Lewis Kelly, deceased, late in the employ of the Iron Mountain Railroad at De Soto, was born in the State of Pennsylvania in the year 1840. His father, John Kelly, now of Peoria, Ill., immigrated to Illinois when Lewis
was a small boy. The latter was reared in Peoria, and received a common
school education. At the breaking out of the late war his patriotism
and love of country was manifested in his speedy resolve to assist in
subduing the rebellion. He therefore enlisted in the Seventeenth Regiment,
Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and served faithfully for three years,
participating in all the battles of his regiment from Port Gibson to the
capture of Vicksburg. His first railroad service was in the employ of
the Chicago & North Western Railroad Company as fireman. In 1869 he
located in De Soto and entered the employ of the Iron Mountain Railroad,
where he continued the remainder of his life. He filled the position of
engineer for over twenty years, and so faithfully did he perform every
known duty that he endeared himself, not only to his employers, but to all
with whom he was associated. August 12, 1867, he married Miss Mary Byers,
a native of York County, Penn., and a daughter of John Byers, deceased.
In the spring of 1887, Mr. Kelly's engine ran off of a bridge into a river
carrying him with it, but two cars piled in upon the engine, pushing it out
of the water so Mr. Kelly's head was above water; he was in reach of the
limbs of a tree, which he seized and pulled himself up, and was thus
rescued. The cold contracted at this time seemed to affect his heart,
and was the primary cause of his death, which occurred January 3, 1888.
Mr. Kelly was a prominent member of the A. O. U. W., and was one of the
oldest and most highly respected members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive
Engineers of De Soto.