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Captain James W. Lambert

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All Souls Day 2010

The Lambert-Kelly burial ground lot contains the remains of eight members of the Lambert-Kelly family. The oldest is Peter Kelly born in Ireland in 1809. He died in Natchez in 1833.

His wife, Rose Dougherty Kelly, born in County Down in 1817 died in Natchez 1861. Rose’s brother, James Dougherty, born in 1821 and died in Natchez in 1859. Captain James K. Lambert and his wife, (5.) Rose Kelly-Lambert, and their two sons: James K. Lambert (Jr) with his wife, (7.) Grace Wells Lambert, and, John Queqles Lambert, who died at 2 1/2 years old.

Historically the most notable is Captain James K. Lambert. He was born in New York in 1838, the son of John Lambert and Mary (O’Sullivan) natives of Ireland. [Mary was a descendant of “The great Irish liberator, Daniel O’Connell”, who campaigned for Catholic Emancipation.]

The family moved to Natchez when James was an infant. He became Assistant Postmaster before the War Between the States. He entered the service of the Confederacy in April 1861 as a member of the Adams Light Guard. He was captured and returned to Natchez where he re-entered and fought again and was re-captured and held as a prisoner of war until June 1865.

Upon returning to Natchez he was elected County Assessor. He began a career in Journalism in 1866 and became the owner and publisher of the Natchez Democrat, (which remained in the Lambert Family until 1970). In 1877 he married Rose Kelly and they had two sons, James and John. He served as Sheriff from 1881 to 1896.

One of his most lasting contributions to the community was the establishment of the Poor Children’s Christmas Tree in the year 1900.

His funeral was conducted by The Rev. Hayden, Vicar General of the Diocese of Natchez. Fr. Hayden is buried across the road where you see the small cross. In his eulogy Fr. Hayden said: The people knew him as a citizen, but I knew his as a Roman Catholic, a sincere, devoted, and ever faithful member of the Church.

His other great love was for the orphan boys of D’evereux Hall. On the morning of the Captain’s funeral they gathered outside his home on South Union to pay their respect as the body was taken a block and a half to the Cathedral.

Captain Lambert’s name same, James K. Lambert, editor of the Natchez Democrat, and his wife, Grace, followed in his footsteps as community leaders and faithful Catholics. They donated the crucifix and the set of candlesticks on the marble altar in 1930.

History composed by Johnny Junkin and presented by Bill Lambert for All Souls Day Cemetery Procession 7 November, 2010.

Lithograph on stone - St. Mary Cathedral