Frederick Mortimer Kelsey

Frederick Mortimer Kelsey, was born January 19, 1814 in Berlin, Hartford County, Connecticut, the third son and ninth child of Asahel Allis Kelsey, junior and Anna Johnson Kelsey. The Kelsey family had moved around considerably in the years before Frederick was born: from Connecticut, to Vermont, to Maine and back to Connecticut.

When Frederick was five, they set off on their last journey: a six week drive to La Porte, Ohio in a wagon pulled by three yokes of oxen. There are two different versions of the trip: both agree that Asahel had gone ahead the year before to scout the area and find a homestead. In one version, he returns with his brother-in-law, Phineas Johnson to escort his family; in another, young Henry, the thirteen year old eldest son, is left in charge of his mother and her six other children.

The wagon was so full with the younger children and the family's possessions, that Cornelia, aged 20, and Emily, aged 18, were forced to walk most of the way. In her diary, Emily recounted the rigors of the trip: of falling through the ice when they were crossing a stream, being soaked, and having to take shelter in a tavern to dry out; of being so tired that she felt "bruised all over" and "cryd."
Frederick was too young to have walked very far, so he must have escaped most of the hardships of this trip which took place during February and March. It was a difficult time of year to make this arduous journey.

Asahel was a man of mechanical and musical ability; he held a patent for a shingle machine, dated 1805, which was signed by the President, Thomas Jefferson and his Secretary, James Madison. Musically, he seemed to be able to play almost any instrument he set his hand to.
When the family moved into their new house on December 17, 1831, from the log cabin he had constructed when they first arrived in Ohio, he had added a music room, where the neighbors could meet for musicales. He built a pipe organ for this room, which he played, doubling on the bass viol at times, which was also played by young Henry; the daughter, Cornelia, then Mrs. Joseph Merrick, playing the guitar. It is not known if Frederick played, but it would be hard for him not to have caught this musical talent in some form or another. His great-granddaughters, Percival Gates Kelsey's daughters, Louise and Emily were said to have lovely singing voices.

Frederick became a capable millwright and miller, owning a grist mill in Wellington, Lorain County, Ohio. On October 29, 1837, he married Caroline Terry, the daughter of Samuel and Laura Ellis Terry, of Seneca, New York, near North Fairfield, Ohio. They had two children, Emily Alice, who was born June 16, 1839 in Greenfield, Ohio, and Percival Gates, who was born August 27, 1841 in La Porte. Caroline died on July 4, 1848 in Peru, Ohio, and was buried in the La Porte Cemetery.

On February 17, 1850, Frederick married Caroline's younger sister, Mary Terry. They had two more children, Emelius Frederick, born January 3, 1852, and died November 22, 1853; and Lymna Orvilleta, born September 2, 1854. Frederick died the following year on December 20, 1855.

It is not known how Mary raised these three fatherless children, but it is interesting to note that Percival and Lymna married sister and brother, Alida and Samuel Sturges, and that both couples lived in DeKoven, Kentucky. Mary died in Cleveland, Ohio in 1875. She is not buried with Frederick and Caroline in the La Porte Cemetery.