Guide to the Kelly Family Papers

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Kelly family
Title: Kelly family papers
Dates: 1831-1982 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 2 cubic feet ( (3 document cases, 2 card file boxes, 1 oversize folder))
Collection Number: Mss 871
Summary: Papers of the Kelly family of Oregon, primarily Clinton Kelly (1808-1875), Albert Kelly (1814-1873), Plympton Kelly (1828-1906), Penumbra Kelly (1845-1928), and Silas Gilby Kelly (1848-1920), and the related Plummer, Niblin, and Povey families. Included is family correspondence, genealogical materials, land records, Plympton Kelly's Yakima war diary, extensive diaries of Silas Gilby Kelly of Hillsdale, Oregon, and documents relating to the Willamette Steam Ferry Company, 1854-1868.
Repository: Oregon Historical Society, Davies Family Research Library
Contact Information: Davies Family Research Library
Oregon Historical Society
1200 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR
Telephone: 503-306-5240
Fax: 503-219-2040
Languages: Materials in the collection are in English. 
Sponsor: Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical Note

The present collection is related primarily to the descendents of Samuel Kelly (1776-1834) and his wife Nancy Kennedy Kelly (1781-1841) who lived in Virginia and Kentucky. Their son Clinton Kelly (1808-1875) was a Methodist preacher and an anti-slavery advocate. A native of Kentucky, he came overland to Oregon with his family in 1847 and took a donation land claim on the east side of the Willamette River, opposite Portland. He platted the land in 1872, and the area was eventually annexed by the city. Clinton's oldest son (by his first wife, Mary Bastin), Plympton Kelly, fought in the Yakima Indian wars of 1855-1856. Another son of Clinton Kelly (by his third wife, Moriah Maldon Crain) was Penumbra Kelly (1845-1928), who lived much of his life in Portland, Oregon, and married Mary Marquam in 1875. He served as a member of the Oregon House of Representatives, County Commissioner, and Sheriff of Multnomah County.

Clinton Kelly's younger brother, Albert Kelly, (1814-1873) was born in Clifty Creek, Pulaski County, Kentucky. In 1837 he married Nira Chandler Bingham (1816-1898) in Athens, Ohio, and in 1847 they traveled overland to Oregon with Kelly's family. They settled eventually on a donation land claim southwest of Portland, an area that now includes Albert Kelly Park. In the early 1870s the Kellys moved to Yakima County, Washington, where Albert died in 1873. His wife Nira moved to Portland around 1886.

A son of Albert and Nira Kelly, Silas Gilby Kelly (1848-1920) was a farmer of Hillsdale, Oregon, and married Nellie Griffith Baker. A daughter of Albert Kelly, Martha Elizabeth Kelly Plummer (1850-1935), married Orlando Pleasant Shields Plummer (1836-1913), a physician of Portland, Oregon. Their daughter, Marian Lee Plummer Povey (1885-1975) married John Harold Povey (1884-1964). Another daughter of Orlando and Martha Plummer was Agnes Plummer Burns (1877-1975), who married William Wesley Burns (1861-1937) and lived in Troy, Oregon.

Content Description

The collection includes family correspondence, genealogical materials, land records, Plympton Kelly's Yakima war diary, extensive diaries of Silas Gilby Kelly of Hillsdale, Oregon, Laura Kelly papers, and documents relating to the Willamette Steam Ferry Company, 1854-1868. An unidentified woman's diary, 1858-1876, is probably that of Nira Bingham Kelly, wife of Albert Kelly. Other diaries include those of Dr. Orlando Plummer and Harold Povey. The family correspondence includes letters from family members in Kentucky, and branches of the Kelly family, including the Niblins, the Binghams, the Plummers, and the Poveys. Among the Plummer materials is a day book containing financial records and other data, 1833-1888, of J. B. Plumer [sic], a store keeper of North Liberty, Pennsylvania. Among the land records are title abstracts relating to the Plummer Building in Portland, Oregon, located on the north-west corner of SW Madison St. and SW Third Avenue. Genealogical and biographical materials include the 1940 reminiscences of Maria Kelly Delashmutt, daughter of Albert Kelly; and reminiscences of Agnes Plummer Burns.

