Several local women who are members of United Daughters of the Confederacy have been out and about participating in a parade in Kansas and honoring an ancestor who had passed on and is buried in Bernice.

Columbus Day Parade, Baxter Springs, KS

Several members of the Cowskin Prairie Chapter, UDC, marched in the Columbus Day Parade, recently. Those taking part included Sherry and Jim Rollins, Grove, OK, Carrie Cook, Fairland, OK, Fredrea Cook, Wyandotte, OK, and Mary Jane Parmele, Columbus, KS, as well as Barbara Hutton and LaNell Russell, Sapulpa, OK.

Dedication at Ballard Cemetery, Bernice, OK

On October 12, 2019 members of the Cowskin Prairie Chapter , UDC, dedicated a Confederate Cross at the grave of John Duke Kelly. The service was attended by several descendants of this Confederate, some from as far away as Kentucky. Four of his descendants who have received Military Service Awards for their own military service were recognized. These awards are the highest honor the UDC pays to worthy descendants of Confederate soldiers.

John Duke Kelly was born in 1830, in Missouri, the son of Thomas H. and Nancy Zumwalt Kelly. He passed away at Afton, Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory, in February 1903. Duke Kelly was buried in the original Ballard Cemetery, near Echo, Indian Territory. That cemetery was moved to the current location when Lake o’ the Cherokees was constructed.

As recorded in the Afton Town Lot Sales, of the Cherokee Nation, John Duke Kelly owned a livery operation which he established on property that he purchased, in 1891. He also spent time between his original home in Vernon County, Missouri, where he had served as postmaster, and Afton.

During the War Between the States John Duke Kelly served as 2nd Lieutenant, Field & Staff, Company A, 7th Cavalry Volunteers, Missouri State Guard, Confederate States of America. He is listed on Vernon County, Missouri partisan ranger and bushwhacker lists, as a Missouri Partisan Ranger. Duke Kelly is also recorded as having served with Quantrill during the war. A businessman, horse breeder and farmer, following the war, he and his family moved to the Indian Territory.

For more information on the Cowskin Prairie UDC Chapter, visit the chapter's website at