James Kelly 1865 – 1918

When Aidan Kelly recently emailed me about his relative James Kelly of Blantyre who used to own a pub, I immediately thought of James Kelly of Thornhill, Blantyre, the Celtic co-founder and Director and who owned Kelly’s Pub at the corner of Auchinraith Road. I’ve written plenty about that particular man and have photos of him, still to put up online for the first time. However, when Aidan told me more, I realised this was a completely different man, just sharing the same name at a similar time in Blantyre. Aidan’s relative, a three times great Uncle was as follows:

Aidan told me that James Kelly was born 2nd January 1865 in Dalserf, Lanarkshire. He was the son of James Kelly and Ann Curley.

There’s something strange going on with this birth location though.  I retrieved the birth certificate and agree James was born in Dalself and his parents were indeed James and Ann. However, in the 1871, 1881 and 1891 census, he is listed as being born at Woodside, Blantyre, a former large house just off Station Road. It is the same James, same parents. So what’s going on here. Why did James and his parents want to disassociate themselves with the actual birthplace of Dalserf? I don’t think we’ll ever know, but knowing his father and mother were Irish Immigrants, they may have been treated badly at Dalserf or wished deliberately to distance themselves from the short time they spent there. There is a mystery here and when I checked for James Kelly being born in Blantyre anytime between 1864 to 1867, there is no births recorded.

This James Kelly should not be confused with the other James Kelly, Justice of the Peace and spirit ,merchant who DID once have an association with Woodside.

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James was recorded living at Muirhead’s buildings, Stonefield road, Blantyre by the 1871 Census. He married Agnes Tonner and had 5 children:

– Annie (Laidlaw) 1890-1938 (died in Los Angeles USA)
– Elizabeth (Coyle) 1892-1957 (died in Blantyre)
– James Kelly 1896-
– Patrick Kelly 1900-
– Mary Kelly 1904-
By 1881, the family were at Cross Row in Blantyre Works at the Village and a 16 year old James was a coal miner, one of 9 children living with their parents at that address. By 1891, James had married Agnes and the family set up home at McAlpines Building on Glasgow Road. In the 1891 census, little Annie, their first child was just 6 months and with them was Agnes’s sister, Catherine (16) who was the family’s domestic servant.

The family were recorded on the 1901 Census as living at New Station Road. (which shortly after became John Street). Now with a growing family, James had become a spirit salesman, but not to be confused with being a spirit merchant or pub owner.

I did find mention of a pub though. James’s brother John ran a pub in Springwells and as a suggestion only, James may have been selling alcohol for him.

Agnes died 21st October 1910 aged 41 at 239 Glasgow Rd above the old Co Buildings not far from the junction of Station Road. On her death certificate her husband James is listed as a ‘spirit salesman’. On James’s death certificate 8 years later in 1918, his occupation is given as a ‘barman’. James died at 201 Glasgow Rd, (where ASDA is now). He also left an estate worth £10, 14 shillings (£1404.80p) which went to his son, James Kelly Jr.
James was  buried in Dalbeth Cemetery Section 3A: Lair 278.


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