Johnson / Bryans Families

Tracing the ancestry of Pamela Murdoch Bryans and Maurice Alan Johnson

William Kelly

Male 1768 - 1839  (~ 89 years)

Personal Information    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    Event Map    |    All

  • Name William Kelly 
    Born Between 1750 and 1768 
    Gender Male 
    Occupation Merchant 
    • See the marriage record of Christina Kelly & William Gordon Mack
    Died 15 Jun 1839  Row, Dunbartonshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Person ID I1389  Johnson Tree
    Last Modified 19 May 2020 

    Wife Elisabeth Duncan
              b. Between 1727 and 1768 
    Married 29 Feb 1784  Glasgow, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
     1. Christina Kelly
              b. 14 Jan 1787, Barony, Glasgow, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location
              d. 9 Jul 1857, 23 Stafford Street, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years)
    Last Modified 19 May 2020 
    Family ID F0487  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Early Life
      William would have been born in the 1760s or 1770s, based on the 1792 patent and his age when Christina was born (see below).

      William was a watchmaker, cotton merchant and inventor, (he invented a mechanical jenny for weaving). From the Statistical Account of Lanarkshire1:
      In the year 1775 Mr Crompton of Bolton completed his invention of the mule jenny, so called from its being in structure, a compound of the spinning frame and of Hargreaves jenny. The mule was originally worked by the spinner’s hand, but in the year 1792 Mr William Kelly of Glasgow, at that time manager of the Lanark Mills, obtained a patent for moving it by machinery and although the undisputed inventor of the process he allowed every one freely to avail himself of its advantages

      Family Life
      William married Elizabeth Duncan on the 29th of February 1784 (a leap year) and they had, amongst others (see below):

      1. Jessie, born 1787 and died 1844
      2. Chistina (baptised as Christian), born 1787, who married William Gordon Mack
      3. Elizabeth "Betsy", born 1788
      4. Janet, born 1790
      5. William, born 1793 who joined his father in business as a Glasgow merchant
      6. Isobella, born 1795 and died 1844
      7. Margaret, born 1798 and who married James Hill, a solicitor in Edinburgh

      From L_1923_03_Scott_Burn-Murdoch_01:
      Mr William Kelly was the father of Mrs _ Knox, Mrs Mack, Mrs Hill2 of Rosneath, Mrs Lancaster, Mrs Graham, Mrs Betsy Kelly, and a son William Kelly. Auntie remembers his daughter Miss Jessie Kelly and old Miss Elder used to speak of another Helen Kelly as being very fair. His family I have heard nearly all died of consumption. I believe old Mr William Kelly had a little place called Kelly above Wemyss Bay on the Clyde. I have heard my father say he was making a large fortune in Paisley, but left it because he found the people so rough and uncivilised and went to Glasgow. I have also heard the name of his firm “Kelly & Dennistoun” was a well-known one in Glasgow. Also that they were Virginia merchants and brought the first bales of cotton to this country. My sister wrote once that he is mentioned in one of John Galt’s books3. John Galt came from Greenock I think.
      I've found no firm mention of Kelly & Dennistoun outside of this reference, but James Denistoun is mentioned below.

      He must have died after 1829, when a letter to a Mr Kennedy of Manchester, and he must have died by 1844, when a death notice for his daughter Jessie was published in the Glasgow Citizen. A notice in the Fife Herald of 20 Jan 1831 mentions that William Kelly, and William Kelly Junior, merchants in Glasgow, applied for discharges relating to a bankruptcy.

      A notice in the Perthshire Courier of 20 June 1839 notes the death of "Mr William Kelly, sen, merchant, Glasgow", who I take to be the correct person.


      • In 1818, William bought the Virginia Mansion from his son-in-law William Gordon Mack (husband of Christina); he subsequently sold it in 1828 to James Denistoun and the other partners of the Glasgow Bank.

      [1], page 142
      [2] Some of the Hill family heirlooms are discussed in a letter from Elizabeth Burn-Murdoch to Annie Jessie: L_Unknown_02_Burn-Murdoch_Bryans
      [3] Possibly this one

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 29 Feb 1784 - Glasgow, Scotland Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 15 Jun 1839 - Row, Dunbartonshire, Scotland Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Sources 
    1. [S0403] Perthshire Courier, Page 2, 20 Jun 1839.

    2. [S0380] Old Parish Registers - Marriages, National Records of Scotland, (, Kelly / Duncan; 644/1 260 page 317, 29 Feb 1784.