12th LOGO

LEVI KELLY, Company "G"

Written by Linda Cunningham Fluharty, great-grandniece.
© May, 2007


Levi Kelly with wife & children.
Seated: Levi Kelly holding daughter, Rose; Levi's wife, Anna Hawkins Kelly.
Children, standing l-r: William, Ida, Mary Elizabeth, Simon & Ruey.


Levi Kelly with family.
Front left is Helen Moore, d/o Mary Eliz.; left front is Kenneth ?.
Seated l-r, William, Levi & Simon.
Standing: Ida, Mary Elizabeth, Ruey & Rose.

[Photos provided by William Neely, gr-gr-grandson.]

NOTE: The spellings KELLY & KELLEY are found in the records.

     Levi Kelly, born 23 Sep 1839/40, was the son of David Kelly and Rebecca Bolinger, who were married in 1839 in Monongalia County, (W) Virginia, in the area that is now Marion County. Both may have been born in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, but at least Rebecca was. David died about 1850 and their five children, Levi, Mary Elizabeth, Eva S., Henry T. and Lemuel G., seem to have been distributed among the relatives. Rebecca later married David Cunningham and had another son, William Grant Cunningham.

     Levi died 24 Nov 1928 in Westfield, Lewis County, West Virginia and is buried at Machpelah Cemetery, Lewis County. He seems to have had an interesting life, including an abundance of drama during his second marriage.

     At the time of the 1860 census, Levi Kelly was residing (possibly) in Springfield, Huntingdon County, PA with Joshua and Eve Johns. Eve's maiden name was BOLINGER so she was probably the sister or aunt of Levi's mother [my gr-gr-grandmother], Rebecca Bolinger. Eve was born 28 Apr 1799 and died 29 Sep 1867. - Not 100% certain this is Rebecca & David's son, Levi, but it probably is. Also not sure about Eva's relationship but Rebecca did name a daughter Eva Sophia Kelly.

1860 Census, Springfield, Huntingdon County, PA
Joshua Johns, 60, Farmer, $1800, $400, b PA
Eve Johns, 50, b PA
Jessee Johns, 23, b PA
John E Johns, 16, b PA
Margaret Johns, 14, b PA
Levi Kelley 16, Laborer, b PA

     Levi enrolled at Shinnston, (West) Virginia 15 Aug 1862 and was discharged at Richmond, Virginia 16 June 1865. At the time of his enlistment, he was 5 feet 6 inches tall, with fair complexion, blue eyes and dark hair. On 14 June 1863, at the Battle of Winchester, he was wounded when a musket ball fired by the enemy passed through his left palm, fracturing the third metacarpal bone. The hand was left deformed, with the third and fourth fingers in a semi-flexed condition.

     Levi Kelley married Anna Hawkins 5 Dec 1867 in Marion County, West Virginia. Anna was the daughter of William and Judah Hawkins.

1870 Census, Battelle, Marion County, West Virginia
Levi Kelly, Farmer, $500? $500? b WV
Annie, 26, Keeping House, b WV
Mary E., daughter, 10 months, b July in WV

1880 Census, District 1, Battelle, Marion County, West Virginia
Levi Kelley, 39?, Farming, WV PA PA
Anna Kelley, 36, Wife, b WV
Mary E. Kelley, 8, Daughter, WV PA WV
David W. Kelley, 6, Son, WV WV WV
Arthelia R. Kelley, 5, Daughter, WV WV WV
Simon A. Kelley, 4, Son, WV WV WV
Ruie E. Kelley, 3, Daughter, WV WV WV

     According to her death record, Anna Hawkins Kelly died 1 Mar 1885, although Levi gave the date of 20 Mar 1881 in his pension application. In 1889, Levi was living at Goose Creek, Ritchie County, where his mother, Rebecca, the widow of David Cunningham, was living with her son, William Grant Cunningham. This information is included on Levi's appication for an increase in his pension. No idea if he had his children with him or if they remained with someone in Marion County.

     On 25 (20?) July 1891, Levi married Sarah Mariah Plum, the daughter of Amanda Poynter and Byron Plum, in Pleasant's County, West Virginia. Levi was nearly three decades older than Sarah. They moved to Benwood, Marshall County and are found in the 1900 census.

