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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
John E. Kelly

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[This information is from Vol. IV, pp. 129-130 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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John E. Kelly is a native son of Schenectady whom the city is proud to rank with her representative and successful young attorneys and who is accorded an extensive practice as senior member of the law firm of Kelly & Buhrmaster, with offices at No. 409 State street. He was born on the 21st of January, 1888, his parents being Martin and Catherine (McCormick) Kelly. The father, a native of Carrick-on-Shannon, Ireland, crossed the Atlantic to the United States when a youth of about fifteen and located in Schenectady, where he learned the trade of boilermaker in the service of the American Locomotive Company, with which he has continued through the intervening years to the present time. In young manhood he wedded Miss Catherine McCormick, a native of Schenectady, this state, whose father was born in Ireland and emigrated to the New World in early life. The latter, who was one of the first men in Schenectady to enlist in the Union army, served throughout practically the entire period of the Civil war, being discharged a short time before its close on account of disability. He returned to his work as an employe of the gas company in Schenectady, but the rigors of military life had undermined his constitution to such a degree that he lived only a few years longer.

In the acquirement of an education John E. Kelly attended the grade and high schools and also St. John's parochial school. Having made choice of the legal profession as a life work, he then matriculated in the Albany Law School, from which he was graduated with the degree of LL. B. in 1911, while the following year the degree of Master of Laws was conferred on him. Upon his admission to the bar in September, 1913, he opened an office in Schenectady, where he has since continued in practice, with the exception of the years 1918 and 1919, which he spent in Albany at the government headquarters of the internal revenue bureau. During the year 1923 he made a most commendable record in the office of county attorney of Schenectady county. His fidelity to the interests of his clients is proverbial; yet he never forgets that he owes a higher allegiance to the majesty of the law. He invariably seeks to present his argument in the strong, clear light of common reason and sound logical principle.

On the 18th of July, 1917, Mr. Kelly was united in marriage to Miss Sara C. Pickett, daughter of Michael J. and Margaret A. (Dyer) Pickett. Her father, a machinist by trade, passed away in 1914, but the mother still survives and makes her home in Schenectady. Mr. and Mrs. Kelly have had two children: John E., Jr., who is deceased; and Marion Hildegarde, whose natal day was August 8, 1921. The family residence is at No. 236 McClellan street in Schenectady.

Since age conferred upon him the right of franchise Mr. Kelly has supported the men and measures of the democratic party. He is widely recognized as a public-spirited, enterprising and progressive citizen and he holds membership in the Chamber of Commerce. Along strictly professional lines he is connected with the Schenectady County Bar Association. His religious faith is that of the Catholic church, while fraternally he is identified with the Knights of Columbus, the Benevolent Protective order of Elks and the Order of Alhambra.

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