James B. Kennedy, p. 203

JAMES B. KENNEDY, register of wills for Washington county, is descended from rugged Scotch ancestry, and is a grandson of David Kennedy, a weaver, who came to America from the "land of the mountain and the flood" in 1818, making his first home his adopted country in Philadelphia.

One of his sons, Peter, came, in 1826, to Washington county, from Steubenville, Ohio, where he was first married, there being four children living by this union. Mr. Kennedy's second wife was Mrs. Frances (Anderson) Doyle, of Steubenville, whose father was a soldier of the Revolution at Valley Forge. She had one son by her first marriage, William J. Doyle, of Washington. By Mr. Kennedy's second union there are children as follows: John H., deputy sheriff of this county; James B., our subject; Benjamin K., living at Steubenville, Ohio, in the employ of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company; Peter G., Margaret 0. and Mary F., living at Washington. The mother died in 1876, at the age of fifty years, the father on January 2, 1890, in his eighty third year, and was buried in Washington cemetery by Post 120, G. A. R., Department of Pennsylvania, of which he was a member. He was a most patriotic Union man at the time of the war of the Rebellion, and, although aged fifty-five years, his military ardor was fired to such enthusiasm that he enlisted in Company K, Eighth Pennsylvania Reserves, and served eighteen months in McClellan's Peninsular campaign. He commanded the company at Drainesville and participated in the affair at Richmond. He was injured by a falling limb of a tree which was knocked off by one of the enemy's shells.

James B. Kennedy was born in Washington, Penn., September 6, 1840, and was educated at the Common schools, which he attended until he was fourteen years old, when he was apprenticed to the printing business in the Examiner office, serving at this four and a half years; then, in 1859, he commenced to learn the trade of a bricklayer with James Hamilton, and was so engaged when the first gun of the war of the Rebellion was fired at Fort Sumter. On April 15, 1861, at a meeting of the citizens of Washington, in response to Lincoln's call for 75,000 men, Mr. Kennedy was the first man here to offer his services to the government. He enlisted in Company E, Twelfth P. V. I., Col. David Campbell commander, and his first duty was protecting the Northern Central Railroad near Baltimore, Md. At the end of three months he was discharged, and on August 31, 1861, he reenlisted, this time in Company A, One Hundredth P. V. I ("Roundheads"), of which he was appointed fourth sergeant and was promoted to first sergeant. Mr. Kennedy took part in all the engagements of his regiment up to and including the siege of Knoxville, when at the assault on Fort Sanders, November 29, 1863, he was shot in the neck and cheek and knocked off the parapet, being badly hurt by the fall. He lay in the hospital at Knoxville until March following, when his father came for him and took him home. He suffered much, and his life was in great danger, as erysipelas had set in and he was quite blind part of the time; in fact he still suffers from the effects of his wounds. Being unable, on account of his hurts, to follow his trade, bricklaying, he resumed the printing business, and was given the position of foreman in the office of the Examiner, of which paper A. H. Ecker and David F. Patterson were editor; was afterward foreman in the office of the Cumberland Presbyterian, a journal published at Waynesburg, Penn.; then worked on the Washing-ton Observer. On January 16, 1879, he was appointed mail messenger on the Hempfield railroad, making trips from Washington to Wheeling, and when the B. & 0. Railroad Co. took that road and extended it to Pittsburgh, Mr. Kennedy's route was also increased. This position he held until the election of Cleveland, and, being a Republican, he resigned, as he believed that "to the victor belong the spoils," and his health being much impaired, He retired June 6,1885. On November 8, 1887, he was elected register of wills for three years, his opponent being A. C. Morrow, a Democrat. He was re-elected in 1890, to serve to January, 1894. On October 15, 1867, he married Mrs. Sarah J. Martin, daughter of Josiah Rawhouser, of Hartford county, Md., who died August 14, 1892, aged eighty-two years. This union was blessed with two children: Fannie H., clerking for her father in his office, and Carrie B., who died in her seventh year. Mr. Kennedy was at one time assistant burgess of Washington borough.

He was commander of W. F. Templeton Post, No. 120, G. A. R., Department of Pennsylvania, and is also quartermaster; he is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and of the Methodist Protestant Church. On May 29, 1891, was unveiled, at Knoxville, Tenn., a monument to the memory of Isaac R. W. Garrettson and Aaron Templeton, two members of Company A, 100th P. V. I. ("Roundheads"), who were killed at the time of the attack and repulse of the Rebels on Ft. Sanders, November 29,1863. William H. Underwood, present postmaster of Washington, Penn., and our subject were wounded at the same time. Ed Memard Post, G. A. R., of Knoxville, Tenn., performed the dedication ceremony. Mr. Kennedy being the only surviving member of Company A who was present.

John H. Kennedy learned the weaver 5 trade, and when the war broke out served draft notices in Washington county. He has been a deputy sheriff under Sheriffs Smith, Work, Hemphill, Lockhart and Cherry; also worked for a time with Sheriff George Perritt. Mr. Kennedy conducted a grocery business in the county for several years, also served as postmaster at Zollarsville for some time. Before the war He was a Democrat, but since that time he has affiliated with the Republican party. In religious faith he is a member of the Methodist Protestant Church. When a young man he was united in marriage with Minerva Cox, who has borne him four children, viz.: John, Flora, Donnetta and Millie A.

Text taken from page 203 of:
Beers, J. H. and Co., Commemorative Biographical Record of Washington County, Pennsylvania (Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1893).

Transcribed March 1997 by George and Mary Ann Plance of Gainesville, FL as part of the Beers Project.
Published March 1997 on the Washington County, PA USGenWeb pages at http://www.chartiers.com/.

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