1900 Census, Union District, Marshall County, West Virginia
Levi Kelly, b Sep 1842, 58, Married 9 years, Day Laborer, WV PA PA
Sarah M. Kelly, b June 1871, 29, Housewife, WV WV WV
Clark Kelly, Son, 11, b May 1889, At School, WV WV WV
Ira Leonard Kelly, 6, Aug 1893, At School, WV WV WV
Henry T. Kelly, 4, Jan 1896, WV WV WV
Delphia Ray Kelly, 1, Nov 1898, WV WV WV

     The name "Clark" in the 1900 census is actually Clark Plum, Sarah's son from a relationship a few years before she married Levi. He lived with his grandparents for most of his childhood but and is also shown in their home in 1900:

1900 Census, McKim District, Pleasants County, West Virginia
PLUM, 141
Amanda E...Head...55...Dec 1884...Wd...7/6...Farmer...WV WV WV
Thomas T...Son...23...Oct 1876...S...Farm Laborer...WV WV WV
Clark J...G-Son...11...Mar 1889...S...At School...WV WV WV

     In 1871, Levi applied for a government pension and was awarded certificate #114325; he got increases at various times. In about 1907, while married to Sarah, they separated and she applied for half of his pension. She claimed that he had left her and the children in July 1907; he denied it. In fact, her children lived with her mother most of the time. This application resulted in an extensive investigation of the marriage and character of both Levi and Sarah.

     After hundreds of pages of affidavits in the file, Sarah did not get a pension because she was unable to prove marital desertion on the part of her husband. The documents did seem to show that it is impossible to say who the fathers of Sarah's children were. Levi eventually left and went to live with his daughter, Arthelia Belle Carpenter, in Marion County. There is no evidence that there was ever a divorce.

     The attorney for Levi Kelly was Blackburn B. Dovenor, formerly the captain of Company "A" 15th West Virginia Infantry. He made a statement of his about Levi, calling him his "old friend." But the most "to-the-point" declaration was given by Levi. Although it may seem biased to only present his statement, what Sarah said about him can be gleaned from it as well.

Deposition "A" - Case of SARAH M. KELLY
Special Examiner Jos. E. Cowan
LEVI KELLY deposed
16 May 1908, Fairmont, Marion County, West Virginia

     I am 68+ years of age; my post office address is Fairmont, W.Va. RFD#5. I am a laborer. I am pensioned at $12 per month under Ctf. No. 114,325 payable at the Washington, D.C. Agency. I served during the Civil War as a Private in Co. G. 12th W.Va. Vol. Inf. I am the husband of Sarah M. Kelly, the claimant in this case. I was married to her under her maiden name of Sarah Mariah Plum, in Pleasants Co., W.Va., by Rev. George Poynter, on July 25, 1891. I had been only once previously married, and then to Anna Hawkins, who died March 20, 1881. I had 6 children by my first wife, and am making my home now with a daughter of said former marriage - now Mrs. Arthelia Belle Carpenter, 6 miles north-east of this city. My present wife was 21 years old when I married her. After our marriage we lived at Benwood, W.Va. and lived there pretty nearly all the time we lived together as husband and wife. She has had four children born to her since our marriage, one being dead & having died in infancy. Two of these children Henry T., and Delphia R. Kelly, have a home with their maternal grandmother, Mrs. Amanda Plum, who resides near St. Marys, Pleasants Co., W.Va., and the other, the eldest, is with my wife in Wheeling, W.Va., and works in the Wheeling Glass Works there. This boy will be 16 years old in August next. He has a stiff knee. One night, while I was at home, he wanted to get up in the night and wanted me to get up and go with him. He was then between 2 & 3 years old. In the dark he got in my way and I shoved him to one side and he fell, getting one knee in a crack or hole in the floor, and in getting it out the bone of the knee was hurt, and his knee swelled and got stiff.

