[taken from Chapter 7 Manx Worthies, A.W.Moore, 1901]
comparatively little is known. Appointed to the Haarlem, " in 1799, he became lieutenant of the " Illustrious in 1804.* He was present at the capture of Cape Town in 1806, and received a silver cup for his bravery on that occasion.2 He afterwards took part in the unfortunate expedition to Buenos Ayres. In 1814, he was in command of the brig "Insolent," which was sent on a recruiting expedition to the Isle of Man in that year. He retired in 1817, when he was named by the Keys as one of the candidates for admission to their body. He was not, however, selected by the governor till 1821.
* The commissions to these ships are in the possession of Mr. G. Preston.
2 This, together with his cocked hat, were given by him to his housekeeper, Eleanor Kewish (Mr. Preston's grandmother), who afterwards married Thomas William Corlett, of Brough-jiarg, Ballaugh. They are now in the possession of her eldest son, Mr. Thomas Corlett, of Liverpool. Miss Preston, Mr. Preston's sister, has Captain Kelly's gold snuff-box.
There is a brief account in an unpublished History of Ballaugh by Rev E. W Kissack (c. 1885), possibly drawn upon by Moore as Moore's account of the Parr family follows (and corrects) a similar account by Kissack -
Captain Kelly. R. Navy
William Kelly son of William Kelly and Judith Cain his wife was born at Glendhoo in Ballaugh Parish A.D. 1771. His father was a small landed proprietor and farmed his own land. He and his elder brother who died early secured the rudiments of their education through the kindness of Bishop Crigan's family, residing then at Cronk Urleigh. He was afterwards some time at a school in Douglas. It is difficult to make out, when or under what exact circumstances he entered the Royal Navy. He was for thirteen months a French prisoner previous to his appointment as Lieutenant on board the Harlem in A.D. 1799. He was appointed Lieutenant on board the Illustrious in A.D. 1804. His later commissions are not forthcoming, nor are any letters or papers in possession of his relatives. On his retirement from the sea he built the house now known as Ravensdale, and married Maria, youngest daughter of Deemster Lace. He left no issue. He died at Ballaugh A.D. 1823. His widow lived for years after his death with her sister Miss Lace on the Parade, Castletown.
Memorial Stone in Ballaugh Old Churchyard.
My own idea is that he was appointed a cadet or Midshipman in the Royal Navy through the influence of Bishop Crigan who had been a Chaplain in the Royal Navy. G.W.K.