|as known kin for the first time.
Amid a massive spread of home cooked food, the organizers, Carson Kelly and Melba Kelly Thomas, collected bits and pieces of individual family connections, along with photographs and other memorabilia which those attending had brought in response to the invitation.
Carson, the main organizer of the genealogy project, brought a copier and other paraphernalia to collect information and photographs for inclusion in the pictorial genealogy which will update the earlier 1989 book.
Some members present also discussed the possibility of opening access to the Kelley (yes, Kelley) Cemetery near Sikes, where William Nathaniel and Elizabeth are buried, along with several other Kelly family members. A few years ago, the Winn Parish Police Jury closed access to a public road leading to the cemetery, which is now within company-owned timberland and languishes in brush within an iron fence. There is some interest in the family in attempting to regain open access to the cemetery and to facilitate maintainance as it was kept up for many years.
Interestingly, Carson has been investigating beyond Bill and Elizabeth White Kelly, the couple who came from Georgia with Gaars, Gates, and others in the 1850s, back to origins in Georgia and Florida. He has come up with an earlier full-blood Cherokee Indian great-plus grandmother--a not unusual event in the colonial period where settlers and Native Americans co-existed. Pursuing that connection, Carson has traveled to the present-day home of the Cherokee nation in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. He states that his marriage was first celebrated in a native Cherokee ceremony performed by a tribal chief, who drafted the couple to fill a vacant spot in an eight-couple ring representing the eight primary points of the compass.
Family members who have seen pictures of early Native American faces will not be surprised to discover direct lines of kinship to the original early inhabitants of the North American continent, when comparing them to images of our own kin in some branches of the family tree.
Descendants of the Georgia Kellys are invited to contact Carson Kelly at 318-640-4338, for information on submitting for the upcoming pictorial genealogy.
For those who are keeping score, Carson is the grandson of Ross Kelly, son of Jasper Washington, son of James Thomas, son of William Nathaniel.
Melba is daughter of Rushel, son of Jasper, son of James Thomas, son of William Nathaniel.
The writer of this article is Troy Thomas, son of Troy, son of James Thomas, son of William Nathanial.
Go back three generations anywhere in the South, and everyone is kin to everyone else. We're sorry if you missed the reunion; we may be kin. The food was great.