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By Joseph Wallace, M. A.
of the Springfield Bar
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL

JOHN J. KELLY. - John J. Kelly, now deceased, was well known in Springfield because of his business connections and his activity in political circles. He was born in Ireland, December 23, 1848, a son of John James and Margaret (Porter) Kelly, who were likewise natives of the Emerald Isle, in which country the mother died. The father afterward brought his children to America in 1849 and settled in cincinnati, Ohio, where he worked at the carpenter's trade, engaging in business there as a contractor and builder until his death.

John J. Kelly acquired but a common school education, pursuing his studies in cincinnati. In 1866, when but eighteen years of age, he came to Springfield and secured a position as iron molder in a foundry. He was thus employed for nine years, and then, with the capital he had managed to save from his earnings, he purchased the Jefferson Hotel at No. 700 and 702 East Washington street, remaining proprietor of that establishment up to the time of his demise.

Mr. Kelly was married in 1876 to Miss Bridgit Cahill, a native of Ireland and a daughter of William and Margaret (Cunningham) Cahill, who were likewise born on the isle of Erin and came to America in early life. The resided for one year in New York city, but afterward removed to Springfield, Illinois, becoming early residents of this city. Mr. Cahill established a grocery store, which he conducted with success until his life's labors were ended in death. His wife also died in Springfield. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Kelly was born but one child and it died unnamed in infancy.

Mr. Kelly took a very active interest in politics, usually giving his support to the Democracy, but at local elections he voted for the men whom he considered best qualified for office, regardless of party affiliations. He was alderman of his ward for two years and was chairman of the Democratic central committee at the time of his death. Socially he was connected with the Foresters, with the Western Catholic Union and with the Catholic Knights. Both he and his wife were members of the Catholic church, and in that faith he died, December 23, 1890. Mrs. Kelly owns a beautiful home where she resides, at No. 518 South Seventh street, and also has other property in Springfield. She is quite prominent in society circles and has many warm friends in this city.

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