Archiver > PACAMBRI > 1998-01 > 0883666185

From: "David Monahan" <>
Subject: Skelly Bios
Date: Thu, 1 Jan 1998 09:49:45 -0500


Here is a bio sketch on the Skelly's that might help with at least one of
the brothers. This is from 1896 Wiley Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia
of Cambria County.

ALEXANDER J. SKELLY, the present burgess of Wilmore, and a man of varied
business and railroad experience in different States, helped to build the
first mile of the great Union Pacific railway whose completion connected by
rail the "ocean of stormS to the ocean of peace." He is a son of John and
Elizabeth (MCGOUGH) Skelly, and was born near Wilmore, in Summerhill
township, Cambria county, Pennsylvania, May 25, 1833. His paternal
grandfather, John Skelly, Sr., was a Scotch-Irishman, and with six brothers
came from County Antrim to Maryland, settling on Antietam Creek, where the
great battle of Antietam was fought in 1862. They afterward made their home
in Tuckahoe Valley, Blair county, where five of them were killed by Indians.

John Skelly, Sr., was one of the two that escaped, and in 1809 he came to
Cambria county, where he died fifty-three years later. His son, John Skelly,
was born in the Tuckahoe Valley, February 23, 1792, and attended the old
district or subscription schools but three days. He was a self-educated
man, and in 1827 came to Cambria county, where he followed farming as an
occupation, and died December 12, 1867. He was a Jacksonian democrat,
served one term as county auditor, and held most of the township offices. He
was a member of the Catholic church and an active and industrious man. In
1819 he married Elizabeth McGough, and their children were: James, who died
in Texas aged seventy years; John, died in this county at sixty-two years of
age; Sarah, widow of John Wolf and a resident of Oklahoma; Elizabeth, widow
of Frank Christy; Mary; Alexander J.; and Philip, a farmer of near Wilmore.
Mrs. Skelly, who died in 1872, aged seventy-three years, was a daughter of
James McGough, who was a slave-holder of Baltimore Maryland, and came at
thirty-five years of age to Cambria county, where he manumitted his slaves
and afterwards accumulated quite a large amount of property. James McGough
married and his children were: Thomas, James, Jr., Elizabeth, wife of John
Skelly; and Sarah, all of whom are dead.

Alexander J. Skelly was reared to farm pursuits, attended the public
schools, and worked for one year on the Portage railroad. He then served two
years as a conductor on the Pennsylvania railroad, and in 186o engaged in
farming and the lumber business, which pursuits he followed up to 1874, when
he went to Texas, where he was a clerk for the Texas Pacific Railroad
company in their Dallas office for six months and served for them the same
length of time as a passenger conductor. A year later he went to Fairfield,
Iowa, where he was in the real-estate and insurance business up to 1884. In
that year he returned to Cambria county, and after conducting a hotel at
Summerhill for two years, removed to Wilmore. He then traveled as salesman
for the Irwin Mill company for two years. At the end of that time, in 1888,
he was elected justice of the peace for a term of five years, and at its
expiration in 1893 was re-elected for a second term of five years. He was
elected burgess in 1890, re-elected in 1891, 1892, and in 1893 for a term of
three years.
On February 57, 1874, Squire Skelly was united in marriage with Rebecca J.
MADDEN, a daughter of Spencer Madden, of St. Thomas, Franklin county.
Squire Skelly is an old-time democrat, is ever active in local politics, and
was the first jury commissioner elected in Cambria county. While serving as
jury commissioner he drew the first colored man who ever served on a jury in
the State of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Clinton Lodge, No.4, F.
and A. M., of Fairfield, Iowa; and while on a visit west in 1865, helped to
build the first mile of the Union Pacific railway. Squire Skelly's
life-record has been one of activity and honorable success, and he now
enjoys the fruits of many years of toil in several different business

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