The Kells New World Connections

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Document ID 0410284
Document Type Family Papers
Archive R.T.B McClean
Citation The Kells New World Connections;Copies Provided by Dr. R.T.B. McClean; CMSIED 0410284
George Wood Kells of Ottawa states that he 
remembers many of the members of the original 
family.  "In particular I remember my Grandad 
George Wood Kells real well and liked him very 
much.  He had lived at our home on one or two 
occassions [occasions?] previous to this last 
trip from the 6th of Peel in 1883 or 1884. Two 
boys brought him up that seventeen miles in a 
plain farm wagon. He had with him a homemade 
box for a trunk, a mattress and a blanket, the 
last of his worldly possessions after all his 
generosity to various members of his family. 
My mother and my sister Elizabeth and myself 
were standing,at the kitchen door when the 
wagon came into the yard. They drove him down 
to the barn, turned around smartly, drove back
a little past the house and stopped. The boys 
dropped out - dropped the backboard - pulled 
out the box and the mattress, then lifted the 
"old gentleman", as we called him, to the ground. 
He hobbled towards where we were standing. My 
mother and we children gave him a warm welcome. 
During all the time Grandad was with us I never 
remember my mother either by look or gesture, 
indicate that he was unwelcome. We children at 
that time did not realize what it was all about. 
He used to amuse himself with us youngsters and 
pretend to chase us with his cane turned upside 
down. He made it a point of never catching up 
to us. Toward the end of his days he was 
disoriented, especially after his first sleep 
at night. He talked of "going back home" 
presumably to Ireland.  Occasionally, he did
get away from the house and always made his way 
towards the G.T.R. track and the bush behind it. 
We were a large family than and Grandad's bed 
was upstairs with us. My bed was next to his, 
end to end. The night he died, my dad and brother 
Aaron were up and down all night. Coal oil was 
then in use and I remember one of their lamps had a 
blue bottom stand. That was March 16, 1886. The 
snow was deep and the weather was cold.	From the 
front door we children watched the funeral procession 
move away to his last resting place - Winfield.

Thomas Kells: - bachelor - Spent his later days with
younger brother David and his sister Elizabeth.  The 
winter before he passed away he lived at my home on
the 10th of Wallace for about three months.  The last
time I saw him was when he passed the school during 
recess on his way to Elizabeth Ott's home.  He was
wearing a grey suit and long boots.  He had passed me  
by before I could greet him.  He left $1200. in cash, 
given to him earlier by his father George Wood Kells.
He had never worked.  In his will he left $300. to 
three of his nephews, Robert Malcolm and david and 
the remaining $300. to me out of which his funeral 
expenses were to be paid.  A few years later there was 
little over $100. for me, but I was very grateful as it 
was my High School Days.

William Lawrence Kells - When I wrote Entrance 
examinations to High School I stayed at his place 
and went out to his farm north of Listowel to watch 
birds. I remember him at my mother's funeral, and I 
also was at his funeral December 22, 1907. I visited 
his eldest son Robert in New Rochelle, New York on two 
or three occasion [occasions?]. He was always a  grand 
host.  Of course, I knew all other members of the 
family. Clarissa, whom I liked best of all. Then Edward, 
[Olive?] Lottie and Anna the youngest with her snapping 
black eyes - still living in California this date 
(1969). The rest of Unce William' family have all gone 
to their reward.

Elizabeth Kells Ott: - My sister Elizabeth visited at 
her home on the 10th of Maryborough. Her daughter seemed 
closer to us than most other relatives. I remember 
William her oldest by who with his family moved to 
Pasadena. John R. Ott was a frequent visitor to our 
home before he married. He loved horses, and was an 
all round good fellow.

Mary Ann Kells: - Mrs. John McKensty and 
later Mrs. John Higgins. She was quite small 
in comparison to other members of the 
family. Very versatile, charming and 
considerate. She was a great cook.  I remember 
a meal I had at Uncle Philip Ott's home which 
she cooked. It was a special flour pudding 
with raisins and figs (nothing has come up to 
it since). She was a great favourite with 
my father Richard Kells. This will be born 
out by the fact that the feeling must have 
been mutual as she left him the back half 
of her fifty acre farm on the 6th of Peel 
when she passed away. She used to spend a 
lot of time at our home on the 10th of 

