Category Archives: James George O’Kelly

Born: October 13, 1883 Monroe, Louisiana
Died: January 27, 1891 Monroe, Louisiana

Son of William Abram O’Kelly Sr. and Georgiana Dull Van Emburgh.

The family called him Sonny which was Malinda’s pet name for her son James George Van Emburgh for who the boy was named. He was seven years old when he led his pet goat and wagon across the railroad tracks near the family home. The goat’s foot became stuck in the tracks and James tried to free him but the wagon fell on it’s side and crushed the boy, instantly breaking his neck.

1888 I try to bear it patiently

Monroe, La December 31, 1888 to Hotel Dieu, New Orleans Louisiana

Malinda Dull Van Emburgh to her daughter Georgiana Van Emburgh O’Kelly

Dear Daughter

I wrote you a few lines to let you know how all your children are. The baby is growing fast and can eat everything that we give him and does not have collic and is getting so strong Aunt Mary and I can hardly hold him when he gets mad and all the other children keep well.

I am very sorry you improve slowly but you can hardly expect to improve much in a month and expect you fret so it weakens you and that keeps you from doing so well. I so much wish I could see you to see if you are looking any better than when you left home but time goes by so fast and spring will soon be here with pleasant weather and then you can come home and if you can’t come I will go to you with all the children and stay with you on the cot or rent a house and do our own house keeping. I hope to hear from you soon and am glad and very thankful that Mrs. Kline comes to see you . If you want any fresh butter or eggs I will send you some or anything you want let me know and I will try to get it for you. Sister Martha [Martha Dull Harrison] sais she would like to see you.

Mr. Sam Powel lost his life on the boat. I am so glad the disaster did not occur when you were on board.*

Times seems so lonely with out you but I try to bear it patiently and hope you will do the same. William reads all your letters to us all and addresses all my letters for me. I hope the weather will be good and you can go out as I think that will keep your mind imployed and keep you from grieving so much about home. Hoping you are feeling better this morning. I close the baby plays on the floor a good deal and enjoys it very much. Bootsey keeps well and Jennie and Sonnie are as heavy as lead.

Your Mother

*Burning of the John H. Hanna.

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1888 I wish I could see Mamma

Monroe, La December 29, 1888 to Hotel Dieu, New Orleans

William Abram O’Kelly to his wife Georgiana Van Emburgh O’Kelly

Darling,

We received another letter from you last night and were glad to hear that you had been so long with out a back set. Yesterday was a beautiful cold day but this morning it woke up sleeting afterwards turned to rain and now it is threatening and cold. Ma took the children up town shopping Thursday evening yesterday Jennie went back and bought her a doll. Sonny seems to be the only one of the children to miss you. A day does not go by without his saying something about you or he will come up and lay his head in my lap and say I wish I could see Mamma don’t you Pop. All send love to you. I hope Tom is not going to be sick.

Your affectionate husband

William O’Kelly

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1888 Have you heard of the burning of the John Hanna

Advertisement for the the Hohn H. Hanna Ouachita Telegraph February 12, 1887

Advertisement for the the John H. Hanna
Ouachita Telegraph February 12, 1887

William Abram O’Kelly to his wife Georgiana Van Emburgh O’Kelly

Monroe, Louisiana December 27th 1888 to Hotel Dieu, New Orleans, Louisiana

My Darling My Love

Your letter of Sunday received last night. We were all glad to hear from you and that you had been out for a ride. The package has not come yet but look for it to day. We sent you a little box yesterday by express and paid all the charges. Aunt Bet [Elizabeth Dull] and Fannie [Francis Beasley Parker] sent some fruit cake almond cake and white cake and some sausage. They were in one end of the box. We sent the things in the other end.

I wrote you yesterday, but there was no mail agent and I gave the letter to a man to mail in Vicksburg and he may never think of it again. We had a very good day of it Christmas and a splendid dinner. As we sat down to dine Uncle [Henry O’Kelly] remarked now if Georgie was here how happy we would all be and that was the thought of us all.

We had a grand midnight mass and the little church [St. Matthew’s] was pretty well crowded a good many went to communion. I went to and you know darling that you were the one I thought of and prayed to the Infant Jesus to have mercy on and that you might soon be restored to your family for his greater glory. There was nothing to mar the ceremony and I think Father [Ludovic] Enaut was very well pleased with every thing. The children were delighted with their little presents and in the evening we took a long walk. I hope you will take as much out door exercise as possible.

