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February 8, 1924

McDonald PA Record

Samuel KELLY Bio

March 1, 1840, Samuel KELLY was born in County Derry, just thirty miles from the city of Belfast. He is the fourth son of a family of six children born to Thomas and Betty Jane PORTER KELLY. Mr. KELLY is a descendant of a family widely known for their health, thrift, and longevity. His mother died when aged 102 years. A brother, Thomas, aged 100 years, lives in Ireland.

Mr. KELLY was the only member of his family to leave Ireland. He came to America when aged 27 years. While at home he worked as a weaver in the linen mills—he began when only a “little tad in petticoats” to wind bobbins, working up at the trade until 18 years old. His parents were farmers, who raised potatoes as their main crop. Mr. KELLY tells of once when the crops failed, how scarce food was, they only had a small quantity of meal to make the mush for their supper. He recalls how their mother cooked the mush, divided it so each might have his share, but there was not enough to fill the hungry, growing children, yet it was all they had. When they clamored and cried for more their mother quietly prayed the evening prayer, put them to bed, saying, “Go to sleep, trusting God will provide enough and plenty for breakfast.” When morning and breakfast time came they had the meal and potatoes too. The good mother had arisen that morning at four, gone out among the farmers and secured the food. Mr. KELLY says that is the nearest he ever came to real want and as a true lesson that “The Lord will provide.”

Mr. KELLY’s father was sick for three years before he died, when it seemed the end was near he called his children to him to bid them farewell. As he took the hand of Samuel, his youngest son, he said, “My boy, you are the only one who will leave Ireland, you are a wanderer.” True were his words. Fifty-seven years ago Samuel KELLY landed at Quebec, Canada. He went to Philadelphia, where he worked for two years helping build the streets. Then he came to Midway, at that time called Egypt.

It was in Quebec that he first saw Negroes. When he came to work under the tipple at the Walnut hill mines he worked with Ben FAIRFAX, a runaway slave, who was then a teamster on the tramway. The poor fellow had cut off his fingers at the first joint, so he could escape from picking cotton down in the South. Many people will recall old Ben FAIRFAX.

On December 23, 1869, the Rev. D. S. KENNEDY united Samuel KELLY and Angeline Elizabeth LYNK in marriage at the home of the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jackson LYNK, who lived in the log house on what is now known as the Joseph TYLOR farm. Mr. and Mrs. KELLY began housekeeping in a log farmhouse that stood where the Midway National Bank is now located. To this couple were born six children: Rachel, Martha, Thomas, Margaret, Minnie, and Juliet. Mrs. KELLY died March 13, 1899.

Mr. KELLY is the only living charter member of the Midway Valley Lodge 888, I. O. O. F. He was initiated in the Oakdale lodge almost fifty years ago. Mr. KELLY is also the oldest member of the Centre United Presbyterian church, having been faithful in attendance was well enough to be out. (sic)

After almost thirty year’s absence he went home to see his family. They did not know him, but it was truly a time of great rejoicing when he made himself known. Mr. KELLY made another visit of six months back to “Old Erin” about fifteen years ago.

When talking about Ireland and his childhood he tells of his first shoes. He went in his bare feet to Merrifeal to a cobbler by name of John PEACOCK, who measured his feet and made the shoes. They cost eight shillings, equal to two dollars in our money. That was a very large expenditure eighty years ago for a child’s shoes.

Mr. KELLY has been retired from active business for the past thirteen years. He makes his home with his daughter, Mrs. Rachel DOUMONT. He has thirteen grandchildren and two great grandchildren, who are very proud of “Grandpap KELLY” and that he is the oldest man in Midway. Mr. KELLY quietly enjoys his pipe by the open fireplace, talks over olden times with his many old friends, and enjoys the visits of his pastor, Dr. R. W. NAIRN.

He reads his Bible and the newspapers without the aid of glasses.

Samuel KELLY is a true son of Ireland. Although lacking but a few days of being eighty-four years old he is as distinguished looking, as straight and broad shouldered as many men half his age. He has worked hard, and earned the right to a peaceful, happy old age.

February 6, 1924 V. A. L.

 

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     These newspaper items were researched and typed by Victoria Hospodar Valentine for the over the course of 5 years.  Vicki had submitted hundreds of articles to the PAWASHIN-L@rootsweb.com mailing list and other Lists.

     Her work is presented here in the McDonald, PA section of this website.  Please use the links to navigate or use on-site search engines to locate articles.  

 

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