Moses Knight and John C. Kelly were resident tailors in Owego, Tioga County, New York in 1839-1840, with a shop on Lake Street opposite the Owego Market. On April 15, 1841, Knight and Kelly dissolved their partnership; Knight taking David Connelly as a new partner, and Kelly establishing his own shop at No. 4 Lake Street in Owego. A year later, Kelly moved to a new shop in Owego “2 doors above” Slosson & Williams’ Book Store on Front Street.
John Canfield Kelly was born about 1812. He married Lydia Griffing, my great-great-grandfather’s older sister. They lived in Owego for several years but moved to Baltimore, Maryland, about 1846. Lydia Griffing Kelly died in November 1846, leaving her husband John with four small children. He took as his second wife Charlotte Hill, also of Owego, New York and moved to Williamsburgh, New York. He worked as a tailor in New York City until his death around 1880. One of John’s sons, John B. Kelly, served with Battery M, 2nd Artillery, Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, during the Civil War.
‘I want a coat,’ said John one day
As he the while surveyed
His old coat, rather thread-bare worn,
And ungenteely made.
‘This coat,’ continued he, I’ve worn
‘Two years this very day;
‘Twas by the seamstress Molly made,
Who works across the way.
I never liked it — for, in truth,
It fits me very ill;
‘Tis every way too large for me;
‘Twould better suite Squire Hill.
And then the seams, as one can see
Who ever noticed stitches,
Appear as if together thrown
In some wild freak, by witches!
The first time that I put it on,
I went to see my fair one,
When she with hands upraised exclaim’d
‘That coat’s enough to scare one!’
I’ll never put it on again
To wear abroad on Sunday;
I’ll but some cloth for a new coat,
If all is well, on Monday;
And I will take it down to town
And have it made in order,
By some one who can make a coat
And not commit sch murder.
I’ve seen some first-rate coats of late,
Made, as their owners tell me,
At an old stand on Lake Street — known
As that of ‘Knight and Kelly.’
‘Tis said they get the Fashions there —
The latest and the neatest;
And it is whispered that they do
Their work ‘cheap as the cheapest.’
I am persuaded they’re the chaps;
Farewell to Mol and Nelly;
Of Seamstreses I’ve seen enough —
I’ll call on KNIGHT & KELLY
Owego, July 1839
N.B. — CUTTING done in the best style and with all reasonable despatch, and warranted to fit it properly made. KNIGHT and KELLY.
Advertisement posted in the Owego Gazette, March 19, 1840