Tombstone Tuesday: Catharine Kelly’s Tombstone Found

Tombstone Tuesday: Catharine Kelly’s Tombstone Found

A month or so ago, I added some graves to findagrave.com.  I only got through a few, added a couple of photos, then requested 3 photos.

Last week, I was contacted by a volunteer.  He went to Holy Cross Cemetery but couldn’t find my graves.  I sent him what little information I had for his second trip.

He went back to Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma, California and located my Gr Gr Gr Grandmother’s tombstone, her brother’s tombstone, and one of my Gr Gr Gr Uncle’s tombstones.  I will discuss those in future posts.

This is the tombstone for Catharine:

kelly-headstone-catherinekellyresizeIsn’t it beautiful?  It says:

“Mrs. Catharine Kelly

Native of Ireland

Died January 1, 1873

aged 40 years”

This gravesite was part of a reburial.  The Kelly’s were originally buried at Mt. Calvary Cemetery in San Francisco.  As the city grew, the decision was made to dig up the cemeteries within the city.  Catherine’s brother, Patrick Dolan, paid for the reburials (some 10 or so family members) and put up this tombstone.

This reburial creates some questions.  First, the death date…1873.  The office records have the same information.  There’s a slight problem though.  I found an obituary for Martin and Catharine (Dolan) Kelly’s daughter, Josephine, who died in May of 1874.  She was six months old.  That puts her birth around December of 1873.  If Catharine died in January of 1873,  Josephine was a medical miracle.  As older newspapers become available, I will have to see if an obituary exists for Catharine in 1873.  There is another Catharine Kelly married to a Martin Kelly who died in the early 1880s. Added to the problem is Martin Kelly is absent from the 1880 census, so confirming that Catharine died before 1880 and not after can only be proven with obituaries at this point.

Her age also creates a problem.  If she died at the age of 40, then she was born ca 1833.  Martin would have been almost 10 years older than her.  Her oldest daughter was born in 1849.  Catharine would have been 15 at the time.  There is also a good 10-12 years between Catharine and her other siblings.  These are not insurmountable issues, but they do raise questions that need to be answered.

There is another mysteries surrounding this plot.  Martin Kelly died in 1899.  His burial was also paid for by Patrick Dolan.  However, Patrick didn’t add Martin’s name to the tombstone or erect a stone for Martin.  Patrick was quite well off, so it wouldn’t have been a financial issue.  Looks like Patrick and Martin might not have gotten along.

I’ll leave the mysteries for another day.  Today I’m just happy to see the stone.  You can view the other photos on the Findagrave memorial page.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the volunteer, Doc Sanchez.  A very big thank you for taking the time to photograph these graves!  I’m very appreciative of your kindness.

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