Use of the Collection

Alternative Forms Available :  

Photocopy and transcript of the Plympton Kelly's Yakima War diary is included in the collection.

Restrictions on Access :  

The collection is open to the public.

Restrictions on Use :  

The Oregon Historical Society is the owner of the materials in the Research Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the Research Library before any publication use. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.

Preferred Citation :  

Kelly Family papers, Mss 871, Oregon Historical Society Research Library

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

The collection is arranged in the following series:

  • Series A: Correspondence and general files, 1831-1982
  • Series B: Diaries and notebooks, 1855-1919
  • Series C: Certificates and maps, 1866-1919
Acquisition Information :  

Gifts of Mrs. Robert J. Kelly, 1974 January, Library Accession 12811; Mrs. Frank W. Klatt, 1976 July, Library Accession 13752; Esther Kelly Watson, 1980 January, Library Accession 14993; and Mr. Donald E. Clark, 1987 August, Library Accession 18353.

Bibliography :  
  • The Kelly family : Thomas Kelly (1742-1812), his descendants and interrelated families [compiled by Laura Kelly and Esther Kelly Watson], [Portland, Or. : L. Kelly and E. K. Watson, 1972-1987].
Related Materials :  

Ledgers of Clinton Kelly are designated Coll 38, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series A:  Correspondence and general files, 1831-1982
1/1 Inventories of Kelly family materials
Includes detailed calendar of letters.
1/2 Family letters 1841-1859
1/3 Family letters 1860-1889
1/4 Family letters 1890-1928
1/5 Abstract of title, 2829 SE Clinton Street, Portland 1945
1/6 Address of Mrs. Plympton Kelly at public school at Lents 1903 May 12
1/7 Agnes Plummer Burns papers 1958-1961, undated
1/8 Albert and Nira Kelly family papers 1841-1898
1/9 Bills and receipts (primarily from Clinton Kelly) 1851-1876
1/10 Clinton Kelly papers 1862-1901
1/11 Ephemera and reminiscences 1852-1940
1/12 Eulogy of Plympton Kelly 1906
1/13 Genealogy of Thomas Kelly family 1904, 1948, undated
2/1 J. B. Plumer [sic] day book 1833-1888
2/2 Laura Kelly papers 1905-1970
2/3 Laura Kelly, high school graduation book 1917
2/4 Miscellaneous family correspondence, mostly Niblin family 1892-1937, undated
2/5 Miscellaneous papers
Includes account books, documents, indentures, and alcohol abstention pledge forms.
2/6 Orlando Plummer--Medical Society certificate 1872
2/7 Penumbra Kelly--Workers' time book 1870-1875
2/8 Plympton Kelly--Copy of diary of Yakima Indian War (manuscript) 1855 November 22-1856 March 16
2/9 Plympton Kelly--Yakima War diary (original) 1856 March 17-May 13
2/10 Plympton Kelly--Yakima War diary (photostat of above) 1856
2/11 Plummer and Povey family papers 1870-1960
2/13 Plummer Building, Portland, Oregon--Legal papers 1879-1911
3/1 Reunion announcements and family newsletters 1968-1982
3/2 Scrapbook circa 1874-1888
3/3 Willamette Steam Ferry records 1854-1868

