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Kell King McIntosh Spalding

Biography of John McIntosh Kell, Griffin, Georgia.

John McIntosh Kell was born in McIntosh County, Ga., and his childhood was spent on the plantation "Laurel Grove." It was a delight for the young boy to visit his great-uncle, Hon. Thomas Spalding, whose family owned a large part of the island of Sapelo, off the coast of Georgia, and doubtless it is where he learned to love the water. He went to school at Darien and then to the Academy in Savannah, and when only sixteen years of age he entered a counting house in Savannah, thinking to become a merchant. As he was on his way home for the winter holidays, he was invited by Captain Ramsey to visit him aboard the United States vessel Consort, anchored near the coast. Young Kell also visited him afterwards, frequently with his sisters and their friends, by invitation of the officer, whose life entranced him, and he resolved to join the navy. Though preferring otherwise, his mother wisely yielded when she saw the bent of her boy's mind, and she requested the Representative from Darien to secure him an appointment as midshipman in the United States navy, and through Hon. Thomas Butler King the appointment was secured.

John McIntosh Kell joined the Falmouth under command of a relative, Capt. James McKay McIntosh, and his first trip was to Pensacola, Fla. In the War between the States he was closely associated with Admiral Raphael Semmes in the cruises of the Sumter and the Alabama, and in his book, "Recollections of a Naval Life," he gives many interesting facts in regard to the sinking of the Alabama. His story of this in embodied in "Battles and Leaders of the Civil War," issued by the Century Publishing Company. It was on the Sumter that the first Confederate flag was unfurled on the ocean. After the sinking of the Alabama, Captain Kell returned to the South and was given command of the ironcald Richmond, on the James River.

He was a man highly honored and greatly beloved by all who knew him. His last days were spent in Griffin, Ga., surrounded by a loving wife and devoted and happy children and grandchildren. He died in 1900.

SOURCE: Confederate Veteran Magazine, August, 1916.

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