Second Generation

 William D (Dennis) O'Kelley and Elizabeth Dean

5. Charles Dean* O'Kelley (Kelly, Kelley, or O'Kelly)1,2,3,4 was born in 1760, probably in Prince George Co Virginia.

Charles was my 4th great grandfather and there are several mysteries associated with Charles, the first is the appearance of "Dean" given as his middle name on the Whiteside family DNA website, no one seems to know the source for that claim.  I am unsure how reliable the birth year 1756 might be, Alethea Jane Macon in her book Four O’Kelley Sons and Some of their Descendants - Allied Families presents Charles as the fifth son in her chart, after Benjamin but  August 12, 2022 DNA results of James Thomas O'Kelley a traceable descendant of Benjamin proves beyond doubt that Benjamin in Macon's book is not the brother of my grandfather Charles, he is likely a 7th or 8th cousin.  George Welborn O'Kelley's family bible gives his grandfather Charles as born about 1760. 

I have often pondered on the source of Charles and Francis forenames.  These are not Irish forenames, their origins are French and my DNA match results and the fact that Charles and Francis didn't marry Irish immigrant women, they married Crowders who are cousins of Thomas Jefferson from founding families I have come to suspect that those names came from French Huguenots who settled around Manikin VA in the 1600s and it is possible that their immigrant great, great grandparents may have been the 32 year old Thomas and Honora Kelly who came to America with their 5 children in 1691 at the settled with the Huguenots and that is the source of Charles and Francis forenames. Charles and Francis may have been 5th America born, well accepted by the founding families allowing them to marry well.  

My grandfather Charles appeared to be a young man with considerable resources for he was 22 when he married, owned land very near that time, and at the age of 23 he had the finances to hire a cousin of Thomas Jefferson to serve as substitute to serve in the Mecklenburg Militia in his stead. 

  Charles died young in Nov 1810 and he and his wife are buried just south of Comer Ga and just inside Oglethorpe Co in the O'Kelley Whitehead Cemetery 6.  Harold Ernest O'Kelley in his book connects Charles to the Benjamin born in 1761 in King and Queen Co VA thus he believes Charles may have been born in King and Queen Co Virginia but Benjamin DNA has proved that Charles and Benjamin were 7th or 8th cousins so I doubt that Charles was born in King and Queen Co VA and Benjamin pension application is Harold Ernest O'Kelley only source for King and Queen.   What is known for certain is Charles and Francis married Crowder sisters who were likely from Prince George Co which borders Surry and Rev James is said to have come from Surry.   Charles O'Kelley was my 4th great grandfather. 

