JEFFERSON COUNTY IL 
OBITUARIES
William B. Kelley

William B. KELLEY, a resident of the Puyallup Valley for 55 years, passed away at 
the family home at Elhi Thanksgiving morning, aged 81 years. Mr. KELLEY had been 
in failing health for several months. In his earlier years he was a man of many 
activities. He engaged at various times in logging, mining, teaching and farming and 
was a member of the territorial legislature for 2 terms, and auditor of Pierce for 6 years.  
Since the late 80's he has lived on the homestead and has been one of the substantial, 
progressive citizens of the community. His life history is given in the records of the 
State of Washington as follows:

"He was born near Winchester, Bedford County, Tennessee on January 29, 1839. His parents, 
Nathan T. and Elizabeth G. (THURMAN) KELLEY, were also natives of Tennessee. The family 
moved to Illinois to engage in farming and merchandising. There William B. KELLEY attended 
the public schools and also McKendree College at Lebanon, IL. On March 30, 1864, he was 
married in Springgarden, Jefferson County, Illinois, to Miss Mary M. WILLIAMS, a native of 
Illinois.

In the spring of 1864 both father & son decided to move their families farther west & headed 
for the Washington Territory. Starting on March 28, this party had 6 teams but they were 
joined by others from time to time until, while passing through Indian countries, they had 
as many as 129 wagons in the train. They were not molested by the Indians although they 
were in sight of one Indian battle in the Platte Valley. The father obtained a homestead 
near Connell's Prairie where he lived until his death in 1877.

Willilam B. KELLEY spent the first winter on the donation claim of Van Ogle.  In the spring 
he got a pre-emption claim near the present city of Sumner and at once started to build a 
road to his claim and a log cabin for shelter. His supplies running low at the end of the 
first year, he taught school in the summer and worked in the logging camps during the winter.  
In 1867, he returned to the task of clearing his farm.

He served 2 terms in the territorial legislature, 1875 and 1877, and in 1879 went to eastern 
Washington, where he spent a year in mining. On returning home he was elected auditor of 
Pierce County, which office he held for 3 terms or 6 years. He then returned to the homestead."

Mr. KELLEY was a member of the Masonic Lodge order, blue lodge No. 22; Tacoma Chapter No. 4, 
R.A.M.; Ivanhoe Commandery No. 4, K.T., and Afifi Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S. He was also a charter 
member of the I.O.O.F. lodge at Puyallup, and of the Knights of Pythias order in Tacoma.

Funeral services were held at the Baptist Church at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Rev. OSGOOD of 
Puyallup delivering a fitting memorial to the long and useful life of the deceased.  
Scripture was read by Rev. Owen KILGORE. A choir of mixed voices sang "Nearer My God to Thee" 
& "In The Sweet Bye & Bye", and Mrs. Earl SCHRENGOHST sang a solo. The Knights of Pythias of 
Tacoma conducted their ritual service around the casket. Interment was in Sumner Cemetery, 
under direction of SPURR & DUNLAP.




Source: Sumner News, Pierce County, Washington
Date:  Friday, December 5, 1919
Submitted by: Mary Zinzilieta
 

 

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