Jane Kells Hassard: - Wife of Robert 
Hassard was a big bonnie woman, expressing 
physical strength in all her movements, 
yet a very striking woman with a beautiful 
Irish complexion. She gave me the 
impression as a boy in my teens that if she 
were a man she would make a good chief of 
police in a metropolitan city. I remember
the day of her funeral. My Dad returned 
from Dundalk the same hour that I returned 
from Harriston High School. It was a Friday.
The senior members of the Hassard family 
whose homes I visited or met on the pathway 
of life were Jemima Allen whose early married 
life was spent at Farewell, Ontario. Lynn 
McPherson, whose husband kept store at 
Farewell and later at Mount Forest. Rachael 
Pool who lived at Toronto and later Vancouver. 
Effie Wadge who was single in the nineties 
and went west to North Dakota where she was 
married. Robert George a very handsome 
fellow, who died at the age of 24. And Aaron 
who was a twin to Effie.

Ancient History - Myths and Traditions
There is no name that occurs more 
frequently in the myths, traditions and 
history, or in the names of small places 
in Ireland and Scotland, than KELLS. In the 
mythical history of these countries the 
ancestry of the Kellses has been traced 
back to Milesius, founder of the Milesian 
of Scottish nation many centuries before 
the Christian era.
Much information of intense interest 
will be found in the following volumes 

selected from a large number
Ireland's Ancient Schools and 
The Israel of the Alps
The Valley of Light
Agnew's French Protestant Exiles
O'Hart's Irish Pedigrees

Sources of Information Concerning Kells History

The basis of the history of the Kells 
family is the family records which were brought 
from Ireland in 1846, and which have been added 
to through correspondence from time to time, 
and while far from being complete, give much 
information with reference to a people who have 
had a strange and unusual experience.

The statements made in the old records have 
been verified by comparison with printed 
histories which can be referred to in the 
Genealogical Department of the New York 
Public Library at 42nd Street.

The early history of the Vaudois will 
be found in "The Israel of the Alps", by Rev. 
John Montgomery, Glasgow, Scotland, translated 
from the French history by Alexis Muston D.D. 
or Bordeaux.The facts for this history were 
taken from the manuscripts of Vignaux, an 
Vaudois pastor. The family traditions agree 
with this history.

"The Valley of Light", by W. Basil Worsfold 
published by McMillan & Co. London, also 
verifies the old records.

"A History of the Thirty Years' War, describes 
the raid of the French on the German Huguenots 
and establishes the date as probably 1631.

The family records state that the time of the 
flight from Germany to Britain was before the 
middle of the 17th Century, and John O'Hart, 
a recognized authority on Irish family 
pedigrees, states in his book "Irish Pedigrees", 
that there were no families by the name of 
Kells in Ireland at the close of the 17th Century
verifying the statement that the family came to 
Ireland early in the 18th Century. However, this 
gives no hint as to the original names or whether 
they were a family or a community. We must 
therefore assume as correct the statements 
in the oldest existing family record that the 
Kellses of Ireland have descended from the 
father, mother and one child, who in company 
with other refugees, reached the shores of 
England early in the seventeenth century.

According to the oldest written records 
that can be found, the Kells family originated 
in the Piedmont Valleys, now one of the most 
northern provinces of Italy, but at one time 
a part of France under the rule of the Duke 
of Savoy. The inhabitants of Piedmont were 
called Vaudois or people of the valleys, and 
later as Waldenses.
Little was known of them until the 
beginning of the 13th Century when political 
and religious persecutions were inaugurated 
against them, the horrors of which are fully 
described in various histories these 
persecutions were continued intermittently 
until the close of the 16th Century when 
many of the Vaudois sought safety in [flight?]

Among these exiles was a pastor, the 
first of the ancestors of the family of whom 
we have any record. Passing through Switzer-land, 
and across Lake Geneva, after many hardships 
they found a secure retreat for a time in the 
Palatinate, on the banks of the
Rhine in Germany, associating themselves with 
the Hugenots. Here the exiled pastor died, 
and a son, whose name has been recorded as 
Alexander was born.
During the Thirty Years' War, which was 
brought about by the Reformation, the Huguenot 
Community was raided by a party of French 
soldiers. The home of Alexander was burned 
and most of his family massacred, but he escaped 
with his wife and one child, among other refugees 
to Britain locating near the Tweed River, in the 
Cheviot Hills, which form the boundary between 
England and Scotland.
The first members of the family to visit
Ireland were two young men attached to one of 
the regiments of William III when he invaded 
the country in 1690.

