Monday, September 26, 2016

Possibly Family;
Certainly Co-Worker

In reviewing what can be found about each of the members of the Timothy Kelly familyin hopes of uncovering any clues as to their connection to my husband's Kelly family in Fort Wayneit was easy to trace each of the unmarried children buried in the Kelly plot. Other than the one puzzle over baby Williamwhose child was he?the burial details for Timothy and his wife Ellen, as well as for sons Timothy and Andrew, were straightforward. The records for each of the burials in section C, family plot number 232, were easily accessible through the database for the Catholic Cemetery at the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center.

Still, there were two more children who were not buried in the family plot co-owned by Timothy Kelly and my husband's second great grandparents, John and Johanna Falvey Kelly. These were the married children of Timothy and Ellen: their son Richard and their daughter Deborah. We'll discuss Richard today, and continue with Deborah tomorrow.

Of the children I've been able to locate for Timothy and Ellen Hannan Kelly, Richard was the fifth-born of the sixth, with Deborah being the only one younger than he. Arriving in Fort Wayne on October 4, 1871, he likely squirmed his way into the humble family home on Brandriff Street as best he could.

Growing up, Richard and his siblings likely had the typical experience of poor Irish-Americans, as children of railroad workers. The church was a fixture in family lifeRichard's parents were long-time members of Saint Patrick's Catholic Church in Fort Waynebut more ever-present than even that was the need to work for survival.

Before Richard had reached the age of four, his mother had passed away. It wasn't until he was nearly nine that his father married againto another Irish immigrant who hadn't even arrived in America until the very year in which Richard's own mother had died.

By the time Richard was in his twenties, he had followed in his father's footsteps and was working as a brakeman for the railroads. In 1896, he married Louise Miller, daughter of German immigrants, and also took her sister Rosa into his household. It wasn't until 1905 that their only child was borna daughter they named Helen.

The 1910 census provided the clue that Richard had sprung for the opportunity to change careers. At some time before that point, he had been hired by the Fort Wayne Police Department as a patrolman, beginning not only the career that spanned his lifetime, but one which intertwined with that of a specific other Kelly descendant of interest: John Kelly Stevens, the great grandfather of my husband.

In scouring the newspapers of Fort Wayne for clues about John Kelly Stevens' day-to-day experiences on the job, I'd often run into mentions of Richard Kelly. I often wondered why John Kelly Stevens emphasized the Kelly part of his name so much; and wonder if it was to point to the relationship with this other Kelly manrelative or notwho worked in the same office. (Often, John Kelly Stevens would simply be referred to, in these news reports, as "Kelly Stevens," omitting the "John" entirely.)

Through this foray into the day-to-day reporting about cops' beats and downtown news, I learned not only about John Kelly Stevens' work, but also that of Richard Kelly. Though the census record seldom gave Richard's occupational title as anything more than patrolman or "police clerk," he was sometimes addressed by news reporters as Captain Kelly.

Perhaps because, unlike his siblings buried in the Kelly family plot, Richard was married, he was buried in a different plot at the Fort Wayne Catholic Cemetery. He died on February 22, 1945, in Fort Wayne, and was buried alongside his wife, who predeceased him, in section A, lot number 438.

Among his siblings, Richard apparently had one other distinction in the Kelly family: he was the only one to have any of the grandchildren of Timothy and Ellen Kelly. Though both Timothy and Ellen were, by then, both passed on themselves, their only grandchild, Helen, married an Indiana man named George Horton, herself having a daughter she named Margaret Joan. While Helen passed away in 1987, and Margaret in 1993, the sole remaining legacy of descendants of Timothy and Ellen is represented by Margaret's five children.

Above: Undated (before 1914) watercolor of a hellebore by Irish botanical artist Lydia Shackleton; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.


  1. Replies
    1. Yes, and because these are the living descendants, that makes it even harder to determine where they are--unless, of course, they coincidentally happen to choose to do a DNA test of their own. That would be a happy surprise to find!

  2. It's the living ones you want to "find"!!! :)

    1. Yes! I would love it if one of them showed up in my husband's DNA matches!


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