Franklin Early Chelf was the son of William Milton Chelf and Judia Burke of Culpeper County, Virginia. In 1831 they brought their family to Marion County, Kentucky, the Bradfordsville area. Frank married Delilah Dickens about 1843. In the 1850 census they are listed, 29 and 27 respectively, with children Simon, 6, William, 5, and Mary 1. Frank is listed as a cabinet workman. By 1870 the family moved to Casey County, where they remained. One son, H. E. Chelf, was born December 15, 1855, but is not listed in any census records. Other children were Logan, Thomas, Amanda (born November 18, 1853), Henrietta, James F. (born July 4, 1857), Julia B., Lily D., George and Dolly. Delilah died in 1902 and Frank in 1903. They are buried at Antioch Christian Cemetery in rural Casey County.
from Perrin’s Kentucky – A History of the State, 1887
William J. and Judia (Burke) Chelf were natives of Culpeper County, Virginia, and of English descent. William M. was born August 6, 1797, and was educated and married in his native county and at an early age learned the fulling business, serving an apprenticeship of four years, after which he followed his trade for several years. In 1831 he came to Kentucky with his wife and family of six sons – Franklin Early, Littleton Peroy, William U., John Wesley, Fletcher and Willis G. Chelf, accomplishing his journey over the Blue Ridge and Cumberland Gap in a four-horse wagon. He first settled at Bradfordsville, Marion County, where he erected and operated a carding mill, which was driven by an old-fashioned tread-wheel. In 1837 he removed to what is now Taylor (then Green) County, and bought a farm on Robinson’s Creek, some two miles above the present village of Mannsville. There he engaged in the cabinet business in connection with farming until 1844, when he sold out and returned to Bradfordsville, where he again engaged in the carding business and also in grinding corn. This mill was also driven by a tread-wheel. In 1852 he brought in steam power and erected a flouring mill; in 1858 he sold the mill and removed to Green River Knob, Casey County, where he bought a farm and engaged in agricultural pursuits in connection with the distilling business until 1863, when he sold a part of the farm, and later made his home with his children. His death occurred at the home of William U., at Rolla, Adair County, December 11, 1881. He and wife were members first of the Baptist and later of the Christian Church. He was also a bright member of the Masonic fraternity and was buried with the honors of the order. His father, Elias Chelf, was also a native of Virginia and was a soldier in the War of 1812. In 1832 he came to Kentucky and settled near Bradfordsville, where he resided until his death, in 1836, at the age of about eighty-five. He married Miss Katie Weaver, of Virginia. Mrs. Judia (Burke) Chelf was born July 19, 1807, and died November 7, 1881. Her father, William Burke, was a native of Virginia, where he was educated, married and engaged in agricultural pursuits all his life. The Burke family were for many generations among the first families of the old commonwealth, and also among her most wealthy planters.
Note – Fulling is a step in woolen clothmaking which involves cleansing the cloth to remove impurities and make it thicker.