My wife, as I knew before our marriage, had a bastard child who was some 3 or 4 years old when I married her, and who stayed with Mrs. Plum, his grandmother and never lived with us until he got so his grandmother couldn't do anything with him, and wrote my wife to come and take him away. [Word "until" interlined in line 36 before signing.] So my wife went and brought him home with her and he made his home with us for some 4 or 5 years and was still there when I left my wife. The coming of this boy, then about 15 years old, was the beginning of our domestic troubles. He was a bad boy, kept idle & dissolute companions and got to drinking & would frequently come home drunk, & when I objected to his conduct my wife told me if I didn't like the way he did I could go where I wouldn't meet him. I was in the employ of the Riverside Tube Works, at Benwood, W. Va., during all the period of my married life with claimant, at wages ranging from $1.10 to $1.60 per day. I hardly ever opened my pay envelope; but would take my wages home and turn them over to her. The chief cause of the trouble between us arose from the fact that a young fellow, about 19 or 20 years old, a chum of my wife's bastard son, who went by the name of William Youst, began to come and visit at my wife's house when I'd be absent at work, and as I believed he was coming there for no good purpose. I objected to his visits. My wife would say that she was running the house and allowed to do as she pleased about Yost's coming there. No; I can't say that I ever saw anything out of the way or improper in Yost's conduct when I would find him at my home. I once ordered him away from the house and my wife interfered and assaulted me with a big, long-handled shovel, striking me over the top of my head, cutting my scalp so that I had to have Dr. T. H. Meighen to come and sew it up.

Some 3 years after our marriage a young fellow named Lee Bennett used to come and loaf around our house, and I had reason to believe he was having sexual intercourse with my wife. One forenoon, when I had unexpectedly returned home, my work having been suspended for the day at the Tube Works, I found my two children who were at home sitting on the front steps and they told me their mother had put them out of the house & locked the door, I then tried the door; found it fastened, & went around the house, lifted a window sash an climbed in. I found my wife lying on the bed and Bennett standing near, holding up his pants with one hand and his shoes in the other. I wanted to know what this all meant. She began to abuse & curse me, and tole me she thought more of Bennett's little finger than she did of my whole body. I was afraid of her, and left the house. While I was away, she & Bennett took the children and our horse & cow and started off down to the river, where they spent that night on a shanty boat. I followed them and took the horse away from them. They were on a stranded shanty boat, near Wheeling, W.Va., when Mr. Geo. W. Earnest & went and got the horse. I left the cow there at the shanty boat. While we were taking the horse, the woman cursed and abused both me and Mr. Earnest, and said she'd see me in h--l before she'd live with me again. Yes; I saw Bennett with her on the house-boat at the time but I didn't say anything, and walked away. I was told afterward that she, Bennett, the children & the cow, went down the Ohio River to her mother's.

She remained down there some 4, 5, or 6 weeks, and Bennett stayed down there during the period and worked for her brother, Silas Plum, who is a farmer near St. Marys, W.Va.

She had her brother-in-law, who owns a farm there (Mr. "Tice" Crone) [Note: this is Matthias "Tice" Cronin - LCF] to come to me and see if I wouldn't let her come back tome. I agreed to let her come if she'd do what was right in our own home, and she promised she would. She kept her promise for about a year after that, when the bastard boy of her's came to live in the family and the young man named Yost began to visit our home. Yost and her son got to drinking and carousing around the house, and when I remonstrated my wife took sides with them against me, and began to abuse me as she had formerly done, and more than once threatened to kill me. She said one time she'd "put a spider in coffee, if anybody will get one," and her boy spoke up and said he'd get one for her.

She told me once that none of the children born to her after our marriage was mine, & that if she thought a drop of my blood was in them she'd throw every one of them in the river. George W. Earnest, who lived in the other half of our house, at Benwood, W.Va., heard her make this assertion. At the same time she said she hoped I would be killed in the mill where I was working. I answered then that I couldn't stand her abuse any longer; that I would take the two cows I had bought with my pension money, sell them, and go away.

She became furiously angry at this, and grabbed me, and being younger & stouter than I, she held me by the arms, called her bastard boy in and told him to hit me. He then struck me 3 licks right in the face.

