Monday, October 28, 2013

Another Patrick

Mary Kelly Phillips may have married a man by the name of Patrick, but that wasn’t her first opportunity to become accustomed to calling that name. Mary grew up with a younger brother by that same name.

While Mary’s parents—John and Johanna Falvey Kelly—arrived in Fort Wayne from Ireland along with Mary and her older brother and sister, it was her younger brother Patrick who became the delineating mark to help the family recall the date of their arrival in the New World. Mary’s March, 1867, birth made her the last of the children added to the family in whatever unknown part of the family’s origins in County Kerry, Ireland. In contrast to the nebulous report of his sister’s arrival, Patrick’s arrival in July, 1869, was duly recorded as an Allen County, Indiana, event.

Being the first of a new generation of Kellys born in the new country, Patrick undoubtedly developed a different perspective than his immigrant older brother and sisters. And yet, being surrounded by a household of relatives who remembered the hardships of the old country, he most certainly bore the effects of those experiences, too—everything from his teenage brother’s tragic death and the loss of his sister Catherine as a new mother, to the more recent episode of his brother-in-law’s tragic end while at work one night.

That new generation was not immune to those hardships nor the legacy of their memory. Patrick, as we’ll see, had a life filled not only with the trademark uplifted Irish outlook on life, but with his own set of sadnesses and difficulties. He and his wife raised eight children—seven of whom, thankfully, outlived him. He did that all on a civil servant’s salary as a city waterworks department employee, a goldilocks existence that proved to be not too little—but not too much, either.

Studying Patrick T. Kelly’s line led me to some documentation—obtained easily enough by genealogical efforts—which revealed details that make me wonder whether I now know more than the family’s immediate descendants might know about Patrick’s situation. On the other hand, of all the extended Kelly family that I have researched (besides our own line which descends from Patrick’s older sister Catherine Kelly Stevens), Patrick’s is the only line of descendants with whom I’ve made personal connections.

Born and raised in Fort Wayne, Patrick was educated at Saint Patrick’s school in town. And yet, though spending his entire life in the city in which he was born, he somehow met and married a woman from Logansport—a woman who, leaving her family behind in that town seventy five miles away, brought her own unfortunate story with her.


  1. I hear scary organ music in the background... a sense of impending doom fills me... when I read " brought her own unfortunate story with her."

    The bad times forge us - and make the good times all the better - but there seems to be so many bad times for some...

    1. I gain such an appreciation for what our ancestors were able to accomplish, despite the remarkable hardships--and still manage to stay alive--when I delve into these historic vignettes of everyday people.

      You are right, Iggy, though we don't like to admit it: the bad times forge us...but yes, it seemed there were so many bad times for people in those times. They endured so many hardships we never have to face, often owing to the many conveniences we now take for granted.

  2. P.s., "which revealed details that make me wonder whether I now know more than the family’s immediate descendants might know about Patrick’s situation"

    It would NOT surprise me if you did - you are such a thorough, dedicated researcher. :)

    1. A post script that popped up after I wrote that: thankfully, the very next day, I got an email from a Kelly descendant who mentioned this very specific situation I had in mind, and that she--and presumably others in the family's descendants--were aware of that very issue. I can now breathe a sigh of relief that I wasn't going to be divulging anything that would be an unfortunate surprise for any descendants.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...