Stephen Wilkenson Kennedy (1816 – 1903)

“Stephen Wilkenson Kennedy, deceased, was for many years a Methodist Episcopal minister and a farmer, but during the last eleven years of his life lived retired at Auburn.  He came to his farm in Nemaha county, Nebraska, from Buchanan county, Missouri, forty-six years ago, but his birth occurred near Dayton, Ohio, June 12, 1816, and the family is of Irish descent.  His father, Stephen Kennedy was born in Georgia in 1784, and his death occurred in Warren county, Indiana, in 1856.  During the war of 1812 he was drafted for service, but hired a substitute.  He was six times married…

Stephen Wilkenson Kennedy spent the early years of his life on the homestead farm, during which time he received a fair education in the neighboring schools.  At the age of fourteen years he left home and went to Lafayette, Indiana, where he was bound out for four years to learn the blacksmith’s trade, but at the expiration of two years’ time, on account of failing health, he abandoned the occupation.  In Tippecanoe county, Indiana, on the 23rd of March, 1837, Mr. Kennedy was united in marriage to Miss Sarah Frogge, a native of that state, and they became the parents of four children, namely: Eliza Jane, the wife of B.F. McIninch, a farmer of Nemaha county, and they have eight children, four sons and four daughters; Mariam Alice, now the widow M.L. Gates, who resides in the house adjoining that of her father, and she has five children; Charles H., a hotel proprietor in Broken Bow, Custer county, Nebraska, and the father of two sons and two daughters; and the fourth and youngest child, a daughter, died at the age of four years.  The mother of these children died in Missouri, April 9, 1852, while the family were enroute from Indiana to that state, passing away at the age of thirty-three years.  On the 6th of May, 1853, near Savannah, Missouri, Mr. Kennedy married Miss Eliza Ware, who was born in New Jersey, December 16, 1828, a daughter of Joseph A. and Lydia (Clutch) Ware, also natives of that commonwealth, where they were farming people.

From that state they (the Wares) removed to Cleveland, Ohio and seven years later to Wayne county, Indiana, where they remained for seven years going thence to Andrew county, Missouri.  During the Civil war they returned to Indiana, in 1862, to the home of Mrs. Rachel Gray.  In 1879, he came to Mrs. Kennedy’s, and later went to his daughter’s, Mrs. George Crow’s, where he died in December, 1879.  The mother survived him five years, dying at the home of her youngest son, I.C. Ware, in Greenleaf, Kansas, when eighty-five years of age.  Her birth occurred in 1800.

Seven children blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy, namely William Walter, who died when less than a year old; Sarah Ellen and George Sullivan, who died at the ages of two and  four years, respectively, their deaths occurring from eating matches; Margaret Ann, the wife of David Edwards, of Oklahoma, and they have three living children; George L…; Lydia Belle, the wife of Seymour Calvert, also of Oklahoma, and they have five children; and Lizzie Etta, the wife of Samuel Gilliland, of Oklahoma, and they have eight children.  This worthy old couple became the grandparents of thirty grandchildren and sixteen great-grandchildren.

Mr. Kennedy was for many years a local minister in the Methodist Episcopal church.  He became a member of that denomination when eighteen years of age, was afterward made a class-leader, became a exhorter at the age of twenty-five, and nearly fifty years ago entered the ministry in Nebraska.  In political matters he was a Prohibitionist from the ranks of the Republican party, and for fourteen years served as a justice of the peace in Nemaha county, for seven years was a county commissioner and for many years served as a member of the school board.  He was also a life-long farmer, and at the time of his death owned two farms, consisting of forty and eighty acres, and at one time was the owner of four hundred and eighty acres in three farms.  He also owned two houses in Auburn in addition to his own comfortable cottage, which was erected in 1895.  For eleven years Mr. Kennedy made his home in Auburn, living retied from the active cares of life, and there his death occurred in September, 1903.  His widow still makes her home in that city, although she spends much of her time with her children here and in Oklahoma.”

Source:  A Biographical and Genealogical History of Southeastern Nebraska, Vol. 1, by Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago and New York, 1904, pages 436-39.


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Stephen Wilkenson Kennedy (1816 – 1903) — 1 Comment

  1. I am the great granddaughter of Charles Pittman Ware, and Mary Catherina (Brown)Ware, I am researching any family history and or pictures. I enjoyed your blog. Joyce Sexton Yam

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