Colonel Kelly Award « Go Back
Apr 21 2017

Click here for more Photos Historic Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx will be the site of the 150th Anniversary Commemoration of Colonel Thomas J. Kelly and the Manchester Martyrs on Sunday, April 23 at 3 p.m. The public is invited to attend the event, which will begin with a procession from near the Jerome Avenue entrance to the graveside, and will include color guard, pipes and drum, Civil War re-enactors, the reading of a Resolution of the New York State Senate in honor of Col. Kelly, presentation of the New York State Freedom Award medal, and will feature both music and spoken word. Among those present will be classically trained singer Nicola Fox, also a Kelly family member, who will be making her first trip to New York from her home in Manchester, England. Born in County Galway, Ireland in 1833, Kelly immigrated to New York in 1851 and enlisted in the American Civil War, serving with the 10th Ohio Infantry. Severely wounded in his first battle, Kelly returned to service and served on the staff of Major General George Henry Thomas. -more- Colonel Thomas J. Kelly Sesquicentennial After mustering out in 1864, Kelly returned to New York and became intricately involved again with the Fenian Brotherhood in NYC and the IRB in Ireland and England. Kelly was active in the planning of the Fenian rising of 1867. In August 1867, he called a secret IRB convention at Manchester, where the circles declared allegiance to him as Chief Organizer of the Irish Republic. Wanted by British authorities, Kelly, along with Captain Timothy Deasy, was arrested in Manchester on September 11, 1867. Seven days later, thirty to forty supporters attempted to free them. During the attack on the transport van, a policeman was killed, but Kelly and Deasy were successfully freed from captivity. Dozens of men were arrested, many tried, but only three of these men were later executed, and thereafter known as the Manchester Martyrs. Both Kelly and Deasy escaped to the United States and were never recaptured. Kelly remained active in the cause for Irish freedom, and other political causes, and worked as a civil servant for the remainder of his career. Colonel Kelly is a significant but often overlooked figure in the history of Ireland. His fight for freedom, as well as the history of our New York Irish Americans,as noted Erica Veil, who chairs the Colonel Thomas J. Kelly Sesquicentennial Committee.It is our hope that many people will turn out to learn more about this remarkable man, his patriotism and bravery. Additional information regarding the event can be obtained by calling 518-326-4400 or via e-mail to: _____________________________________________________________________ New York State Senate LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION honoring Colonel Thomas J. Kelly posthumously upon the occasion of his designation as recipient of a Liberty Medal, the highest honor bestowed upon an individual by the New York State Senate WHEREAS, It is incumbent upon the people of the State of New York to recognize and acknowledge those within our midst who have made significant contributions to the quality of life therein; and WHEREAS, Members of the Armed Services from the State of New York, who have served so valiantly and honorably in wars in which this country's freedom was at stake, as well as in the preservation of peace in peacetime, deserve a special salute from this Legislative Body; and WHEREAS, This Legislative Body is justly proud to honor Colonel Thomas J. Kelly posthumously upon the occasion of his designation as recipient of a Liberty Medal, the highest honor bestowed upon an individual by the New York State Senate; and WHEREAS, The New York State Senate Liberty Medal was established by resolution and is awarded to individuals who have merited special commendation for exceptional, heroic, or humanitarian acts on behalf of their fellow New Yorkers; and WHEREAS, Thomas Joseph Kelly was born on January 6, 1833, in Mountbellew, County Galway, Ireland; from 1846-1849, he attended St. Jarlath's College in Tuam, County Galway, Ireland; and WHEREAS, After college, Thomas J. Kelly served as an apprentice with Kelly's Printers in Loughrea, County Galway, Ireland; at the young age of 18, he emigrated to New York City, arriving on the ship Castillian on March 27, 1851; he worked as a printer, and joined the Printer's Union in New York City; and WHEREAS, In that same year, Thomas J. Kelly joined the 9th Regiment New York State Militia, which later became the 69th Infantry Regiment; today, the Regiment is known as the Fighting Sixty-Ninth, a name said to have been given by Robert E. Lee during the Civil War; and WHEREAS, Thomas J. Kelly later joined the Emmet Monument Association, and became a founding member of the Fenian Brotherhood in 1857; he also became involved with the Masons, serving as Master Mason of Pacific Lodge 233, and Royal Arch Mason of Orient Chapter 187; and WHEREAS, Thomas J. Kelly then moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where he worked as a