You have me down wrong in one point. At the time I spoke of selling the cows and going way, etc., we had moved to wheeling, W.Va., where we lived on 29th St. Nobody was present at that time outside of our family, and her son. The first asserted that her children were none of mine at our house in Benwood, just before she left the premises with Bennett, the children, the horse & cow, and her cloths and bedding, as above narrated; but she repeatedly, afterward, and while we lived in Wheeling, made the same statement as to the children not being mine. No; she never stated who the parent of the children was, only that I was not their father. After my assault by her son, as above stated, I got a rag & washed the blood off my face and went to bed again. I went to work as usual next day, and returned that evening and then left and went to Huntington Co. [Huntingdon], Pa., as I was afraid of my life if I stayed where she was. I thus left her along the last of July, 1907. She had refused to have sexual intercourse for something like 3 years before I left here. Every time I'd say anything about the subject she'd call the children up and tell them what I had said about it. No; she has never made any overtures to me since I left her to come back and live with her. I have no income aside from my pension and am too old now, to earn a living by manual labor, beside having poor health all the time. I have not contributed to her support since I left her, as I have not been able to do so, were she in the least deserving of such from me. It is untrue that I ever either broke up furniture or cut up the carpet in our house, No; I never beat her or made her violent threats against her body or her life, and she never accused me of trying to poison her. I never thought of such a thing as that. I am not a drinking man and never was. Yes; she would do some washing to help along expenses; but it would only be when I was unable to work by reason of illness or would be out of work. We never had any boarders, save that 2 of her sister's sons were there for awhile when we lived at Benwood, W.Va. It is not true that I ever tried or asked her to have brutal or unnatural intercourse with her, nor is it true that I had intercourse with other women than her while we lived together at home. It is not true that I brought Bennett home with me and introduced him to my wife. We had gone to Braxton Co., W.Va., where we had intended to stay; but she didn't like it there and so I came ahead with the cow & she and Bennett came back together, horseback. I wanted Bennett to drive the cow, but she wouldn't have it that way. I have heard you read the affidavits filed by her in support of her claim and her statements in her own behalf. I swear that the statement of Emma Yost and Ida Shriver, B.J. 7, is untrue as to my having beaten my wife, blacked her eyes or mashed her nose, or that I would swear at and curse her at night, or that I at any time cut the carpet up or wanted my wife to do unnaturally or vulgar, brutish acts. Neither of them lived more than a week or two in the other half of a double house from us. Emma Yost is William Yost's mother and Ida Shriver is one of Mrs. Yost's daughters. I was present when Geo. W. Earnest made the affidavit B.J. 13. In my own affidavit my attorney has got me down wrong as to the person my wife went away with. It was benentt instead of Yost, I did not notice this error at the time I signed and was sworn to it.I also was present when Mr. D. W. Hart and Dr. T. H. Meighen made their affidavits. I desire to have Mrs. Annie Earnest and Mrs. "Sis" Near; both of Benwood, examined by the Special Examiner who next takes up this case, as to my conduct toward my wife and her treatment of me, and as to her moral character. I would also like to have my attorney, Hon. B.B. Doverner, 1505 Chapline St., Wheeling, W.Va., notified of such further examination as to time & place, when and where to be held, and would request him to be present tehreat, if possible. I would live with my wife were it possible. I am satisfied with yoru conduct in and the fairness of our examination of my claim. I have no other evidence for you to secure here. All my witnesses live either at benwood, W.Va. or Wheeling, W.Va. [Words "from us" in line 70 interlined before signing]

I would like to be notified, also, of the further examination of this claim and will be present thereat, if possible. I do not write or read.

I am interested. I have fully understood your questions and have heard this deposition read. My answers are correctly recorded.

Levi (his X mark) Kelly, Deponent.

NOTE: 1) William Yost, married, denied an intimate relationship with Sarah. 2) One witness stated she looked through the keyhole and saw Sarah and Bennett in bed together. 3) Sarah never did say who the father of her son. Clark Plum was but his death certificate gives the name of Johanthan Cronin. Her sister, Rachel, married Tice Cronin, brother of Johnathan.

      In the 1910 and 1920 census records, Levi is listed as a widower, which he certainly was not.

1910 Census, McKim District, Pleasants County, West Virginia
PLUM, 114
Amanda...Head...65...Wid...7/5...WV WV WV
Henry T KELLEY...Gr Son...14...Farm Laborer...WV WV WV
Delphia R KELLEY...Gr Dau...7...WV WV WV

1910 Census, District 68, Battelle, Marion County, West Virginia
Levi Kelley, 72, Widower, Farmer, work out, WV WV WV
Ora [Ira] Kelley, Son, Single, WV WV WV

1920 Census, District 97, Hackers Creek, Lewis County, West Virginia
Levi Kelly, 79, Wd, WV PA PA, No occupation

     Levi Kelley of Weston, Lewis County, West Virginia, married Mary S. Bennett, a widow, on (1)8 April 1922 in Farimont, Marion County. Her husband, G. L. Bennett died 12 Jan 1913. [George L. Bennett married Mary S. Everitt 29 Sep 1872 in Upshur County, WV. In 1880 they lived in Upshur County with children Cora E., Granville and Emma J.]