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Series B:  Diaries and notebooks, 1855-1919
Silas G. Kelly diaries and account books
4/1 Diary 1868
4/2 Account book 1869-1874
4/3 Book of workers' hours 1871-1873
4/4 Account book 1873-1875
4/5 Diary 1875
4/6 Diary 1877
4/7 Diary 1880
4/8 Diary 1881
4/9 Diary 1884
4/10 Diary 1887
4/11 Diary 1889
4/12 Diary 1890, 1896
4/13 Diary 1891
4/14 Diary 1892, 1897
4/15 Diary 1893
4/16 Diary 1894-1895
5/1 Diary 1907
5/2 Diary 1909
5/3 Diary 1910
5/4 Diary 1911-1912
5/5 Diary 1913
5/6 Diary 1914
5/7 Diary 1916-1917
5/8 Diary 1918
5/9 Diary 1919
Orlando Plummer diaries
5/10 Diary and medical notes circa 1855
5/11 Diary 1910
5/12 Diary 1911
5/13 Harold Povey diary undated
5/14 Harold Povey autograph book 1892-1899
5/15 Nira Bingham Kelly diary
Entries are written in an 1858 diary book and include entries for 1858, then for 1874-1876. There is no name on this diary, but based on internal evidence it is probably that of Nira Bingham Kelly (1816-1898), wife of Albert Kelly.
1858, 1874-1878

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Series C:  Certificates and maps, 1866-1919
Oversize folder Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church--Membership of Philander B. Kelly 1866 January 22
Oversize folder Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church--Membership of Lee W. Kelly 1866 January 22
Oversize folder Marriage certificate for George W. Povey and Thirsa [?] J. Page 1873
Oversize folder Donation land claim certificate for Plympton Kelly, Multnomah County, Oregon (signed by President Grant) 1873 July 24
Oversize folder Certificate of marriage, O. P. S. Plummer and Martha E. Kelly 1874 July 4
Oversize folder Olivet College--Diploma for Nannie L. Parsons 1876
Oversize folder State of Oregon, Oregon Volunteers--Commission for George W. Povey 1898 May 15
Oversize folder Commission of George W. Povey as Assistant Quartermaster of Volunteers (signed by President McKinley) 1899 August 28
Oversize folder United States, Civil Governor of the Philippine Islands--Appointment Of George W. Povey as Treasurer of the Province of Isabela 1901 August 24
Oversize folder Oregon State Board of Pharmacy--Certificate to Agnes Plummer 1906
Oversize folder Plat map, area in southwest Multnomah County 1919.
Oversize folder Plat map, Povey property in southwest Multnomah County, Oregon undated

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The collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings:

  • Personal Names :
  • Burns, Agnes Plummer, 1877-1975.
  • Kelly, Albert, 1814-1874.
  • Kelly, Clinton.
  • Kelly, Laura.
  • Kelly, Nira Bingham.
  • Kelly, Penumbra.
  • Kelly, Plympton J., d. 1906.
  • Kelly, Silas Gilby.
  • Plummer, O. P. S. (Orlando Pleasant Sheilds), 1836-1913.
  • Family Names :
  • Bingham family.
  • Kelly family.
  • Niblin family.
  • Plummer family.
  • Povey family.
  • Corporate Names :
  • Willamette Steam Ferry Company.
  • Geographical Names :
  • Hillsdale (Or.)--History.
  • North Liberty (Pa.)--History.
  • Portland (Or.)--History.
  • Subject Terms :
  • Farms--Oregon--Multnomah County.
  • Ferries--Oregon--Willamette River.
  • Land tenure--Oregon--Multnomah County.
  • Overland journeys to the Pacific.
  • Pioneers--Oregon.
  • Women--Oregon--Diaries.
    • Form or Genre Terms :
    • Diaries.
    • Genealogies.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Reminiscences.
    • Scrapbooks.
    • Other Creators :
    • Burns, Agnes Plummer, 1877-1975.
    • Kelly, Albert, 1814-1874.
    • Kelly, Clinton.
    • Kelly, Nira Bingham.
    • Kelly, Penumbra.
    • Kelly, Plympton J., d. 1906.
    • Kelly, Silas Gilby.
    • Niblin family.
    • Plummer family.

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