Welcome to the McKelvey Family Page!

Updated: 17 September 2010

Descendants of William & Mary (Toppings) McKelvey.

Biographical Index to Picturesque Huron

From the Firelands Pioneer: 30 Dec 1899. New Series Vol. XIL. Published by the Firelands Historical Society, Norwalk, OH.

Biographies from Aunt Ella's Book (Click on "William 1760" in the left column and "Matthew 1794" in the left column. William McKelvey & family came to Ohio in 1815 with Bildad Adams and family. Matthew McKelvey married Nancy Adams, daughter of Bildad Adams.


Mathew McKelvey was born in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, January 30, 1794. He was the son of William
McKelvey and wife, Mary Toppings. His father, William McKelvey, was probably born in Chester county. Pa., in 1760, for when seventeen years of age he enlisted in that county, June, 1777, in Captain Gilbert Gibbs' Company of the First Chester County Militia Regiment of Foot, commanded by Colonel Hannum, which entered for service June 18, 1777, and was mustered into the United States service July 11, 1777. William was for six years in active service during the Revolution and lost a leg therein. He received lands and a pension from the United States Government. After the close of the war, he married and settled in Westmoreland county. Pa., where he resided till 1804, when he came with his son William to Palmyra township. Portage county, Ohio, and prepared a home for his family which he moved there in 1805. He moved thence to Trumbull county in 1807 and thence to what is now Greenfield township, Huron county, in the early spring of 1815, and thence to Plymouth township, Richland county, in 18 19, where he died about 1838. He had twelve children, nine born in Westmoreland county. Pa., and three in Trumbull county, Ohio. Ten of these children lived to be married and nine of them resided on the Firelands after their marriage. One of them, William McKelvey, Jr., was the first person who entered Greenfield township for the purpose of settlement. He located in that township in 1810, nearly five years prior to the arrival of his father and the rest of the family. William MeKelvey was of Scotch-Irish descent, was a Presbyterian in religious belief, and belonged to a family, one member of which, John McKelvey, was burned at the stake for non-conformity.

Of the twelve children of William McKelvey, Mathew was the fourth He went from Greenfield to Portland, now San-
dusky, in 1817. Frederick S. Wildman, late of Danbury, Conn., told the writer that while on a visit there with his father, Zalmon Wildman, one of the early proprietors of Sandusky, in 1817, he met and became acquainted with Mathew McKelvey, who was then connected with a general store. There were then few human habitations in the vicinity but were numerous wild animal inhabitants, some of which met their fate from the rifle of Mlathew McKelvey. He killed a bear not far from the present location of the courthouse. March 27, 1818, he married Nancy Adams, daughter of Bildad Adams and wife (Mary Haynes). They resided for a time in Greenfield, during which time he sold the first stock of goods in the township. They were two of the twelve persons who organized the First Congregational Church in Greenfield township on July 3, 1822, and Mathew McKelvey was chosen clerk. Soon thereafter they moved, in 1822, to Sandusky where he opened a general store in a frame building which he erected on the southeast corner of Water and Wayne streets. The building- was constructed by Mr. "Lester Walker, who some years prior to his death told the writer about it. He continued in the general mercantile business in Sandusky tiH 1825, when he moved to Paris, now Plymouth, where he completed the second frame building erected in that village and conducted a general mercantile business therein till the fall of 1840, when he moved to Hardin county, Ohio, where in Blanchard township he had
erected a dwelling house, farm buildings and a mill on lands which he had sometime previously entered from the government, the lands upon which the town of Dunkirk is now located. Because of sickness resulting in the death of his wife and three daughters, he returned with the remaining four children to Plymouth in the spring of 1842 and sometime subsequently he moved to Greenfield township, where he resided till his death, March 18, 1853.

In 1829 he was elected commissioner of Huron county on the Whig ticket notwithstanding the fact that the Whig was then the minority party in the county. He erected over twenty buildings in the town of Plymouth. He had one building erected suitable for the purpose, and secured competent teachers and established in 1830 a school for young ladies, or female seminary. This, it is believed, was the second female seminary in the state of Ohio, the first having been established in 1829 in Steubenville by Dr. Charles Baety, a person of the same Scotch-Irish descent.