Letter, Bridget Kelly To Patrick Kelly
Letter, Bridget Kelly To Patrick Kelly

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American Civil War ➔ Letter, Bridget Kelly To Patrick Kelly

1864 Grand Rapids, April 25th Dear Husband, In receipt of your very welcome letter of the 16th inst. which found me and baby enjoying good health and was very glad to hear you were enjoying good health. Dear Patt those beautiful pictures of ours has a last arrived. They are the awfullest looking things I ever saw in my life. I feel really provoked about them, I feel as if I would like to burn them. I feel ashamed to let anybody see them. I will send you two of yours in this letter and remainder in the next and one of the others. I would like to be near the one that took them and be able to give him a good shaking. I would be thankful if he had kept them. Dear Patt you say you have been very lonely since you went back, as for me I cannot express how lonesome I am, but then I expect one day when old Abe has all his work done that we will enjoy many happy days and then we will forget those days of sadness and lonelyness if God spares our lives. Those fellows of the 14th that are here are having a gay time of it. There is not a night for the last two weeks but they had a party. They are enjoying their furlow well, but they say they are going back on Friday next. When you were here you did not have any ????? your time here was so short. Patt O'Neil and Hanna Curran was married this morning. I cannot think of anything more but it has been raining here for the last four days, it is very muddy. No more from your affectionate wife, Bridget Kelly Please write soon B. K. Your son is into all sorts of mischief, he bosses your Mother like every thing.;Letter belonged to the donor's grandfather, Captain Patrick Kelly.
Handwritten, Paper, Ink
8" h 1" w
Current Location Status:
On Exhibit
Gift Of Mr. Thomas Kelly

Thank God for Michigan: Stories from the Civil War (June 6 2011 – March 29 2015)
Thank God for Michigan was an exhibition developed by the GRPM to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War.  The exhibit featured over 150 artifacts from the GRPM's collection and told the story of the Civil War through the lens of soldiers and civilians from Michigan.

Investigate: Civil War Artifacts (September 10 2017)
During the Investigate program, students will take the role of Museum curators and use close observation and critical thinking to discover the origin, meaning, and importance of real objects from the Museum’s Collection. Students will learn how to handle and study primary sources and will be pushed to consider how singular objects or groups of objects can tell meaningful stories about our place.

  • Students will be able to analyze primary sources (artifacts and photographs) and make inferences about the story or significance of the sources.
  • Students will be able to explain the broad causes and players in the Civil War, including Michigan’s role.
  • Students will be able to describe what life was like for a Civil War soldier.
Curriculum Connections:
  • NGSS Science and Engineering Practices: Constructing Explanations; Engaging in Argument from Evidence
  • ELA Common Core Standards by Domain: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
  • Michigan K-12 Social Studies Standards: H1 The World in Temporal Terms: Historical Habits of Mind, H3 The History of Michigan and the Great Lakes Region, H4 The History of the United States, U5 Civil War and Reconstruction, P1 Reading and Communication, P2 Inquiry Research and Analysis

Bridget Kelly
Bridget Clune Kelly was born in Roscommon, Ireland and immigrated to the Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1857. According to History of Michigan, Volume 3, Bridget married Patrick Kelly in 1860.
When her husband enlisted in the Fourteenth Michigan Infantry in 1861, she maintained communication with him through letters.
Bridget is buried with her husband in Saint Andrew’s Catholic Cemetery in Grand Rapids.

Kelly, Thomas

Patrick Kelly (Civil War soldier)
Patrick Kelly was born in Ireland on March 15, 1843. In 1850, his family immigrated to the United States, settling in Livingston County, Michigan. In 1856, they moved to Grand Rapids. In Grand Rapids, Kelly became a carpenter and worked in the trade until he enlisted in the Fourteenth Michigan Infantry on September 13, 1861.
Originally a color-bearer in the Fourteenth, Kelly was quickly promoted to second lieutenant in 1862, and first lieutenant in 1863. His promotions were credited to his “meritorious conduct and bravery before the enemy.” In 1865, he was promoted again to captain. At the Battle of Averasboro in North Carolina, Kelly suffered a skull fracture from a musket ball.
After the war, Kelly returned to Grand Rapids and bought a 160-acre farm six miles east of the city. Before the war he had married Bridget Cluen, to whom he often wrote during his service. When he returned, they had nine children, in addition to the son Bridget gave birth to while her husband was away. Captain Kelly became involved in local politics after his service, serving as commissioner, justic of the peace, and deputy oil inspector over the remainder of his life. He also served as a keeper to the Ionia prison.
In 1903, Patrick Kelly died on his family farm of appendicitis. He was buried in Saint Andrew’s Catholic Cemetery. 

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