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Private First Class Leo Francis Kelly
U.S. Army
Ser. # 2,231,233

November 9, 1893 – September 29, 1918
Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery
Romagne, France

Gold Star Mother
Caroline “Carrie” [Wallace] Kelly

Gold Star Mother Pilgrimage

Messages which pass in a battle are always full of interest and significance. Often times they tell parts of the story better than a story can. One such message came back from Montrebeau Wood on the afternoon of September 28, 1918, the location and day before PFC Kelly was Killed In Action:


From 1st Lt. Verne Breese, Co. D., 137 at North edge of Montrebeau Wood on the afternoon of Sept. 28:

12:10 p. m.

          140th Inf. [not PFC Kelly’s Unit] being cut to pieces by German light artillery and Minnewerfers* coming from 3 sides.  We must have barrage and counterbattery work or disaster will occur.  What is left of 1st and 3rd bns. are here with some of the 138th.  No communication with either right or left.  Have dug in but being slaughtered by artillery.

*German mortar


From Vauquois Hill To Exermont

A History of the 35th Division

By Clair Kenamore 1919


Private First Class Leo Francis Kelly [November 9, 1893 – September 29, 1918] was born to Michael Edward Kelly [August 16, 1864 – May 25, 1933] and Carrie [Wallace] Kelly [May 10, 1863 – May 24, 1946] at Emmett, Pottawatomie County, Kansas.  He was attached to the 69th Infantry Brigade, 129th Machine Gun Battalion, 35th Division – the Santa Fe Division.  On September 29, 1918 he was killed in Action by a high explosive shell and was temporarily interred in a battlefield cemetery on Chadron Farm approximately 2 kilometers (approx. 1.2 miles) East of the village of Exermont; his grave was in Plot A, number 25.  After his family declined to have his remains repatriated to the United States he was disinterred from Chadron Farm on May 2, 1919 and transferred to the new American War Cemetery that was being developed a few miles away at Romagne-sous-Montfacom, which was named the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery. Initially this cemetery, which covers 130.5 acres, contained the remains of 25,000 American soldiers, today there are 14,246 graves.  Leo’s grave is located in Plot B, Row 22, Grave 15. Besides his parents, he was survived by four brothers, Henry, Joseph, Lawrence and Harrold and one sister, Monica.  His mother was the only Gold Star Mother from Matagorda County to make the Gold Star Pilgrimage to France in 1930. She sailed to France on the S. S. George Washington and returned to the United States on the SS Republic. At the time of his enlistment and death, his family was living in Palacios, Matagorda County, Texas.  His parents are buried at Palacios, Matagorda County, Texas.

Courtesy of . Used with permission.

Group photo of the 129th Machine gun Battalion, 35th Division before leaving for the front.
Courtesy of the National Archives


J. D. Greenwood received word Saturday from the war department that his son, Clarence, who had been reported missing in action since October 9, had succumbed to wounds received while in the discharge of his duties in the front line trenches in France .

E. M. Kelly received word this week that his son, Leo, was missing in action. He has since had word from his son stating he was well and getting along fine.

The sympathy of the entire community goes out to Mr. Greenwood and his family in their loss.

At the moment of going to press we are informed that Calvin Ward has been wounded in action.―Palacios Beacon.                                 

The Matagorda County Tribune, December 13, 1918

Known List of Matagorda Boys Who Died in Service.

The following names of the soldiers who died while in the service of the U. S. A., are all that has been reported. If any one knows of others, and the cause of their death, if possible, please inform Mrs. Wm. Cash, Bay City, Texas:

Palacios--L. F. Kelly, killed in battle.

Matagorda County Tribune, September 5, 1919










Carrie W. Kelly

Carrie Wallace Kelly, only child and daughter of Henry and Kathryn Burke Wallace, was born May 10, 1863, at Lockport, N. Y. When a small child her parents moved to Sterling, Ill. At the age of 10 years her parents moved again, traveling in a covered wagon across the prairies to Rossville and St. Mary's, Kansas, where she grew to womanhood.

She used to recall many incidents of the early Indian Mission days in northeastern Kansas, when that country was being settled by pioneers.

On Feb. 5, 1890, she was united in marriage to Michael E. Kelly in the Immaculate Conception of St. Mary's, Kas. To this union were born six children, five sons and one daughter. In 1908 with her husband she moved from Emmett, Kas. to Palacios, Texas and settled on their farm west of Turtle Bay when that section was an open cattle range. Neighbors were few and far apart, and she lacked only 2 years of being a resident of Matagorda County for 40 years. In 1930 she made the trip to Europe to visit the grave of her son Leo F. Kelly, who was killed in France during World War I and was the only Gold Star Mother from Matagorda County to make the Pilgrimage.

On Wednesday, May 22, 1946 at 6 p.m. she suffered a stroke while in the arms of her daughter, Miss Monica Kelly, at their home here in Palacios. At 11 a.m. Friday, May 24, 1946, she passed away, so near the same day and month as the passing of her husband May 25, 1933.

She had seen more than her share of sorrow, yet was always ready to meet her friends with a smile and kindly greeting whenever they came to see her. She was a kind loving mother, devoted to her family and will never be forgotten by them.

Her children are thankful to God that he had spared her to be with them all these years.

The Rosary was recited at 4 p.m. Saturday and on Sunday the casket rested in a beautiful setting of flowers, which reminded her family of a saying she so often repeated in describing the scenery, "Beautiful as the flowers in the month of May." Funeral services were held at 3:00 p.m. Sunday by Father V. J. Bily at St. Anthony's Catholic Church, after which the remains were taken to the [Palacios] cemetery and laid to rest beside her husband.

She is survived by one daughter, Miss Monica, of the home, and four sons, Henry E., Joseph M., Laurence C. Kelly, of Palacios, Harold F. Kelly, of Laurel, Miss., and three grandsons.   --Contributed.

Palacios Beacon, May 29, 1946

Michael E. Kelly Of Palacios Killed When Struck By Truck


Michael Edward Kelly, age 68, of Palacios, died Thursday morning, May 25, 1933 near Beasley, Texas when he was struck by a truck.


He was born August 16, 1864 in Massachusetts.  In early  life he moved to Kansas. He married Miss Carrie Wallace at Emmett, Pottawatomie County, Kansas on February 5, 1890. To this union were born six children, five sons and one daughter.  They moved from Emmitt, Kansas in 1908 and settled on a farm West of Turtle Bay.


He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Carrie; daughter: Miss Monica Kelly of Palacios; sons: Henry E., Joseph M., Lawrence Clemmett and Harold F. Kelly all of  Palacios. He was preceded in death by his son, Leo Francis Kelly who was killed in action in France in 1918 and is buried in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery near Verdun, France.


Burial will be at the Palacios Cemetery.


Forester Funeral Home of Rosenberg, Tex is in charge of arrangements.


[An obituary for Mr. Kelly was not located. This obituary was written by Kenneth L. Thames from available documents.]



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Jan. 30, 2006
Dec. 9, 2008