My great-great grandfather David Howes Kelley had three children with his first wife Lucina Doane Ellis: Roland, Lila and Hiram. Hiram was born in West Dennis 5 May 1871 and died the following year. He is buried at West Dennis Cemetery.
Roland D. Kelley was born in West Dennis on 6 October 1867, the first child of David Howes Kelley and his wife Lucina Doane Ellis. His first name is spelled Rowland on his birth record, but in other records it is Roland. According to my grandmother, Milly, family called him “Rola D.”
Roland married Lilla Baker on Christmas Eve, 24 December 1889, in West Dennis. Lilla was born in Dennis on 10 February1872, the daughter of Albert and Eliza (Snow) Baker. She is called Lillian in some of her children’s birth records. Her name is unrecorded on her birth record.
|Lilla Baker Kelley ca 1953|
Lilla and Roland grew up near each other and their parents stayed in those homes, often listed within one or two households of each other in census records.
Roland and Lilla had four children:
1. Winfred Roland, born 27 February 27 1892, West Dennis. He married Stella Ryan and had Roland, Lillian and Winfred. After Stella’s 1940 death, he married Gladys Court and had Gladwyn Jennie, Paul and Gloria. He died suddenly in Norwich, Conn., in September 1964, when he was returning home to Harwich by bus from the World’s Fair in New York. He was a police officer in Brockton and later had a painting business on the Cape with his brother Alton.
2. Alton Stanley, born 22 October 1893, Brockton. He married Claire Beattie and had a daughter Alice. In the 1920 census his wife is given as Annie, so he either married twice or Annie was a nickname. He died of a heart attack in March 1956 in South Yarmouth. He worked in a shoe factory in Brockton before returning to the Cape.
|Winfred and Alton Kelley, 1940s (from Roland W. Kelley)|
|Winfred and Alton ca 1894|
3. Bernice, born 29 November 1895, probably Brockton. She married Louis Robillard and died 19 August 1986. I don’t know if she had children.
|Bernice Kelley ca 1896|
4. Gertrude, born about 1908. She married Chester Bryant and had a daughter, Gail. She married second Norton Nickerson, her cousin. She died in 1992.
Roland worked in a shoe factory in Brockton and later had a barber shop there (the latter according to his granddaughter Gail). I’ve met his granddaughter Gail, who lives on the Cape, and I have corresponded with his grandson Roland W., who inherited his grandfather’s 1891 Waltham Railroad Watch.
|Roland with son Winfred, grandson Roland B., and Roland B's other grandfather Samuel Ryan||(from Roland W. Kelley)|
Lilla liked to write poetry and my great-grandmother kept a little book of her poetry she must have given to family and friends.
Lilla’s story, below, was sent to the Yarmouth Register by her granddaughter Gail:
I am writing this on special paper in honor of a very special day of long ago, and in memory of two of the best friends I ever had in my life.
On Christmas Eve in the year 1889, I donned by bridal finery to become the bride of a most sincere and devoted man. This event took place in the front parlor of my little Cape Cod home.
My gown was of steel blue cashmere trimmed with contrasting colors of striped silk. Long peplums hung loosely from the waist down to the bottom of the skirt, which was ankle length and lined with silk.
High necked, the dress had long sleeves with wide white lace covering half the hand. My only flower ornament was a white wreath in my hair, which was dark and abundant. My shoes were high and had 16 tiny buttons.
My husband, who then lived in Brockton, had to take the train to Cape Cod that day and he arrived about noon.
He did not see me in my wedding clothes until he met me at the altar.
He was dressed in a "spick and span" dark suit, high collar with corners turned over and a black bow tie. His hair was cut pompadour.
My mother, with joy in her heart because she knew I would be well taken care of, also carried a heavy burden because I was her only girl and I was going to live 70 miles away.
But being so happy in my new life I did not realize what my wedding meant to her. I made my home in Brockton for 45 years, until the great separation, the hardest thing I ever had to bear.
My home is once again on the Cape. But as Christmas Eve draws near, all these memories come fresh to mind as it if were yesterday.
She wrote to a Brockton newspaper as “Cousin Lilla,” in a column that seems similar to the Boston Globe's old Confidential Chat. It had a sort of tribute to her after her death. It mentions her love of music, learning the organ by ear as she couldn't read music. She didn't have her own organ until her husband Roland bought her one while they lived in Brockton. She made sure her children were exposed to music and they are all musical and good singers. Her father liked to recite poems. Her daughter writes poetry.