Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Baby of the Family

Of all the children of Timothy and Ellen Hannan Kelly, only Richard and Deborah were not buried in the family's plot at the Catholic Cemetery in Fort Wayne. Best I can determine, this was mainly because each of them had married and was buried with a spouse. We saw that yesterday, in the case of Richard and his wife Louise. Today, we'll take a brief look at the life of the youngest member of the Kelly family, Deborah.

Timothy and Ellen's youngest daughter arrived in the Kelly's home in Fort Wayne on September 29, 1873. The 1880 census saw fit to round that to an arrival date of 1874. Close enough, not only for age, but also for spelling; the enumerator listed her as "Dabora"and perhaps, that was how the Irish preferred to pronounce it.

By the time this youngest member of the Kelly household was seen again in census records, she had already been married. The honors went to a young man from Logan County, Ohio, named Frank Pence, whom she wed on the first of June, 1898.

The couple spent most of their married years living in Fort Wayneaccording to the 1900 census, along with Frank's mother Sarah and sister Alliebut moved back to Ohio before 1920. Apparently, their move to Toledo was for a business opportunity, for the 1920 census indicated he was the merchant operating a retail shop for cigars. Fine cigars, I'd presume.

Whether lack of business success or other reasons convinced them to forsake Toledo, the Pences returned to Fort Wayne before the 1930 census, and remained there until their passingFrank in 1944 and Deborah following soon after in 1945.

Unlike the rest of the Kelly family, Deborah and her husband were not buried in the Catholic Cemetery at all. I found their burial, thanks to the databases at the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center, at the Lindenwood Cemetery, one of the oldest cemeteries in Allen County, Indiana.

Like each of the other Kelly siblings I could findwith the sole exception of Richard and his wife LouiseDeborah had no children.

Now, beside the descendants of Richard and Louise, I know of no others. That, however, doesn't mean the search is complete. There are yet two other daughters to be accounted for, plus one other female listed in the Kelly household, for which I've had great difficulty finding convincing documentation.

Our next task, then, will be to see what can be found for the two remaining daughters of Timothy and Ellentheir eldest two children, Catherine and Mary. Once we've satisfied ourselves with that search, we'll move on to figure out what can be determined for the other young woman showing up in the Kelly household in the 1900 censusa "daughter" named Margaret.

And, to learn anything more about the Kelly family, we'll also have to include a look at Timothy's second wife, Mary, whom he married in 1880. She, it turns out, may be the one to lead us back to her origins in Ireland—and not only that, but help with our current puzzle untangling a couple DNA matches which surely lead back to this family's roots.

Above: Portion of the Allen County, Indiana, marriage record of Frank C. Pence and Deborah Kelly, courtesy FamilySearch.org.  


  1. So they are a dead end, no kids...died a year apart when they were both nearing 70 years old. Sometimes it helps me to put things in perspective by age:)

    1. Good point on those mile markers...age, circumstances. Yes, bottom line--at least from a DNA testing perspective--no children remained.

  2. All this "childlessness" seems odd. Wonder why?

    1. Do you remember that other Kelly line I researched a while back? I call them my Lafayette Kellys to differentiate with these Fort Wayne Kellys. I traced their entire line of descent for each of the siblings of my husband's second great grandmother, (the Lafayette) Catherine Kelly, and several of the siblings had no children at all--or their children had no descendants. At the time, I wondered if it were physiological fallout from being victims of the famine.


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