Samuel Kelley, the subject of this sketch, is a prominent planter and
minister of Muddy Fork Township, Howard County, Ark., and was born May 5,
1817, in Clark County, (Missouri) Territory, which is now Pike County, Ark.
He is a son of William and Rebecca (McMahan) Kelley, who were married in
Illinois in 1814, and moved from Illinois to Arkansas, in the fall of 1815.
His father was a soldier in the War of 1812, under Whitesides, being made
paymaster general in Jackson`s administration. Afterward he was justice of
the of the peace for many years; was also probate judge of Pike County, and
by profession a Baptist minister, who finally changed his views, uniting
with the Christian Church, and a practicing physician for many years. The
subject of our sketch spent his youth in Arkansas, attending school,
beginning business for himself when twenty-one years old, by farming on the
home farm. In 1838, he went to Illinois and was married to Rebecca McMahan,
a daughter of Isaac K. and Catherine McMahan, June 4, (1840). To them were
born eight children, of which only three are living: Daniel W., Rebecca C.,
and Stephen N.C. Mr. Kelley commenced the study of theology in his early
youth, taking it up with renewed interest after his marriage; was licensed
by the Methodist Episcopal Church as an exhorter; continued with that
denomination some time, afterward changing to the Baptist Church, in which
he was ordained in 1848. The next year the family moved to Arkansas, where
Mr. Kelley entered the milling business and bought a tract of 368 acres of
land in Pike County. In 1872 he was elected to the Legislature from that
county, serving one term. He introduced an amendment to the administrator's
law, which was passed (this was the first Arkansas Legislature to introduce
the idea of local option), also a bill which separates the county and
probate courts. Returning from the Legislature, the subject of this sketch
took up farming and preaching again, until he was elected on the Union
ticket a member of the Arkansas Seceding Convention. About 1853 he commenced
to build up the Church of Christ, according to the Scriptures. The war
interfered with this work, but afterward he worked with renewed activity,
establishing a large church. July 27, 1876, he married Mrs. Nancy Horton of
Arkansas, who is still living. Their one child died in infancy. He moved
upon his present farm in 1876, is a Master Mason, is an active Democrat and
a highly successful man.
Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Southern Arkansas, 1890, Howard
County, pages 277-278.
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