Person:William Kelsey (17)

m. 18 DEC 1859
  1. Charles Kelsay1847 -
  2. Daniel Kelsay1849 -
  3. William Brown Kelsey1851 - 1895
  4. Ruth Brown Kelsay1854 - BEF 2006
  5. Henry Sheppard Kelsay1858 - BEF 1958
  6. Anna Marza Kelsay1860 - BEF 2000
  7. Harriet Kelsay1863 -
  8. Hannah Kelsay1866 -
m. 9 feb 1873
  1. Hattie Annie Kelsay1879 - 1911
  2. Burton Ralph Kelsey1881 -
  3. Ella Christina Kelsey1883 - 1968
  4. Mary Emma Kelsey1886 - 1970
Facts and Events
Name[1] William Brown Kelsey
Alt Name William Brown Kelsay
Gender Male
Birth? 3 AUG 1851 Cumberland County, New Jersey
Residence? 1860 Hopewell, Cumberland, New Jersey, United States
Residence? 1870 Virgil, Vernon, Missouri
Marriage 9 feb 1873 Vernon County, Missourito Clara Adelle Leonard
Unknown 362
Clara Adelle Leonard
Death? 1895 Mountain Fork, Polk, Arkansas, United States

William Brown Kelsay was born in Cumberland Co., NJ and died between the years 1894 to 1897 in Polk County, Arkansas. William was eighteen years old when he made the trip from New Jersey to Vernon County, Missouri with his parents and other siblings. William married Clara Adell Leonard, probably in Missouri. William and Clara sold 40 acres of land in Vernon County, MO to Henry S. Kelsay. Their address was given as "Indian Territory", which of course later became Oklahoma. Polk County, Arkansas is right on the border with Oklahoma, and William B. Kelsay and his family were always listed in their address as: Mountain Fork, Polk County, Arkansas from then on.

William was a very religious man, and on, January 9, 1894, he had his Pastor, W.R. Cecil write from Mountain Fork, Polk Co., Arkansas to his father, David P. Kelsay back in Vernon County, MO and urged him to repent and be baptized if he had not already done so. On, January 11, 1894, he wrote his mother, Sarah back in Vernon Co., MO. He mentioned in the letter that he had received a letter from her a few days before, and was answering as soon as he could get Brother Cecil to write. William could not write, and he had his Pastor, W.R. Cecil do all of his writing for him. In the letter to his mother, William said they were all well and they had a mild winter so far and no snow, but they expected some winter before long. He closed his letter by hoping to hear from her soon.

Sometime between, January 1894 and March 1897 (probably in the year 1895 or 6) Willliam B. Kelsay was accidently shot in the woods while hunting wild turkeys. He was found shot to death in the woods with a turkey caller in his hand. It was theorized that William was calling for wild turkeys when somebody mistakenly shot him. The guilty party never came forward, however, and nobody ever knew for sure who killed William. He was either 44 or 45 years old at his death, and was buried in Polk Co., Arkansas. William's widow, Clara wrote a letter to Henry S. Kelsay on, April 11, 1898 back in Vernon County, MO. She was writing from Mountain Fork, Arkansas, and said she was surprised and sorry to hear about the death of Sarah B. (Ivins) Kelsay, who she called "Mother" in the letter. She stated she had been looking forward to her visit that coming summer, and they only lived 15 miles from the depot. She gave the children's age, and said they would rather he would take care of the settlement of their father's estate, as he was his one brother and would be honest like him. She said she had married again about a year before, but had given the children what was left of their father's estate, except for what she had spent trying to find out who the guilty person was that had killed him. Clara Adelle Kelsay married J.W. Parker as her second husband on, March 12, 1897 in Mountain Fork, Arkansas. They were both 44 years of age at that time, and Justice of the Peace, W.N. Martin performed the ceremony. Book "D", page 2, Polk County, Arkansas Court House. This marriage must have been rather short and probably ended in divorce, because on, February 5, 1903, Clara A. Kelsay signed a statement that gave her 16 year old daughter, Mary, permission to marry. She must have had her married name of "Kelsay" restored to her, for she used it in 1903 and was still using it in 1935 when she and the children signed a "quit claim deed." This deed was dated, January 30, 1935, and the land was located in the Northwest quarter of Section thirty, Township 1, South range thirty two West. Clara A. Kelsay signed the deed, and the two daughters signed with their married names. Burton R. Kelsay and his wife, Emmer, made their mark. Clara would have been 82 years of age at this time.