To the left is a 27.5 Acre Mecklenburg Co VA land grant to a Charles Kelley dated Dec 8 1800 that Harold Ernst O'Kelley makes mention in his book. Source: Online Catalog Library of Virginia
34.006711 -83.119172
Photo above and to the left comes from Krista Whitehead, the photo in the middle is by Joyce Lambert, 4th Great-granddaughter of Charles and Mary
Revolutionary War Records for a Charles Kelly, 8th Virginia might not be valid for Charles O'Kelley
Harold Ernst O'Kelley makes the claim in his book that the Daughters of the American Revolution set the grave stone for Charles in 1982 and it states he served in the 8th Virginia Regiment in 1776–1777.5 A  Harold Ernst O'Kelley may have been mistaken or mislead as a descendant of Vic Raimey has informed me that Vic set both the gravestone and the O'Kelley Whitehead bench in a ceremony.   Our national archives have records of a Charles Kelly who served from September 1776 to April 1777 in the 8th Virginia, 10 Company commanded by Captain William Crogrhan and this record use to be associated with Charles O'Kelley's DAR record created by Macon but that has changed very recently, the DAR no longer accepts Macon's documentation and they now reference the substitution of Captain John Farrar on the 1779 Mecklenburg Co Militia for my grandfather Charles revolution service.  The Daughters of the American Revolution Ancestor #A085952 in 2012 gave its source for Charles's service in the 8th Virginia as Author John H Gwathmey and from his book titled  HIST REG OF VA IN THE REV, Vol 1 P. 437 and it appears this supporting documentation was submitted with Alethea Jane Macon's application.  I have seen the brief entry in this book and it lists Charles Kelly 8 Vir CL but it appears it was all in error because sometime in 2013 the DAR changed there records and Charles O'Kelley is no longer given as serving in the 8th Virginia and I think they are correct, in my own research I came to question how that line was drawn between Charles O'Kelley and the Charles Kelly who appears on the roster for the 8th Virginia.  For research record only, I will continue to display the records for Charles Kelly below. 
I list this only so other researchers will know that Alethea Jane Macon claimed that Charles Kelly served in the 8th Virginia Regiment 10th Company but it seems certain that this was a different Charles Kelly and he was listed as a deserter on May 18, 1777 (see records to the left).  My grandfather Charles Kelly appears on the muster rolls of the 8th Virginia Reg.  Also appearing on the rolls with him is Benjamin Kelly and according to Alethea Jane Macon this is Charles and his brother Benjamin born in 1758.  I have found nothing that disputes or proves her claim.  The company commander was Captain William Croghan'sB born 1752 in Dublin Ireland and immigrated to America when only 16 being sponsored by his rather famous uncle, George Croghan. Reportedly Croghan first served as a British officer but later formed his 8th Virginia 10th company in April 1776 near Ft Pitt which is at the far extreme edge of West Virginia and is Pittsburg PA today.  The 10th company was also known as the Germany company because most of its recruits came from the German immigrates living in that area.  Charles join many months after the 10th was formed so he was likely a replacement to fill the ranks.  During his service many of the 8th contracted malaria and smallpox and this could be a reason that Charles is listed as a deserter, he may have been so ill that once they returned to Virginia in April 1777 he had to go home to try to get well. I don't believe the Charles Kelly who served in the 8th Virginia is Charles O'Kelley found in Mecklenburg Co Virginia.

I believe the truth about my 4th Great Grandfather Charles O'Kelley appears on a Virginia State Militia roll that was formed at Mecklenburg in 1779.  What makes this record interesting is a substitute named John Farrar served in the place of 19 year old Charles.  Who was my 4th Great Grandfather that a man like Lieutenant John Farrar would choose to serve as a substitute in his stead?  Was it because Mary was pregnant?  I suspect it was because his father was an Officer.

John Farrar was born in 1728 so he was near the age of James O'Kelley and a James Kelley received pay for his Militia so I wonder if John and Charles father might have been close friends.  Lt Farrar was a man of substance, he sold beef to the colonies to support the war. At his young age did Charles have the resources to hire someone of Lt Farrar stature to serve his duty for him or was something else the primary factor?  John Farrar was born about 1758 so they were very near the same age but John was the second cousin of Thomas Jefferson.  John Farrar's grandmother was Judith Jefferson the aunt of Thomas Jefferson.  The Militia was commanded by Captain Reuban Vaughn, the service was for six months and they joined General Lincoln in South Carolina and were in the Battle of Stone Ferry.  You can see the full roster including my grandfather's name on that roster and while he is listed as a double "e" Kelley, he only made a mark so the spelling results from the training of the person who has written his name.  Also on the Roster are two Crowders who in 1779 were likely related to Mary Crowder the wife of Charles. 

Another interesting detail about John Farrar, according to a Mecklenburg Co marriage record his son also named John Farrar married Ann Baskerville 24 December 1794 and her father William Baskervill appears as the second on the marriage record of Francis Kelley and Delilah Crowder so it would seem there was more than just an casual friendship between the Farrars and the O'Kelleys.  Judith Jefferson wasn't the only of her family to live and die in Mecklenburg, one will find the grave of her brother, Field Jefferson, also in a Mecklenburg Cemetery. Peter Jefferson the father of Thomas Jefferson also appears in the Lunenburg Co Road records so the Jeffersons conducted business in the portion of Lunenburg Co that became Mecklenburg Co. 

