Fourth Generation

78. James Stamps O'Kelley66 was born on 26 July 1824 in Walton Co GA. He appeared in the census in 1850 in Gordon, GA67 and one of Lucy's sisters is living with the family.  Next door lives two more sisters and James Shellnut Esq an influential brother-in-law.  James Shellnut is given in the History of Gordon Co GA as an early settler, a road commissioner, Justice of the Peace and Georgia State Senator.  James O'Kelley and family appeared in the census in 1860 in Militia District 973, Saliquoy (Salacoa) Township, Gordon, Georgia.68 The seat for Saliquoy (Salacoa) township was Red Bud located about eight miles northeast of Calhoun but it appears James may have lived several miles east of Red Bud, closer to Ranger.  He appeared in the census in 1870 in Gordon Co, GA.70 He appeared in the census in 1880 in Lafayette, Crawford, Arkansas.71 James died in 1898 in Crawford, Arkansas, United States, and is buried in Love Cemetery.  Saliquoy or Salacoa is the name of a creek located about 10 miles northeast of Calhoun the county seat of Gordon Co along Red Bud Road.

James appears on the rolls of District 973 at Red Bud, Saliquoy Township, Gordon Co GA in the 82nd Regt Ga Militia but it was common place to draft all males into the local militia so this cannot be taken as proof of voluntary service.  As fate would have it, Gordon Co became the path of the Union invasion of Georgia as Union General William Tecumseh Sherman with his 110 thousand troops began his Atlanta Campaign at Chattanooga TN and they began their march southeast into Georgia where 70 thousand CSA commanded by General Joseph E Johnson waited.  Their first major battle was at Resaca Gordon Co Ga and it began May 13 and lasted until the 15th 1864 with each side taking almost 3000 casulties.  The site of the battle was located just a few miles Northwest of Saliquoy Township where the James Stamps O'Kelley and family were living.  The map of the Battle shows that the union Army would have been all around the area that James and his family lived.   Lucky for the family it wasn't until after Sherman took Atlanta several months later that his army began their destructive march through Georgia and South Carolina so likely James Stamps O'Kelley didn't have his home and barn destroyed however it was the duty of every person living in Georgia to resist the invading army anyway possible and James Stamps O'Kelley was on the roster of the local militia so it seems likely he had to do some duties during that battle, he may not have shouldered a rifle but surely had to do some support that freed regular CSA troops.  James Stamps O'Kelley's oldest son was almost 16 years of age so it seems likely that he had to provide some kind of support as well but I know of no family stories that tell if James Stamps O'Kelley or his family did as was expected of them, I can find no records that indicate that any civilians living in northwest Georgia took any part in harassing the Union advancements no any indicators that James Stamps O'Kelley supported slavery or the confederate cause.  James Stamps O'Kelley Oath of 1867.  Only those who didn't serve in the Confederacy were allowed to sign these Oaths. 

James Stamps O'Kelley Age 70
Signature as it appeared on his oath in 1867

Click to see a larger photoThanks to J Fred O'Kelly there is a great deal known about James Stamps O'Kelley and Lucy Woodruff England.  J Fred tells us that soon after they married they moved to Gwinnett Co Georgia where two of their children were born, Sarah Jane the Eldest and my great grandfather, Charles William.  By the 1850s the US Census indicates they were living in Gordon Co Ga but what J Fred doesn't tell us is they are living next door to Lucy's sister and brother-in-law, James Shellnut Esq who became a Justice, Road Commissioner and a State Senator.  My grandfather James was a farmer but J Fred O'Kelly tells his readers that during the Civil War he worked in a wagon factory for the Confederacy.  It was likely when Sherman made his march through Gordon Co Georgia in May 1864 that the invading Union Army ended his occupation of wagon building and my grandfather was reportedly given a permit to return to his home and shoe horses, some days for the Union other days for the CSA.  Those traits appeared in my father and uncles as most my uncles were carpenters and my father was an auto body repair or body and fender as most people referred to them.  At one time my father worked at Armbrusters in Ft Smith building stretch Limos so in a way he too followed the path of his great grandfather.  Unlike his father and grandfather, James never owned slaves but J Fred O'Kelly says life was so difficult in Georgia after the war that in December 1870 my grandfather hitched two oxen named Logan and Darb to a covered wagon and brought his family to Crawford County Arkansas arriving Feb 3, 1871.  I wonder if the death of two of James and Lucy's children may have been their motivation to move but why Arkansas?  Well James's father and grandfather moved from Virginia and around Georgia following free land, James move from Walton Co to Gordon Co following free land.   J Fred O'Kelly tells us that Lucy's kin had moved to Crawford Co and they helped them secure a farm.  Lucy's brother was a wealth mayor of Van Buren at the time.  The US Census causes me to believe they settled next to the Fine Springs Baptist Church and some have claimed James was also a minister, I have found noting to confirm that was true, but given many ministers in those days just took up the profession, claiming they were "called" to preach, it seems possible that James could have become a minister because his first two sons became ministers.  It seems certain he was not a minister when living in Gordon Co as he never appears on any of the many marriage records for that county.  The data suggest that James Stamps and family were not the only ones from Gordon Co GA who migrated, a John Love and family are buried in the Wesley Methodist Cemetery very near Red Bud where James and Lucy lived and a J. O. Love and Uriah Love said to be the father of John C Love the founder of Love Cemetery in Crawford Co Arkansas also appears on the 82nd Regt Ga Militia rolls with James Stamps O'Kelley so it seems likely that several families may have migrated from Gordon Co GA to the Fine Springs area in Crawford County near or at the same time.  John Love buried is likely a relations of John C Love the founder of the Love Cemetery in Crawford County Arkansas.  J. O Love who appears on the 82nd Regt Ga Militia and his wife and children are still living in Gordon Co Ga in the 1880 US Censes but since his wife and some of their children are buried in Love Cemetery Crawford Co Arkansas it seems certain he is the Rev John O Love who was the first minister for the Fines Springs Missonary Baptist Church founded July 14, 1883 as described on page 595 in the "History of Benton, Washington, Carroll, Madison, Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian Counties, Arkansas" a free book found on Google books.   James and Lucy's daughter Mary A O'Kelley is listed as one of the founding members of the church.  Records indicate that Rev John O Love served in the Confederacy, discharged as a Sgt and drew a pension in Crawford Co in the last years of his life. 

