Kellos honored

Published 11:06 am Monday, December 31, 2012

James Kello and his grandson, Richard Kello, unveil a plaque at the Southamtpon County Courthouse in memory of three previous generations of their family who served in the office in Courtland. -- Gwen Albers | Tidewater News

COURTLAND—Members from the seventh through ninth generations of the Kello family recently unveiled a plaque in memory of three family members who served as Southampton County Clerk of Courts for a combined 67 years.

Richard Kello was appointed the county’s first clerk of courts in 1748 and served for 25 years. His son, Samuel Blythe Kello, followed and served from 1773 to 1798.

Richard Kello’s grandson, Samuel B. Kello Jr., was the final to serve. He represented the office for 17 years, serving from 1798 to 1814.

For the plaque unveiling at the county courthouse in Courtland, some 30 people gathered in the current clerk of courts office. Clerk of Courts Rick Francis made a presentation.

“We’re fortunate our records have never been destroyed due to flood or fire,” Francis said. “Everything record in Southampton County is here.”

He called the dedication to the Kellos “long overdue.”

According to research, Richard Kello was born in 1726 in London. He was educated at Christ’s Hospital – a school for the poor.

Kello did so well in school that in 1741 he was invited by the Virginia Attorney General Edward Barradell to work as an apprentice. He was 16.

As clerk of courts, Richard Kello witnessed marriages and wills, wrote court decisions and court minutes, and was guardian to many children.

He also served in the House of Delegates from 1777 to 1778, representing Southampton.

Richard Kello was offered a federal judgeship, but refused it due to poor health. He died at 63 on his Millfield Plantation.

Samuel Blythe Kello, like his father, was involved in government affairs. He was a delegate to the Virginia Convention to ratify the Constitution.

Samuel Blythe Kello, his wife and six children lived at Millfield after Richard Kello died, then built the House of Seven Gables in Jerusalem.

Samuel Kello Jr. was the third clerk of courts.

He joined the Virginia Militia during the War of 1812 and had two children with his wife, Martha.