~ Charles O'Kelley ~
Private ~ Virginia

DAR Patriot Index:
Born c1756 in VA
Died before November 1810 in GA
Married Mary Crowder

Marker at O'Kelly/Whitehead Cemetery: GPS 34.006711 -83.119172
Charles O'Kelley
8 Va Regt
Rev. War
1756 - 1810


There may be a blood relationship between the descendants of Charles O'Kelley and John Farrar as some make the claim that Charles O'Kelley's mother-in-law was Mary Branch (Crowder) who was the great, great, granddaughter of Christopher and Mary (Addie) Branch and they were also the great great grandparents of President Thomas Jefferson and great great grandparents of John Farrar who appears as the substitute for Charles O'Kelley.  The Crowders and the Branchs settled along the James River in Virginia about 1620 and lived near each other.  If Mary Branch was the wife of George Crowder as some claim, then the descendants of Charles and Mary (Crowder) O'Kelley will be maternal cousins to President Thomas Jefferson.

Georgia Archives lists Charles O'Kelley as receiving land in the Headright system. 

DOC 4113: 1783 - 1909, O'Hearn, Josiah - Orvis, James

C 169989: O'Kelley, Charles

Charles O'Kelley and Mary Polly Crowder were said to have married about 1778 in Mecklenburg Co, VA but because the English ministers who held the authority to marry left America, I suspect they likely were common law wed explaining why no record has ever been found. They lived in Oglethorpe Co, GA in 1798–1809 and we know from his estate documents that Charles was a wealthy slave owner.







Four early hand written estate papers confirm that in 1811 the heirs of my 4th great grandfather Charles O'Kelley were spelling "O'Kelley" in the full modern form of our name which is a confirmation that my elders claims that we always spelled our name as "O'Kelley" seems to be based in fact.  These papers also indicate that at the time of his death, Charles O'Kelley was a wealthy man.

Mary "Polly" Crowder was born on 25 December 1757 in the portion of Lunenburg Co that became Mecklenburg Co, VA in 1764. She appeared in the census on 7 August 1820 in Oglethorpe Co, GA.8 She died on 12 November 1842.  I am certain that Polly is the nickname she used because Polly was a common nickname for someone named Mary.  To name a child Mary Polly would be the same as naming her Mary Mary.  The Crowder name is of English origins meaning one who plays the fiddle but it is very unlikely an English Crowder would have permitted his daughters to marry the lowly Irish so it is far more likely that Mary's family were of the Crowders who settled in eastern Ireland sometime after the 1600s then came to America with the Scots Irish many generations later.

The Crowder's have an early history in America.  Mary Crowder's line can be traced back five generations to Hugh Crowder who came from Surry England in 1619 and established a small plantation in Virginia Colony.  Mary's father was George -> Bartholomew C -> Bartholomew O -> Henry -> Hugh.  George Crowder was born in Bristol Parish Prince George Co VA which is likely where the O'Kellys and Deans also lived.

Charles O'Kelley and Mary "Polly" Crowder had the following children.  To my knowledge we have nothing to tell us this lists is correct or in the right order.  We do not have a Thomas in this family but do have a William which could be and indicator that Charles's father may have been William and not Thomas or James.



William O'Kelley was born in 1779 according to Macon and she tells her readers such knowledge comes from the poll-taxes paid for him by his father until he was 21yrs. old; remained in Va.22, I am not certain that this son existed but if he did then tradition would indicate that believe was named after Charles O'Kelley's father



Elizabeth Dean O'Kelley.  Betsy is a nickname for Elizabeth and she is named for her paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Dean.



George Washington O'Kelley.  Certainly named after George Washington but also like named after George Crowder his maternal grandfather.



Benjamin S. O'Kelley. 



