michigan. He married MARY E. SHEA. Both James and "Mrs. James" are buried in Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Barry Co., Michigan. [1870 Census Michigan, Barry Co., Irving Twp.]

Children of JAMES KELLY and MARY E. SHEA are:

i. MICHAEL KELLY b. 1853, New York
ii. MARGARET KELLY b. 1856, Michigan; m. Quigley
iii. GEORGE KELLY b. 1857, Michigan; d. 17 August 1945, Colorado Springs, El Paso Co., Colorado [Obituary]
iv. MARY J. KELLY b. ca 1859; d. 1 May 1890, Barry Co., Michigan; buried with parents James and Mary Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Barry Co., Michigan, recorded as Mary J. (Kelly) DeGolia; m. Frank DeGolia
v. FRANK KELLY b. 1862, Michigan
vi. JAMES KELLY b. 1864, Michigan
vii. JEREMIAH KELLY b. 1866, Michigan

5. HONORA KELLY was born in Ireland and died in Barry Co., Michigan 21 October 1910.  She married MARTIN SMITH who was born in Ireland and died 26 February 1898.  Both Honora and Martin are buried in Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Hastings, Barry Co., Michigan. Note 3

Children of MARTIN SMITH and HONORA KELLY are:

i. DANIEL SMITH b. 1857, Michigan
ii. MARY SMITH b. 1859, Michigan
iii. JULIA SMITH b. 1862, Michigan
iv. JOHN SMITH b. 1864, Michigan

1. A descendant of Bridget Kelly and Dan Clancy, Mahnon Cline, provided the following report completed by the Clare Heritage Centre, sent to Mr. Warren Poland, who commissioned  the research:

29 February 1988
Reference: 3593
Daniel Clancy and Bridget Kelly resided in the townland of Kilroughil, an area of approximately 280 acres, situated in the Parish of O'Briens Bridge.  The records for this Parish commence in 1829, which of course is too late to record either Daniel's or Bridget's birth/baptism.

The records do however show the following children to Daniel Clancy and Bridget Kelly:

DANIEL Baptized 27 February 1840 Sponsors Pat Kelly and Judith Murphy
THOMAS Baptized 16 May 1842 Sponsors William and Ellen Murphy
MICHAEL Baptized 29 August 1844 Sponsors Bridget Murphy
MARY Baptized 5 January 1847 Sponsors John Kelly and Mary Lynch

Children were usually baptized within a week of birth at this period, and as Mary was baptized on the 5th January 1847, it could be possible that she was actually born in late December 1846.

The earliest land records which are available for the area are the Tithe Applotment Books, dated 1824 and on checking these for Kilroughil I find there were no fewer than seven Clancy families listed as having property there at the time.  These were as follows:

James Clancy 5 acres
Tom and Michael Clancy and Con Murphy 16 acres
Dan Clancy (Mason) 13 acres
Mat Murphy & Dan Clancy 11 acres
Widow Clancy 1 acre

Unfortunately we have no way of establishing which of the above were your family!

The next land records are the Griffith Valuation Records of 1855, however on checking these we find that there were no Clancy's residing in Kilroughil at this period - so presumably they had all emigrated.

2. Max Shew, who's wife is a descendant of Patrick Ryan and Mary Kelly (daughter of Patrick Kelly and Julia Murphy) writes:

"Grandfather Ryan [James] went broke. Ma Lusk said it was because he was too good hearted. He gave the land for the Ryan School, a one room school house north of Hastings. Ma Lusk said if anybody came to him for help he would tell them to go to the store and get what they wanted and charge it to his account. He wanted to go to Oklahoma and take up government land. However they didn't have enough money to take all the children so he proposed that he and my grandmother [Mary Kelley] go with the younger children, and leave the older one's here until he could send for them, but Grandmother Ryan refused to leave any of the children. So Grandfather Ryan went to Oklahoma and took up government land while Grandmother Ryan remained in Hastings with the children." This is me again, that is the reason Mary Kelley Ryan was the head of household in that 1894 special census. Now we can understand that Mary Ryan being buried beside James Kelley because listen to these words and again I am going to quote--  "Great uncle John Kelley was so incensed at my grandfather that when Grandmother Ryan died in 1909 he erected a tombstone with her maiden name, Mary Kelley on it and no mention that her married name was Mary Ryan. The stone is still standing in the Catholic Cemetery in Hastings"

My own visit to Mt. Calvary in the summer of 2000 confirmed the story:  The site for Patrick and Julia had a large stone with the name Kelly on it (maybe it was Kelley) along with four smaller stones in front of the large one that read, "Mother/Julia", "Father/Patrick", "Brother/James" and "Sister/Mary".  There is no indication that Mary was married to a Ryan!

The 1900 census for Mary Ryan, shows her birth in Ireland as Aug 1844.   She had 11 children, 10 of whom were living in 1900.  She came to the US in 1849.  She is the head of the household and has 3 daughters and 1 son living with her.

3. Information on this family is consistent in it's inconsistency as follows:

1860 Michigan Census Barry Co., Irving Twp., p. 202

Martin Smith 35 Farmer Ireland
Honora Smith 25   Ireland
Daniel Smith 3   Michigan
Mary Smith 8/12   Michigan
(next door)
Daniel Clancy 60 Day Laborer Ireland
Bridgett, Clancy 50   Ireland
Mary Clancy 13   Ireland

1870 Michigan Census Barry Co., Rutland Twp., p. 265R

Martin Smith 45 Farmer Ireland
Bridget Smith 30 Keeping House Ireland
Daniel Smith 13   Michigan
Mary Smith 10   Michigan
Julia Smith 8   Michigan
Jno Smith 6   Michigan
Bridget Kelly 80   Ireland
(next door)
Dan Clancey 80 Farm Labor Ireland
Bridget Clancey 75 Keepshouse Ireland
Mary A. Clancey 7   Michigan

1880 Michigan Census Barry Co., Rutland Twp., p. 13

Martin Smith 60   Ireland
Ann Smith 50 wife Ireland
David Smith 22   Michigan
Julia Smith 18   Michigan
John Smith 16   Michigan
Mary Kelly 90 Mother-in-law Ireland

Based on the name of Martin Smith and consistency in the names of the children, these must be the same people. The data supports the story in Bridget Kelly Clancy's obituary.  Note three different names for Honora Kelly; Honora, Bridget and Ann. The ages for Martin and Honora are all over the map. I don't think they knew their birthdates. The surprising thing is that Bridget is listed as Mary in 1880; and the age is consistent. If Honora (Ann; Bridget) is really one of the original Kellys, then Mary, age 90 in 1880, is Mary Lynch, wife of Michael Kelly. It would seem that Michael must have died in Ireland, and the children brought her over to live with them. Honora's (Ann's) age in the 1880 census would make it possible that she's a daughter of Michael and Mary Lynch Kelly--perhaps the youngest daughter.

There is a single Mary Kelly buried in Mount Calvary cemetery with the Michael Kelly b. 1826 line. The listing shows a death date of April 3, 1881, with no birthdate. I originally thought this was a child, but it's likely old Mary.

Martin Smith is likely buried along with Honora at Mount Calvary Cemetery, Hastings as follows:

Smith, Martin, d. 2/26/1898, age: 76, death: Nashville, MI
Smith, Nora, d. 10/21/1910, age: 70