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Derinda Elizabeth Kelso



Betty, as she was called, was born September 30, 1857, in Lavaca County, Texas. She had a twin brother who died before the age of five. She was so tiny that her father could carry her in his pocket.


In 1862, her mother died in childbirth and due to her father being in the Confederate Army, she was sent to a friend for care. At the age not yet five years old, her father put her on a train by herself to Allentown and then to catch a stage that would take her home to Lavaca County. When she finally arrived, the friend was not there so she wrapped herself up in her mother’s old shawl and sat next to the hotel wall. It was dark by that time and a man accidently rolled a 200 lb. barrel of flour over her foot and she let out a yelp. Once discovered, she was taken to her destination.


Her father died when she was between eleven and twelve and she was sent to an aunt who had nine children. Betty was expected to help care for the children but was treated more like a slave. At the age of thirteen or fourteen, she was then sent to live with another aunt who was a self-proclaimed fortune teller.


At the age of nineteen, she married Leroy Kelso in 1876 in Bee Cave, Texas. They had eight children. In 1920, she was granted a pension of $12.00 a month from the Dept. of the Interior, Indian Wars for her husband’s service.


Even though she started life as a very frail child, she lived to the age of 91. She died October 21, 1948, and is buried at Fitzhugh Cemetery next to her husband.


*This story was sent to me by Derinda's great great granddaughter Linda Buaas Strickland.


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