William Oscar Kennedy

WILLIAM OSCAR KENNEDY, one of the prominent farmer-citizens of Cherokee County, owns a fine farm of 78 acres in section 18, township 33, range 25, in Shawnee township. He was born in Clinton County, Indiana, October 17, 1849, and is a son of William A. and Sarah M. (Foster) Kennedy.

The father of Mr. Kennedy was born in Warren County, Ohio, February 7, 1817, and was an early settler, with his parents, in Indiana. He learned the carpenter's trade, but devoted the greater part of his life to agricultural pursuits. Shortly after the birth of the subject of this sketch, he sold his property in Indiana and moved to Kansas, and on November 7, 1866, located in Cherokee County, as one of the pioneers. He was a man of unusual physical vigor until within a few years of his death, which occurred on February 5, 1894. He had been one of the leading men of his locality, and for two years served as treasurer of Shawnee township. He married Sarah M. Foster, a daughter of Greer Foster, who was born in Pennsylvania. Their three children were.—Melissa E., now deceased, who was the wife of Sylvester Altic; James Greer, whose tragic death occurred in the last battle at Nashville, during the Civil War; and William Oscar. Both parents were good, Christian people, and were devoted members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which the father had been a class leader for years. The family is of Scotch-Irish extraction, and was founded in America by James Kennedy, who settled first in the State of New York, and took part in the War of 18I2.

William Oscar Kennedy enjoyed the best educational advantages offered by the district schools of his day and locality. His present fine farm was taken up as a claim by his father, and it has been his home all his life, although he has visited many portions of Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, Texas and the Indian Territory at various times. He has made a specialty of raising horses, and has met with good success in this industry. His land is fertile and produces abundantly, but he makes hay, corn and oats his main crops, feeding the greater part of what he raises.

On March 30, 1876, Mr. Kennedy was married to Amanda A. Weaver, a daughter of James Weaver, of Shawnee township, and they have two children,—Charles E., of Silver City, New Mexico; and Ernest Greer. For over 35 years, Mr. Kennedy has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and has been an official during much of this time. In politics, he is a Prohibitionist. He was elected township clerk on the Greenback ticket, and served two years. Fraternally he is a member of Crestline Lodge No. 139, Ancient Order of United Workmen, an organization with which he has been connected for 20 years, and in which he has passed all the chairs.

Mr. Kennedy is one of the old settlers, and remembers the time when Shawnee township had neither church nor schoolhouse and few settlers to ask for the privileges of either. He has passed through many exciting times, and belonged to the old Land League. Despite strife, greed and injustice, Cherokee County has arisen in might and beauty, and her present status in the State is due to the preponderance within her borders of just such honorable, just and fearless men as the subject of this sketch.


History of Cherokee County Kansas and its representative citizens, ed. & comp. by Nathaniel Thompson Allison, 1904, transcribed by Carolyn Ward, instructor from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 3/11/97.


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