Kelly, Isaac B. (1791-1883)

Birthplace:

Cumberland County, North Carolina, USA

Residences:

  • Duplin County, North Carolina

Trades:

  • Builder

Building Types:

Styles & Forms:

Greek Revival

Isaac B. Kelly (1791-1883), merchant and builder, is reported by local tradition to have constructed at least four Greek Revival plantation houses in southern Sampson County (then New Hanover County) during the 1840s. He is also believed to have built his own residence in Kenansville, Duplin County. Tradition recalls that he had a pattern book from which his clients chose designs. The buildings attributed to him, like others in the area, show a bold Greek Revival style with heavy, rectilinear classical motifs. A native of Cumberland County, Kelly married Catherine Shepard in 1835 and lived in Kenansville, where he was a merchant, justice of the peace, postmaster, and state legislator. Kenansville tradition also cites Thomas Shepard (1770-1851), Kelly’s father-in-law, as a master builder. The 1850 United States Census listed Shepard as a farmer and Kelly as a merchant. Like many men of their day, they may have combined contracting with other occupations; it is not known whether Kelly was a carpenter himself or was a contractor who employed slave or free artisans to accomplish the work. Kelly appeared again as a merchant in Kenansville in the 1870 census and in 1880 was listed as a farmer.

  • Thomas R. Butchko, An Inventory of Historic Architecture, Sampson County, North Carolina (1981).
  • Ruth Little-Stokes, “Kenansville Historic District,” National Register of Historic Places nomination (1975).
  • Jennifer F. Martin, Along the Banks of the Old Northeast: the Historical and Architectural Development of Duplin County, North Carolina (1999).
Sort Building List by:
  • Dr. John B. Seavey House

    Contributors:
    Isaac B. Kelly, attributed builder
    Dates:
    1841
    Location:
    Harrells, Sampson County
    Street Address:
    SR 1100, Harrells vicinity, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Thomas R. Butchko, An Inventory of Historic Architecture, Sampson County, North Carolina (1981).

  • Isaac Kelly House

    Contributors:
    Isaac B. Kelly, attributed builder
    Variant Name(s):
    Kelly-Crost House
    Dates:
    Ca. 1841
    Location:
    Kenansville, Duplin County
    Street Address:
    Main St., Kenansville, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Jennifer F. Martin, Along the Banks of the Old Northeast: the Historical and Architectural Development of Duplin County, North Carolina (1999).
    Note:
    The 2-story, symmetrical Greek Revival house was the home of Isaac B. Kelly. Local tradition attributes construction to him or his father-in-law Thomas Sheppard.

  • James C. Murphy House

    Contributors:
    Isaac B. Kelly, attributed builder
    Dates:
    1840s
    Location:
    Ivanhoe, Sampson County
    Street Address:
    Ivanhoe, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Note:
    The Murphy House was attributed to Isaac B. Kelly by Carolina Robinson Dellinger of Ivanhoe, granddaughter of John A. Corbett, for whom Kelly is said to have built the Corbett House.

  • James Kerr House

    Contributors:
    Isaac B. Kelly, attributed builder
    Dates:
    1844
    Location:
    Kerr, Sampson County
    Street Address:
    Kerr vicinity, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Thomas R. Butchko, An Inventory of Historic Architecture, Sampson County, North Carolina (1981).

  • John A. Corbett House

    Contributors:
    Isaac B. Kelly, attributed builder
    Dates:
    1840s
    Location:
    Ivanhoe, Sampson County
    Street Address:
    Ivanhoe vicinity, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Note:
    The Corbett House was attributed to Isaac B. Kelly by Carolina Robinson Dellinger of Ivanhoe, granddaughter of client John A. Corbett, for whom Kelly is said to have built the house.

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