Hannah Rusk was born October 22, 1859 to parents William and Sarah Jane (McLaughlin) Rusk. She grew up at Concession 10, Lot 7 Elderslie Township. The family moved into Paisley for William to manufacture his patented “Rusk” pump at the Paisley Pump Works.
Hannah left Paisley to pursue her dream of becoming an artist. She attended art schools in Hamilton, Toronto, Boston and Philadelphia before her training was completed at the Academie Colarossi in Paris, France. Her specialty was miniatures (floral and portrait) but she also did landscape paintings.
When in Paris, four of her paintings hung in the Paris Salon, an honour that comes to few Canadians.
While in Paris, Hannah also met her future husband, Reverend Samuel P. Kelly, an American Episcopal minister. On March 1, 1897 she married Samuel Philip Kelly in Philadelphia.
After the death of her husband in 1915, Hannah returned to Hamilton where she had previously operated an Art Studio. She was active in the Women’s Art Association of Hamilton and gained a reputation for her work on ivory. Hannah Rusk Kelly died at her home on James Street South on June 19, 1935. She is buried in the Paisley cemetery.