Yvonne Russell was a grand-daughter of Mary Kelsay and wrote me a letter on, Aug 3, 1990 to my home in Mableton, Georgia. She was trying to help me out with the family lineage. The letter was handwritten, but I will quote it in type just as Yvonne wrote it to me. We exchanged several letters and she even sent me a very delicious fruit cake one time for Christmas. She mentioned that I spell my name differently, so apparently the descendants of William Brown Kelsay have been spelling their surname incorrectly with an "e" instead of an "a", as Rev. Robert Kelsay spelled it when he moved from Ireland in 1734. The following is Yvonne's version of some of the descendants of William Brown Kelsay:

"Dear Mr. Kelsay,

Sorry to be so long getting back to you. I had hoped to go to the cemetary and get some dates for you. Don't look like I will get to, so will just tell you who is who. If I can later I will send you the dates. Mary Kelsey (should be Kelsay) was my grandmother, she had 11 children. (1) Herbert Fields, born in 1904, is still living at Big Cedar in Mary and J.W.'s old home. He never married. (Herbert was still living well up into his 90's) (2) Normie married Arlie Whisenhunt, had 6 children, Bill, Ray, Imogene, Joann, Betty Lou and Kelley. The boys & Normie live about 5 miles east of Herbert. Arlie past away in the last 10 yrs. Normie Fields was born in 1906. (3) Hubert (Dick) Fields was my daddy, Jewell's husband. They had 7 children. Harold Dean really lives at Mtn. Fork, Ark. 3 kids. Jean Ellen lives around Texarkana, Texas. 4 kids. Hebert Glenn lives at Big Cedar. 2 girls. Rodney Dale in Whichita, Kansas. l boy. Melba Sue lives in Texarkana, Texas. 3 kids. Larry William in Turpin, Oka. 2 kids. Lennis Yvonne Russell (me) lives at Whitesboro, Okla. 2 kids. Jewell lives right beside me. Hubert O. Fields was born in 1908 and died, March 8, 1976. (4) Grace married Fred Addison had 1 child. They divorced years ago & she married someone else & lives in Arizona. Fred lives at Heavener, Okla. (5) Thelma married Joe Shoemaker had (?) 3 children and lived in California. Joe died & she married Joe Carpenetti. I think they live somewhere in Mo. (6) Athel married Bernice Hudson had 5 children and live in Clayton, Okla on Sardis Lake. (7) Eugene married Margie (?) had 2 boys & live in Kansas, last I knew. (8) Whitney left home at 17, returned 1 time & left again. One letter to my dad, he was moving to Montana. No one knows where he is. My son's name is Whitney. (9) Ruth married Frank Finn, had 2 girls, last I knew she was also in Mo. (10) Edna married Claude Hazen, had 1 girl, 1 boy and lives at McAlester, Okla. Boy lives at Big Cedar. (11) Betty Jo died when 11 months old. She is buried in Big Cedar. Bert Kelsay married J.W. Fields' sister Nance I think. He did have 5 children. Haze, William (Bill), Myrtle, Olen & one I can remember fairly well, who I knew only as Sog. He was shot in the back by a man named Elmer Steiner, who still lives at Big Cedar. Sog & Bill were the moonshiners. Olen died fairly young. He was my # l man. All are dead except Hazes' wife Ola. She was a Roberts. She still lives at Big Cedar. Christina Kelsay married Dock Dehart and had 2 children. Mary was an old maid. William married (?) and had 3 children. Prentiss Kelsay married Cleva. I don't know of any children, but they haven't been living here very long. They live at Big Cedar. Barbara Jean married Bill McBride, had 3 children. Sharon, Phillis, and Orville. Dorthy May married Kenneth Rose, had 4 children, Gary, Larry, Shirley, and one much younger than these. I don't know what her name was, she died when she was around 8 or 9 yrs old. She was born with seizures. Bert's son Haze had 1 girl, Connie Jo, she lives at Big Cedar.

Big Cedar consist of 1 gas station & l church, so a lot of these people live very close together. If I'm wrong on any of these people it will be because I left some of William DeHart's children out. I didn't know them as well as the rest. Bert Kelsey's family (Burton R. Kelsay) is buried at New Home Cemetary & Mary Fields is buried about 5 miles away. Hope I have helped. If I get to go to the cemetary I will get you some of the dates.

Your SOMETHING, Yvonne Russell

  • Big Cedar is located in Le Flore County, Oklahoma.


  1. Hattie Annie Kelsay , born February 13, 1879
  2. Burton R. Kelsay, born June 9, 1881
  3. Christina Kelsay , born December 3, 1883
  4. Mary Kelsay, born December 28, 1886
  1. Kelsey Mountain is located in Leflore County Oklahoma near Mountain Fork, Arkansas.