There is also a tradition that some 
members of the family visited Ireland in one 
of Cromwell's regiments, but no proof to that 
effect can be found, and the name of a member 
of the family is not listed in the official 
published list of "Cromwell Land Adventures", 
although members of the family acquired so-called 
Cromwell Lands in Ulster County, under easy 
tenure, and later by purchase.

The young men who visited Ireland with 
William III are said to have come from the 
North of England, near the Tweed River, and 
were probably grandsons of Alexander (Kells) 
who was one of the early religious refugees. 
Their names were Robert and Alexander, names 
occurring frequently in the families of later 
generations. Alexander, one of the young men 
already mentioned, was twice married, but of 
his first wife and family, no record can be 
found. His second wife was a member of the 
Scottish clan of Carwford [Crawford?], and 
said to be related to Sir William Wallaces 
family. The name of only one child is recorded, 
Robert by name.

Robert Kells was born in Northumberland County, 
England near the Tweed River, in the vicinity 
of the Cheviot Hills, on March 3, 1699. He died 
at Buffalen, in Temrleport Parish, Cavan County, 
Ireland, on April 4, 1805, being one hundred and 
six years, one month and two days old. When a 
young man he went over into the southern part of 
Scotland. Here he married a young Scottish girl 
by the name of Lawrence, whose family	 were
Covenatnters, but of Scandanavian origin.

About the year 1730 Robert Kells passed
over into Ireland accompanied by his brother, 
and other relatives, settling near Ballyconnel
in the County of Cavan.

The date of the birth of Robert Kells 
II has not been recorded but he died about 
1834 at the age of seventy-seven. He was a 
tall, fair haired man of soldierly appearance. 
He learned, and sometimes

worked at the trade of shoemaking in 
Ballyconnell, but generally engaged in farming. 
He was also a soldier in the Irish Rebellion of 
1798: He married Margaret Wood of Ardew, whose 
parents were of Welsh descent. They had seven 
sons and three daughters. Ralph, Thomas, Elizabeth 
and Ellen died young. The surviving children were 
Robert, Alexander, George Wood, Henry and Jane.

Jane, the eldest of the family, emigrated to 
America in 1846 with her brother George Wood, 
and later died at his residence.

Robert married Mary McAllister. They had a 
large family of which five reached maturity; 
Edward, Robert, Henry, Thomas, and June.
Henry married Jane Sommerville. He had a 
large family as well. About 1850 he disposed 
of his property and emigrated to Australia 
with his family, with the exception of his eldest 
daughter Jane, who emigrated to America 
with her cousin George.
The origin of the name Kells is rather 
uncertain, but the following reference to 
it is taken from "Harrison's Surnames of 
the United Kingdom"/ Henry Harrison, London, 

Kells: (Celt) Belonging to Kells, Scotland. It 
is doubtful whether this name is an Anglicized 
plural from of Gael or Cill, a cell or church, 
(Latin, Cella) or gael or coil, a wood or
forest. As there are the remains of an ancient 
forest in the parish, supposed to have been a 
royal hunting ground, the latter' is probably 
the true etyman.
Kells: (Ireland): The Irish Kellses are usually 
the Anglicized form of Irish "caella", place 
of cill, a church or cell, but Kells in Meath 
was formerly Kenlis, for Irish Caennles; "head- 
fort" (cean-head, plus-lis fort.)
As it was required by the British statutes 
that foreigners  adopt an English name in order 
to own landed property, it is likely that the 
ancestors of the family selected their name,
or the Anglicized form of the one they had, 
shortly after coming to Britain.


According to traditions, the Kells family 
originated in the Piedmont Valleys, now one 
of the most northern provinces of Italy, but 
at one time a part of France and under the rule 
of the Duke of Savoy.
The inhabitants of Piedmont were called 
Vaudois or people of the valleys; and later as 
Waldenses. The Vaudois were among the earliest 
Christians and according to Samuel Smises, in 
his "History of the Vaudois", they were probably 
Christianized by St. Paul early in the second 
During the Middle Ages, missionaries from Kells 
and other towns visited the Piedmont Valleys 
and established monasteries there. The first of 
record being St. Columbanus, who founded a 
monastery at Babbie, which is still standing.

