Filed Under Walker County

Calhoun Cemetery Standouts: Interesting Stories Unearthed

Diary of John Felix Kelly
John Felix Kelly(1845-1888) was a Cincinnati settler whose family hails from Ireland. He wrote in his diary about events, weather, the terrain of east Texas, and offers his personal opinions of the people and events in Cincinnati. The version of the journal that we have right now only spans April of 1868 but gives a peek of the life of someone who lived during that period in Walker county. He gives insights and his personal opinions of people during his time and the personal relationships he held, he remarked of his immense respect for Samuel Calhoun, he also details his friendships with Dr. Smith, and a “Miss Kate” as he addresses her, who would later become his wife buried in the cemetery with him. His journal also kept track of the steamboats that passed his area and what cargo they were carrying. Most of the steamboats that passed would have been carrying large amounts of cotton displaying the strong reliance of agriculture during that period and for east Texas in general.

He includes his personal religious beliefs in his writings often dedicating pages to praising and thanking God while also expressing his deep sadness that his friend who he often referred to simply as doctor(most likely Dr. Smith) was not a religious man and chose to instead busy himself with work rather than attend church. Through his writings one could also discern some of the issues that were faced by the common folk of east Texas during that time, one of them being drunkenness, he thanked god that he didn't drink and asked God to make it so that he never had a craving for liquors stating that they were a plague on society and that he witnessed someone too drunk off of whiskey every day. The other issue he brought up was a lack of, or late payments for goods or services, people would often buy things on debt, and he complained that he only wanted to do business with people that paid on time, but sadly that would quickly run him out of business. This reliance on buying things with debt would eventually lead to the economic collapse of Cincinnati following the death of its most prominent business man to yellow fever in 1853. [1]


Images

Calhoun Cemetery
Calhoun Cemetery
Grave of John Felix Kelly
Grave of John Felix Kelly
Grave of Dr. J.H. Smith
Grave of Dr. J.H. Smith
Grave of Kate Kelly
Grave of Kate Kelly
Untitled
Trinity River Steamboat
Trinity River Steamboat Photo of one of the steamboats that went up and down the Trinity River from Galveston to Magnolia Landing and would have likely passed through Cincinnati Source: provided by the Palestine Public Library to The Portal to Texas History, part of collection called Rescuing Texas History, 2007 Creator: Creator: Unknown. 1870s

Location

Metadata

Blake Slade, “Calhoun Cemetery Standouts: Interesting Stories Unearthed,” East Texas History, accessed May 26, 2024, https://easttexashistory.org/items/show/385.