John W. Kelley was born to Marvel and Sally Kelly in Georgia in 1830. After his father died, his mother married Ed Kitchens and moved the family to Arkansas in 1857. He served under Col. Mitchell's regiment during the civil war until 1864 and nearly died when a smallpox epidemic broke out in Ozark County later that year. In spring, 1865, he moved to Powhatan and married Nancy Lawson (d. 1866) and had seven children. He married again, this time to Mary Woodson (d. 1882). His third wife was Cynthia Cravens.
Goodspeed p. 799