Sunday, January 4, 2009
William Kelly, Builder of the Marblehead Lighthouse
William Kelly was born in Ireland in 1779. His first wife was Jane Reid, and his second wife was Lydia Hartshorn. William and Jane had eight children, and after Jane's death, William and Lydia Kelly had five children.
In the early 1800's William Kelly emigrated to the United States. He moved to Sandusky in 1818, where he was the city's first stone mason. William Kelly is best known for his work building the Marblehead Lightouse. The structure was begun in 1821. It is the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation on the Great Lakes. Below is a photograph of the lighthouse in the winter months.
William died on December 7, 1867. He is buried in Section 2 of Oakland Cemetery. A collection of William Kelly's original account books are held by the R. B. Hayes Presidential Center. An excellent biographical sketch is also found on the R. B. Hayes web site.
A granddaughter of Mr. Kelly was Mrs. Eunice Brown Dewitt, who was a tireless worker on the home front during World War One.