Personal Belongings / The Watch

Eddie’s Personal Items

Top of MoH case

After the Battle of Kesternich, scavengers stripped the dead of their belongings before Graves Registration could identity and transport the bodies from the battlefield.  Ed’s watch was taken by a soldier, but was recovered a year later in California through the determined efforts of one of Ed’s buddies who has witnessed the desecration.  It was returned to Rebecca Kelley.  The watch became a symbol of E’d hometown, and when the Kelley Awards were set up in Keyser in 1946, a replica of Ed’s watch was presented to each recipient of the award.

– George T. McWhorter, Medal of Honor, The Story of Jonah E. Kelley

“Jolting Jonah”

A surprising chapter in Ed’s life at Butner concerns his brief but spectacular boxing career as “Jolting Jonah.” It seems that one of the new recruits in “E” Company had a perpetual sneer on his lips for all things military, and was ruining the morale with his constant complaining. Ed challenged him to keep quiet or be s·ilenced the hard way. The challenge was accepted with relish, since the malcontent was a young professional boxer from New York. The fight took place behind the barracks with all the men rooting for their favorite.

Ed had never been trained in the manly art of self defense, since his parents had strictly forbidden it. Consequently, he was no match f~r the pro boxer and was beaten to a bloody pulp, according to eye-witness reports. But he hung on like a bulldog and refused to give up. The uneven match finally ended in a “draw” after which Ed and the New York boxer became excellent friends with mutual respect for one another. Ed’s new friend, Louis Baker, coached him for the intramural boxing tournament, and Ed became “Jolting Jonah” in the ring, and a feather in “E” Company’s cap. He won a boxing medal which he sent home to his parents without comment, thinking they might disapprove.

– George T. McWhorter, Medal of Honor, The Story of Jonah E. Kelley


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