foreman for the S. W. Publishing House; soon thereafter, he established the NASHVILLE EVENING DEMOCRAT, which supported the presidential campaign of Stephen A. Douglas in the Presidential election of 1860; and WHEREAS, On July 15, 1859, Thomas J. Kelly became a Knight Templar of the Nashville Commandery; and WHEREAS, Following the outbreak of the American Civil War, Thomas J. Kelly, a supporter of the Union, chose to leave Nashville for the North; en route to joining the famous Irish 69th Infantry Regiment, he heard about the Irish 10th Ohio Infantry, and enlisted with them for its initial three months, and then re-enlisted for an additional three years; and WHEREAS, Thomas J. Kelly served in Company "C", where his military knowledge and ability was soon recognized and he was promoted to Sergeant; by the end of the summer of 1861, he was functioning as First Sergeant of the Company; and WHEREAS, Although he was shot in the jaw at the Battle of Carnifex Ferry in Western Virginia on September 10, 1861, he volunteered to return to duty before the end of the year; and WHEREAS, In January of 1862, Sergeant Thomas J. Kelly was commissioned, and later seconded to the staff of Major General George Henry Thomas of the XIV Corps, United States Army of the Cumberland, as a Signal Officer; he was promoted to Captain on March 17, 1863, becoming the Chief Signal Officer; and WHEREAS, On August 19, 1863, Captain Thomas J. Kelly was ordered to return to the "Bloody Tenth" as Captain, Company "I", from which he was mustered out with the rest of the 10th Ohio on June 17, 1864; and WHEREAS, After the war, Captain Thomas J. Kelly joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) in New York; the group dispatched him to Ireland as an envoy to meet with IRB leader James Stephens; upon his return to New York in April of 1866, he became the Deputy to James Stephens; and WHEREAS, In December of 1866, Captain Thomas J. Kelly became the Chief Central Organiser of the Irish Republic; in this capacity, he penned a Proclamation of the Irish Republic, and supported the cause of Irish Independence; and WHEREAS, On September 11, 1867, Captain Thomas J. Kelly and Captain Timothy Deasy were detained by the British government in Manchester, England; one week later, the two men were rescued by a contingency of faithful and loyal followers; and WHEREAS, During the rescue effort, a policeman was killed, however, Colonel Kelly and Captain Deasy managed to escape to the United States; William Philip Allen, Michael Larkin, and Michael O'Brien were arrested in connection with the attack, and were later executed; thereafter, they became known as the Manchester Martyrs for their loyalty to their motherland; and WHEREAS, The song, "God Save Ireland" was written as a tribute to the memory of the Manchester Martyrs, Colonel Thomas J. Kelly and Captain Timothy Deasy; and WHEREAS, In 1869, Colonel Thomas J. Kelly became the Superintendent of Station F of the New York Post Office; from 1870-1905, he held the position of Audit Clerk for the United States Custom House; and WHEREAS, For numerous years, Colonel Thomas J. Kelly was active in the Grand Army of the Republic, Alexander Hamilton Chapter 182 in New York City; and WHEREAS, Colonel Thomas J. Kelly married the former Catharine Anastasia Gillogly in 1869, together, the couple raised five children, Julia Helen, Columba Lee Thomas, Frances Mary, Leo Patrick and Kathryn Josephine; they were the loving grandparents of one granddaughter, Dorothy Ella Kelly; and five great-grandchildren, John Alfred, Oliver Amory, Eloise Lorraine, Lawrence Joseph, and Robert Leo; as well as one great-great-grandchild, Erica Beth Veil; and WHEREAS, Colonel Thomas J. Kelly died at his home at 331 East 119th Street in New York City on February 5, 1908, at the age of 75; and WHEREAS, Residents of this great State must never forget the courage with which these men and women served their country, and must recognize that no greater debt is owed than that owed to those who gave their lives for their beloved Nation and to those who continue to be missing in action; and WHEREAS, Having exhibited his patriotism both at home and abroad, Colonel Thomas J. Kelly demonstrated his love for his country and merits forevermore, the highest respect of his State and Nation; and WHEREAS, Our Nation's veterans deserve to be recognized, commended and thanked by the people of the State of New York for their service and for their dedication to their communities, their State and their Nation; now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to honor Colonel Thomas J. Kelly posthumously upon the occasion of his designation as recipient of a Liberty Medal, the highest honor bestowed upon an individual by the New York State Senate; and be it further RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be transmitted to the family of Colonel Thomas J. Kelly.

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Colonel Kelly Award
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Articles Invitation
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