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Friday, July 31, 2015

52 Ancestors Year 2 # 32: Henry Kells

     The theme for this week is "easy".  I chose my 2nd great grandfather, Henry Kells because researching him has been easy. When I first started asking about my family at the age of 13, my grandmother showed a copy she had made of a Bible page.  This listed the names and dates of Henry Kells, his wife and children.  My grandmother had copied from the Family Bible in her husband's family's home in Minnesota. These names and dates all checked out when I researched him.  I found him in every Census. My sister and I went to the town he lived in  in Wisconsin (Waukesha) and found they had a History Museum that had many documents including his will and land records. I found earlier deeds from Columbia County New York online at Family search.  Everything has been pretty easy with him.

     Henry Kells was born on 25 May 1811 at Claverack, Columbia, New York.  He was the sixth child and third son of Hendrick Kells and Margaret Batz.  On 3 May 1830 he married Caroline Avery in nearby Taghkanic.  By 1840 they were living in Cairo, Green, New York which was right across the Hudson River from Taghkanic.  By 1850 they were living in Mukwonago, Waukesha, Wisconsin. They lived on land belonging to Caroline's brother, Stephen. In 1853 they bought the land from him. This was swampland and it is now a bird sanctuary and not used for farming.  Yet they cultivated the land and made a living from it and lived on it for thirty-five years.

     Henry and Caroline had 12 children: Jacob Henry, Pamela, Elizabeth Ann, Amanda. Lucas, Stephen Avery, Lyman M., Caroline, Phoebe, William, Esther Jenny and Robert R.  Two of the boys, Lyman and Stephen Avery fought in the Civil War, in different Wisconsin regiments.  These children all grew up, married and had children of their own (except for Amanda who married but had no children).  There were thirty-seven grandchildren in all!

     By 1880 Henry and Caroline had sold the farm and were living in the nearby town of Vernon. It was here he died on 27 Dec 1892 at the age of 81.  Caroline followed him four years later in September 1896.  Most of the children named a son after Henry and a daughter after Caroline, which seems like a good indication of the affection in which they were held.  Henry's will was short, leaving all to his wife, Caroline and naming his son William as his executor. He signed with an X so he couldn't write which is interesting to note. It is a simple story.

1 comment:

  1. I remember going to Waukesha with you and seeing the big, old books of land records in the court house.

    I wonder what lured them to Wisconsin from New York. I suppose if Caroline's brother was there farming, perhaps they thought there was opportunity there. But on a wetland? Hmm. Well, they were prolific anyway in terms of children. If they'd stopped at the first five, we wouldn't be here to remember them! :-)