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Kelly Island

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Kelly Island

As a Missoula native I have an inherent interest in our local history. With three of four grandparents born in Montana, I also love Montana history. My great, great grandmother, Catherine Kelley, is buried in Missoula's St. Mary's cemetery as well as her sons, Owen and Patrick Kelley. She was born in Ireland in the 1790's. They escaped the famine in Ireland while millions died there. Owen Kelley, my great grandfather, began homesteading in Missoula's Target Range in 1870, after prospecting all over the west for more than a decade. He came to Montana in 1865 after chasing gold in California and Idaho with his younger brother William. He settled in Missoula, began farming and ranching, and married an Irish girl, Susan Madden. They raised a large family, including my grandfather, Orville. With his brother William as a partner, Owen homesteaded almost 800 acres in what is now Orchard Homes and Target Range. A part of Owen Kelley's homestead was located on what is now Kelly Island in Missoula. A third brother, Patrick, arrived in Missoula in 1886 via the N.P. railroad. Recently widowed, Patrick brought five of his six children from Providence, Rhode Island. Other homesteaders in this area included several more Catholic Irish families - a little known topic for Missoula historians. Altogether, this small group of Irish families homesteaded about 2,000 acres in what is now known as Missoula's Target Range / Orchard Homes area. Another part of my Missoula family (with Nauvoo Mormon/Utah roots) includes my great grandparents, Sam and Delpha Terry Davis, who settled on a small farm in Orchard Homes shortly after the turn of the century. Beautiful Orchard Homes had just been developed by Cobban and Dinsmore. The Davis's came to Missoula after tiring of life in and around Butte, Montana. As you can see I have a deep interest in this part of Missoula.

Wildlife paradise close to town: http://www.montanabirdingtrail.org/maps/r1/t1/s4/r1t1s4.php

Owen Kelley from Illustrated History of Mt. by Joaquin Miller - https://archive.org/stream/illustratedhisto00mill#page/608/mode/2up

Target Range Irish Colony - http://oldmissoula.com/index.php?option=com_weblinks&view=category&id=37%3Atarget-range-irish&Itemid=5

40 acre addition - http://newwest.net/main/article/missoula_council_approves_expanding_kelly_island/

Last Updated on Saturday, 11 June 2016 22:47