Angeline (Baker) Kelley
Died 12 May 1872, Harwich, MA
Angeline Baker, daughter of Joseph and Jane Baker, married Oliver Kelley (1817-1878), my third-great granduncle, on 5 August 1838 at Harwich, MA. Oliver was the son of Oliver Kelley and Priscilla Chase of Harwich.
In searching for information on Valentine Kelley, Oliver’s brother, I stumbled across this tragic article in the Barnstable Patriot, 21 May 1872:
HarwichThe Independent states that the wife of Oliver Kelley, Jr., who for some years has shown symptoms of insanity, was missed from her home on Monday, 13th, and search being made her body was found in Flax Pond the following Wednesday. A hood was on her head and two veils tied over her face. Her skirts were tied to her ankles, and dress pulled up and tied around her waist and rubbers secured to her feet. She had on her hands a pair of mittens, and one hand was secured to a walking cane which she held in a perpendicular manner, in front of her, the top being just below water. In her bosom was found a Bible, and in her pocket a note stating that when her body was found that it might be immediately buried. She leaves a large family and many friends to mourn her loss.
Even though her own name isn’t given, it didn’t take me long to uncover her identity. I can’t imagine how difficult her life was, living at a time when there weren’t many options for people with mental illness. I do admire, though, that Oliver must have opted to care for her at home, rather than commit her to a state hospital.
She did get her wish in that she received a proper burial. She is buried at the Kelley Cemetery in North Harwich: Angeline, wife of Oliver Kelley Jr. 12 May 1872, age 51-5-7. This age at death gives her a birth date of 5 December 1820.
|Gravestone of Angeline (Baker) Kelley, Kelley Cemetery (source: findagrave.com)|
Angeline and Oliver had nine children, born from 1839-1859: Oliver, Cyrus, Caleb, Priscilla, Richard, three daughters named Angeline, and Joseph. According to Eunice Kelley Randall’s Kelley Genealogy, two of the daughters named Angeline died as infants. According to MA Vital Records sons Richard and Joseph died one day apart, ages 8 and 3 respectively, of scarlet fever.Perhaps these losses contributed to her state of mind. At the time of her suicide, most of her children were grown, but daughter Angeline was just 13 years of age.