Born in 1829 to one of Centerville’s most prosperous farmers, Jesse Kelsey Sr., Jesse Kelsey Jr. was the 9th of 12 children. He married Unity Stokes on September 4th, 1856, and lived on a farm in Centerville on the southwest corner of what is now Spring Valley Pike and Dayton-Lebanon Pike, near the Kroger Marketplace. In September of 1862, Jesse Jr. and Unity were expecting their first child.
On the night of September 7th, 1862, just 3 days after celebrating their 6th wedding anniversary, Unity woke up to see a man standing over her and Jesse Jr. while they slept. She woke Jesse Jr. up, and he shouted at the man, who then fired a pistol at him. Jesse Jr. rushed Unity out of the room to safety and was struck by another pistol shot, and fell to the ground, dead.