I had the pleasure of spending yesterday with a cousin. A cousin who
I just met real time. We've known each other by email for over three
years now. We laughed, we talked, we shared documents and old
pictures. He and his wife, who live in Texas part time, brought a
notebook with some old papers in it. How amazing it was for me to
touch, and more importantly, make copies of the notebook. The names
I know and love were there. I was able to glean some more
information I had not previously seen.
He unknowingly gave me a mission when he pulled out a beautiful
memoriam book from 1884 with a name inscribed and said, "We don't
know who she is." Well, we'll find her and give her a home. We'll
After Bob left, I spent hours happily going through the information
he brought and entering new finds into my genealogy program. No
matter how cold it was outside, I was all warm and fuzzy inside.
Now to find the mysterious Kate I NEELY. In reading the booklet,
which was produced by the Presbyterian Minister who gave her eulogy,
I found some clues. I found the name of the minister, the name of
the church and started my search. The Rev. E R Donehoo was minister
of the Eighth Presbyterian Church in the West End. At times in the
1800s, this area was also known as Chartiers and as Temperanceville.
There are other clues as to the mysterious Kate in the eulogy. It
would appear she was unmarried as the good Reverend repeats a
statement her father made to him when he arrived at the home of the
newly departed on that fateful day, August 27. We know she was at
least 13 years old in 1884. That's a start. In looking at the
church history, we can determine E R Donehoo began preaching at the
Temperanceville Church in 1869. Donehoo also mentions he had known
the lovely Kate for over ten years. This leads me to believe her
family lived in the neighborhood.
By going back and checking the 1880 census for the neighborhoods
surrounding Temperanceville, we find a James W NEELY b. abt 1807
(and d. 1891) whose youngest child is named Kate. Kate was born abt
1859. I think this is my mysterious Kate.
How does she relate to my cousin? He has a grandpa, Jonathan NEELY
who married my 3g- aunt. To our knowledge, Jonathan, b. 1812, was
born in the same general locale at James W. They are of an age to be
brothers. Confusion. Jonathan's father, Watson, is reputed to have
been born in Ireland, while James W.'s father is reported to have
been born in PA. Hmmm.
James W, has a son whom he names, James Watson NEELY. The son
becomes a physician in 1875, and no doubt, attended the deaths of
both his mother, Amelia McMichael NEELY, and his sister, Kate.
In searching further, I found where a James NEELY b. 1782 came to
America from Ireland at the age of 6 and settled in the area at which
both Jonathan and James W were born.
I do believe at this point that James W and Jonathan were either
brothers or first cousins. More research is needed to clarify the
However, I have found the burial place for our mysterious Kate. Her
tombstone with the dates of 1856-1884 is with the James W NEELY
family out at another one of the cemeteries where I have loads of
kin--- the Montours Presbyterian Cemetery in Robinson Twp.
There is also a Samuel NEELY there who was in the Revolution. Guess
I gotta shake some trees and see who will brave the cold and go take
pics of the graves. Now I have a desire to know who all is in the
family plot there. Perhaps there are some finds there for my NEELY
I could have talked all day. However, I am happy to have found the
lovely Kate I NEELY.
How fitting to end this with the words of Rev. Elijah R Donehoo who
spoke of Kate with the following words. ".....The years will come
and go, joys and sorrows will multiply upon us who shall tarry here
below, but the memory of this quiet beautiful life will linger in our
hearts like some goodly dream, which grows softer and sweeter and
more precious each time that we recall it........."
Sleep sweetly, our lovely Kate.