Dennis Kenny

DENNIS KENNY, formerly a prominent and highly respected citizen of Cherokee County and the owner of one of the best farms in Ross township, consisting of 200 acres in section 36, township 31, range 23, died February 16, 1904. He was born April 25, 1856, in Bureau County, Illinois, and was a son of Patrick and Bridget (Tollett) Kenny.

Both parents of Dennis Kenny were born in Ireland, and both came in youth to Bureau County, Illinois. The father carried on farming there until his death, and was survived by his widow, who died at Joplin, Missouri. Their children were: Dennis; Jennie, widow of Socrates Sanders, of Iola, Kansas, and Rodger and William, of Kansas; all of them were born in Illinois.

The late Mr. Kenny remained in Bureau County, Illinois, where he attended the local schools until he reached the age of 17 years, when he came to Kansas. He remained at Stillson, in Cherokee County, until he purchased the present home farm, which was then wild prairie land. This he improved and cultivated, set out beautiful groves and fruitful orchards, and made the improvements here which converted it into one of the very best farms in the county. He dealt extensively in stock, and fed a large number of cattle and hogs. While he acquired much other property, he always retained his farm and continued to take an interest in its development. For about 12 years he conducted a meat market at Scammon, owned a store and a bank building there, and was one of the owners and a director of the Scammon State Bank. The family home has been on the farm since 1878. The homestead has always been considered valuable property, and promises to become much more so on account of its underlying vein of coal, the Mackie Coal Company being in operation here.

In 1878 Mr. Kenny married Mary Griffin, who was born in Bureau County, Illinois, and is a daughter of John and Jane (Webb) Griffin. In 1854 Mr. and Mrs. Griffin moved from New York to Bureau County, and in 1870 came to Cherokee County, where they located in section 1, township 32, range 23, in Ross township, having purchased a half section of wild land. This Mr. Griffin improved into a fine farm, and worked also as a carpenter. He died in 1893, his wife having passed away in 1876. Mr. Griffin was one of the brave defenders of his country, during the Civil War, being an honored member of Company B, 8th Reg., Illinois Vol. Inf. Mrs. Kenny is the fourth member of his family of nine children, the others being as follows: Ellen, wife of Edward Scammon, of Columbus; Margaret, wife of Samuel Scammon, of Cherokee County; Edward, who first married Edith Walton, and afterwards, Ann Dawson, all of whom are deceased; John, who married Maggie Milroy, and lives at Moberly, Missouri; Jane, who married William Harned; Anna, who is deceased; James, who married Lillian Harris, and lives at Dodge City, Kansas; and Emma, who married Alonzo Wade, of the Indian Territory.

Mr. and Mrs. Kenny had 12 children, viz.: Ellen Jane, who is deceased; Ada, who graduated from the Columbus High School in 1897, and from the State Normal School in 1901, and has been one of the successful teachers in Cherokee County for the past four years; Edward; Gertrude, who teaches music, having graduated from the Columbus High School in 1899, and from the State Normal School, in 1904; William, who graduated from the Columbus High School in 1903; Frank, who is a student in the Crawford County High School; Mary; Angie, who died, aged three years; John, deceased; George; Clarence, deceased; and Charlotte. The family belongs to St. Bridget's Catholic Church, at Scammon.

Politically, Mr. Kenny was a stanch Republican, and was well known all over the county. He belonged to the Modern Woodmen of America at Weir City; the Ancient Order of United Workmen, at Scammon; and the Knights of Pythias. Devoted to his family and faithful to his friends, he left many to mourn the death of a good man. His portrait accompanies 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, 5/5/97.


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