Sunday, December 13, 2009

Kelly monument at Calvary Cemetery in Lincoln, Nebraska


I vividly recall the first time I visited the Kelly family plot at Calvary Cemetery in Lincoln, Nebraska. Here I found my great-great grandmother, Mary Casey, wife of William D. Kelly. I felt so connected to them after this first visit. Many of the other family members are buried here - although the graves are unmarked or else the stones have long since sunk into the ground. My other family members in this area of Calvary include my great grandparents, Daniel Kelly and Mary "Minnie" Welch Kelly, who lived near Greenwood, Nebraska and in the Mill Precinct of Lancaster County, Nebraska; Dan's brother Michael C. Kelly and his wife, Mary "Mollie" Kelleher, who were killed in a car-train accident near Greenwood, Nebraska. Mollie had been married to Dan and Michael's brother, William, until his death.

Nearby is Dan's sister, Mary Kelly Fitzgerald, wife of John Fitzgerald. He's another of the "in-laws" who has always fascinated me. He was one of the first, if not the first, millionaire in Nebraska. He was a railroad contractor and banker in both Cass County (Plattsmouth and Greenwood) and Lincoln. There is no visible stone for John Fitzgerald.

For a short biography of John Fitzgerald, visit the interactive site, Gilded Age Plains City. Once you begin to look around other parts of that web site, I challenge you to be able to spend no less than an hour reading the stories, looking at the photos and exploring the interactive maps of the Lincoln of that age. This is, by far, one of the most entertaining and educational histories of the capitol city that I've encountered.

Every time I visit the Kelly-Fitzgerald plot at Calvary, I feel as though I am transported back in time - to a period ranging from the 1880s through the deaths of Dan and Minnie in the early 1940s, well before I was born. This cemetery is on my route to and from work each day, so not a day goes by that I don't think about my family who settled in Nebraska 150 years ago.

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