Category Archives: Mary Catherine O’Kelly

Born: February 27, 1885 Monroe, Louisiana
Died: September 13, 1968 Monroe, Louisiana

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

No one remembers why, but her nickname was Bootise and those close to her called her by that name all her life. Mary was a student and graduate of St. Hyacinth’s Academy where she taught for a time after graduating on June 18th, 1903. She was a student with a particular interest and chose to concentrate her studies on Louisiana history. Mary never married, it is said that through her long life, she mourned the loss of her fiance who was killed overseas in World war I and she never saw fit to love again.

When she was barely twenty years old, Mary walked into the Palace Department Store and asked for a job. She was a career woman ahead of her time and even her own sister Jennie would remind her that women were not meant to work for a living. Mary teased her sister retorting that the old days of the South were no more and laying about on the veranda while the men ran the plantation was not an option, someone had to work for a living if they were to keep the roof over their heads. Mary started with the department store as a ribbon clerk and made her way to the top-rung of the ladder, gained step by step through years of achievement and devotion to her work and loyalty to the firm she represented. As head buyer for both the gifts and silver departments, it was said that “her splendid discernment and familiar knowledge of the whims of the public where buying of novelties is concerned, she is capable of choosing between the chaff and the wheat thus satisfying all types and classes. ”

Even with her full-time career, Mary went above and beyond when it came to civic duties. She belonged to he Women`s Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion Auxiliary, the Fort Miro DAR, and the Catholic Daughters and Altar Society. She was active in the polio shot project in Monroe, the State Small Business Clinic and the Civil Defense work there. She was a charter member of the Monroe Business and Professional Women`s Club and on October 18, 1966 a day was set aside for her in Monroe in honor of the “lifelong resident who has given untiringly of her time on community projects and goals for the improvement of the city and it`s citizens.” To celebrate her achievement, 110 members and guests attended the Business and Professional Women’s Club banquet on the Hotel Francis roof.

Mary and her sister Jennie grew to be little old ladies in the home where they were born and outliving her sister, Mary was the last of the O’Kelly’s to live in the O’Kelly home. My grandmother cared for her aunts in their old age and tried her best to keep up the O’Kelly home until finally Mary was stricken with cancer and suffered a lengthy illness for which she was frequently hospitalized. Holding my grandmother’s hand, Mary passed away of pneumonia at St. Francis Hospital in Monroe on September 13th 1968. She was a life long member of St. Matthew’s Catholic Church where a mass was held in her memory and she was laid to rest in the Church cemetery.

1889 Let me know how your throat is

Monroe, Louisiana January 29th 1889 to Hotel Dieu, New Orleans, Louisiana

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

Dear Daughter

I arrived home without any trouble went to Mr. Theobald [1] and had breakfast with them and then ran over with Miss Mollie [2] to Mr. Marletts [3] for Bootsey to see her little nieces [4] and they both came back with her one holding on each hand and she was not afraid of any of them they are all very nice and kind people and I thanked Miss Mollie for you and told her you were not able to write and Mrs Theobald [5] said when you come home you must stop and stay two or three days with them and rest yourself and it will do you good.

I found all the children well except colds the baby was glad to see me he came to me and threw his little arms around my neck and held on to me like he was afraid I would leave him again. When you come home do not come the route I came home it is the roughest traveling I ever done some times it would nearly shake you to pieces. It was very cold when we got to Vicksburg and in the evening it cleared off and the sun came out and it felt very pleasant. Dear Child I hope you are having some nice weather and that you are feeling better and I hope you are not too low spirited the time is so short though I know you will find it long like my self. The children all like their things very well.

Sonny cried last night because I had not brought him a tie like his Pa’s and this morning when I asked him what I must tell you for him he said to tell you to get him a tie like his Pa’s if you feel like it. Let me know how your throat is.

I do not know if the Theobolds know Father Herfelt (maybe Herselt or Herbelt?) or not but they know a good deal about him and how he has been traveling about for the last three years. Lizzauers here when I got home and Fannie came the next day praying always that you may be better. I close.

