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Home: Surnames: Kellow Family Genealogy Forum

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Ancient English Kellow Origins
Posted by: terry davis Date: August 28, 2001 at 11:15:06
In Reply to: Re: Welcome Kellow Family Members!! by colleen of 190


It's great to hear from another Kellow! You have introduced a whole new Kellow line I believe, and I doubt that I'll be of much help. All my thoughts on Kellow history have taken quite a few twists during this year. I had previously taken the somewhat more widely accepted idea that Kellows were off-shoots and variances of the Killough ('kil'- meaning church and 'lough'- meaning lake, or "church by the lake") line. I'm sure there is some fact to that theory in some lines. I know there is evidence that some Killoughs (pronounced "KILL-lo") became Kelloughs, and some later even became Kellows and Kellos and Killows. There is a widely accepted book on the Killoughs that lays some of this out and even includes some of the variations in some of the "down-lines". By the way, I checked the book just to make sure and didn't see any Moses's at all, and only one George who I can actually account for down in Tennessee.

The Killough book traces the story of two Killough brothers who came to America late 1600's and settled in Massachusetts and later Pennsylvania. By the late 1700's, their ancestors had spread through the Atlantic states and settled in MD, VA, GA, NC, etc. There is a group of "Kello's" that appears in southcentral VA in the mid to late 1700's including a Richard and Isaac. Richard was quite well-known and became a colonel of some sort. The book attributes these Kellos to a line of the Killoughs from PA mid 1700's. Though I haven't proved it yet, I feel pretty good that my Kellow line (which I can document to the late 1700's in northcentral NC) may be related to these Kellos. My ancestors show up in censuses of 1800 and 1810 as "Kellow" when that was actually a very rare variant in the Killough family.

Recently I came across some research of a man in VA who is a "collateral" relative of those Kello's by marriage. He wrote a small outline on them which I have somewhere. He mentions some letters of the family documenting "Kello" siblings in England at that time (late 1700's). Since none of this really fit the family of Killoughs that come to America a hundred years earlier and resided in PA so long, I started digging more.

The book had generally led me to believe (and this was probably my fault for not thinking "bigger") that "Kellow" was merely some variant of the Scotch-Irish Killough (which arose from the Scttish "Kelloch", also 'chuch by the lake' -or 'loch') name of the 1500-1600's and nothing more. However, in the last few months I was contacted by someone researching the "Kelloggs" who had found several early mentions of Kellows and Kellowes in England (not Scot-Irish). The Kelloggs were trying to figure if they were connected to the Kellowes, but I think they backed off that a bit.

Anyway, they led me to some very early Kellow references in England that made me re-think the whole Sctch-Irish Killough tale (even though as late as 1880, one of my ancestors shows up on a census as Killough). And now that you have given us further proof that Kellows were in England and not just American variants of Killough, I feel better about the thought that my Kellows (and obviously yours) came to America in a different wave. Mine probably came to VA/NC mid 1700's and yours to PA early 1800's.

A few intersting VERY EARLY references to our Kellows include:

"Kellow" - Cornish (English dialect) - habitation name originating from the Cornish Kellow, plural of 'kelli' meaning wood or groove. There is/was a village in Durham called "Kellowe".

Year 1378: Close Rolls. To Gilbert de Culwen, escheator in Nothumberland and Cumberland concerning the advowson of Jesmond Chapel in Newcastle-upon-Tyne by gift of William Kellowe.

1386: Close Rolls. mentions a William Kalowe.

1398: Close Rolls. To Archbishop of York, nomination of Thomas Kellowe, clerk, to receive a pension.

1403: Patent Rolls. Grant to William Kellowe of Newcastle upon Tyne, esquire, of the office of controller of the customs and subsidies in the port of Newcastle upon Tyne.

1420: from an old "Kellogg" book: "There has been found in the Old Records Office in London, a deed, 9 July 1420, of the Manor of Wygepet in Elmedon, Arkesdes and Wygepet, in which Richard Kellowe, clerk, is mentioned as one of the grantees (Ancient Deeds C. 2222). Wygepet is about 5 miles from Debden, which is close enough to raise the question whether Kellowe may not have been an early form of the family name (Kellogg)."

1420: Patent Rolls. Presentation of Richard Kellowe, chaplain, to the church of Tyllebrook (Beds) in the diocese of Lincoln.

1420: Presentation of John Caton, chaplain, to the church of St. John the Baptist, Norwich, vacant by the resignation of Robert (Richard?) Kellowe.

1422: Patent Rolls. Commission to Thomas Kellowe and others to take stone cutters, carpenters, laborers, etc. for the works of the king's house of Jesus of Bethlehem, Sheen, Middlesex.

1428: The chamberlain (offcer in a royal household responsible for budget related items, maybe including collecting revenues and paying expenses) of the English town of Lynn (in County Norfolk or Norfolkshire) was William Kellowe.

1434: Patent Rolls. Mentions William Kellowe of Norfolk.

1438: Presentation of Thomas Hoton to the vicarage of the parish church of Norton in the diocese of Durham after the resignation of Thomas Kellowe.

1441: Patent Rolls. Grant for life to the King's sargeant John Kellow of the office of messenger of the Exchequer, wages 4.5 pence a day.

1441: P. Rolls. William Kellowe, warden of the merchant gild of the Trinity of Bishop's Lynn, Norfolk.

1442: William Kellowe, burgess and beer brewer of Bishop's Lynn, Norfolk.

1442: Fine Rolls. Mentions Thomas Kelowe of Broad Blunsden, Wiltshire, gentleman, collector of taxes.

1445: Patent Rolls. John Goldsmyth of Newbury, Berkshire, the younger, butcher, for not appearing before the justices of the bench to answer Thomas Kellowe touching a debt of 4 pounds, Wiltshire.

1446: Pardon to Thomas May of Crekdale, Wiltshire, husbandman, for stealing 12 silver spoons and other goods woth 20 shillings from Thomas Kellowe of Broad Blunsden, Wiltshire.

1451: Patent Rolls. Commission to arrest and bring before the king and council (among others) Henry Kellowe of Feylo (or Filey, Yorkshire).

Well, now I've gone on a bit, but I've been anting to post those notes for a while and today seemed as good a time as any. Maybe someone can make a run with them. Overall, I'm sorry I can't answer anyting more directly, but your proof of more American Kellows with definite English origins is helpful. I hope you find all this interesting - it looks to me like the Kellows have a long and deep English presence, often in positions of importance as economic advisers. Them Kellows is smart folks!

Thanks for your note,


1461: Patent Rolls. Mentions Thomas Kelowe of Bishop's Lynn (King's Lynn, Norfolk).

1470: Patent Rolls. General pardon to William Kellowe, late of Ravenswath, Yorkshire, yeoman.

Overall, there seems to be quite a few Kellows in Norfolkshire around Lynn and some in Durham at the town of Kellowe. It could well be that the Scotch "Kelloch" became both Kellough/Kellowe and Kellogg (there were also "Kelhog's" by the 1380's) in England and Killough in Ireland.


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