Mary Lydia Kelly

It was a pleasure to call to see Miss Mary Lydia Kelly,at her home,No.1210,Fourteenth Street,Rock Island. Speaking of the olden times she said:

"My father came to this county in 1841 and died a year later. We lived on the Mississippi 2 1/2 miles above Cordova. When I was a little girl I used to go from our house to our neighbor's in an Indian trail. It was right on the bank of the river and was a well trodden trail. It was wide enough for one man to go single file. As to depth I can only say it was well worn, grass was growing up on both sides of it."

"We lived at Cordova three years and in 1844 moved to Rock Island. We went to the Watch Tower every year as early as that. It was always a place of resort. My sister, who was afterward Mrs. Phille[o] and a young man went right down off the point - just for fun to see what they could do. People used to write their names on the Black Hawk tree as it was called. It was not so big a tree. Not any of the trees were as large as some of them are now, nor was there as much timber as now."

"When we came from Chicago we saw very little timber and the landscape sometimes looked just like Lake Michigan. Father had a little timber on the farm above Cordova but he got his fuel off an island, over the ice. He used to say he didn't know how the country of Illinois would get fuel for the settlers. Coal wasn't known then."

"Cordova was settled by folks from New Jersey. The"Jersey Blues" they used to call them. They were all related to each other, - the Marshalls and others."

"I attended Col. Davenport's funeral. I was at the Sabbath school picnic in Rock Island, which his family attended the day he was murdered. I've got one of the printed programs they had for the picnic and will try to find it and donate it to your society. On the day of the hanging I stood with some of our folks on Second Avenue between 15th and 16th Streets where we could see the scaffold and the men on it. The hanging was where the old jail was, just back of the Woodmen Office. To go to the Court house we had to go up hill. It has since been graded. There was a great crowd and a great rush when Granville Young's rope broke. I think John Long expected a crowd to come and rescue them. During the trial we went and heard Kno[x] plead. He was a great lawyer. All I remember hearing him say was that 'Bonney's name ought to be written in gold and posted at the corners of the streets". Bonney wasn't any better than the rest of them. They thought at the time that Bonney was a hero. His wife likely was a good woman but he didn't deserve it according to reports we had later."

"I am giving you a picture of John Long, drawn by George Walter. It was presented to my sister Jane 0. Kelly, afterward Mrs. Philleo. Long had his hair parted in the middle which was the badge of their order - the 'banditti'. Its been fashionable since to comb the hair that way - something new. On the gallows John Long made a speech and said 'I am a gentlemen in my profession.

For questions or comments please contact