For reasons both political and religious, 
the Vaudois in common. with other dissenters, 
were persecuted intermittently for centuries, 
and from time to time, those who could 
do so, fled for protection to parts of Europe 
friendly to their beliefs, for they were 
among the earliest Protestants.

Among the refugees, late in the 16th century, 
was a Vaudois pastor who with his family sought 
safety on the banks of the Rhine in Germany, allying 
with the Huguenots, a people of similar beliefs, and 
subjected to constant persecutions. The locality in 
which the ancestors of the Kells family resided was 
raided by a party of French soldiers and the pastor 
and his wife and one child escaped the general 
massacre, and with other Huguenots fled to Britain 
for safety. This event occurred before the reign of 
Louis XLV, or about 1575. They joined refugees in the 
County of Northumberland, near the banks of the Tweed 
River, in the vicinity of the Cheviot Hills in England.

Until near the close of the 17th Century the 
history of the family is almost a blank. Of the early 
descendants of these refugees little is known. Some 
of them went over into Scotland, and are there at the 
present time.


St. Columba, otherwise known as Colum Cille 
or Colum Kells, was born in the north-west of 
Ireland about 521 A.D.. He is represented, according 
to an ancient chronicle, as having resigned his 
hereditary claim on the kingship of the island 
with the object of devoting himself to a monastic 

About the year 553 he founded a monastery 
at Durrow, in central Ireland, which became his most 
important establishment in that country, and shortly 
after he founded another at Kells.
He withdrew from his native land to Iona in 563. 
This island was afterwards known as Hy-Columkille, 
and became, through the missionary exertion of himself 
and his successors in the Abbitial See, the radiating 
center of Christian civilization in the north of Britain 
and the chosen burial place of the kings of Pictland
and Scotland.

Among the family traditions are claims of Ancient 
Origin; Royal Blood; Coat of Arms; etc.

As to Ancient Origin, the Vaudois of the 
Alpine Valleys claim to be of very ancient origin, 
dating back to, or even before the time of Christ. 
In a volume published in London, and written by
Samuel Smiles, the statement is made that they 
were probably Christianized by St. Paul early 
in the Second Century. A school-master in 
Ireland claimed to have traced the family back 
to the time of King David, but those records if 
they ever existed are now lost. The family is 
certainly of quite ancient origin.

The claim of Royal Blood probably 
originates in the fact that St. Columba, or 
Colum Cille (Colum Kells) was a blood relative 
of King Diarmait, monarch of all Ireland in the 
7th Century, and hereditary heir to the throne, 
renouncing his claim to devote himself to a 
religious life. From this saint, whose relatives 
visited the Alpine Vallies as missionaries, and 
intermarried with the ancestors of the family, 
the Kellses are believed to have received their 
Royal Blood and original family name or its 

Diligent search in all records of crests 
fail to locate a Coat of Arms for the family. 
The family however, has a crest, a Boar's head. 
The Baron of Kells, in Kilkenny, Ireland, who 
may have been related to the family, has a very 
elaborate and beautiful Coat of Arms. The Crawford 
family, related to Sir William Wallace and other 
distinguished families of Britain, with whom the 
Kellses intermarried have crests which may 
rightfully be adopted.

St. Columba, otherwise known as 
Colum Cille or Colum Kells, was born in 
the north-west of Ireland about 521 A.D. 
He is represented, according to ancient 
chronicle, as having resigned his 
hereditary claim on the kingship of the 
island with the object of devoting himself 
to a monastic life.

About the year 533 he founded a 
monastery at Durrow in central Ireland, 
which became his most important establishment 
in that country, and shortly after founded 
another at Kells.
He withdrew from his native land to 
Iona in 563, which island afterwards known 
as Hy-Columkille, became through the 
missionary exertions of himself and his 
successors in the Abbatial See, the 
radiating centre of Christian civilization 
in the north of Britain, and the chosen 
burial place of the Kings of Pictland 
and Scotland.
The names of both St. Columba and St. 
Patrick are still legible on one of the 
ancient stone crosses to be seen at the 
town of Kells. Colum Cille is commemorated 
as one of the three patron saints of Ireland 
on June 9th, the anniversary of his death 
in the year 597o


The Book of Kells, which is now in the library 
of Trinity College, Dublin, is a splendid 
manuscript copy of four Gospels, written on 
parchment, in Latin, and richly ornamented 
with illustrations.

