Samuel L. KELSEY/Danville Mounted Riflemen


© Karen McCann Hett  All Rights Reserved 2003-2014

Samuel L. Kelsey was born in February, 1816, in Chester County, South Carolina.

He was married to Mary Mariah Richardson on December 3, 1845, in Perry County, Alabama, by J. T. Sinclair, J. P. Kelsey was twenty-nine, and Mary, said to be the daughter of Samuel Richardson and Mariah Conn, was seventeen.

At the time of the 1850 census enumeration, he was living in Dallas County, Alabama, with wife, Mariah, and was employed as an overseer.

The couple moved to Montgomery County, Texas, after 1850, perhaps toward the end of the decade.

In early 1860, Samuel took a position as overseer for Danville plantation owner Green Wood at his plantation known as Greenwood, in northern Montgomery County near the Walker County line.

As recorded in Major Wood's journals, a house was raised for Mr. Kelsey on the 16th of December 1859, and the house was covered on the 7th of January 1860. The hands worked on the kitchen and smokehouse on the 14th of January (those buildings were traditionally separated from the main house).

Major Wood sent wagons to pick up Samuel's household goods on the 30th of January, and after that time, Mr. Kelsey's name heads each page in the journal as overseer.

The house built for Samuel was situated on the plantation, and in the 1860 census, Samuel and his wife are enumerated near Major Wood and his son, Green M. Wood.

In 1860, Samuel was age forty-three, and his wife Mary M., was age thirty-three, born in Alabama. There were no children in the household, although descendants say that an old family letter dated September, 1859, mentions that Mariah's baby is 8 months old... This baby must have died before the census enumeration of 1860.

Sam had six slaves of his own, according to the 1860 slave schedules, indicating that he may have had some land of his own under cultivation.

Samuel stayed at Greenwood as overseer for about a year, and was replaced by Wiley Green on December 22, 1860.

S. L. Kelsey joined the local militia unit, the Danville Mounted Riflemen, on May 4, 1861. He is also listed on the Riflemen muster rolls for September 13, 1861 and for February 14, 1862. He is not on the muster rolls for Co. B 24th Cavalry, being over age for CSA service.

Kelsey joined the Fourth Regiment Texas State Troops and was in it for at least a short time, even though he was over age. He was in Company D.

A muster roll of the company has the following notation: Name appears on affidavit of men belonging to organization above over 45 years of age. Affidavit dated “camp in the field near the mouth of Caney, Tx. Feb. 1 1864.”

Kelsey filed a petition requesting that he be exempted from service because of his age.

The petition reads in part:

“Personally appeared before me Preston H. Spiller, a notary public in and for Walker County, and said state, S. L. Kelsey, to me well known and a private in Co. D 4th Regiment Infty--and upon oath he states that he is over forty-eight years of age and by the act of Congress he is exempt from conscription; that he claims to be an engineer for a steam grist mill and that he is physically unable to perform the duties of a soldier.” The document concludes: “Given under my hand and seal of office using the common scroll or seal, this Febry. 1, 1864. Preston H. Spiller A Notary Public in and for Walker County State of Texas.” It is signed S. L. Kelsey.

In September, 1866, Kelsey was one of a group of planters who formed the Waverly Immmigration Society for the purpose of bringing foreigners to work on their farms, to replace the labor of the slaves who were freed at the end of the war. The planters agreed to pay the passage of Polish immigrants and provide housing for them, and in return, the Poles would work for them for three years or until their passage was repaid. One of Kelsey's fellow Riflemen, Planter John Hardy, was also a member of the Waverly Immigration Society.

Samuel's application to have his voting rights reinstated by the U. S. government in 1867 was turned down. He appealed, and his case was decided thus: The decision was wrong. The applicant is entitled to registry, if it is shown that he did not afterwards engage in insurrection, etc. United States Congressional Serial Set, United States Government Printing Office-1869; p. 240

In the Walker County census of 1870, Samuel and Mary were living in Precinct 4 of Walker County, and he was again farming. His post office was Huntsville.

Samuel died 10 February 1878 and is buried in a marked grave in Waverly Cemetery, Walker County, Texas. It has a CSA emblem.

According to Marriage Records of Walker County ©1978, M. M. Kelsey was married to A. G. Mason by A. Lowery, M. G., on Dec. 26, 1880. This appears to have been Mary Mariah Kelsey's second marriage, although this has not been confirmed.

Thanks to Elsa Vorwerk for the overseer records on S. L. Kelsey.

Thanks to Joanna Slover for her photos of Kelsey's marker at Old Waverly Cemetery, which are posted on Find-a-Grave.

The above was compiled from census records and county records, from Texas Archives records, and from the Compiled Service Records housed in the National Archives. The information from the Green Wood Journal was generously provided by Elsa Vorwerk and Bill Wood, of Georgetown, Texas.

See Samuel L. Kelsey on the Vorwerk-Wood website.

For further information and records of all Confederate soldiers of Montgomery County, Texas, as well as histories of the regiments they served in, see Montgomery County, Texas, CSA by Frank M. Johnson. The book may be purchased by visiting Frank's website at or by contacting Frank at [email protected]

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Karen McCann Hett

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© Karen McCann Hett  All Rights Reserved 2003-2014
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