Sarah Conway Ruddy Kelly

Name: Sarah Conway Ruddy Kelly

Lifespan:  77 years, 1838-1915. Born Belmullet Parish, Mayo, Ireland, 01/06/1838. Died Plankinton, 03/05/1915, from complications of diabetes. Buried in Plankinton Cemetery.

Locations: Ireland (1838), America (1846), Indiana (1850), DeKalb County, IL (1856), Wisconsin (1865), Iowa (1874), Dudley Twp (1885), Plankinton (@1910).

Spouse1: Edward Ruddy (xxx-1860). Married 1856.

Spouse2: Patrick Henry Kelly, 1833-1902. Born in Ireland. Married 10/28/1862 in ??. Homesteader (Dudley: 160 acres in section 31, donated portion for St. Mary’s Cemetery).

Profile:  Sarah left Ireland to come to America with her parents when she was seven years old, and moved several times before finally settling in Aurora County, forty years later. At the age of eighteen, she married Irishman Edward Ruddy in Illinois, who died four years later. Four years after that, she married Patrick Kelly, also from Ireland. In the next twenty years, Sarah gave birth to four sons and five daughters while the family kept moving from Illinois to Wisconsin and then to several places in Iowa. Her youngest was three years old when the family finally settlied in Dudley Township, in 1885. James Ruddy, her son from her first marriage also homesteaded nearby. Three children pre-deceased her; William died in infancy, Thomas died in a terrible train accident, and her daughter Margaret died soon after giving birth to a daughter, who was then raised by Sarah’s daughter Anna Rose. Sarah was a firm believer in the teachings of the Catholic Church. Her obituary noted that she “was distinctly a home loving woman and her thoughts were ever of her children and their welfare.”

Roles/Talent: Mother, grandmother, homemaker.

Parents(Ethnicity): Anthony Conway and Honora Hannah Lynch, Irish Immigrants

Children: 10 children born 1858-1882. James Ruddy (Mary Page); Thomas Kelly (Bridgett Rooney), Anna Rose (John Magonegil), John/Jack, William, Mary (William Franzke), Margaret (Finney Harrison), Sarah/ Lizzie (Michael Nicholson), Catherine/Kate (Emil Burrington), Frank.

Sisters: Marta, Barbay, Mary (likely)

Brothers: Anthony (likely)


Work Experience:

Church, Clubs and Organizations: St. John’s Catholic Church

Family Connections/Occupations: Sarah’s son James homesteaded near them in Dudley Township until he and his half-sister, Sarah, moved to Alberta, Canada in 1906. Four of her children remained in Aurora County: John and Frank, never married, in Stickney; Kate, no children, in Plankinton; and Anna, three children, in Dudley Township. In 2021, Anna’s grandson Hershell Page, aged 96, lives in Plankinton, but no other descendants remain in the area. Kate’s husband, Emil Burrington served as County Treasurer of Aurora County for many years.

Time in Aurora County: 47 years.

Physical Appearance:

Date of Submission: March 2021

Latest Update: April 18, 2021

Name and Contact Information of Submitter: Ruth Page Jones,