Few men in Lewis county are better known within its environs, or more extensively beyond, than is Dr. W. A. Kelly, of Lowville, N.Y. Professionally he is esteemed as an active pracitioner of distinguished ability and marked success in his chosen avocation. Politically he is widely known in Democratic circles throughout the Empire State as a reliable party man of shrewd native wit and extraordinary political acumen. Socially he is famous as a right good fellow among a legion of acquaintances and friends.
Dr. Kelly, as he is familliarly and generally known, is of Irish parentage, and justly takes pride in the fact that he comes of that ancient race which has furnished so many brilliant soldiers, statesmen, diplomatists, journalists, dramatists and poets to the Enligh-speaking nations. He is of the first American-born generation of his family, his father, John Kelly, having been born in county Galway, Ireland, in 1822, and his mother, Bridget (Devine) Kelly, in county Westmeath, Ireland, coming to this country while yet a child with an elder sister.
John Kelly, the first of the family in America, seeing on every hand the evidences of oppression and consequent poverty and wretchedness prevalent in his native land, while yet a young man, and becoming impressed with the glowing accounts of political equality and the abundant opportunities to be grasped in the great free country across the sea, felt his ambitions urging him "Westward" to try his fortune in that ample country where the accident of lowly birth did not pinion the wings of those who would rise, and where individual fitness was the main requisite to progress, in any direction. Impelled by such commendable motives he emigrated to the United States, locating first at Bridgeport, Conn. Later, however, he removed to Sherburne, Chenango county, N.Y., having already by diligence and economy accumulated a modest sum, and being by birth and training a man of the soil, he purchased a farm of his own and henceforward devoted himself to perhaps the most useful, and certainly the most independent of all occupations, that of farming, in which one obtains his sutenance from the virgin soil itself, depending upon no man's convenience and on no man's favor.
His marriage to Bridget Devine was a peculiarly happy one. These two alien compatriots meeting in the land of their adoption were quite naturally attracted to one another by the many bonds of sympathy between them. Nor were they long in discovering mutual interests and congenial tastes, and their marriage was soon consummated. This union resulted in the birth of four children, all sons.
John D., Thomas R., James J. and William A. Kelly, the last named subject of this sketch.
The father and mother prospered materially, and, being laudably ambitious for the future of their children, they educated them for professional careers. The faithful, loving wife and mother survived him eighteen years, then followed him to that "undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returne."
Of their children the eldest born, John D. Kelly, is now a praciticing physician of New Haven Conn., with an extensive and lucrative practice. Thomas and James, however, have quitted this world's toils, neither having lived to realize the full fruition of their early endeavors.
William A. Kelly, youngest son of John and Bridget (Devine) Kelly, was born at Sherburne, Chenange county, N.Y., Feb. 2, 1856. He was educated in the common schools and at St. Michael's College, Toronto, Dominion of Canada. Upon finishing his studies at St. Michael's College he came to Rome, Oneida county, N.Y., where he immediately began a course of technical training to prepare himself for the profession of dentistry. A diligent and painstaking student, he in due time thoroughly mastered the details and essentials of dental surgery, and in 1887 successfully passed the requirements of the board of state examiners with conspicuous merit and received his diploma as a duly accredited Doctor of Dental Surgery. He at once began the active practice of his profession in Adams, New York, in company with Dr. M. D. Mandeville. He continued with Dr. Mandeville in Adams for about two years, meantime becoming remarkably proficient in his profession and gaining a host of friends and admirers. However, he was ambitious to commence the practice of his profession independently, and accordinly in 1879 he left Adams and located in the flourishing little village of Lowville, county seat of Lewis county, N.Y., where he has ever since been actively and with marked success engaged in its pursuit. By his skill, careful workmanship and strict honesty, and scarcely less by his personal suavity of manner, he soon gained the confidence of all with whom he came in contact and established a large and lucrative practice, and by close application to business, frugality, careful investment of his earnings and painstaking stewardship he has accumulated a considerable property, and while yet in his prime is accounted one of the wealthiest and most substantial citizens of the village.
Dr. Kelly is an illustrious example of the successful self-made man. He came to Lewis county thirty-one years ago a young man with no capital save his sterling character, his professional ability and his earnest purpose, yet today he is widely known as a man of affairs, of varied and extensive interests, a rich man and a man of position and influence in the community, and he is repsected and esteemed throughout the entire county for what he is, and what he is he has made himself by his unaided personal effort and worth. His business connections include many enterprises. He is still actively engaged in the practice of his profession and has a numberous clientele in whose affections he is firmly established. He is a stockholder and director in the Black River National Bank of Lowville, an institution whose resources and stability are beyond cavil; a director of the Asbestos Burial Casket Company of Lowville, with whose interests he has been closely identified for years, and toward whose present prosperity he has largely contributed; in the Lowville and Beaver River Railroad, of which he was one of the promotors; and is vice-president of the Black River Telephone Company. He is one of the trustees of Lowville Academy, and takes a profound interest in the welfare of that venerable institution of learning. He is a member of Lowville Lodge, No. 134, F. and A. M., and of the Lowville Cub.