I have wondered about the route James and family would have taken.  Except for ferry crossings, it is possible they traveled the entire route walking beside the oxen drawn wagon.  Wagons were a rough ride over unimproved roads so it is very unlikely they would have rode in the wagon preferring walking over the hard bumpy ride of the wagon.  The Tennessee River was the super highway of the area so they may have taken a river barge from Chattanooga TN completely skipping travel by land over Alabama, gotten off at Pickwick Landing and traveled over land until they came to the Mississippi River but it is more likely they may not have been able to afford such a trip and they followed the common 1870 road by going west out of Georgia through Huntsville and Decater Alabama following the route that today's modern US 72 takes to Memphis.  There were not bridges over the Mississippi at that time so they would have had to taken the ferry.  J Fred O'Kelly provides no insight so the route they traveled may be lost to history.  J Fred O'Kelly tells us they left Georgia in early December and arrived February 3 so if they traveled the entire route by land they would have had to average about 10 miles each day but a river barge over the Tennessee River would have reduced that burden considerable.  I have walked a ten mile well traveled trial, one can do it easily in day and our ancestors were much hardier than I, they being accustom to hard labor so I suppose it would have not have been anymore difficult for them than any other aspect of their daily life but still it was worthy of our appreciation.

 J Fred O'Kelly reported that the log cabin that James and his family lived in was still standing in 1962 and while I don't know exactly where this log home was located the 1880 US Census makes it certain he was next door to Walter Fine and his Fine Springs property.  This seems confirm as in 1878 James Stamps buried his wife, my grandmother at Love Cemetery.    Walter Fine was my mother's 1st Great Grandfather and she told me that Walter Fine lived behind what is today the "Northside Church of Christ" that sets on US 71 Hwy north of Alma and 1/4 of a mile south of Fine's Springs and this location is confirmed by land records.  I grew up about 1/2 mile NW of Walter Fine's home site and I was a young teen when J Fred O'Kelly wrote his book and I don't recall any log cabin in the area but I wasn't looking for one then so there could have been one and today it no longer exists.  In those days the US 71 Hwy route didn't exists, the main road that came from Van Buren near Bond Special, forded the creek and followed what is Pecan Dirve which ran into Peach Drive going due east across what is I-49 today and turning north on the west side of Walter Fines home and followed past Fine's Springs on what is the 282 loop today and on to Fayetteville. 


History of Fine Springs by Ethel Mae Plum

Click to see a larger photoLucy Woodruff England66 was born on 17 May 1827 in Oglethorpe, Georgia, United States.  Lucy died on 8 March 1878 in Crawford, Arkansas, United States from the measles and was buried in March 1878 in Love Cemetery, Alma, Crawford Co, AR.

I wonder if my grandmother Lucy actually died from the measles or if she may have died from the treatment for measles as bleeding and blistering was still widely practiced, there can be little doubt that many died having already been weakened by a disease when they were bleed or blistered our of ignorance. This is difficult for us to imagine today but up until WWII considerable medical ignorance existed.