Uncle wants to know if you are gaining any flesh and how you are looking. He is terrible impatient if the mail fails and we do not get your letters in time.

I think the baby [William Abram O’Kelly Jr.] is going to cut another tooth. Charley Bell [Charles R. Bell] returned Saturday and is going to work on the [rail] road again. When you get well enough to go about you might go down to see Father Conway. I think he is at St. Joseph’s convent on St. Philip Street. The Sisters may be able to tell you.

We have had splendid weather with the exception of a very hard rain on Christmas night about 8 o’clock. This morning is cold and bright.

I weighed Sonny [James George O’Kelly] this morning he weighed 40 pounds don’t you think that is doing well. Jennie [Jane Calderwood O’Kelly] is a terrible eater and looks as round as a ball. Boots [Mary Catherine O’Kelly] is doing well she cut her finger at breakfast this morning and then began to cry because the box with the shawls had not come. The baby is as saucy as he can be. Ma [Malinda Dull Van Emburgh] is enjoying our good health and Uncle [Henry O’Kelly] is about as well as usual.

I suppose you have heard of the burning of the John Hanna and the loss of Capt [James S.] Holmes and the clerk [Samuel Powell]. I thank God we made the trip safe. I was very watchful on the way down but the boat was not loaded very heavy at that time like she was when she burned.

Now darling I want you to take good care of your self take all the exercise possible and we will all pray God to help us. Darling I do not want you to have anymore of those crying spells. I want you to save all your strength. I think of you a great deal my love, of all the happy times we have had . Seven years is a long time but it seems so short when I look back over our married life. How happy we have been how God has blessed us how thankful we ought to be. Darling I would like to see you for a little while to kiss those pretty eyes. But it will not be long my precious praise God before we see each other again. What is a month or two, why some people have been years apart.

Now darling take good care of yourself. You are not forgotten by your little family for we pray for you morning and night. A  happy New Year for you is the wish of your loving and affectionate husband

William A. O’ Kelly

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1888 Ma had a splendid dinner for us.

Francis Elizabeth Beasley 1863 - 1934

Francis Elizabeth Beasley
1863 – 1934

William Abram O’Kelly to his wife Georgiana Van Emburgh O’Kelly

Monroe, Louisiana December 26th 1888 to Hotel Dieu, New Orleans, Louisiana

My Darling,

We have not had a letter from you since Sunday we all hope you are doing well and that you spend a very good Christmas. As for us we did very well. Ma [Malinda Dull Van Emburgh] had a splendid dinner for us we had a splendid turkey with celery out of the garden, four or five kinds of cake mini pies and many other things. There was only one drawback to our enjoyment one “loved one” our darling was not there to witness or participate in our pleasure, but we all thought of her and wish that she could be there.

Santa Clause brought Jennie [Jane Calderwood O’Kelly] a breast pin, stove and doll chair. Sonny [James George O’Kelly] got a train of cars Noahs Ark and frog and plenty of fine works. Bootsy [Mary Catherine O’Kelly] got a Rocking Chair a china tea set a doll chair and a train set. The baby [William Abram O’Kelly Jr.] only got a squeaking cat. The children enjoyed themselves hugely. They made a regular day of it. We send you a small box by express to day all charges are paid. Aunt Bet & Fannie* send the things on the side with the fruit cake.

Affectionately

WA O’Kelly

* “Aunt Bet & Fannie” are Georgiana’s aunt Elizabeth Dull and cousin Francis Beasley Parker.

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1888 I am almost certain to be the delegate to the convention

William Abram O’Kelly to his wife Georgiana Van Emburgh O’Kelly

Monroe, Louisiana December 24, 1888 to Hotel Dieu, New Orleans, Louisiana

My Dear wife,

I got your letter of the 21st yesterday and were glad to hear of your steady improvement. We hope that you will prove of great benefit. I want to hear of your having been on Canal Street. I know you would enjoy a short trip to that noted street. I did not think you would go to Tom’s [Thomas Swan O’Kelly] for Christmas it is just as well. I am almost certain to be the delegate to the convention*, but the election does not come off till the 1st Tuesday in January. Yesterday was a beautiful day and we all went to church. If you get tired staying there and want to come home get Tom to bring you up for I think that is the only way to get him up here. Sonny [James George O’Kelly] was delighted with his picture. He sends his love to Mrs. Palmer**. He remembered her. I wish you were here darling so that I could wish you a Merry Christmas but as it is I will wish you all that is implied by the words. You know how much I love you darling. I thought too of the seven short years that we were married. God bless you darling and make you well is my prayer all day long and when I wake at night. If a man’s constant prayer is worth anything my darling wife then that prayer is for you. Keep a good cheerful face darling and we will pray God with the assistance of the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph that all will yet be made right and that you will return to us in good health. God bless you. All join me in wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and you will not be forgotten either for something substantial we will send a small package by express.

