Matthew Kelly

Matthew Kelly was born in Bonnets Town, Ireland, June 8, 1836. He was the son of Martin Kelly and Catherine Bannon. Bonnets Town is adjacent to Kilkenny, in the parish of St. Canice's.[1] His wife Elizabeth (or Eliza) Redmonds, was the daughter of John Redmonds. According to her age listed on her death record, she was born in about 1841.[2] However, an Elizabeth Redmond, daughter of John Redmond and Mary Hamilton, was born February 27, 1834, in the parish of Danesfort, about 5 miles from Kilkenny. Although her age would thus not agree with her death record, this may be the correct Elizabeth.

In the civil records of the births of his daughters Margaret and Mary, Matthew's occupation was listed as "servant," and "coachman," respectively. The family lived on Hebron street, in Kilkenny.

Matthew and Eliza came to America sometime between October 1869 and 1873.[3] They apparently lived in Connecticut for a while, since one of their children was born there. At the time of the 1875 Rhode Island State Census, they were living in Pawtucket on Morris (or Marris?) Avenue, in District 12.[4] Eliza (as she was called later in life) died June 16, 1876, in Pawtucket. The cause of death was "childbed." Matthew died July 20 of the same year. He was a sexton in a church, and is said to have died while digging a grave. His death record lists his cause of death as "sun stroke."


1. John, b. abt. 1861

2. Thomas, b. abt. 1862

3. Martin, b. Apr. 28, 1862;[5] Kilkenny, Ire; as he is not listed on the 1875 RI census, he probably died young

4. Margaret, b. Mar. 5, 1865, Kilkenny, Ire.;[6] she probably died young[7]

5. Mary, b. May 12[8] or 20,[9] 1866, Kilkenny, Ire.

6. William, b. June, 13, 1868, Kilkenny, Ire.;[10] must have died young

7. Matthew, b. Oct. 12, 1869, Kilkenny, Ire.[11]

8. Lizzie, b. abt. 1873, Conn.[12]

9. William, b. abt. 1874, N. Providence, R.I.

10. James Henry, b. July 9, 1875; d. Mar. 16, 1959; m. Marie Louise Landry


[1]St. Canice's Parish Register, on computerized database at the Kilkenny Archeological Society. Research by Mary Flood. The evidence that the Matthew who was born in 1836 is the same Matthew who married Elizabeth Redomonds is primarily based on the fact that Matthew and Elizabeth had a son Martin.

[2]Pawtucket death records, available at Rhode Island State Archives.

[3]From the birthdates and places of his children. There is no passenger arrival index for the port of New York for those years, unfortunately. There is an index for Boston. There is a Matthew Kelley who came in May 1872 and another in March 1873, but their ages are not right (45 and 24, respectively). Matthew was 38 in 1872.

[4]Rhode Island State Census, available at Rhode Island State Archives. Eliza could not read or write. The two eldest boys, John (14), and Thomas (13) were already working (at "Wadding(?) Works.)

[5]St. John's Parish record, Kilkenny. On computer database at Kilkenny Archealogical Society.

[6]Civil Registration of Births, Ireland, on microfilm at Mormon libraries. Births began to be registered on a national basis in about 1864.

[7]She is not listed on the 1875 R.I. State Census.

[8]St. John's Parish register.

[9]According to the civil register of births.

[10]Civil register of births, Kilkenny.

[11]Civil register of births, Kilkenny.

[12]1875 R.I. State Census.

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