Our Leaves & Branches

Genealogy & Family History

William D Kelly 1783 NC – 1868 MS

William D Kelly 1783 NC – 1868 MS

William Durham Kelly, soldier and farmer, was born 6 May 1783 in North Carolina.[i],[ii]

His parents moved from Wake County, NC to York Co. SC after the Revolutionary War. From South Carolina William and Mary (Durham) Kelly and most of their children made their way to Warren and Clarke Counties Georgia, where most of their children were married. By 1810 William and Mary (Durham) Kelly with their sons and their families were in Franklin County, TN.  Durham and Miriam (Lloyd O’Rear) Kellywere with them.[iii]

William served in the War of 1812 with his brother, Sims Kelly. They were privates in Russell’s Separate Battalion, Mounted Gunmen of Tennessee Volunteers.[iv]When William enlisted he was described as being 6 feet tall, with auburn hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion. He was a 33-year-old farmer.[v]Major William Russell’s mounted gunmen served from September 1814 to March 1815.[vi]Both brothers returned safely at the end of the war.

Miriam (Lloyd) O’Rear Kelly was the first wife of William. Miriam was the daughter of John Lloyd and Sarah (Stuard) Lloyd. Her first husband was Benjamin O’Rear. Miriam and William had seven children together.[i]

The Kellys were an enterprising, prosperous family engaged in land acquisition, farming, mercantile and milling operations. In the mid-1830s new lands were opened for settlement in Alabama, and several members of this Kelly family moved their families to these new lands in Benton (now Calhoun) County, Alabama.[ii]

In 1850 70-year-old William Durham Kelly, Miriam, and their youngest child, Benjamin Franklin Kelly, lived in Winston County, Mississippi. He was a farmer on a farm valued at $800. Son, John Durham Kelly, and his family lived next door.[iii]

Miriam died October 1850. Catherine (Hamilton) Kelly was William Durham Kelly’s second wife. They were married 29 June 1853 in Leake County, Mississippi.[iv]

 In 1860 William and his son, John Durham Kelly, were still living side by side in Louisville, Winston, Mississippi.[v]William died 29 June 1868 in Winston County, Mississippi.[vi]


[i]Weaver, Oliver. John and Prudence (Emrey) Lloyd, Their Descendants, and Some Allied Families; digital image, Ancestry (ancestry.com: accessed July 2020) 147.

[ii]Weaver, Oliver. John and Prudence (Emrey) Lloyd, Their Descendants, and Some Allied Families; digital image, Ancestry (ancestry.com: accessed July 2020) 147.

[iii]1850 US Census, MS, Winston; digital image, Ancestry (ancestry.com: accessed June 2020) William D. Kelly & John D. Kelly.

[iv]War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files; NARA, Record Group 15; digital image, Fold3 (fold3.com: accessed June 2020) William Durham Kelly.

[v]1860 US Census, MS, Winston, Louisville; digital image, Ancestry (ancestry.com: accessed June 2020) WD Kelly & John D Kelly.

[vi]War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files; NARA, Record Group 15; digital image, Fold3 (fold3.com: accessed June 2020) William Durham Kelly.


[i]War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files; NARA, Record Group 15; digital image, Fold3 (fold3.com: accessed June 2020) William Durham Kelly.

[ii]Weaver, Oliver. John and Prudence (Emrey) Lloyd, Their Descendants, and Some Allied Families; digital image, Ancestry (ancestry.com: accessed July 2020) 147.

[iii]Weaver, Oliver. John and Prudence (Emrey) Lloyd, Their Descendants, and Some Allied Families; digital image, Ancestry (ancestry.com: accessed July 2020) 147.

[iv]War of 1812 Service Records, 1812 – 1815; digital record, Ancestry (ancestry.com: accessed June 2020) Sims Kelly and Durham Kelly.

[v]War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files; NARA, Record Group 15; digital image, Fold3 (fold3.com: accessed June 2020) William Durham Kelly.

[vi]Tennessee Secretary of State, History & Genealogy/War of1812,Regimental Histories of Tennessee Units During the War of 1812; digital image (sos.tn.gov: accessed June 2020) Major William Russell.