Your Mother

P.S. Miss Mollie gave Bootsey a nice white rosary and she gave me an agnes (?) day

[1] George Peter Theobald of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Born 1832 Bavaria, Germany Died 1897 Vicksburg Mississippi. Husband of Mary Anna Klott.

[2] May Magdalene Theobald, daughter of George Peter Theobald and Mary Anne Klott. Born 1858 New Orleans, Louisiana Died 1926 Vicksburg, Mississippi.

[3] James Robert Marlett, husband of Laurette Theobold. Born 1860 Vicksburg, Mississippi Died 1901 Vicksburg, Mississippi.

[4] Wilhelmina and Elizabeth Marlett.

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Filed under Georgiana Dull Van Emburgh O'Kelly, James George O'Kelly, Malinda Teresa Dull Van Emburgh, Mary Catherine O'Kelly, William Abram O'Kelly Jr., William Abram O'Kelly Sr.

1889 Every thing is frozen tight.

Monroe, Louisiana January 28, 1889 to Hotel Dieu, New Orleans, Louisiana

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

My Darling,

Ma & Bootsy got home yesterday evening we were all very glad to see them. I think Bootsy is improved by her trip. She was so glad to get home and could hardly make enough of the baby. She had a great deal to talk about.

I do not know what the weather is going to do. It snows a little while and then stops and then snows again but it is too cold to snow much. As I write the sun is shining and it may clear off yet. Every thing is frozen tight.

Jennies cold was not so bad last night. I do not know yet what day I will go down but will try to go several days a head of time.

All send love to you

Your affectionate husband

William A O’Kelly

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Filed under Georgiana Dull Van Emburgh O'Kelly, Jane Calderwood O'Kelly, Letters to Hotel Dieu, Malinda Teresa Dull Van Emburgh, Mary Catherine O'Kelly, William Abram O'Kelly Jr., William Abram O'Kelly Sr.

1889 I planted the potato

Monroe, Louisiana January 24, 1889 to Hotel Dieu, New Orleans, Louisiana

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

My Darling

Your letter of the 21st was received last night. I was very glad to hear that you were better and I hope that you will continue to improve. I know Bootsie would be a great deal of company to you.

We are getting along tolerable well, Sonny still has a right bad cough and it is almost impossible to keep him in the house out of the rain. I found him yesterday wet to the knees and in consequence did not get much sleep last night but he eat a healthy breakfast this morning. The baby’s cough is a little better. He slept right well last night.

I planted the potato and two rows of English peas yesterday. I had just planted them when it began to rain and has been raining ever since. It looks like it would rain all day. I will remember what you say about the turnips and will not destroy any of them and will plant more when the weather will permit.

The McQuillar’s are going to the country again this year. Andrew* could not find any work in town. The Cook’s have already moved to Bastrop. Mattie Harrison** [Martha  Dull Harrison] is suffering with neuralgia.

All join me in love to you

Your affectionate husband

William A O’Kelly

* Andrew Jackson McQuillar – Born August 23, 1852 Died abt. 1910 Monroe, Louisiana. Husband of Harriet “Hattie” Bell who is Georgiana’ s maternal 1st cousin.

** Martha  Dull Harrison. Georgiana’s maternal aunt.

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1889 Everything is dull here.

Monroe, Louisiana January 23rd, 1889 to Hotel Dieu, New Orleans, Louisiana

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

My Darling,

I have to say again I have heard nothing from you no news it is said is good news so I do not worry. I hope you are improving and that you and Ma are enjoying yourselves. Everything is dull here. Miss McCain is going to be married this evening to one of the Pritchards.

The children are doing tolerable well. Sonny and the baby both have bad colds. Jennie seems to be doing right well. The weather here is cold and threatening again. I am going to plant a few potatoes today. All send love to you Ma and Bootsey.