     David W. Kelly, Levi's son from his first marriage, claimed that Mary, wife #3, was mismanaging the pension money of her husband. David asked for someone to oversee the money and it looks like attorneys were appointed to do so until after Levi's death. David wrote:

Mar 31, 1927
Jane Lew W.Va.
To Pension Bureau
     i am writing to you a few lines in regard a bout my Father Levi Kelly, he is nearly blind and can not attend to his business in money matters. he has his 4 (?) wife and I don't think she is able of taking care of his money she tells him that he did not get an increas in his pension last Sept September. she keeps it from him in order to give to her own children, she is old her self and can hardly get a round and her eye sight is bad. I am the only one near him to see after him. I can not tlae care of him fornothing as long as she handles his money no one ill get any thing for taking care of him I half to live she will take from me and give to her own she just tells him any thing she tell people he is no cable of taking care of his money There should be some one appointed to see after his money beside her. yours Truly,
Mr. D. W. Kelly

     That mention of "4 wife." Was that a "4"? After he and Sarah M. separated, did he marry someone else? There is no documentary evidence of divorces but there are references to Levi's second wife dying in Pleasants County. That was Sarah M. and, obviously, she did not die. But he did marry the widow, Mrs. Bennett in 1922 and she seemed to believe that his second wife had died. In one document she mentions that Levi had three previous wives, and was divorced from the last two.

     Levi died 24 Nov 1928 in Westfield, Lewis County, West Virginia, while living with his son, David W. Kelly.

     Mary S., the "widow," asked for money for the funeral bills and was granted accrued pension. But she did not establish proof of widowhood by 1931 and did not receive a widow's pension. One document in the file seems to pertain to Sarah M. Kelly, as a different attorney stated that Levi had a widow who would like a pension.

     Second wife, Sarah Mariah (Plum) Kelly, died at Fairmont General Hospital, Marion County, 26 Sept 1947. She is buried at Nine Mile Cemetery, Pleasants County. She was a widow when she died but Levi was not a widower at the of the 1910 and 1920 censuses. Their son, Ira L. Kelly (8-4-1892 - 6-7-1938) is also at Nine Mile.

     David William Kelley, b 12 Jul 1871 in Monongalia county, W. Va., died in Lewis County 2 Sep 1953; buried Broad Run Cemetery. Lived in Lewis County and worked in the oil fields. Mother was Anna Hawkins.

     Arthelia Belle Kelley married Edmond S. Carpenter in Marion County on 28 Nov 1894.

     Rua E. Kelley married James M. Lowrey in Marion County on 14 Nov 1898.

     Ira Leonard Kelly, a coal miner, single, born in St. Marys 4 Aug 1892, died in Marion County on 7 June 1938 of Intusseseption.

     Mary Elizabeth Kelly married Samuel Moore - PHOTO - and resided in Belmont County, Ohio. Samuel was the son of Martin Moore, who served during the Civil War in Company K, 14th W. Va. Infantry, and his wife, Anna McCoy. According to the records of the West Virginia Adjutant General, Martin "died of Anasarca 6 (or 1) June 1864, a POW at Andersonville; buried in grave #1675." [Note from William G. Neely, July 30, 2010: Martin Moore was great grandson of Michael Moore and Richard Tennant who were in Dunmore's War and were Monongalia pioneers.]

     Clark J. Plum, born 12 Mar 1888 in St. Marys, W. Va, died 26 Dec 1936 at Farmingon mine #8, Jamison Coal Company, Farmington, West Virginia. He was "crushed [by a mine car] through neck & chest, causing internal hemorrhage." Parents listed on death certificate are Johnathan Cronin and Sarah Maria Plum. Wife: Pearle Eva McIntire. He is buried at Nine Mile Cemetery, Pleasants County.