Mount Kelly, named after Fr. Patrick Kelly, was born in 1792 in Ballycannan, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland. Fr. Kelly studied for the priesthood at St. Kiernan’s College which is still active today. Father completed his studies in 1820, was ordained and headed for America.
By 1829, Fr. Kelly was assigned to the Diocese of Cincinnati which oversaw Detroit. At this time Father began working in Detroit ministering to the Irish of the area. In October of 1829, Father signed the St. Anne register in Detroit and became one of six priests assisting the famed Father Gabriel Richard. It was in Dearborn that Father added the “O” to his name; most likely to distinguish his family from other Kelly families in the area.
On April 26, 1856 Father Kelly was appointed to take charge of St. John’s Parish (now Sacred Heart), here in Dearborn. When Father arrived in Dearborn there was a Methodist church, a saw mill, seven stores, a flour mill, a physician, an iron foundry and two black smith shops. The Detroit-St. Joseph train made a stop here at Dearbornville.
Father Kelly died on October 7,1858 and his remains are buried beneath the chapel floor. The chapel was erected in 1875. A few little known facts about the cemetery are that there are soldiers buried in the cemetery from wars going back as far as the Civil War. Even though Eloise Hospital had its own graveyard, people from there are buried on the grounds as well as people from the old St. Joseph’s Retreat. Some of the Religious who ministered to the sick are also buried here.
Originally Cherry Hill Road went through the cemetery, not along the perimeter as it does today. The road was used as a short cut for anyone going from one side of town to the other.