Mary O'Kelley.  likely names after her maternal grandmother.



Patsy A. O'Kelley.



Frances P. O'Kelley.



Nancy O'Kelley.



James O'KelleyProbably named after Charles grandfather James O'Kelley.



Charles Dean O'Kelley.  My Ancestor, named after his father.  



Polly Crowder O'Kelley.


*Source  is the website.

A. DAR source documentation is listed as John H Gwathmey, HIST REG OF VA IN THE REV, P. 437 I personally viewed this book and found Charles Kelly listed but the book gives no other information.

B. formed April 9, 1776 at St Augusta near Fr Pitt.  A Guide to Virginia Military Organizations by E. M. Sanchez-Saavedra  Benjamin Kelly and Charles joined the 10th Company 8th Virg Reg Sept 1776 and served till April 1777.

c. There are some facts known about Major William Croghan.  He was born in Dublin Ireland in 1752 and came to America when but 16 years of age and originally served with the British.   He would have been a contemporary of Charles and may be the reason Charles enlisted but I suspect Charles was drafted and may have just been assigned to the 10th company because it had an Irish born commander.  William at his young age formed his company at St Augusta near Ft Pitt and in addition to Charles there was a Benjamin Kelley born in 1726 and a Michael who I have yet to find his date of birth.  William had a rather famous Uncle named George Croghan.  George was a surveyor and a contemporary of Charles's father and of George Washington whom he had many dealings and he left written records in his Journal.  After the war William married a Caroline Co Lucy Clarke the sister of William Clarke of Lewis and Clarke.

Muster Roll of Captain Reuben Vaughn”
Virginia Colonial Militia, 1779
(From the Edmund W. Hubbard Papers, Southern Historical Collection, UNC Chapel Hill, NC)
A list of Men Marched out Under the Command of Captain Reuben Vaughn from Mecklenburg on a detachment to the Southard Under the Immediate Command of David Mason, Col. Command.  AD 1779
Rubin Vaughn            Capt.
Jno. Holmes               Lieut.
James Wilson            Ensign
Samuel Lark              Serg. Maj.
Wm. Holloway            “
Thos. Adams
Wm. Mason
Wm. Cradle
Robt. Crowder
Sterling Dixon
James Arnold
Wm. Brandum
Wm. Cunningham
Francis Hinton
Wm. Archer
Howell Hargrove
Wm. Hudson
John Hall
Mark Evans
John Parks
James Hy. Kidd
Wm Conell
Thos. Crage
Richard Lewis           Sustituted by Wm. Adkins (deserted)
Jeremiah Lucas        “                       Jno. Adams
Jeremiah Smith         “                       Barnet Burnit (deserted)
Ezekiah Crowder      “                       Epheram Andrews
John Stevens            “                       Ansel Cunningham
Josiah Cunningham  “                       Jno. Cunningham
John Guy                    “                       Christopher Guy
Jesse Bowin              “                       Bracey Bowin 
James Bowin             “                       David Bowin
Hicks Bowin               “                       Alexander Bowin
Wm. Roberts             “                       Abel Dortch
Isaac Watson            “                       Joseph Cradle
John Cook Taylor      “                       David Dortch
Ray Moss                   “                       Robt. Wilmore
Wm. Hatchell             “                       Willis Hatchell
Jesse Bugg               “                       Jno. Mallit
John Goode               “                       Wm. Guy
James Hicks              “                       Wm. S. Roberts
James Ramey           “                       Wm. Delafield
Charles Kelley           “                       John Farrar  second cousin to Thomas Jefferson
Dick Evans                “                       Godfrey Evans
Thos. Meares            discharged at Salisbury
Thos, Wright              Inlisted in Regular Service
Wm. Epps                  “
Edward Giles             “
John Mize                   “
John Burnit                 Deserted
John Wilson               “
Benj. Burnit                “
Lewis Sawyer            “
John Decker              “
Wm. Mealer               “