She was married to Patrick Craig on May 29, 1868, by Father Kilkenny. Five children blessed their home: Mary, John, Peter, William, and James. Her daughter died nine years ago. This was a bitter sorrow, yet her Christian faith and hope came to her assistance, and she said “God is strong, He will help me.” Her husband died six years ago, last February, and the following summer she, with her two sons John and James, and her little (grand)daughter moved to Emily, Minnesota. Here, too, the people soon learned to love her true Christian character, and during her illness, all that kind friends, loving neighbors and devoted sons could do was done to assist her.
She died Wednesday morning, April 22nd. Her remains were brought to Lacon to the home of her son Peter. The funeral was from the Catholic church last Saturday morning, where High Mass was celebrated by Father Hawley. She was laid beside her loved ones in the Catholic cemetery. She leaves four sons and eleven grandchildren to mourn their loss. From her girlhood until her last illness, she was noted for her broad Christian charity, and this with her beautiful character, and gentle manner will long be revered by her friends and neighbors. The pall bearers were John Rooney, Wm. Dunn, Jos. Hanley, Edw. Kelly, Frank Dwyer and Thos. A. Connell. Those from a distance attending the funeral were: Frank Dwyer of Henry; Mr. and Mrs. John Slattery, Agnes and Tim Slattery of Toluca; Mrs. Ed Daly of Peoria; Miss Mace Hanley of Bradford; Mrs. Craig and John Craig of Campus; Elizabeth and Ed Kelly of Chicago; and Philip Martin and daughter of Varna.
So, John and Mary Kelly and Margaret came to the United States in 1840 to Pennsylvania, and the next year moved to Lacon, Marshall County, Illinois ("The Duck Hunter's Paradise"). Why they came to Lacon I do not know. Margaret Kelly married Patrick Craig in Lacon in 1868. I will save my frustrations about Patrick Craig's genealogy for another post.
Patrick and Margaret had five children: Mary Teresa (1869-1904), John Joachim (1871-1946), Peter Anselm (1873-1945), William Patrick (1875-1937) and the baby James Vincent (1880-????)
Families stuck together in those days, and Margaret Craig stepped in to take care of her infant granddaughter. William Dunn was so broken up over his wife's death that he did not object - in fact he gave the house he had built for his wife Mary to Mary's brother Bill (my grandfather). He said "I'll never be able to set foot in that house again." It is ironic that William Dunn had lost his own mother Ann Hennessey Dunn in childbirth when she was 32 - and then he lost his wife Mary Craig Dunn in childbirth when she, too, was 32. William never remarried.
In February of 1908 Patrick Craig died in Lacon at the age of seventy-five. Margaret Kelly Craig decided she had had enough of Lacon, so the following summer she took her granddaughter and moved with her sons John and James to a farm the boys had bought in Emily, Minnesota. It was hard work, and desolate. Here's a photo of them taken at the farm circa 1911:
The only other thing I know about Margaret Kelly Craig came from her daughter-in-law Ida Stinger Craig (my grandmother). After Ida and Bill were married they lived with Bill's parents from their marriage in June of 1903 until William Dunn gave them the home he built for his wife who died in 1904. How my Methodist grandmother came to marry into the Irish Catholic Craig family, tavern-keepers and cigar makers, is a story for a future post. But one day when the newly married Ida Craig was walking down the street in Lacon she met one of her friends who asked her what her Irish in-laws were like. Ida replied "Well, they both talk with an Irish brogue, and I've never eaten so many potatoes in my life! Potatoes for breakfast, potatoes for lunch and potatoes for dinner." She went on "I've seen my father-in-law go into the pantry, pick up a potato and eat it like an apple."
So now you know as much about my great-grandmother as I do. Anyone who knew her is long dead - even her funeral took place just short of 99 years ago. She is one of the "brick walls" of my family tree research. If I had a lot of money I could pay someone to do the research, but it would be a long and arduous quest. One of the frustrating parts of genealogy research is that sometimes you just come to a dead end. Believe it or not there is a John and Mary Kelly of the same era buried in the Immaculate Conception Cemetery but not the right John and Mary Kelly. "My" John and Mary Kelly were buried in the old Catholic Cemetery. But that means in a town of less than 2,000 people there were two couples named John and Mary Kelly. Is it any wonder I said researching my Irish roots is maddening?
Margaret Kelly Craig - devoted daughter, loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother - may she rest in peace.