Annie Elizabeth Caroline Kelly

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Annie Elizabeth Caroline Kelly (Smith)

Birthplace: Arena, Iowa County, WI, United States
Death: November 11, 1999 (83)
Stoughton, Dane County, WI, United States
Place of Burial: Deerfield, Dane County, Wisconsin, USA
Immediate Family:

Daughter of William Jacob Smith and Mabel Emelia Anderson
Wife of Leroy Arthell Kelly
Mother of JoAnne Yvonne Kelly; Larry Arthell Kelly; Private; Private and Private
Sister of William Edward Smith; Shirley Wilma Smith; Carol LaVerne Smith; Velma Jayne Smith; Private and 2 others

Managed by: Dana Marie Kelly
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Annie Elizabeth Caroline Kelly


Got pneumonia January of 1928.

Capital Times March 2, 1930:

Arena Debate Teams Lose to Middleotn's Veteran Squads ARENA - Members of the Arena negative debating team met the Middleotnaffirmative team there Monday. The middleton negative trio debated teh Arena affermative here Monday night, losing to Middleton, although the Arena team did good work the opposing team had the more experience and judges decided in their favor.

Mrs. Emma Hamilton was hostess for a banquet in honor of the debating team and coaches Monday night. Those attending: Grace Bird, Lorraine Michels, Ruth Knight, Annie Smith, Doris Hamilton, Helen Turnell, Miss Gladys Olseth, Prof. and Mrs. E. M. Cox.

Confirmed in June, 1930.

Permformed in the school plays "Just Like a Woman" and "Goose Money" in November 1930.

Graduated from Arena High School May 29, 1931.

From a school project by Kristen Farnsworth, 1979:

Annie Elizabeth Caroline Kelly, (my grandmother) was born in the town of Arena, Wisconsin and was the third child of six. She has four sisters and one brother; William Edward, Shirley Wilma, Vivian May, Fern Lucille, and Velma Jayne. Ann claimed that Velma, Shirley and Bill were spoiled because they are the youngest, oldest, and the only boy.

Ann lived on a big farm (280 acres, which was large for that time) in Arena, Wisconsin. They milked a lot of Holstein cows and had fifty pigs. They had horses to do the work because they didn't have any tractors in those days. Everybody had to pump and carry water, for they had no running water or milking machines so the milking was also done by hand. When the children got to be seven years old, they had to start milking cows. Their milk went to a cheese factory that made American cheese.

Their country school which was only one room like my mother's, was 1 1/2 miles directly west from their home. There were no roads, just all fields. If they would have taken the road, it would have been 2 1/2 miles. They walked every day. One morning Vivian and Ann went to school and it was unusually cold, their teacher remarked, "Sure, you girls should have gotten a ride with the horses," and Vivian replied, "But it was too cold for the horses." Their school had such a small enrollment they closed it up the year after she graduated. Ann was eleven years old when she graduated (eighth grade) from country school. After that she went to Arena High School. There were no buses so she had to rent one small room and make themselves soup and sandwiches to eat with Shirley, (her other sister). When she was a junior and senior she stayed in a house where there was other girls with a lady that lived in Arena. She went out for Forensics every year and she was in seven class plays and even had a lead part when she was a junior. She portrayed a bratty girl.

Ann was in the biggest class in high school. When she was a freshman, she had 35 in her class and there was 70 in the whole school. She was on the debating team and thoroughly enjoyed it. She remembers debating about whether installment buying was good or bad as it was new at the time. She was in the choir. They had a football team but no basketball team because they had no gym. They had a terrific football and baseball team which were the only two sports they had but Ann never had 10 cents to get in. The minister was the coach. There was only five teachers in the high school including the principal. (also the math teacher). She describes her teachers as great. She can't forget all the sentence structure from English and math was never hard for her. The principal never raised his voice but still kept good order and there was no vandalism within the school.

