An early African American physician in Covington. Adam Kelley was born in Carthage, North Carolina on July 16, 1860 to John Kelly and Julia Miller Kelly. He was enrolled in the public schools of Carthage in 1870 and remained until 1880. In that year he entered Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina. He graduated from Bennett in 1892 and then began studying medicine at Meharry College in Nashville, Tennessee. He graduated from Meharry in 1896. He financed his education by working in the various northern resorts during the summer months.
In June 1898, Kelly married Mary E. Wendell of Nashville Tennessee. This marriage produced eight children. Kelly first appears in the 1898-1899 Covington City Directory. At that time, he worked and resided at 56 E. 3rd Street. By 1900, he moved to 516 Scott Blvd.
In 1919, Adam D. Kelly and his youngest son Garland were shot in their home while sleeping. Garland, age 4, died from the wounds. The assailant left the firearm that was used in the attack. The assailant, however, was not found or brought to justice.
Kelly was active in civic affairs in Covington. He was a member of the Odd Fellows, Eastern Star, Knights of Pythias, the Elks, the United Brothers of Friendship and a 33rd Degree Mason.
Adam D. Kelly died on February 26, 1934 at the age of 73. He was survived by his widow, Mary E. Kelly. Other survivors included his sons, Adam D. Kelly Jr., Eichler Kelly and Coleman Kelly. Funeral services were conducted at the Ninth Street M.E. Church with burial at Linden Grove Cemetery.
Kentucky Death Certificate 1934; Linden Grove Cemetery Records; Kentucky Post, July 23, 1919 and p. 1 July 24, 1919, p. 1; Kentucky Times-Star, March 1, 1934, p. 2; W.D. Johnson, Biographical Sketches of Prominent Negro Men and Women of Kentucky (Lexington 1897) pp. 30-31; Alvin C. Poweleit M.D. and James A. Schroer M.D., A Medical History of Campbell and Kenton Counties, p. 88.