Darlene E. Kelley
June 4, 1999
Historical Collections of Ohio
The Kelley Family Collections
Newspaper article, Plains Dealer
compiled by S.J. Kelley-- 1925
And Then They Went West
by Darlene E. Kelley  1998

Island History,  ( James A. Ryan, writing an article entitled "
Close-Ups of Ohio's 'Farthest North' contributed a special feature to
the Sunday Magazine section of the Plains Dealer on July 12.  In the
following communication ,  Charles C. Web of Mount Vernon , discusses
some phases of Mr. Ryans article.
Editor;  Plain Dealer--Sir:
Through a courtesy of a friend who knows my interest in everything
pertaining to the Lake Erie Islands I have before me Mr. Ryan's Article
on the early history of North Bass in the Plain Dealer of July 12.

It is lamentable that this interesting writer should not care to look up
the authorities for the statements which he puts in print which would
give his article a real value in addition to their readability.  I quote
from Mr. Ryan:  " Horace Kelley's possessions  ( in North Bass and
Cunningham Islands ) passed to the ownership of his son's, Irad and
Datus. "  Horace Kelley had reached the mature age of 14 years when, in
1833, Datus and Irad Kelley purchased Cunningham Island;  Horace was
born in 1819, Datus in 1788 and Irad in 1791.  They were sons of Daniel
Kelley, Clevelands first Postmaster, in which he was suceeded by his
son, Irad.  Horace Kelley never owned a foot of Cunningham Island but
did later buy from one of the Uncles--Datus or Irad-- a comparatively
small acreage on Kelley's Island.

Daniel Kelley---

Daniel kelley brought to Cleveland a family of five sons, all of whom
settled in or near Cleveland and all of whom were men of more than
ordinary force and ability;  Alfred Kelley elected first 
" President " (mayor) in 1814 by unanimous choice of the twelve voters;
the Ohio Canal is a monument to the persistance and executive ability of
Alfred Kelley.  Irad, second Postmaster, was one of the first merchants
and a leader in Cleveland in those early days.  Firmly convinced that
Superior and Ontario Streets should be cut through the Public Square (
as was afterward done ) he would not walk to his office but laboriously
climbed the fence as his protest against the obstruction. Thomas Kelley
was President of the Merchants Bank , later known as the Merchantile
National Bank, a member of the city council and of the State
Legislature.  Joseph Reynolds Kelley, father of Horace Kelley, was an
early merchant and prominent in the Real estate business in which were
all his investments.  Datus Kelley, the eldest son, settled on a farm
about a mile west of the Rocky River, where he lived until the purchase
in 1833 by himself and his brother Irad, of Cunningham Island,
thereafter to be known as Kelley's Island.  He put the whole entire
proceeds of the sale of his farm into the purchase of the island, to
which he shortly removed and where he resided continuously until hs
death in 1866.  Irad still continued to reside in Cleveland, were his
large business interests claimed all his time until his retirement.  As
a Grandson of Datus Kelley and therefore a grandnephew of Irad, spending
my first 21 years on Kelley's Island,  I naturally saw a good deal of "
Uncle Irad "; he was usually a dinner guest in the house of my parents
some time during his summer visits to the island and I was an eye-an-ear
witness to some of his eccentricities of action and speech.  Datus and
Irad Kelley did not derive title in whole or in part  either by will or
by purchase from their little nephew, Horace Kelley, in fact, they did
not acquire the whole from any one owner but from six or seven different
parties, one of which was the Connecticut Land Company, through its

The Family--

Some months ago a writer in your columns referred to Datus Kelley as a 
"benevolent despot , moving amoung his tennants."  I want to say that he
did not rent any land, therefore did not have any tennants; the land was
sold, much of it to people of sturdy New England stock like the
Kelley's, but England, Ireland, Scotland, and Germany gave their best to
make the people of that beautiful Isle
to which he gave his name, both those who were his relatives and those
who were not, as one has said, " like a patriarch of old"  but his hold
on the people of the Island was neither the iron clad control of one of
the patriarchs of ancient times nor the " influence" of one who owned
the farm on which his neighbor lived; it was a real bond of affection
founded on his sterling honesty, hard-headed good judgement and
fatherly, unselfsh interest in those around him and these he was ably
seconded by his wife, 
" Auntie Sara" ( as she was known to all the Island except those of us
who were priviledged to call her " Grandma Kelley").