Your loving husband

W. A. O’Kelly

* Convention of the Catholic Knights of America held in New Orleans February, 1889.

** “Mrs. Palmer” was also a patient of Hotel Dieu.

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1888 Charlie Crosley was killed here yesterday evening

William Abram O’Kelly to his wife Georgiana Van Emburgh O’Kelly

Monroe, Louisiana December 23, 1888 to Hotel Dieu, New Orleans, Louisiana

My Darling,

We got your letter yesterday morning and we were well pleased with the new that it contained we hope and pray that you may continue to improve every day. The children talk about you a good deal but Sonny [James George O’Kelly] misses you more than any of the others. The baby [William Abram O’Kelly Jr.] gets worse spoiled every day, but he is getting fat.

Charlie Crosley was killed here yesterday evening in Jim Norman’s saloon by a gambler. The man claimed to have down it in self defense.*

We all seem to be enjoying tolerable good health, bad colds about the worst. I hope you are having good weather so you can go out a little. We look for a letter about every other day.

All send love.

Yours affectionately

W.A. O’Kelly

* Charles Clayton Crosley was a young planter of Ouachita Parish that was shot and killed by Thomas R. Dennis who was running a picture lottery. A dispute arose between the two about the game when Crosley drew his pistol. Dennis was the quickest, however, and shot Crosley four times resulting in instant death. Denis had previously been accused and acquitted of two similar charges of murder and did not deny the charges simply stating that he “never attempted to run over anybody and that he allowed no man to run over him.” Dennis was not convicted of the murder of Charley Crosley whose wife Kate gave birth to a baby girl just six days after his death.

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1888 Uncle thinks we ought to get a letter from you every night

William Abram O’Kelly to his wife Georgiana Van Emburgh O’Kelly

Monroe, La December 21, 1888 to Hotel Dieu, New Orleans, La

My Darling

I did not write to you yesterday because Ma [Malinda Dull Van Emburgh] wrote. I thought one letter would be as much as you would care to read. Did you remember that yesterday was the baby’s [William Abram O’Kelly Jr.] birthday. Uncle [Henry O’Kelly] gave him a quarter for a present. I think that was all the little fellow got. We are having a little taste of winter, yesterday morning the thermometer was down to 25 and everything was froze up tight and last night was not much better. I went hunting yesterday and killed four ducks. The baby is getting to be a terrible little fellow. Do you remember how Bootsy [Mary Catherine O’Kelly] used to rare back. Well the little fellow does the same only a good deal worse and he fights and kicks and screams like any thing. I had him for a while yesterday. I gave him back to Aunt Mary and he fought and kicked so I had to take him again. I tell you what he makes every body stand around. The other children seem to be in good health and all are lively. Bootsy had one of her crying spells yesterday but today, she is all right. I hope you have tried that gas* by this time and that it has benefited you. The Morrison’s** and Parkers*** are all well. I got a letter from Tom [Thomas Swan O’Kelly] last night saying he had got the turkey. Ma bought a turkey Thursday that she is going to kill for Sunday. She says the children want it. Sonny [James George O’Kelly] set the mouse traps and caught three mice. We were to have a big circus here last Saturday but the charges were too high and they would not show. I was glad of it. Uncle thinks we ought to get a letter from you every night and is very impatient till the mail comes in. We all want to hear from you often but do not worry yourself too much about writing. I hope you are able by this time to go about in town a little. There does not seem to be any news at least I have not heard any. Uncle, Ma and all the children join me in sending love and good wishes to you.

Your affectionate husband

William A O’Kelly

*artificial pneumothorax treatments.

** Malinda’s nephew George W. Morrison, his wife Florence Bell and their three oldest children James, Mary and John.

*** Malinda’s niece Francis ‘Fannie’ Beasley Parker, her husband Daniel Peyton Parker and their four oldest children Florence, Floyd, Dorothy and Orelle.

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