In the midst of all the excitement over finding wedding announcements for both John Kelly Stevens’ daughter Catherine and son William, overlooked was an unobtrusive line tucked away on page four of the October 15, 1908, edition of The Fort Wayne Sentinel that I need to revisit.
Over the years, some newspaper editors have chosen to include headlines from previous decades as a prompt for the community to collectively walk down memory lane. Perhaps, on occasion, your newspaper has borrowed this same type of device.
Evidently, the Sentinel employed that editorial habit in 1908, with a column entitled, “Twenty Five Years Ago.” Perhaps in hopes of fanning a spark of community interest to belie the slow news day that it surely must have been, the column title was coupled with the redundant subtitle: “What the Sentinel Had to Say About Persons and Events Twenty-Five Years Ago.”
On this particular day in 1908, however, among the other entries sure to catch their readers’ eye, was this one melancholy note, made even sadder in reflection over the two weddings that flanked the announcement:
...Marriage licenses issued: ...John K. Stevens and Kitty Kelly...Not a typo, not an editorial faux pas, it was a quite accurate report of what happened in our John Kelly Stevens' life, twenty five years prior to that time. While I'm not sure what the unnamed Sentinel reporter hoped to achieve by including that one detail in his column—and while I don't even know what thought John Kelly himself gave to the event on that day, twenty five years later—I think this would be sufficient prompt for us to take the promised detour from the Stevens side of the family to explore John Kelly Stevens' connections with the Kelly family of Fort Wayne, Indiana.