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Book details
  • Genre:HISTORY
  • SubGenre:Modern / 19th Century
  • Language:English
  • Pages:274
  • Paperback ISBN:9781667817736

Changing Clothes

A Journey of Discovery: The Life and Times of Thomas Benton Kelly

by Ben Kelly

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In 1875, David Franklin Stark left his home in Lexington, Illinois to look for work in cities in Illinois, Ohio, and Tennessee. In a time where the long depression collapsed banking systems and bankrupted businesses, unemployment and homelessness were at an all-time high. Out of desperation, David joined the army in Nashville. Suddenly, he deserted on August 14, 1875. David Franklin Stark disappeared from all official records between 1875 to 1887, when he marries Missouri Jane Sheppard Smith. His name resurfaces on a marriage license as Thomas Benton Kelly. Where was he during the period from 1875 to 1887? When did he change his name? Family lore places him in Texas, Oklahoma Territory and Kansas as a cowboy during 1885-1887.
David Franklin Stark was born in Highland County, Ohio in 1851. His father moved the family to a farm near Lexington, Illinois in 1857. A long economic depression began in 1873 with a banking collapse and thousands of men became unemployed, lost farms, and generally became indigent. David left home looking for work and ended up in Nashville, Tennessee where, out of desperation, he joins the army in March 1875. However, family history has him as a cowboy on the Great Western Cattle Trail for some of that time. To get him from 1875 to 1887, the author has created people, conversations, letters, and places to move him from Nashville to Ozark County. All persons and events that cannot be documented are referenced in the end notes. Additional facts may come to light that suggest a different scenario than the one purposed by the author. He deserted on August 14,1875 from Nashville, Tennessee. He was never captured nor court martialed. He is never again to appear in official records as David Franklin Stark. In 1887, David Franklin Stark appears in Ozark County Records as Thomas Benton Kelly when he marries Missouri Jane Sheppard Smith. It is not known what he did between 1875 and 1887.
About the author
Ben Kelly was born and raised in Oklahoma. He received a Bachelors degree in English from the University of Florida in 1964. He earned a Masters degree from Florida State University in Speech Pathology in 1968 and a PhD in Hearing Science from Case-Western Reserve University in 1971. In 1970, Ben served as an Audiologist and Assistant Professor at Southwest Texas State University. In 1975, Ben served as an Associate Professor at East Tennessee State University. In 1979, Ben became a Full Professor and Director of the Audiology Clinic at California State University Fresno. Ben published several articles in professional journals and a textbook in Clinical Audiology. After retiring from university teaching in 1994, Ben conducted private practice in audiology and was a consultant through three separate private companies to the California Medicaid program. Since 2010, Ben has concentrated his energies in genealogical research, writing and publication.