The following newspaper articles discuss my great-great grandfather, Michael Kelly. The first article was published about his death in 1921. The second was apparently a history piece written in the mid-1980’s. Based partially on information in the first article, I believe that Michael’s birth year has been erroneously reported to be 1849. Instead, I believe he was born in 1848.
Grand Old Man Passes Away (from Bancroft Blade, August 26, 1921)
After months of patient suffering, Michael Kelly, a pioneer resident of this community, passed peacefully from this life Monday evening at 8 o’clock at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Alvin Browning, at the age of 72 years, 9 months and 21 days. Last spring he contracted a bad cold, which resulted in a serious attack of yellow jaundice, which with complications finally broke his health down and he succumed (sic) to the inevitable as above stated. The funeral was held at the Holy Cross church yesterday morning at 10:30 o’clock and burial made in the Catholic cemetery. Complete obituary next week.
Broke First Furrow in Neligh Township (from Heritage of Bancroft 1884-1984, A Centennial Project)
Michael Kelly, son of John and Ellen Kelly, was born in Ireland, November 1849. He had one brother, Patrick. Michael immigrated to Canada at age 12, remained six years and came to Cuming County. In 1872, he and Hannah Evans, a native of Ireland, were married. They had three children: Mary, Ellen, and Robert. In 1867, Michael Kelly homesteaded a quarter section in Neligh Township. He built a dugout 10 by 12 feet which he covered with prairie sod. A year later, he built a small frame house where he lived for six years until it burned. He built again and made substantial improvements upon his land, by adding a three acre grove. He broke the first furrow in Neligh Township. In 1881, he leased his farm and engaged in the mercantile business at Bancroft, where he carried a general stock of dry good and groceries. John Ronk, J. Cromin, J.R. Kelly and Miss May were clerks. The Central Telephone Office was located in this store.
The first article, if we assume the data to be factual as reported, can help us make a strong assumption about Michael Kelly’s actual date of birth. The article was apparently published on August 26, 1921, which was a Friday. Since the article states that he passed away on the previous Monday, we can deduce that his date of death was August 22, 1921. Assuming they accurately knew his date of birth, and used a straightforward calculation for his lifespan (72 years, 9 months, 21 days), we can conclude that Michael was born November 1, 1848. This contradicts other information we have about his birth year (US Census 1900, second newspaper article above), but is consistent with answers recorded on a US Census Form (1870) that I believe shows he and his brother Patrick in Cuming County, Nebraska.
The second article gives us a lot of information related to family members. Michael’s parents were named John and Ellen. His first wife’s name was Hannah Evans, with whom he had three children (Mary, Ellen, and Robert).
The original source documents are provided below. Most browsers will let you “right-click” on these links and then “Save Link As” to save a copy of these documents to your computer.