Grayson County TXGenWeb
  Van Alstyne Cemetery
McKinney Block


Emily Jane McKinney Kelly

Van Alstyne Leader
April 23, 1925

Mrs. Jane Kelly

But an old age seren and bright,
And lovely as a Lapland night,
Shall lead thee to thy grave.

The civilization under which we live today is not the result of anything quite so much as it is of the courage, the fidelity, and idealism and the stamina of the men and women who lived in the days that have long since gone by.  The story of those days reads like a romance, and in itself is an epic of Spartanlike bravery and daring in its recital of the extremes to which humankind will go in order that for themselves and for their posterity they might make a home.  Texas, as we have it today, is nothing if not a monument to those hardy, courageous spirits who alid the foundation for its present greatness and who did the initial work in planting the seeds of proper growth in the area of its vas domain.
Texas is not so old, as we count the years, to forget the distinction which comes from having been born within its confines.  Even among the youner of its people it is a matter of pride...they can say "I am a native born Texas," for in that statement is embraced the pride of birth, the pride of citizenship and the pride of tradition still young and yet old enough to be hallowed wherever men with red blood are found, and as long as mankind pays tribute to bravery, heroism, devotion to principle and exaltation of the ideals of a great christian people.  St. Paul, the great Apostle, boasted of his Roman citizenship, but the native Texan goes further and boasts of his citizenship, of the traditions of his ancestry and of the glorious history of his native commonwealth.  It is an inspiration to be one of those.
But few of the older ones among the native born Texans live in these days, and it is an additional honor for any man or any woman who can claim place in that chosen circle and say, "I am one of the oldest of the native born among Texans."  Until Saturday, April 18, 1925, this honor was the due of Mrs. J.L. Kelly, "Aunt Jane" Kelly, as she was known among hosts of relatives and friends who loved and venerated her for the priceless legacy of a noble childhood and womanhood, spent under the dominion of five flags, and devoted altogether to the achievement of the purpose that through her and through her children and the example of her life some degree of aid could be rendered to the primary purpose that Texas and Texans should grow and prosper and ....
Emily Jane McKinney was born on January 23, 1833, at Elam's Prairie, Red River County, Texas.  She was the third child in a family of fourteen children of William C. (Uncle Billy) and Margaret (Aunt Peggy) McKinney.  At the age of eleven she moved with her parents and grandparents to their new home in the Northern part of Collin county, where she lived until she was married in 1852.  At the age of fourteen, she united with the Christian church, the first one of that faith to be organized in North Texas.
In 1852, she was married to Joseph Lauderdale Kelly.  To this union were born three children, Laura, Nannie and Betty.  Uncle Joe Kelly died on December 18, 2899.  Laura died in her youth.  Nannie became the wife of Captain J.L. Greer, of McKinney and Betty became Mrs. Newt Taylor.  Both preceded their mother to the Great Beyond.
In 1854, Mr. and Mrs. Kelly moved to their home at Old Mantua where she lived until 12 years ago, when she moved to Anna, making her home with her granddaughter Mrs. W.C. Bryant.  While living at Mantua, her home was always the home of the preachers and the teachers.
For the last 13 years, Mrs. Kelly has been blind.  She is survived by two brothers, Dr. J.N. McKinney of Collinsville, Texas, and John W. McKinney of Anna, Texas.
Mrs. Kelly was a granddaughter of Collin McKinney, a pioneer of North Texas and a signer of the Texas declaration of Independence.  Of seven of Mr. McKinney's grandchildren, Mrs. Jennie J. Wagnon died on January 10, 1925, at Texarkana, and Mrs. Kelly on April 18, 1925.  Five grandchildren of the pioneer are living: J.D.L. McKinney and S.L. McKinney of Van Alstyne, Mrs. Betty Donald of Fort Worth, Dr. J.N. McKinney of Collinsville and John W. McKinney of Anna.
Five grandchildren, named as follows, survive Mrs. Kelly: Mrs. W.C. Bryant of Anna; Knox Greer of Anna; Mrs. R.A. Cole, Sherman; Vernie Dumas, living in California; Vernie Lige Bailey.  IN addition to these there are nine great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
Miss Julia Shultz, a great-great-granddaughter, was the constant companion of Mrs. Kelly during the last years of her life on earth. Completely without sight, the passing of time was made to fall easy upon Mrs. Kelly through the loving care and devoted ministration of Miss Shultz.
Mrs. Kelly was the oldest member of the Daughters of the Confederacy to which she belonged and was also a charter member of the Collin McKinney chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas composed of descendants of Collin McKinney or of descendants of natives of Texas between the years 1823 and 1844.
Funeral services were held at the First Christian Church of Van Alstyne on last Sunday afternoon - the church which has sprung from the first organization of believers in the Christian faith formed in North Texas nearly eighty years ago by Mrs. Kelly's father, William C. McKinney.  A large gathering of friends from Grayson and Collin counties and other sections attended the services and an abundance of floral offerings attested the esteem and love felt for Mrs. Kelly.  Elder R.C. Horn of McKinney, Rev. Leo Johnston, the pastor of the church, and J.D.L. McKinney officiated.
There was nothing of the ostentatious about the rites which were observed as the parting was taken from this grand old woman.  The services were touching in their beautiful simplicity, typical of the character of the life which they commemorated.  The spoken words evidenced in their very nature the intensity of the love and the veneration which all who knew her felt for Mrs. Kelly and the regard which was shared for the superior order of womanhood, constancy, Christianity, faith and zeal which the sentiments of youth and age, manifest in their attitude toward a life long as we count the years, exemplified for all generations of those younger, and it marked the ending of earthly being for patriarch spared for years beyond the allotted time of human beings on earth to bless and to bind those left behind, kindred and friends in all of the elements which are the attributes of the right methods in living and in worship of the God who gave us being.
The interment, which was had at the Van Alstyne cemetery, was witnessed by a large company of relatives and friends gathered to do final obeisance as the mortal remains of Mrs. Kelly  were returned to their native element.
To the relatives and other members of the family the sympathy of all of the people in every section of this community is most sincerely vouch-safed.
The pallbearers were as follows: 
Honorary - Sam Rosemond, R.B. Lindsey, Captain G.W. Kidd, Tom Creager, Gus Wilson, John Askew, R.M. Stephenson, J.D. Judd, M.C. Powell, F.R. Slaughter, H. Loftice, Lyman Umphress, L.A. Scott, T.E. Shirley, R.M. Cannon, L.A. Cartwright, Will Leslie, W.C. Dysart, Andrew Shirley, W.M. Stinnett, B.L. Shirley, Dr. J.W. Larget, William Powell, W.H. Cliff, J.N. Sanstrom, S.S. Dumas, Dr. W.D. Patton, B.A. Crabtree, Will Lair, Jim Lewis, Hamp Lewis.
Active - Si McKinney, J.L. Kelly, E.K. Taylor, Manuel McKinney, Dr. A.T. Bryant, R.A. Cole, Frank Cox.

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