Wartime letters help her remember family history

Published 6:40 am Saturday, October 1, 2011

by Glynn Kello Parker

Editor’s Note: This is another in a continuing series of local, historical columns written by members of the Urquhart Gillette Camp 1471 Sons Of Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy’s Jerusalem Chapter in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

James Richard Kello Sr., a resident of Southampton County and a wheelwright by trade, enlisted in the Confederate Army, 9th Virginia Infantry, Company B, on April 23, 1862, at Craney Island, Norfolk County.

He was promoted to 4th Corporal on June 1, 1862, and was wounded July 1, 1862, at Malvern Hill.

On July 28, 1862, he was promoted to sergeant. He fought at Gettysburg with Longstreet’s Division, Armistead’s Brigade in Pickett’s Charge on July 3, 1863, and was one of the few survivors in his company.

He was involved in the battles for the defense of Richmond and Petersburg. He was taken prisoner at the Battle of Five Forks on April 1, 1865, and transported to Point Lookout, Md., where he was released on June 14, 1865.

Richard returned home to farm with his father, Samuel Kello, who was sheriff of the county before, during and after the War Between the States.

In 1870, he married Mariah Vaughan of Franklin, sister of Cecil Calvert Vaughan, who was a veteran of the war. Richard purchased Rose Hill Plantation on Indian Town Road, Courtland.

He and Mariah had six children, Elise Kello Simmons, John Gurley Kello, Antoinette Kello Davis, Samuel Thomas Kello, Mattie Owens Kello and James Richard Kello Jr. He and Mariah lived at Rose Hill until he died in 1908, and she, until her death in 1928.

They are buried in the family cemetery in the side yard of the house. Richard’s granddaughter lives there today, and is a member of Jerusalem Chapter 2489, United Daughters of the Confederacy.

The following is a wartime letter from James Richard Kello Sr.

Camp near Richmond
May 13,1864

Dear Brother,

I seat myself this morning to writt you a few lines to inform you of the times; Present. There is some rite smart fiting round Richmond for the last few days. I was in the fite between Richmond and Petersburg on the 10th whitch was last Tuesday.

Some few wounded of our company. I cannot tell the loses of the Brigade. The Yankees have cut the railroads between Richmond and Petersburg and the telegraph on the railroad and turnpike. I do not no whither the way is open or not up to this time, but I hope that it is.

I have written to you since you have to me. The last time I herd from you was by William Womlde and I answered that. I fear that the Yankees have made a road through Southampton. But I think that you had plenty time to of written before all this time.

I must close for this time. This leaves me only well. But I hope that times will soon be better Give my love to all. Write soon.

Yours truley,
Brother-J R Kello

GLYNN KELLO PARKER is a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy’s Jerusalem Chapter. She can be reached at gkparker@cooper.net.