logo John 'Bookbinder' Kelly


 See Introduction for some general background.

Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 16, p.532

John Kelly, later known as John B. Kelly, B for his occupation of Bookbinder, was born on the Isle of Man in 1824, the son of William Kelly and his wife, Jane. He was married to Helena Quirk October 26, 1844, and they became the parents of twelve children. The first three children died on the Isle of Man. The fourth child, Albert Hyrum, came with his parents in 1853, in which year the fifth child, George Brigham, was born while crossing the Atlantic Ocean. The family arrived in Salt Lake City about 1855.

John Kelly was a very progressive man and brought his book-binding machine with him from the Isle of Man. He also brought bare roots of fruit trees, as he knew how to graft limbs. Helena brought a chest of silk dresses, umbrellas, and bolts of fine wool. They soon had a fine English-type cottage, one and a half stories high. He founded the Kelly Company, which he owned and managed. His two sons, Albert and George were partners in the business which later was managed by a grandson.

John knew how to hypnotize people, but Brigham Young forbade him to practice the art. He was active in dramatics and his name is mentioned in the list of actors in the first performances at the Salt Lake Theatre, in March, 1862. Helena and John spent the evenings reading Shakespeare and other fine books. She helped him learn his parts. Their daughter, Emily, said she was frightened to walk home with her father when he played in Rip Van Winkle.

Helena died at the age of forty-six, April 13, 1877, and John died July 20, 1883, both in Salt Lake City. -Irma Emily Sims Hannibal

Emigrated on Camillus which left Liverpool in April 1853 for New Orleans - noted as "Elder John Kelly, late president of the Isle of Man Conference, and a company of Manx Saints" - however the manifest though including several Manx names, gives their birthplace as Liverpool.

Choice of name 'Bookbinder' possibly also necessary to distinguish from John Joseph Kelly who emigrated in 1852 along with two sisters.

He sold his business on emigration to Mr Alexander Lewthwaite who had been his apprentice.

Manx Note Book      [Genealogy Index]

see Mormon Converts

Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2002