Church was the social center for the students. They had meetings and parties for the young people. Since Arena, Wisconsin was a very religious town, the people associated people that danced with liquor, so dancing was frowned upon. Even today in Arena, there are no liquor stores, bars, or anyplace to obtain liquor. The Junior-Senior banquet was a highly social even in Arena for the teenagers. The food was cooked and served by the Home-Economics girls and financed by the Junior class. As for Ann's social life, she went home every weekend and her parents always had house parties where they played cards, and danced to a hired band which thy got for only $2.00. The parties were mostly held for her parents' friends but some of Ann's friends came too. Ann always filled in for the band members when they wanted to dance. She could play the guitar and the violin a little.

After high school graduation she went to teacher's training in Dodgeville, Wisconsin for one year. She taught school in the Pleasant Point country school located 2 1/2 miles north of her home with her family. She taught grades 1-8 when she was 16 years old. She was also janitor, fireman (keeping the fires going) and "Chief cook and bottle washer", (In other words, she did everything that had to be done in the school.) She had about 21 students. She was the coach and the pitcher of their softball team. They played hide-and-seek inside when it was raining. Most of the time in the school was devoted to "playing". She did this for 2 1/2 years. She then taught at Larsonville school which was 2 1/2 miles south of her farm so she always stayed at home, always walking to and fro for 2 years.

Roy Kelly was Ann's first real love. Shirley was dating his first cousin and after dances Shirley, her date, and Ann always went home together and Roy always "tagged along." Ann had no interest in him or anybody. Boys weren't important to her. He was sticking around and Ann told me that he "grew on her." Then they started dating. Roy always went out with a lot of girls before Ann but she claims she settled him down. Ann and Roy went together for six years before they got married. They lived in a log house right after marriage for a year, and she told me that she had some troubles cooking Roy's meals that first year. Ann and Roy started a family: JoAnne was born in 1937, Judy was born on the Maas farm on January 23, 1940, Larry was born on the Lee farm on November 4, 1952, and Dan was born on the Lee farm on January 16, 1955.

JoAnne is living one mile away from the Kelly farm with nine children, Judy now resides in Steven's Point, Wisconsin where she and her husband are schoolteachers , and Larry and Dan just both recently got married and now each have one child and live close to their home farm.

My memories of my grandma:

My grandma reminds me of Eyore from Winnie the Pooh. Everyone was always against her and she always waited for the "other shoe to drop." She woke up every day wondering what tragedy would befall her that day. Most of what I remember about her was her complaining about the government, taxes, and how no one appreciates farmers. She may have had valid points, but her tirades often became tiresome.

Grandma Ann always felt that she got the short end of the stick. She said she never got to play with dolls when she was little because her younger sister, Vivian, threw hers down the stairs and broke it. When she went to high school, she was the only one of the girls who had to work for her room and board. (She lived with the Lou Bowden family and milked cows on a Jersey farm. "They were the worst to milk because they have such small teats!") I don't know if that's true, but it's the way she told it.

My grandma was a hard worker. She always used to gripe about her brother, William, because she said he never had to do anything because he was such a mama's boy- he would stay in bed all morning and never get up to do anything. She used to tell a story from her childhood to illustrate her work ethic. She couldn't ride a bike or whistle and she never did learn to do either one. Her sisters were teasing her one day and said, "Annie - come out here and whistle and ride the bike!" My grandma shouted back, "Why don't you come out here and wash the milk pails!"

Grandma worked her entire life. She worked for the State of Wisconsin in the vital statistics department as a "knowsologist." I don't know if that's what her title really was, but that's what my mom always said she did. She processed the birth, marriage, and death certificates. It gave her access to GREAT genealogy information and she took advantage of that. Grandma Ann worked there for thirty years before she retired. She rarely took vacation or sick time, so she was able to keep collecting a pay check for years after her official retirement.