It dates from the sixth century, and was 
then produced by St. Colum Cille, and the 
monks of the Monastery of Kells. Each Gospel 
is prefaced by an illuminated page, having 
reference to the manuscript following, and 
contains both figures and scrolls of the most 
varied and beautiful designs, coupled with 
a brilliancy of coloring which is simply 
marvellous, when the age of the volume and 
vicissitudes it has undergone are taken into 
consideration. Not alone the title pages, but 
the capital letters, are in scroll form and 
richly colored, and the Celtic designs are 
of such beauty that they are now reproduced 
in every description of art and needlework.

The Book of Kells was jealously guarded from 
its earliest years, and tradition affirms that 
it was kept in a case of gold, and finally 
stolen from the monastery in 1006, to be found 
several months later under sods in a bog, minus 
it's gold cover and many of it's beautiful pages. 
Subsequently, the book came into the hands of 
Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh, and it was presented 
by him to Trinity College, together with other 
valuable works, about the year 1656.

The book is now kept in a glass case in the 
college library and shown to visitors upon the 
production of an order from one of the Fellows; 
and those privileged to behold it are struck,
not only by the varied, yet even harmonious tone 
of it's coloring, but by the clear firm writing of 
the manuscript. On many of the pages the ink 
appears as fresh as though it were only a writing 
of yesterday, making it difficult to realize that 
this precious volume is the work of hands which 
were laid to rest over twelve hundred years ago.
The Book of Kells in its present condition 
contains 339 leaves of thick, finely glazed 
vellum, but no estimate has been made of the 
number of leaves that have been lost.

A complete history, with colored reproduction 
of many of its pages, is to be found in the 
"Book of Kells", by Sir Edward Sullivan, 
published in London, England.


The town of Kells, in the County of 
Meath, in Ireland, is situated on the Blackwater 
River, a tributary of the Boyne, about forty miles 
from Dublin. The town is one of the chief market 
places in the county and it's streets are well 
kept and present an appearance of neatness.
         It was known in days as early as St. 
Patrick's, by the Latinised form of Cenondae, 
bearing at a somewhat later date the names of 
Cenannus and Kenlis. Kenansa was its old Irish 
name. Within its precincts today, there are 
standing three very ancient Irish stone crosses, 
a round tower, unroofed and still about ninety 
feet high; and a building which has long been 
described as the house of St. Columba.
The history of Kells and it's Abbey, from late 
in the 9th Century to the end of the 10th, is 
a tale of continuous struggle against domestic 
and foreign aggression. In 899 the Abbey was 
sacked and pillaged. In 918 the Danes plundered 
the town and laid the church level with the 
ground. Rebuilt, it was again spoiled and 
pillaged by the Danes in 946. Three years 
later, [Godfrey?], son of Sitric, plundered 
the Abbey. In 967 the town was despoiled by 
a United force of Danes and Leinster people; 
while in 996 the Danes of Dublin made yet 
another pillaging raid on both the town and 
the Abbey.
The village Kells, in the County of 
Antrim, Ireland, is situated on the Kells 
River, a tributary of the Main River which 
discharges its waters into Lough Neagh. It is 
an unimportant place of about 185 inhabitants.

The Vi11age of Kells, in the County of 
Kilkenny, Ireland is situated on a tributary of 
the Barrow River which empties into Waterford 
Harbor. It has about 200 inhabitants.
The Village of Kells, in Kircudbrighshire, 
Scotland, is situated in Kells Parish, the 
remains of a royal hunting ground. The 
Parish is situated between the Ken and Dee 
Rivers and contains 48,521 acres, with a 
population of about 900. There is a range 
of hills called by the same name in the 
Parish. It is probable that the Kells Family 
received their name from this Parish.

Port Kel1s. British Columbia, founded by 
the Kellses of Cavan about 1890.


The Vaudois were remarkable for their 
longevity, a trait that was inherited by                                                   their descendants for centuries after 
they had left their native valleys.

A quotation from "The Valley of Light" 
states..."For still in the said valley there 
are at present, old people, many of them who 
approached, and some of whom have passed the 
age of 100 years".

David C. Agnew of Edinburgh, Scotland, 
who is the author of two large volumes devoted 
to the Vaudois, makes special reference to 
their longevity.
In "The Israel of the Alps", particular 
reference is made to the great age of Vignaux, 
a Vaudois pastor, who died in 1605 in his one 
hundredth year.

