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Darlene E. Kelley
donkeyskid@webtv.net                              
May 6, 1999
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Historical Collections of Ohio
The Kelley Family Book compiled by Hermon Alfred Kelley   1897   
And Then They Went West
by Darlene E. Kelley    1998  
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The first preaching on the island,  according to an account written by
 Addison Kelley and appearing in the first volume of the Islander 
1860-61, was on the 9th
day of November 1837 by Rev. Mr. Crane an Episcopalian clergyman who
came from Cleveland with another gentleman on business.  Mr. H.
Bicksford, an early island blacksmith of a devout turn of mind conducted
religious services in the school house on Sundays. His part in the
services consisted of leading in singing hymns and in offering prayer.
Mr. Datus Kelley read a sermon from a book of sermons by Channing or
Blair.  Rev Hugh Blair, D.D.F.R.S. was a very famous clergyman, a
contemporary of Oliver Cromwell, a friend of David Hume and Adam Smith,
the latter the celebrated author of the " Wealth of Nations."  Mr.
Blair's sermons were highly regarded and very justly so.  They had a
wide reading among the serious minded of his generation.( he died the
last of December 1800.)  The use of Blair's sermons was begun by Daniel
Kelley, the father of Datus and Irad Kelley. (and our direct ancester.)
There is, in the possession of the writer, a copy of Blair's sermons,
that is inscribed on the fly leaf, " Daniel Kelley's Book, bought at
Hartford, November 15th, 1798."  It was bought when he was on his way
with his family moving from Middletown, Conn. to Lowville, New York.
Daniel Kelley read from this book to his neighbors at Lowville, where he
resided from 1798 to 1814.  He also undoubtedly read from this book to
his neighbors at Cleveland, Ohio.where he moved in 1814 and died in
1831.  This book was probably taken to the Island by Datus in 1837.  The
meetings started by Briksford were continued by Messrs. Hunter, Seeley,
and Colville for several years and just prior to 1860 by Rev. Edwards, a
baptist minister.  Mr. Julius Kelley also conducted services using the
Episcopalian prayer book and the Bible.  Before the erection of Kelley's
Hall, he held services in his own home and the Hall until the formation
of the Union Evangelical Church which he supported faithfully although
his preferences were for the Episcopal Church. We also find, that prior
to 1861 the Catholics on the island were visited occasionally by priests
from Sandusky and Port Clinton.  Services were held in a private
home--probably that of Henry Lange.  Kelley's Island was organized as a
Station in 1861.  Rev. Louis Mouton, pastor of Holy Angel's Church,
Sandusky was the first priest to take charge July to September 1861 of
the Kelley's Island as a Station.  His successor September 1861 to June
1865 was the Rev. George A. Verlet pastor of Port Clinton.  The Rev. A.
Herb Stritt and N.Moco of Sandusky also occasionally attended Kelley's
Island between 1863 and 1865.  In 1863 a plain but neat little stone
church ( the first church building on the island ) was erected on a lot
donated by Henry Lange, who generously aided Father Verlet in organizing
a congregation on Kelley's Island.  Father Verlet was succeded in May
1865 by Rev. Chas. Kuemann as first resident pastor.  He administered to
the spiritual wants of the Catholics on the island and of Put-in Bay and
Middle Bass until May 1867, when Rev. Nicholas Moes was appointed his
successor. The foregoing quotation is from Carr's History of Catholicity
of Northern Ohio. A Hitherto unnoted fact by previous writers of
Kelley's Island history is, that the group of which it is a part, was
called in the early days, the "Isles of the Apostles".  They are so
spoken of by Religious Historians.  By 1871, eight years after the
foundation of the Parish in 1863, it contained forty four families. At
the time , two thirds of the support was derived from grape growers and
the balance from the quarries where many of its members were employed.
The whole population of the island at that time, numbered 836 souls,
about equally divided as to nativity between Germany, Ireland and New
England.  The parish continued to grow and during the pastorate of Rev.
Jno. Mertes 1880-85 it became necessary to enlarge the church edifice,
which was accordingly done.  In 1914 the parish had increased to just
twice the number of families  it embraced in 1871 and another
enlargement of the church edifice became necessary and it was totally
remodeled and refurnished and dedicated a practically new Edifice, on
November 7th, 1915.  Rev. J.E. Maerder in writing of this event say; "
Three of the pioneers who witnessed the dedication of the first church (
in 1863 ) and of the second enlargement, were present and took active
part in the third dedication, Mrs.H. Lange, Mrs. Catherine Strasser and
Mrs. Honora Stokes.  Mrs. Stokes was the sole survivor in 1924. Owing to
the removal in 1909 of the Lime Kilns at the north bay and the
abandonment at least for a time of the North Quarry, and to the closing
of the wine cellars, the island population had been reduced fro 1017 in
1910 to 708 in 1920.  Yet St. Michael's parish under the able leadership
and indefatigable energy of Rev. Maerder not only had not diminished but
its debt has been entirely paid. Among the conspicious fruits of the
labors of the consecrated men in the spiritual vineyard of St. Michael's
Parish, are the Rev. Adolph M. Seeholzer an island boy who elevated to
the Priesthood and is now pastor of St. Boniface church, Cleveland,
Ohio, and the Rev. Joseph Wiilaiam Myers , son of Wm.F. and Mary Bauman
Myers.  Rev. Myers is a grauate of Estes High School, Kelley's Island.
He was ordained a priest of God at Toledo, Ohio on Jne 14th,1924 by his
Lordship, the Rt. Rev. Samuel Alphons Stritch, D.D. in St. Francis De
Sales Cathedral, and celebrated its first and Solemn Mass at the alter
of his boyhood in St. Michaels Church,Kelley's Island, Ohio.  During his
school days, Joseh Myers endeared himself to his teachers by his
wonderfully fine disposition and his splendid scholarship.

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