Even after her retirement, she managed to keep herself busy. She still helped on the farm and found a lot of "busy" farm work to do - washing the calf pails, cleaning the pipeline, and pulling weeds. She used to say to my sisters ans me all summer, "You know what you girls should do. You should get out in the field and pull those weeds for your daddy." We pretended we didn't hear. After we moved to the farm, she moved into our little house on Oak Park Road. You could drive by at any time of day in any weather and see her out in the ditch picking up trash and pulling weeds.

My grandma had no sense of humor. One winter day my dad hired a butcher to come out to the farm and slaughter some animals for beef. My grandma never drove to work - she participated in the state van pool and got a ride. My dad knew she would be coming home on the van so he put the cow's bloody head in the snow bank right where he knew the van would be dropping her off. She was terribly embarrassed.

My grandma spoke fondly of school and she did rather well. She was usually the only one in her class in the country school. Since she was the only one she worked at her own pace and finished eighth grade when she was eleven years old and went to high school that fall. She was the youngest one in her class so when she was in the class plays, she usually portrayed a little girl. Grandma Ann was the youngest member of her high school class. She always used to talk about how she thought she probably should have been valedictorian, but the girl they named valedictorian had a baby with the hired man when she was eleven years old so she deserved it more. She also used to talk about the principal of the school. She always said, "He thrusts his fist against that post and still insists he sees that ghost." I have no idea what that is supposed to mean.

One of grandma's favorite things to do in her adult life was to watch dairy cattle shows. She always loved the cows and watching her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren exhibit them at the county fairs. In 1995 she suffered a heart attack after spending the day at the Dane County fair and had quintuple bypass surgery the following week. She wasn't very happy when the doctors told her she probably couldn't go out in the hot weather any more.

My grandma taught me to do the things that make me who I am: She encouraged me to show my first calf at the fair, she taught me my first Norwegian words, she taught me to crochet, she taught me to play piano, and she collected a treasure trove of genealogical information that I discovered when she went to the nursing home. She may have been the most negative, pessimistic person I will ever meet, but she gave me my most defining characteristics. No question. I think if she had been born sixty years later, we probably would have been friends.

Kelly, Annie DEERFIELD - Annie Kelly, age 83, passed away on Thursday, November 11, 1999 at the Skaalen Home in Stoughton. She as born on December 24, 1915 in Arena, a daughter of the late William and Mabel (Anderson) Smith. She married Leroy Kelly on November 30, 1936. Annie was a long time member of St. Paul's Liberty Lutheran Church. She is survived by two daughters, JoAnne Farnsworth of Deerfield and Judith (Warner) Halverson of Stevens Point; a son, Daniel (Jane) Kelly of Deerfield; fifteen grandchildren; twenty-one great grandchildren; a brother, William Smith of Arkansas; three sisters, Shirley Lindroth of Mt. Horeb, Vivian Dodge of Arena, and Fern Frame of Blue Mounds; and a brother-in-law, Wilbert Zweifel of Evansville. She was preceded in death by her husband, Leroy, a son, Larry Kelly and a sister, Velma Zweifel. memorial services will be held on Monday, November 15, 1999 at 11:00 a.m. at ST. PAUL'S LIBERTY LUTHERAN CHURCH, 3494 Oak Park Road in Deerfield. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to the Alzheimer's Association or St. Paul's Liberty Lutheran Church.

Letter from Vivian Smith Dodge, February 2013:

Dear Erin, I must say I couldn't find many good picture of Annie - none alone, mostly in family - we had several taken in a studio, so I'm sure Dan may have those. These I am sending are not the best - you can keep them. I have more than I need.