Your affectionate husband

William A. O’Kelly

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Filed under Georgiana Dull Van Emburgh O'Kelly, James George O'Kelly, Jane Calderwood O'Kelly, Letters to Hotel Dieu, Malinda Teresa Dull Van Emburgh, Mary Catherine O'Kelly, William Abram O'Kelly Jr., William Abram O'Kelly Sr.

1889 that is the kind of news I like to hear about you

Monroe, Louisiana January 21st, 1889 to Hotel Dieu, New Orleans, Louisiana

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

My Darling

I have just this minute received a dispatch from Tom saying Ma and Bootsy got there all right. I got a letter from Tom last night. He said that you had spent the day at his house and had eaten a good hearty dinner that is the kind of news I like to hear about you. I hope Ma will enjoy her trip.

This is the coldest morning we have had this winter but it is bright and clear.

The baby is getting along tolerable well. His cold is a little better than it was the night before. I hope the weather will be good while Ma is there so that you all can go about every day.

Sonny started to tear up last night. He came to me with his eyes sticking out  Pop aint you sorry Gran and Bootsy aint here. boo hoo. I laughed at him and soon got him in a good humor. I did not have a chance to go to church yesterday. Aunt Martha* did not come till too late. Tell Ma I got the keys allright.

The children are all doing tolerable well.

Our new cook does tolerable well but she gets breakfast might late.

All of us send love to you all.

Your affectionate husband W.A.O’Kelly

*Martha Dull Morrison Harrison, sister of Malinda Dull and Georgiana’s aunt.

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Filed under Georgiana Dull Van Emburgh O'Kelly, James George O'Kelly, Letters to Hotel Dieu, Malinda Teresa Dull Van Emburgh, Mary Catherine O'Kelly, Thomas Swan O'Kelly, William Abram O'Kelly Jr., William Abram O'Kelly Sr.

1889 Note From Tom O’Kelly

I. L. Lyons Letterhead

New Orleans. Louisiana January 4, 1889 to Hotel Dieu, New Orleans, Louisiana

Thomas O’Kelly to his sister- in-law Georgiana Van Emburgh O’Kelly

Dear Georgie, this package has just arrived, and in very bad shape. You must excuse Boots about not coming out, she has been laid up all the week with her tooth and when she had it pulled it was too late to come out to see you. I wish you a happy and healthy New Year.

Yours affectionately

Tom O’Kelly

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Filed under Georgiana Dull Van Emburgh O'Kelly, Letterheads, Letters to Hotel Dieu, Mary Catherine O'Kelly, New Orleans

1889 A little steamboat burned at Trenton on Sunday

Monroe, Louisiana January 2, 1889 to Hotel Dieu, New Orleans, Louisiana

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

My Darling,

I did not write to you yesterday. I let Miller go to Bastrop on Monday and it has been raining ever since. A little steamboat burned at Trenton on Sunday but no one was hurt. She had just landed. *

Sonny has been helping me to clerk since Miller went off he eats his meals here.

We have had a great deal to pay this week but I will do my best to get the money there for you in time if the Sister says anything tell Tom to give you $25 and you can pay that much and keep it out when the money comes but I do not think she will be worried. I am sorry I could not send it to day. I will send it to Tom.

I was elected the delegate to the convention of the Catholic Knights of America to meet on the second Thursday in February which will be the 14th day of the month.

The children seem to be getting on tolerable well. They all moved Saturday to Uncle’s room. Boots got tired and went back early but I found the other two coiled up in Uncle’s bed fast asleep when I went home about 11 o’clock. I threatened to whip them for it but have not done so yet. I believe I will let them off this time. They have great times cooking on the little stove, last Sunday they cooked me several dinners.

The Datton’s have moved out of the old Hilton home and some one else moved in there Monday. I do not know who they are.

All send love

Your affectionate husband

W.A. O’Kelly

* The steamboat Sallie burned at the water’s edge opposite Trenton the Sunday morning of December 30th. She had on board at the time of the 250 bales of cotton, nearly all of which was destroyed.

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