Posted By:Scott
Subject:Re: CSA Second Lieutenant John A. Kelsey
Post Date:October 17, 2007 at 14:11:43
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Forum:Southern Unionist Forum
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The compiled service records of John and William would be available from the Tennessee or National Archives (as well as several online sources). Though they probably wouldn't give the names of relatives, they may be worthwhile looking for if you haven't already done so.

Online, I found that William H. Kelsey (Company A, 61st Mounted TN Inf.) died 15 Mar 1865 at Camp Chase Prison in Columbus, OH. Here's a link to their cemetery site:

If John was killed on July 2nd, he was probably buried behind the lines. The city surrendered on July 4th. Though there is a military cemetery at Vicksburg, it was reserved for Union veterans only. Confederates were usually buried at Cedar Hill though few are marked. I didn't see John's name on the listing of known CS soldiers at that cemetery.

You probably already have this census information, but I'll pass it on anyways:

1860 Census
Greene County, TN
pg 96, family 762/678
13 July 1860

John A. Kelsey, 29, master carpenter, born TN
Mary M. J. E. -, 20, TN
Wm. R. -, 4, TN
John -, 2, TN
Wm. H. Kelsey, 27, cabinet maker, TN
James Sheffield, 19, apprentice to carpenter's trade, TN
Wm. Gass, 35, wagon maker, TN
Hannah Johnson, 72, TN
Hugh Current, 73, NC

1860 Census
Greene County, TN
Rheatown Post Office, pg 22, family 164/156
18 June 1860

John Kelsy, 27, M. McCanic [presume this means master mechanic], TN
Marry J. E. -, 20, TN
William R. -, 3, TN
John H. T. M. -, 1, TN
Wm. H. Kelsey, 24, M. Mc., TN

It looks like John and William were counted twice in 1860. In 1850, it looks like they are apprenticing with a carpenter named Arrington in Washington County, TN.
1870 Census
Greene County, TN
District 14, Rheatown
page 1, family 7/7

Kelsy, M., 29, female, TN
-, William R., 13, TN
-, John T., 11, TN
-, Maud D., 10, TN
-, Annie V., 7, TN

I suspect this is John's widow from the 1860 census. Have you checked to see if Viola had a death certificate? That should give the names of her parents if known by the informant at the time. I see that a Viola Kelsey is shown as a niece to Jesse Earnest in the 1880 census, but I cannot find a fit. Some information on Jesse Earnest and his wife Mary Anderson is posted on

John Kelsay married Mariah Matthews 14 Dec 1854 Greene County, TN

Also, here's this from

I have no idea if that's the right John Kelsey but the submitter's email address is given on the rootsweb listing. Perhaps they would know more.

If John's wife lived until the 1880s-1890s, she may have filed for a Confederate soldier's widow's pension basked on Kelsey's service. These applications would be available at the TN archives and may give more information. If she had remarried, then I don't think she wouldn't have been eligible based on Kelsey's service.

So, I'm stumped. I'd say check for Viola's death certificate and see if there are any estate records on file in Greene County, TN for her mother...I'm assuming she died early? Maybe there's something showing where the family land was sold and divided among the kids...or maybe records in the orphan's court regarding a guardian for the management of their property if both parents died young.

Sorry this doesn't really answer your questions, but maybe some of this will be useful.