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
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
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
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.