The records of the Kells family shows 
that they inherited the longevity of their 
ancestors. Robert Kells of Templeport Parish, 
Cavan, Ireland, the first of the family of whom 
we have exact record, having been born in 1699 
and died in 1805. Also his daughter Phoebe, 
reached the age of [109?] years and his son 
George died at the age of 96. His grandson 
Robert Kells, of Ballyhady, lived to the age 
of 104; and his grandson James of Kellenaff 
passed on at 103.	Richard Kells of Palmerston, 
Ontario Canada reached his 90th year, as did Frances
Kells Waddingham of California, and Robert Johnston 
(Kells) of Canada. Lucas Kells of Los Angeles, 
California lived into his late eighties.

As our records are incomplete there are 
undoubtedly many others in the family who have 
reached a patriarchal age. 

Traditions differ somewhat as to when the 
first members of the family visited Ireland, 
but it is generally agreed that two young men of 
the name Kells, were with the "Land Adventurers" 
when Oliver Cromwell invaded the country.  It is 
also claimed that members of the family were 
with the armies of King William at the Battle 
of the Boyne in 1690, and that they came into 
possession of large tracts of land in the 
"Ulster Plantation", in the northern counties 
of Ireland; considerable of which is still 
occupied or owned by their descendants; 
especially those in the Counties of Cavan 
and Fermanagh.

One of these young men, after returning 
to England or Scotland, was twice married, 
but of his first marriage we have no record. 
His second wife was a Miss Crawford, a 
descendant of the brother of Sir William 
Wallace, one of the Kings of Scotland,
and traditions also claim, a sister of St. 
Patrick. Of his children the name of only 
one is recorded; Robert, by name, after one 
of the Kings of Scotland.
Robert Kells was born in Northumberland 
County, near the Tweed River, England, in the 
vicinity of the Cheviot Hills, on March 3, 
1699o He died in the town land of Buffalen, 
near Ballyconnell, in the County of Cavan, 
Ireland; and his remains were interred in 
the graveyard of the Templeport Parish 
Church. The date of his death was April 4, 
1805; at the age of 106 years, 2 months 
and 3 days.

Robert Kells received a liberal education, and 
is said to have been ordained a clergyman of the 
established church. When a young man he went over 
into Scotland, where he taught school
and did pastoral work. Here he married Elizabeth 
Lawrence, whose family were Covenanters.
During the reign of George III of England; Robert 
Kells received a commission to remove to Ireland 
where he became the War-den of the Parish 01122 
leport, in the County of Cavan, Ireland.
With him also came	ehls relatives, including 
the Craw-fords, Johnston and Lawrence families.
Robert Kells also received a grand or the overcharge 
of a large tract of land in the townlands of Buffalen, 
Urnagh and Kellenaff in the County of Cavan, near 
Ballyconnell. He resided in the town land of Buffalen, 
and the property was distributed amongst his relatives 
and other tenants; considerable of which is still owned 
or occupied by his and their descendants. Robert Kells 
had a large family, the names of the following have been 
recorded: George, James, Robert, Ralph, Andrew, Henry, 
Phoebe, Elizabeth and Ellen.
The first representatives of the family known to have come to America are claimed by their descendants to have been Scotch or of Scotch-Irish ancestry.
John Kells, also recorded as Johannis Kels in the records of the Dutch Church at Claverack, Columbia County, New York, came to America about 1750. In the census of 1790 he was listed as living at Claverack, N.Y. and that he had a wife; and four children under sixteen years of age, and four over sixteen years of age; and five slaves. He died in 1799o
The census of 1790 also records the names of Jacob Kells and wife and two children under sixteen years of age, living at Claverack, N.Y.
The records of the New York State Historian show that John Kells enlisted in the British Army, Capt. Thos. Terry's Company, Suffolk County, Long Island on May 4, 1758; and Daniel Kells in
Capt. John De Garmo's Company, Albany, N.Y. on December 24, 1763o
In the early years of the 19th Century, the Kells families became so numerous that there was no longer room for them on the estates in Ireland, and they began to move to other counties on the island or emigrate to the British Colonies in America, and Australia and New Zealand, to be followed from time to time by their relatives. The famine years of the 1840's also caused many to emigrate.