In politics he is a staunch old line Democrat and has always taken a prominent leading part in the councils of that party. He has always loyally supported the regular candidates of his party and has contributed liberally in a material way to their successs as well as by active and zelous work in their behalf. Indeed instances might perhaps be cited in which that success was due in a not inconsiderable measure to his unflagging zeal and strenuous efforts.
Professionally he is a man of fine instincts and genuinely considerate of both his patients and his colleagues. Personally he is a large-hearted man of affable manner and convivial habit, popular with all who have enjoyed his hospitality or who own the pleasure of his acquaintance. And in his civic relations he is a distinguished example of what every right-minded member of a community should be, a progressive, public-spirited citizen, deeply interested in every project to the advantage of his home town and always generous in his support of what he conceives to be its best interests.
He married, June 17, 1884, Mary L., daughter of William B. Buckley, of Capt Vincent, N.Y. Mrs. Kelly comes of an old New England family, is a woman of peculiarly gracious manner, refinement and wide culture, and is persona grata among a large circle of friends and acquaintances. Both are closely affiliated with Trinity Episcopal Church of Lowville, of which Dr. Kelly is a vestryman and generous supporter.
They have a beautiful and spacious home on Trinity avenue, which he erected upon his marriage, and whose well-kept lawns and artistic ensemble make it one of the handsomest residences of the village.
Patrick Kelly was born in county Wicklow, Ireland, 1827, died in Ogdensburg, New York, 1875. His father was killed in the Irish rebellion. He had sisters, Margaret and Mary, and brothers, James F. and John.
In 1851 he came to Quebec, Canada, removing to Prescott, Ontario. In 1856 he settled in Ogdensburg, N.Y., where he resided the remainder of his life. He was a brewer by trade, and was identified with the Crichton Brewery. He was in active business up to the time of his death.
He married Mary Redmond, of county Wexford, Ireland, daughter of Michael Redmond, and descended from the same ancestor as John Redmond, the leader of the Irish party in Ireland.
1. John, died young.
2. James E., mentioned below.
3. Patrick, born in Ogdensburg, died in Utica, N.Y.; was a mechanial engineer.
4. Ann, died young.
5. Michael, a railroad contractor of Ogdensburg; died in Ogdensburg, N.Y.
6. William, died young.
(II) James E., son of Patrick Kelly, was born in Prescott, Ontario, Nov. 23, 1853, and when five years old removed with his parents to Ogdensburg. He received his education in the public schools and the Ogdensburg Educational Institute, and at the age of fourteen became book-keeper in the old Crichton Brewery. In 1871 he entered the employ of C. B. Herriman as bookkeeper in his large wholesale grocery. In 1876, through the influence of Hon. Daniel Magone, Mr. Kelly was appointed manager of the manufacturing department of the Clinton prison, serving for two years under Hon. E. S. Winslow, warden. In 1880 the Ogdensburg Coal & Towing Company was organized, and Mr. Kelly entered the corporation, acting first as secretary and bookkeeper, and from 1883 to 1892 as local manager of the Montreal branch of the business. In 1892 he was appointed sales agent at Utica for the New York, Ontario & Western Railroad in Central and Northern New York and Eastern Canada. About this time he entered the retail coal business in Ogdensburg in company with Assistant Postmaster L. R. Leonrad, which firm still continues. [this pub in 1910]. In 1894 he was appointed postmaster of Ogdensburg by President Cleveland, holding the office for five years.
He is a member of the municipal town committee. In politics Mr. Kelly is a Democrat and has twice been a delegate to the state convention of his party. For three years he has served as chairman of the Democratic city committee, and in 1902 was elected chairman of the county committee. Since 1895 he has served on the school board, being its president in 1901-02. Upon the establishment of a municipal civil service board in 1900, Mr. Kelly was made chairman of that board. He became the first president of the Oswegatchie Agricultural Association in 1900, and served three years in that office. It is now the best agricultural fair in northern New York. The grounds have been improved, the fences and building renovated, and the property is far superior to any fair property north of Utica. He is a director in the Fleming Sovie Furniture Company, and was the organizer and is a director of the St. Lawrence County Savings Bank, also serving as treasurer of that institution. For four years he was president of the board of public works. He is a member of the Board of Trade; the Business Men's Association; the Century Club and Knights of Columbus; also of the Tilden and New York Democratic clubs of New York City.
He married, 1886, Mary, daughter of Patrick Spratt, of Rossie, N.Y.
1. Thomas Spratt, born 1887, died 1903.
2. James Edmund, 1890; a law student in Cornell.
3. Margaret, 1894.
4. Ruth Ann, 1896.
5. Mary Elizabeth, 1898.
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