Annie had pneumonia when a freshman in High School - Ma had to go take care of her and they also hired a nurse, Shirley & Annie lived with a Mrs. Lou Bawden and paid Room & Board. Shirley also had a touch of the disease, but not as bad. Annie also tooka few piano lessons from Diasy Southard - about 6 - so she learned to read music. We had a n old pump organ at home, got from Aunt Alpha Johnson - (Ma's sister) as they bought a piano for their daughter, Beulah, both Annie & Ma played on that old pump organ & later Fern received it & kept it until Annie bought it at the folks sale, and that was the end of that, in the meantime William (Brother) wanted a violin, so the folks sent to Sears catalog and got him one (that's how we got things back then) but he couldn't learn to play it, only got some squeaks out of it, so Annie took over the violin and in high school she and Charles Ladd (on piano) and Annie on Violin used to play duets for PTA etc. Sht ook to that violin & she could read music and was eager to learn.

All of our family worked together to get the work on the farm done. We all hand milked the 36 or so cows and did all the work as meeded on a farm. Annie didn't work out in the fields as much as Shirley and I, but she did a lot of the housework; (someone had to do that, too) And she was good at it. She took part in many events in High school, was eater to learn something new.

After high school she went to Dodgeville Teacher Training (a one year class) to be a teacher - she stayed at a farm family by the name of Elmer Flora - milked Jersey cows, etc. - but was hard for her to do all that so moved in with a family in the Village by name of Nelson (Nelson's Jewelry) & worked there for Room & Board, graduated & taught Rural School when she was 16 years old. "Pleasant Point" & "Leonardsville" & "Bunker"- I don't recall more - Then she & Leroy married and you maybe know the rest of the story. Times were hard & the moved a lot - people did in those days. I still remember the places they lived. We were all young and made the best we could of it, but we were content and happy. Life was so different back then. I don't know if it was better or worse - but it was a good life. And now I'm wondering - it's a struggle now too, everything is so expensive and we still struggle, but stay hopeful & happy.

It was such a treat to be able to share the day with you and all at Jane & Dan's x-mas. Made me want to get to know you better - Annie & I were close all our lives and I still miss my siblings. I'm getting too old & no family to ask questions of. Shirley & my mom both were past 96 when they died, so maybe I'll reach that point. all my sisters died in the month of Nov. so I have to be careful.

I am so blessed to have my health and live in my home - have family that I dearly love & they love me. Seth (Gayle's son) is the only one living any distance away - Chicago- he is an accountant. Gets home quite often. The rest live in Arena & Mazomanie area and they are all so good to me. I have 5 grandchildren, all grown - and five great grands - 3 boys & 2 girls in each. They each have their own loving ways and I am teaching them all to make Lefse & they can do it now - and they like it. I use instant potatoes & no one knows the difference. We make it only at the holidays. I don't know why we do it like that. They come to my house as I have all the equipment to do it, & you need that!

I like to bake and make a lot of cookies and give to family. They never refuse - so guess they like them - of course some say they dont eat them (watch their diet). I can't eat many as I have diabetes 2 - I do have to watch my diet - I've lost 20 pounds & I do feel well. My balance could be better, I've taken a few falls so have to be very careful - havent' broken anything yet except a chair. But that's another stoy.

You have Annie & Roy's 50th pictures & they were very nice & we had family pictures taken so perhaps you can find them. I dont' know who would have them bugt Dan. But you know or should know that as we age, we do strange things - give this away to someone and forget what we did with it - let's face it - I'm so guilty of that, but I want to be sure they get it. Get the picture?

Excuse my writing - my hands are hurting & so I hope you can make this out.

If you have any specific questions to ask I will try to answer them.

Weather is so fickle - warm-cold-snow-rain - hope it settles down soon. Spring is coming and I can't wait. I hope to have a garden & do some canning - family likes that.

You can keep these pictures I'm sending -

Love to all the Kellys- Vivian

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Annie Elizabeth Caroline Kelly's Timeline

December 24, 1915
Arena, Iowa County, WI, United States
January 6, 1916
February 28, 1937
Brigham, Iowa, Wisconsin, USA
April 1, 1940
Age 24
Brigham, Iowa, Wisconsin, United States
Age 24
Brigham, Iowa, Wisconsin, United States
November 5, 1952
Stoughton, Dane, Wisconsin, USA