El Dorado County
Alexander Kelley, of El Dorado, dates his arrival in California in the year 1852. Following is a resume of his life history:
Alexander Kelley was born in Hopkins, New York, January 6, 1830, and is descended from Scotch ancestors who were among the early settlers of Vermont. His grandfather Kelley fought for independence in the Revolutionary War. Alexander Kelley, the father of the subject of this sketch, was born in Vermont and was married in New England to Miss Mary Davis, a native of Boston, Massachusetts. The removed successively to Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri and Iowa, and finally to Utah and Idaho. Previous to their removal to the far west they were converted to the Mormon faith. The father reached the ripe old age of eighty-six years. The mother was seventy-four when she died, her death occurring at Ogden, Utah. They were the parents of seven children, of whom four are living, Alexander and William D. being the only ones in California. George Kelley, an older brother, was in the Mexican War, and at its close came to California and was discharged in Los Angeles. He was at Sutter’s Fort and at Coloma when gold was discovered, and worked there until the following summer. Then with a company of sixty he left for Utah. This party was well armed, having three of General Sutter’s guns with them, and they opened the route across the mountains. At Tragedy Springs they had a fight with the Indians, in which three of the party, Cox, Bruitt and Allen, were killed. In 1851 George Kelley met his parents and other members of the family at Salt Lake. He returned to California the same year, was engaged in different pursuits here, and during the gold excitement in Idaho went to that place. He was never afterward heard from.
Alexander Kelley, the subject of this sketch, passed his youth and early manhood in the different places where his parents lived, as above indicated. It was in 1848 that they crossed the plains to Salt Lake. He remained in that city with his parents until 1852, engaged in farming and stock raising, and that year came to California. Arrived here, he engaged in mining in Tuolumne County, where he continued the occupation three years, with but little success, however. Often he was within eight or ten feet of a rich vein, but he never made more than fair wages in the mines. He mined, at intervals, until 1860. He spent some time in the Red Woods in Napa County, getting out timber, and afterward made a trip to Caron Valley, where he remained three years. He has since been a resident of El Dorado, where he has a home and is comfortably situated and is now retired from active life.
Mr. Kelley has been twice married. By his first wife, whom he wedded in 1853, he had three children, namely: William, of Placer County; Mary, now Mrs. John Robertson; and Henry, a rancher near El Dorado. In 1884 Mr. Kelley married Mrs. White, his present wife, and they have one son, Alexander Budd, a resident of El Dorado County.
During the Civil War Mr. Kelley was a Union man and a Republican, but after the war he returned to the rank of Democracy, where he is now found. He has seen much of pioneer life, has done his full share toward “blazing the way for settlement and development,” and enjoys the high respect and esteem accorded to the worthy frontiersman.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.