Why Wasn’t Martin Kelly Living in His Boardinghouses in the 1870s?

Why Wasn’t Martin Kelly Living in His Boardinghouses in the 1870s?

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Yesterday, I wrote a post for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks concerning my 3rd great grandfather, Martin Kelly.  As with all things genealogy, I started writing about an attempted murder and I ending up thinking about boardinghouses.  Specifically, the boardinghouses Martin Kelly owned.

In the San Francisco Chronicle article about the shooting, it stated that Martin Kelly had run the Six Mile House and Seven Mile House on Mission Road for 20 years.  That meshes with tax assessor recorders I found for Martin Kelly.  An 1865 report, shows that he already owned the 7 Mile House on Mission Road.

This made me wonder about what I knew about the Kelly family and where they lived.  I’ve done extensive research in San Francisco City Directories.  I know that Martin Kelly lived on Jessie Street from the 1850s until mid 1870s.  Then, after his wife’s death, he lived at 27 Minna where his brother-in-law, Patrick Dolan also lived.

As I was going through the online newspapers, my mind wandered and I did a search for the address 27 Minna.  This is what I found in the Daily Alta Newspaper, 19 Jul 1876:

1876 Ad for the Nevada House

It was a hotel called “Nevada House”.  It accepted gentlemen with wives and gentlemen.  I assume a woman otherwise not attached was not allowed.

I decided to check on 27 Minna in a city directory. The Nevada House was not owned by Martin Kelly or Patrick Dolan.

This makes me wonder.  For a man, who by the 1870 owned at least two boardinghouses and owned other pieces of property in San Francisco, why was he paying rent to live under someone else’s roof?  I haven’t found Martin Kelly in the 1880 census, but I found the Six Mile House.  His brother, John Kelly, was running that boardinghouse.

There might be logical reasons as to why he didn’t live in his own boardinghouses.  His closest one was 6 miles out on Mission road.  Perhaps he had other business dealings within San Francisco city limitswhich made it difficult for him to live so far out of the way.  In 1880, that was an all day trip!

I know that by the mid 1880s Martin was living at either the Six or Seven Mile House.  His address is given in city directories as Mission Road near the County Line, which would be about where his boardinghouses were located.  They are mentioned in newspaper articles and obituaries as well.

Unless some record shows up in the skimpy offerings for the city of San Francisco, I guess I will always have to wonder why a man would waste money paying rent when he could provide himself a place to sleep for free.

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