James Stamps O'Kelley and Lucy Woodruff England were married on 12 July 1845 in Walton, Georgia, United States,.72,73 They72,73 lived in Silaquoy, Gordon, Georgia in 1860 and 1870.

This is an amazing story about how events shape our lives.  My maternal great, great, great grandparents, Johnathan and Rachael Fine moved from Washington Co to Crawford Co Arkansas sometime between 1850 and 1860 and purchased what was to become Fine's Springs.  In more modern times it has become Fine Springs.  Many of their adult children also came with them and one was my grandfather Walter Fine. Walter homesteaded 40 acres in 1869 in Crawford Co.  A log home still exists next to the springs today and it is likely Walter built the home that engulfed it until very recent times.  The 1880 US Census records my great, great grandfather, James Stamps O'Kelley and family next to Walter so he must have been living near and maybe next to my great, great, grandfather Walter Fine and family.  At the time they could not have imagined that their great, grandchildren Conley and Azana would marry and produce myself and my three brothers.  In 1887 my wife's great great grandfather, James A Plum moved his family to Crawford County and they lived not far from the springs.  Walter and Nancy died in 1902 and 1903 and the property appears to have passed to John and Mary Fine because in 1912 a deed was recorded making James and Susan Plum the owners and that included the log home and springs.  My wife's great, great grandfather did not remain in Arkansas but a few years after than as he sold some of the land and moved back to Iowa where he is buried but her great grandfather, Ulysses Grant Plum continued to live in a house on the 79 acres that once belonged to Walter Fine.  Usyssis Grant Plum's son, Roy Lee Plum, who was my wife's grandfather lived on the land until he died and his wife was Ethel Philbrick, she was a celebrated columnist for the Press Argus for maybe a half century writing about the happenings on what she called Locus Knoll which was actually Fine Springs.   My great grandfather Charles William was a Baptist minister and he was pastor of the Fine Springs Baptist Church which set about midway along the horizon of the below photo.  To the right along the horizon one can see the two story building which housed the Fine Springs Public School and the Masonic lodge was on the upper floor.  If you look closely in the below photograph of Fine's Springs, you will see the back of the building barely visible through the trees in the top right had corner of the photo. The school was consolidated with Alma so when the church burned, the church moved into the bottom floor until that building burned and the church dissolved.  Two of my grandfathers and grandmothers and two sets of my wife's grandparents are buried in the Love Cemetery not far from where they all lived out their lives.  My two sons have a blood link to the Fine's Springs Community by three different family lines, their great, great, great O'Kelleys, their great, great, great Plums, and their great, great, great grandparents the Fines. 

To the left is an article authored by Ethel Plum about 1960 and while it is mostly accurate, she does not listed Walter as once owning the springs but that is to be expected because she was reporting on an event that happen almost 100 years before and based upon what she had been told about her husband's family history.  I had the privilege knowing Ethel she was my grandmother-in-law and if she reported something that might have been in error, it was because that it how the information was given to her.

Images of Fine Springs about 1920
Fine Springs Park
Swimming Pool
Another View
Looking from the West
Vista looking towards the west
In the top right you can see the Fine Springs Baptist Church.


Fine Log House

The Fine's Springs Log House was built by Rome James in 1844.  A much larger log house was built on the southside of Arkansas 282 Hwy where Arkansas 282 Loop joins. Johnathan and Rachael Fine and family moved into the larger 2 story log home that operated as a stage stop.  At some point the smaller log home was passed to William James and Millie Fine son-in-law and daughter and they sold it and 79 acres which included the springs April 8 1875 to Walter Fine, Millie's older brother and my 2nd maternal great grandfather.

The log house is not open to the public and it is behind a very high locked fence.  I was permitted the rare opportunity to take photos of it.  In the picture is my wife Renee' and her father Roy Plum Jr and if you look closely at the rock foundation you will see Renee's little red dog, Annie. 



In 1850 US Gordon Co Georgia Census, one of Lucy's sisters is found living with the family and next door another sister married to James Shelnut also has another sister living with them.  In a later US Census this sister is still living in the home of James Shelnut but she appears as Anglan and not England and two younger Anglan children are also living with the Shelnut family.  In the history of Gordon Co Georgia by Lulie Pitts are found several Anglans whose place of birth is given as South Carolina.  It might be possible that Lucy England's family were actually Anglans and in time their name came to be spelled as England so researchers might desire to look under both names in the records.

J Fred O'Kelly tells us that James and Lucy settled a farm arranged by a relation of Lucy England.  William England who may have been a brother or cousin to Lucy was the mayor of Van Buren before the Civil War, he owned and operated the only Ferry that crossed the Arkansas River and landed at Ft Smith making him both influential and wealthy.  The Englands appear to have eventually fell in both wealth and influence as they appear in the latter part of the 1800s somewhere around Cedarville.  

