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.
Kelly was a partner with another tailor named Knight in Owego, Tioga County, New York in 1839-1840, with a shop on Lake Street opposite the Owego Market. By August 1841, Knight and Kelly had dissolved their partnership; Knight taking a new partner named Connelly, and Kelly establishing his own shop at No. 4 Lake Street in Owego. A year later, Kelly moved to a new tailor shop in Owego “2 doors above” Slosson & Williams’ Book Store on Front Street, next door to a dry goods store run by Rich & Freeman.
A NEW ERA
May 14, Anno Domoni 1842
JOHN C. KELLY
Front Street 2 doors above Slosson & Williams
O have you heard the news of late
About a Draper in York State,
Who every spring buys cloths first
If you have not, you’r out of date–
‘Tis I, John C., the Tailor!
O, I would have you know stimore,
This spring I have removed my Store;
‘Tis now on Front St. — mark the door;
Next Rich & Freemans’ — ad on shore
You’ll find John C., the Tailor!
O! I have Broadclothes of great note,
Late ship’d from New York in a Boat;
The very cloths on which you’d doat,
And when you want to buy a coat,
Call on John C., the Tailor.
My cloths embrace the very kinds
‘Twill suit your fancy and the times;
And when I’ve some from foreign clime
The French and English Superfines,
Sold by John C., the Tailor.
Of Summer Cloths I’ve a great lot;
The best and cheapest ever bought;
I’ll name to you a few I’ve got —
To mention all, sure I need not —
‘Twould tire John C., the Tailor.
O, I’ve French drabs, black Velveteen,
And Giraff cloths, spotted and plain;
The Royal Gambroon, wove by steam,
Moleskins & Drills the best you’ve seen.
Have I John C., the Tailor.
Of Cassimeres I’ve rolls on hand;
The choicest lot in all the land;
The Rowin, French, Lavender — and —
Would you their names all understand,
Call on John C., the Tailor.
Besides, I’ve Vestings fine and rare,
Silk vevet Patterns and Cashmere;
Satins that plain and figured are,
De La Marsailes — all things you wear,
Hath not John C., the Tailor?
Of shirtings and of sheetings too,
I’ve bleached and unbleached not a few;
Besides I have for sale, all new,
Clothes ready made, ’twill fit ye true,
True as John C., the Tailor.
And then I’ve needful notions small;
Bosoms and collars, shirts and all;
Suspenders made for short and tall,
Gloves and Cravats for such as call
On me, John C., the Tailor.
And lastly, patrons, let me say,
What’er you want that’s in my way,
I am on hand — and work for pay!
You know my trade — and so good day!
Thus saith John C., the Tailor!