Grandmother    (Mother's Mother)

Lyda May (Kelly) Morlan

Lyda May (Kelly) Morlan

Born: April 12, 1886, in Keokuk, Lee County, Iowa,
(Keokuk is in the extreme southeast corner of Iowa,
just west of the Mississippi River and north of the Des Moines River)
   daughter of Freeman and Sarah (McClane) Kelly

Died: November 26, 1973, in Butler, Missouri, at age 87

At birth my grandmother was given the name of Eliza May Kelly, after her grandmother. But early in life her name was changed to Lyda May Kelly.

Her birth certificate gave some clues about her parents, but also contained errors.

When Lyda was about eight months old, in late 1887 or early 1888, the Freeman Kelly's moved to Benkelman, Dundy County, Nebraska. This is where relatives of Sarah (McClane) Kelly were living -- including her father and brothers.

Benkelman is located in the extreme southwest part of Nebraska. The Freeman Kelly's had staked claim on a 160-acre farm that was about 10 miles from Colorado and one mile from Kansas. The Republican River went thru their farm. Freeman had built a sod house which lasted the eight years that they were there.

While living in Benkelman, Lyda's sister, Atha Zella Kelly, was born January 10, 1890.

In 1892, when Lyda was about six years old, she came down with typhoid fever. She had the sickness for over a year and it took another year for her to learn to walk again. This was one of the reasons why they later moved back to Iowa as the Nebraska area had very few doctors and those that were there knew little about typhoid fever.

Later Lyda would remember being carried around in a little rocking chair during her illness as she could not walk. In the winter they would also hitch a pony to a sled and put her in a tub and take her up and down the Republican River on the ice and in the water in the summer time.

While living in Nebraska, Lyda remembers the problems of the area including prairie fires and sand storms. She remembers one fire that could be seen for days as it burned their land but since they were living in a sod house, no harm was done to them. Sand storms were also terrible for the area and young family. Even though the house was all shut up, the sand would get between the sheets and she remembers them taking the beds apart to shake out the sand.

Lyda was not able to go to school in Nebraska because of her illness. About 1894 they left the Benkelman area of Nebraska, going back to Iowa. The trip was in a covered wagon which Lyda remembers and enjoyed. They returned to Keokuk, Iowa, where she started school at the age of eight.

Lyda lived with her parents until about 1904 when she was about 18 years old and went to St. Louis, Missouri, where she worked in a office. About 1905, while living in St. Louis, both of her parents were in poor health. So her brother, Charles William Kelly, asked her to come home so she could take care of her parents and he would take care of the expenses, which she did. At the time they were living in Fort Madison, Iowa, where Charles was working on the Santa Fe Railroad. Fort Madison is located about 26 miles north of Keokuk, still in Lee County, Iowa.

Fort Madison was a large train center for the Santa Fe Railroad. Also working for the railroad besides her brother, Charles Kelly, was George Emmett Morlan who worked as a car repairman.

Lyda and George were married October 24, 1907. The parents of Lyda, Freeman and Sarah (McClane) Kelly, were also married on the October 24th date.

George was born September 8, 1880, in Dublin, Barton County, Missouri, the son of Erwin and Adaline (Curry) Morlan. At the time of their marriage, George was 27 years old while Lyda was 21 years old.

For the life and family of George and Lyda (Kelly) Morlan, go to: GRANDPARENTS (MOTHER'S PARENTS)

Lyda's husband, George Morlan, passed away December 29, 1965, at the age of 85 in Butler, Missouri. Lyda May (Kelly) Morlan died Monday, November 26, 1973, in Butler, Missouri, at the age of 87. Both were buried in the town of their last home, Hume, Bates County, Missouri.