24, 1788 – January 24, 1866
Datus Kelley and his
family were the first permanent settlers in the part of Rockport
Township that became Rocky River.
The first of the early settler Kelley family to move to the
Western Reserve, Datus, together with his brother, Irad purchased
and developed Cunningham (Kelley's) Island.
Born in Middlefield,
CN., to Jemima (Stow) and Daniel Kelley, Datus attended elementary
schools in Middlefield and Lowville, NY. In 1810 Datus visited his
uncle, Joshua Stow in Cleveland. Impressed with the settlement,
Kelley purchased land one mile west of Rocky River in 1811. A
surveyor by trade, Kelley was active in the social and political
life of the community. He introduced the first industry in
Rockport by erecting a sawmill next to the creek on Detroit Road
at Elmwood in Rocky River and supervised the construction of a log
schoolhouse near the mouth of the Rocky River.
In 1813 Cuyahoga
County Commissioners appointed Kelley to head a committee to cut a
road between the Cuyahoga and Rocky Rivers. In 1815 the
commissioners appointed him to open the road to Black River in
Lorain. In 1816 Kelley became a member of the Cleveland Pier
Company and a trustee of Dover Village.
In 1833 Datus and Irad
Kelley began buying parcels of land on Cunningham Island in Lake
Erie, which was renamed Kelley's Island. In 1836 Kelley moved to
the island and spent the rest of his life developing the island.
Kelley married Sara
Dean on August 21,1811. They had nine children. Datus is buried in
Kelley's Island municipal cemetery.
- Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, Case Western Reserve
for the poem "Concession"
by Thomas Moore Kelley, courtesy Darlene