Letter submitted for the Union Parish Louisiana USGenWeb Archives by Maradee Cryer, May 2004

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1862 Letters Written by Confederate Soldier John Andrew Kelley

John Andrew Kelley served in Company E, 41st Georgia Infantry Regiment during the War Between the States. He wrote the following letters while serving in the army. John mentions his brother-in-law James A. Pyron in the first letter below. John's wife was Frances Pyron, and the William Pyron John mentions is either Fraces' father or brother.

Transcription of the first letter:

Corinth Mississippi
May 9, 1862
Dear Fanny,
            I take my pen in hand this morning to let you know that I am in tolerable good health at the present time and hoping that these few lines will find you and the children well and doing well. We have moved to Corinth Miss. the sick has all been moved from here to Saugterdale about one hundred miles from this place. Your James was with the sick but he was on the mend when he left. All but one at this place were getting along well at this time. We was drawn out on line of battle this morning but the enemy retreated back and we had no fight though we expect a fight soon. We think this battle will decide the question one way or another. Badly situated since we left Bethel Springs on the account of our cooking things were carried off with the sick ones. Though we have had a part of them sent back to us. We are doing very well at this time. The water is not very good here. Write to me and let me know what William Pyron is going to do about going to the war. Whether he is going to come to this company or not. Write soon, let me hear from you all.

   I remain your loving husband. Give my best regards to the family.

John A. Kelley

Transcription of the second letter:

Camp 35 miles from Chattanooga
Aug. 29th, 1862

Dear Companion,
     Having an opportunity of writing to you, I send you a few lines to let you know that I am well and have stood the march finely so far. We are going to stop at this place today and then I guess we will  resume our march. I cannot tell when or where we will  stop. As the mail facilities are very  bad in this county you need not expect to hear from me often.

      I did not have an opportunity of going to see your brother in Chattanooga. Some think that we will go on towards Knoxville. If we do I may have a chance of seeing him there. As he was getting better and I heard that he would be able to go to his Reg. in a few days. The boys of our company generally are standing the march very well indeed. We have caught up with our brigade which is composed entirely of Tennesseans except our Reg. If you write to me send to Chattanooga in care of Culbert’s 41st Reg., Manney’s Brigade.
Your husband, John A. Kelley

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Images of the Original Letters



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Family Background on John Andrew Kelley

Oral history of the Kelley family from the writings of John Lewis Liggin:
A disasterous failure of the potato crop in Ireland sent Mike O'Kelley to South Carolina in the late 1700's where he dropped the "O" and became "Kelley". Mike's son Pat married an Irish girl and their son was John Andrew Kelley who moved to Carroll County, Georgia.There he married Frances Pyron (age 21). The Pyrons lived on Stone Mountain, Georgia. William (Frances' father) built a log house there.

As the Civil War raged over Georgia, John Kelley got special leave to go home for the birth of his daughter, November 23, 1861. He served under a Capt. Bartow so he named the newborn daughter, Georgia Bartow Kelley. She often told her children and grandchildren of the time when a troop of Union Calvary came to the home of Grandpa Pyron, destroying the house and stealing the nightgowns of the women. Grandpa Pyron was a hot headed man and became so infuriated that he found his old musket. He threaten to shoot the soldiers— who tied a rope around his body and dragged him down a rocky road. They left him torn and bleeding but alive. [This story has survived in other branches of our Kelley line.]

After the war John A. Kelley returned to his farm and family. He was thrown from a wagon and his ankle crushed. His foot had to be amputated.  John's sister, Elizabeth, married a John Jenkins and moved to Union Parish. In 1875 John and Frances Kelley and their family followed, coming by rail to Monroe. They were met by the Jenkins family with several teams and wagons, and proceeded to Shiloh, finally settling on property known as Woolfort. Georgia Bartow Kelley was 14 when the move was made. Arthur was 16, William 12, Abb 10, and Elizabeth a baby. Charles was born the next year.

The Kelley family settled a little over a mile from the Liggin farm. Five years later Georgia Kelley (May 6, 1880) married Sam Liggin. They lived two years in the old Liggin log house, later to become Liggin School. The marriage was to last for more than sixty years. When their first child, John Lewis Liggin, was born in 1881 he was named for his grandfathers; John Kelley and Lewis Liggin.


John Andrew Kelley                                                          Alla Frances Pyron
   b. 1832 in South Carolina               married                      b. December 23, 1837, Georgia
   d. 1914- Union Parish  LA                                                   d. October 10, 1912, Union Parish LA

  1. Author Ashford b. 1860 (married Amarintha Jane Culpepper)
  2. Georgia Bartow b. November 23, 1861
    She was named after her father's commanding officer. Georgia married James Samuel Liggin. They both died in December 1940 within a few hours of each other and are buried in the Fellowship Cemetery.
  3. William b. 1863
  4. Abb b. 1865
  5. Elizabeth; b. 1874
  6. Charles b. 1876

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