James and Lucy are documented in both J Fred O'Kelly and Alethea Jane Macon books.  James Stamps O'Kelley and Lucy Woodruff England had the following children. To my knowledge there are no documents or bible records to tell us this list is correct or in the right order.



Sarah Jane O'Kelley66 was born on 27 September 1846 in Gwinnett, Georgia, United States. She died on 1 June 1860 in Gordon, Georgia, United States.



Charles William O'Kelley.   My Ancestor 



James Robert O'Kelley.



Mary Ann Elizabeth O'Kelley.



Margaret Louisa O'Kelley.



John Francis O'Kelley66 was born on 11 May 1857 in Gordon, Georgia, United States. He died in 1870 in Gordon, Georgia, United States.



Henry Benjamin O'Kelley.  moved away and changed his name to O'Kelly



Frances Adeline O'Kelley66 was born on 15 January 1862 in Gordon, Georgia, United States. She died in June 1870 in Gordon, Georgia, United States.



Annie Louvenia O'Kelley.



George Crowder O'Kelley66 was born on 8 December 1868 in Gordon, Georgia, United States. He died in 1880 in Crawford, Arkansas, United States. He was names after James Stamps O'Kelley's maternal great grand father
My Journey to Gordon Co Georgia
by Rick O'Kelley
Contrary to what the ministers claim, I live in a blessed time for at no time in the history of my ancestors has any generation had the luxury and ability to travel so carelessly around our globe.  I think we insult our ancestors when we claim that we live in such terrible times and it is in the memory and respect of the trials and troubles of my ancestors that I write this. 

My second grandparents, James and Lucy O'Kelley married in Walton Co Georgia then moved to Gwinnett Co Georgia where my great grandfather Charles William was born then when he was a toddler they moved to Gordon Co sometimes near its creation in 1850 as they are found in the 1850, 1860, and 1870 US Gordon Co Census.  Why did they move to Gordon Co?  The common factor seems to always be to receive free land.  That appears to have been why James Stamps grandfather Charles moved from Virginia to Oglethorpe and why his father Charles Dean moved from Oglethorpe to Walton Co Georgia.  Land was so plentiful that lotteries were used to give it all away but I don't find James Stamps O'Kelley in any lotteries so he likely received land from the Chastains or from Rev John P O'Kelley both having received land in Gordon Co Georgia in the 1833 land lotteries.  Rev John P O'Kelley's wife was a Chastain, it was one of her brothers who moved to what came to be known as Georgia Ridge in Crawford County Arkansas.

James Stamps O'Kelley and family lived somewhere along or near modern day hwy 156 as it travels east of Calhoun GA.  They may have lived near Chastain Road or closer to Red Bud as it was the place where Rev John P O'Kelley received land in the lottery about fifteen years before the arrival of James and Lucy.  I find no indicators that Rev John P O'Kelley ever moved or lived upon the land he received.  The census places them in District 973 which is in the Red Bud area.  I had been through this area in 1984 but at that time I had no knowledge that my second great grandparents had lived there, I only knew they came from Georgia but thanks to our advancements many records and books are available to me that were not available to previous family researchers so armed with this knowledge Renee' and I traveled to Gordon Co GA July 6 2013 and viewed the lay of the land. 

We walked the streets of Calhoun GA a place that my grandparents surely came to many times in their two decades living in that area.  Renee' and I found it to be a charming community, most of the shops had what appeared to be thriving businesses something rarely seen in small town America today.  You can see the photos I took of Calhoun and our drive out to Saliquoy (Salacoa) Park at this link.  When my grandparents came to Crawford Co, they had to ford creeks and rivers, take a ferry over the Mississippi and likely the White river and because the wagon were so bumpy it is likely they walked most of their journey.  It took them nearly two months to make their travels but it took less than 12 hours of driving over modern highways in comfort for Renee' and I to reach Gordon Co GA.  To the left is a photo Renee' took of me with my Mustang and Calhoun appears in the background.  We drove Highway 156 out to Salacoa park and even paused at Kelley Drive.  These Kelleys could be cousins but I have not made that connection.

Gordon Co with his gently rolling hills and heavy forest looks a lot like Crawford Co Arkansas so it seems likely that James and Lucy felt at home when they arrived and settle near Fine's Springs in Crawford Co Arkansas.  It is said that they left Georgia because living there after the Civil War was very difficult but in my research of the local newspapers I found that on February 3 1871, the day it is said that James and Lucy arrived in Crawford Co Arkansas, the Sheriff of Crawford Co hung a black man on the court house lawn so grandparents may have wondered if they had stopped too soon in their quest to find peace for their family.