Saturday, September 28, 2013

Back to the Main Highway

Like a weary explorer, returning from travels to a distant land, I’ve completed my journey through the twin Kelly families of 1880s Fort Wayne, Indiana. I surveyed all the possibilities for actual relationship between John Kelly and the man by the name of Timothy Kelly who co-owned his family plot in the city's Catholic Cemetery. Despite what looked like promising paths (but turned out to be rabbit trails), I return nearly empty-handed. With the exception of the ecstatic moment when I uncovered a report revealing the names of Timothy’s parents, I unearthed no momentous discovery.

I still don’t know how—or if—John and Timothy Kelly are relatives.

I’ve set this puzzle aside before, and it looks like I’ll have to put it to bed again for another year. Some different angles I can use to unravel the mystery will pop up in future brainstorming sessions, and I’ll be back at it again. It is always worth another try.

While closing the chapter on the Timothy Kelly family, I still have some unfinished business regarding the side of the Kelly family that I do know is ours. Returning to the burial records for that family plot at the Catholic Cemetery in Fort Wayne, I’ve run down the list for the burials connected with Timothy’s family, and then continued to pursue those members of his family who were buried elsewhere.

Starting tomorrow, though, I need to do the same for those burials in that family plot that belong to John Kelly, and then, as I did with Timothy’s family, explore those members of John Kelly’s family who were not buried in this particular plot.

All told, of the nine buried in the Kelly family plot, four were Timothy’s, four were John’s, and one—baby Willie—leaves me clueless about which Kelly couple were his parents. We’ve already discussed John’s son Timothy’s tragic premature death. Though John Kelly and his wife, Johanna, have been mentioned in several posts over the last few months, I’d like to include more detail about each of them in the next few days’ posts. And the baby of the family—also named John—will get a page of his own, too.

Beyond that, we’ll need to explore what else can be found about the remaining members of the John Kelly family. Though they are not buried in this specific family plot, they also lived and died in Fort Wayne. Two of them—Mary and Patrick—went on to marry and have families of their own, adding yet more stories to the lineup of future posts.

And, of course, we will need to revisit the one whose story got this whole exploration launched in the first place: Catherine, daughter of John and Johanna, who married John Kelly Stevens and gave birth to the Will Stevens we spent so much time with, about this same time two years ago.


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