Elizabeth Kelley was a widow for half of her adult life. Her husband, Joseph, died in 1834, leaving Elizabeth to raise their young children. Their oldest child was only 14. Surprisingly, Elizabeth never remarried. Instead, she spent the rest of her days as the Widow Kelley.
Elizabeth — or Betsey, as she was sometimes called — lived in Hopewell Township, Perry County and it was there that she died in 1852. I’m confident that her house is no longer standing. I don’t have photos of it and I don’t have a time machine to go back and visit, but I can still get an idea of her household by looking at her estate papers. The inventory of her personal property included:1)FamilySearch.org, Ohio Probate Records, 1789-1996, Elizabeth Kelley estate, Perry County estate cases 171-173; Perry County Probate Court, New Lexington, Ohio.
6 bedsteads and bedding
1 bureau and 1 chest
Window paper and a bread bowl
Coffee pot and coffee mill
A table with 6 chairs
A copper kettle and a large iron pot
A cider mill and press
A wool wheel and reel
6 bread baskets
A 2-horse wagon and a 2-horse plow
3 cows and 4 hogs
The item that caught my eye:
“1 atlas, old books, geography, &c &c”
All in all, a fairly typical mid-19th century Ohio farm house. But there’s something intimate about seeing the specifics of her household items. We can imagine a table with 6 chairs. We can imagine her covering her windows with window paper and grinding coffee beans in coffee mill. We can wonder who read the old books and did they use the atlas to learn more about their world?
I wouldn’t turn down a photo of Elizabeth’s house, but even if I had one, it wouldn’t give me such a good look inside.
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|FamilySearch.org, Ohio Probate Records, 1789-1996, Elizabeth Kelley estate, Perry County estate cases 171-173; Perry County Probate Court, New Lexington, Ohio.