Darlene E. Kelley
May 17, 1999
Historical Collections of Ohio
The Kelley Family Book compiled by Hermon Alfred Kelley 1897
And Then They Went West
by Darlene E. Kelley 1998
It is now seemingly impossible to find out just when the so called
Lyceum was first begun, but we infer from a reference to it in a letter
written by A.S. Kelley dated January 1st,1854, that it had its beginning
some years before that date, for he says,--" We have also got the Lyceum
started again, our inheritence from our beloved fore-fathers, some of
the eloquence would no doubt astound the great " Daniel's", who loved to
write and and debate great teachers and always in study." It seemed
from this that the Lyceum must have been instituted earlier, and
continued quite early in the Island's history and that each winter it
was revived with more or less sucess. It was not until the winter of
1860-61 that it grew to its full proportions and blossomed and bore
fruit of surprising quality. The minutes of the Kelley's Island
Literary Society read as follows: " Pursuant to a previous call" etc.
It would appear from this, that a few leading spirits had gotten
together and issued a call to the islanders, who met on the evening of
the eleventh of December 1860 in the school house on Division Street.
At that meeting, it was agreed that a Literary Society should be formed
and that a Constitution and by-laws to govern it was necessary.
Mr.Wm.S.Webb, who had been elected chairman of the meeting appointed a
committee to draft the constitution. The committee consisted of Mr.
A.S. Kelley and Mr.George P. Bristol. The later having been the
secretary of the meeting. On December 13th,the meeting reconvened to
hear the report of the Committee on the Constitution. It was adopted
and signed by all present. They were as follows: 1,Wm.S.Webb; 2, A.S.
Kelley; 3, J.E.Wing; 4, A. Cameron; 5.H. Cattanach; 6, A. Kelley; 7, Wm.
Hamilton; 8, Jerry Dean; 9, J.F. Martin; 10, F.C. Hull; 11, George P.
Bristol; 12,J.E. Woodford; 13, Oscar Dean; 14, Morris Lincoln; 15, Jacob
Rush; 16, John Ward; 18,C. Carpenter; 19,Simon Huntington;
20,S.G.Rossiter; 21, Franklin Kelley; 22,C.B. Wells; 23, Emmett Lincoln;
24, H. Dwelle; 25, J. Quinn; 26,Fred Kelley; 27, Henry Harris; 28,
Edmund Ward; 29, James McGettigan; 30, Lester Carpenter. The membership
fee was at first twenty-five cents. They then proceeded to the Election
of Officers; Alfred S. Kelley was made President and George P. Bristol,
Secretary of the Society for the year. The constitution made provision
for the publication of a weekly newspaper, to be called the "Islander"
and for the selection of a Senior and Junior Editor for it. The
appointments were A.S. Kelley, Senior and George P. Bristol Junior
Editors of the first number, which was to be read the next meeting.
Saturday evening was the time selected for the regular meetings. The
constitution povided that Editors should serve for one week at a time.
New Editors to be appointed each week. On December 15th,1860 the society
met again and at this meeting, Mr. Bristol offered a resolution which
was unanimously adopted. Its provision for admission of ladies to
membership, merely requiring them to sign the constitution. By this
wise move the society added much more talent to its staff of writers and
editors. The first ladies to join were: 1, Electa A. Woodford; 2,
Angeline Woodford; 3, Margaret Martin; 4, Mellissa Ward; 5, Mrs. C.
Carpeter; 6, Mrs.George P. Huntington; 7, Mrs. Wm S. Webb; 8, Mrs.A.
Kelley. These women. therefore were also charter members of the
society. The meetings occurred on Saturday evenings at 6:30 o'clock
during the winter only. The number of "Islanders" in each volume.
varies from twelve to sixteen. Soon after each volume was completed, it
was carefully bound in solid covers and preserved. The date of the
first number is December 22nd, 1860. As time went on, many new members
were added to the Society but as uasual is such cases, they neglected to
sign the constitution and so it is difficult to tell exactally who they
all were. But many names can be obtained by examining the list given in
this article at the end, of those who served as editors. No list has
been made of contributors. The name selected for the paper, is the same
as that of the first steamboat that was built on the island shore. Mr.
W. D. Kelley carried out the nautical idea in an Editorial which he
wrote for the opening number of Volume four. I will give this article in
full in the next article. The slogan appearing on the title page,-- "
Independant in all things, neutral in none" was often referred to and
was constantly lived up to. It guided the thought and conduct of each
succeeding editor during the entire life of the Publication. The
meetings for the first winter 1860-61 of the Societies existence were
held in the school house on Division Street. During the following year,
Kelley's Hall was completed. The second and all subsequent volumes of
the Islander were read and dicussed in this Hall. The Literary Society
was called the Lyceum and by this name it was usually referred to. The
meetings at first were conducted on the order of a debating society.
The members were appointed to debate on certain subjects and were
divided equally into two groups, the affirmative and negative. Judges
were appointed to decide on the merits of the discussion and a critic
was appointed to pass on the written papers that were submitted. The
critic was allowed a week to make his report on the papes read at the
preceeding meeting. Criticisms were usually confined to pointing out
errors in spelling and grammer. A declamation was also one of the
features of the early programs, but this was soon dropped, for many
appointed, failed to "Orate." The most important feature was the
reading of the weekly Journal, the Islander. First --the editorial by
the Senior Editor. Second--contributors' articles, these were widely
divergent in character and ranged from a letter from New York City, St
Louis or elsewhere from some absent contributor, then followed articles
on various subjects. The order of arrangement was not rigidly adhered
to. Each editor was allowed to get up the Journal in such a form as
seemed best to him. This depended upon the amount of material he might
receive as well as its character, but a certain uniformity was followed.
It was the Junior Editor's duty to prepare the local news item and to
assist the Senior Editor in such ways as necessary such as preparing
clippings from current literature which were always copied in long hand.
There was a joke column, which was always interesting and often
original. Reports of plays, socials, baseball games, condition of
crossings. the times the mail was received and various other items of
local interest. The yearly review of local events was always full of
interest. The yearly reveiw of World happenings were usually excellent
The two last mentioned appeared in the first or second number of each
(to be con't in part 2)