Search billions of records on

Kay (and related) Biographies from "Album of Genealogy & Biography, Cook County, IL", 1897


Abel A. Kay. (Page 640)

Abel A. Kay was born January 1, 1801, in Yorkshire, England, and was reared in his native land, where he learned the trade of shoemaker. He was married in England to Miss Elizabeth Marshall, and in 1843 they came with their family, comprising eight children (and a daughter-in-law), to America. They came in the sailing-vessel "Shakespeare," the voyage taking six weeks and two days, and the passage being very rough. From New York they traveled to Albany, thence by way of the Erie Canal to Buffalo, and from there to Chicago through the Great Lakes, the last voyage occupying two weeks, thus making the entire time in coming from England to Chicago nearly three months.

Mr. Kay bought a farm of ninety-three and one-third acres of fertile soil, in Jefferson Township, for five hundred dollars. It was an improved farm with a large house and barn, fenced, and partly in cultivation, being located one mile north of the Jefferson depot. He also bought ten acres of timber land, and continued to live on his farm until his death, which occurred in 1847. His wife survived him forty years, expiring in 1887, at the age of eighty-four years, having been born in 1803.

Mr. Kay was a Methodist in his religious belief, and was a true Christian, giving his sympathy to members of all denominations. He took an active part in religious matters, and for many years his house was a meeting place for all denominations, and many services were held there. Mr. And Mrs. Kay had the following children: Ann, who married Loren McClanathan, and died in March, 1847, soon after her marriage; Abel, who died June 16, 1889, leaving one son, who is now dead, and a daughter, who is the wife of Thomas Wheldon, of Cook County; Elizabeth, who married Thomas Burkill and died in August, 1896, leaving a large family of children (Almira, wife of James Carpenter, a resident of Cook County; Thomas A., a resident of Jefferson; Sydney, who dropped dead on the day following the death of his mother; Althea Moisley, who lives in Mayfair; Stella, who married William Ditcher, and lives in Jefferson; Alice, now Mrs. Klink, of Mayfair; Scott, a resident of Jefferson); Frances, who married Loren McClanathan, September 16, 1849; Jane, who married Edward Gray, and died, leaving two children, Lida and Emma; Emma, who married William Myers, and died, leaving seven children (Eliza Young; Anna, wife of Charles Low, of Norwood Park; William; Ella, now Mrs. Stockbridge, who lives in Jefferson; Clarence, who resides in Jefferson; Ida, of Dakota; and Frank, a resident of Jefferson); John and Joseph Kay, who still live on the old homestead.

Loren McClanathan was born January 24, 1818, in Madison County, New York. He was educated in the schools of New York, and after he became of age he went to the Southern States, teaching at one time in Kentucky. In 1843 he came to Chicago, and here he married his first wife soon after. He was a currier by trade and was for a short time foreman in a currier shop. In 1855 Mr. McClanathan taught school in Jefferson Township. In 1856 he entered the employ of the Illinois Central Railroad Company as a conductor, and remained with it until a short time previous to his departure for the South, to engage in the defense of his country.

In August, 1861, he enlisted in the Union army, and was one of General McClellan's body guard, in which capacity he served a year and a half, when he was transferred to the Twelfth Illinois Cavalry, Company I, and was discharged March 18, 1864, on account of disability. He took part as a private in the battles fought in front of Richmond, while McClellan was in command of the army. After the war he returned to Chicago, where he was made yardmaster of the Great Eastern Yards, having charge of passenger trains.

September 16, 1849, he married Miss Frances Kay, and when he died, January 20, 1895, he left two children, as follows: Loren B., who resides in Boston; and Harriet A., wife of Henry Elkins, of Chicago. One child, Lucien L., died in 1893, at the age of thirty-nine years.

Mr. McClanathan was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, being connected with Winfield Scott Post, No. 445, of Chicago. He took an active interest in the questions of the day, and was a Republican in political opinion. He was a well-informed man, and a public-spirited and valuable citizen.

Submitted by Mike Murphy