Documenting Parents for Nancy Kennedy Who Married Ephraim Holland, 1794 in KY, Part 2

Puttering around online browsing for family history records is always a fun past time. However, it’s a lot more fun when you hit the MOTHERLODE, which is what happened to me while researching the family of Thomas Kennedy of Bourbon County, Kentucky.

A hit came up for Thomas Kennedy in Bourbon County that turned out to be a website that covered the history of early Bourbon County families.

Jesse Kennedy, Thomas’s youngest child, is everyone’s dream ancestor. I am sure now that he is the one who had his father’s gravestone made to include so many details about his family’s origins.

Why am I so sure? Because Jesse Kennedy took the time to write down all of his family’s history, back to his grandparents and included information about each of his half-siblings! This is a family who lived in places where vital records are lacking.

Bourbon County, KY Family Records & Histories is a fabulous website if you have ancestors in Bourbon County. It is where I found a transcription of the family history paper written by Jesse Kennedy.

Jesse told the story of his grandfather, John Kennedy, being taken as a young boy from Ireland and sent into servitude in Maryland. He knew the names of his father’s half- and full siblings. He accounted for all of his father’s children by two marriages, with the exception of his own younger sister, Rachel, who died in 1791.

Jesse further gave some birth, marriage and death dates, maiden names, spouses and information about where family members had moved. A genealogist couldn’t ask for anything more!

This family narrative was written in August 1850 when Jesse Kennedy would have been about 63 years old. Yes, it is possible that his memory could have been a bit faulty, but, so far, I’ve been able to find a number of documents that back up his information.

There are a few details which might just have to be accepted at face value, like the marriage date in 1772 for his father and Ann Locker, his first wife, because the marriage was likely in Virginia and no county record has yet been located. You know how it is with those burned counties in Virginia!

Here then is an expanded genealogy of Thomas Kennedy, with many thanks to Jesse Kennedy!

John Kennedy, born Ireland, probably about 1700-1710, was kidnapped when he was about 6-7 years old, along with several other boys and shipped off to Maryland, where he was indentured.

John Kennedy married twice. The name of his first wife is unknown, but she gave birth to two sons, Francis and Daniel. His second wife, Elizabeth and said to be Owen/Owens, a Welsh redheaded young lady, was the mother of his other children. Jesse Kennedy stated that she married (2) Robert Darr

John Kennedy died  probably not long before 21 November 1753, when his will was enter in will in Maryland Prerogative Court Wills 29:11. Note: He named no daughters, but Jesse says that he had one daughter, Elizabeth, with his second wife.

In the Name of God Amen. I John Kennedy of Frederick County and province of Maryland being sick and weak of body, but of perfect mind and memory, Blessed be God for the same, do make and appoint this my Last Will and Testament in manner and form following.

Imprimis. I give and bequeath my Soul to God who gave it me and my body to be buried in a decent manner at the discretion of my Executrix hereafter to be named.

Item. I give and bequeath to my well beloved wife Elizabeth one third part of my Estate as the Law directs.
Item. I give and bequeath to my son Daniel Kennedy fifty acres of land, part of a tract of same called Dublin, lying near Lukes Cabbie Branch, to him his heirs and assigns forever.
Item. I give and bequeath to my son Francis fifty acres out of the land tract lying near the plantation of John Cook to him his heirs and assigns forever.
Item. I give and bequeath to my two sons John and Thomas the dwelling plantation whereon I now live being the remainder of the land tract of land called Dublin to be equally divided between them to them and their heirs forever.
Item. I bequeath to my four sons James Price Butler Joseph and Hugh all my personal estate to be equally divided among them let the same be more or less.
Lastly I constitute and appoint my beloved wife aforesaid to be sold Executrix of this my Last Will and Testament hereby revoking all former or other wills by me heretofore made. In witness hereof I Have hereunto set my hand and affixed my Seal this 26th Day of February 1750/51. Signed and Sealed by the Said John Kennedy as his Last Will and Testament.
John Kennedy
in the presence of
David Sims
Daniel Veers
William Cahill

Children with first wife:

1. Francis, born c1730; died after November 1761; married and raised a family in Maryland. Jesse Kennedy said he was a famous fiddler and removed to southern Kentucky in early times and killed by Indians.

2. Daniel, born c1732, as he was appointed a constable of Potomac Hundred, Upper Part in November 1753, indicating he was at least 21 years old; died by November 1761 when Francis petitioned for custody of the children of his brother, Daniel, deceased.
Jesse Kennedy said Daniel was also a musician and taught music. His wife predeceased him, but he had a son and daughter. Jesse also mentioned that Daniel’s daughter married to Joseph Penn in Maryland, but removed to Kentucky. (This has me wondering if the Kennedys and Hollands knew each other back in Maryland. Anthony’s Holland’s daughter married Shadrach Penn, a Revolutionary War soldier.)

Children with Elizabeth (Owen/s?):

3. John, born 16 October 1742; died 21 June 1781, onboard British prison ship of starvation; married Esther Stilly. John was captured at the battle of Guilford Court House, North Carolina on 5 March 1781. Jesse Kennedy says Esther died in October 1820, Bourbon County, Kentucky.

4. Thomas, born 22 January 1744; died 14 August 1827, Bourbon County, Kentucky; married (1) Ann Locker, 19 April 1772 (in Maryland?) She died in the spring of 1780 Strode Station, Clark, Kentucky. (2) Rachel Graham, widow of David Cook, probably Boons Station, Kentucky.  She died 17 June 1826 of cancer in Bourbon County. Jesse Kennedy added that his father went to North Carolina after marrying in 1772, but chose not to settle there. In the spring of 1776, he made his first trip to Kentucky via the Old Wilderness Road to Boonesborough. Thomas’s wife and children were living in Fauquier County, Virginia. He went back for them and they removed to Kentucky. He also said David Cook had been killed by Indians. Thomas was a carpenter and brick mason.

5. James Price, born c1746; died as a young married man and left a family. Musical talent ran through this family. Jesse Kennedy made a curious comment: Uncle James  . .was a mechanic who worked on wood, and was thought to be one of the best fiddlers in the world; a fine jolly fellow, beloved by all who knew him, but was too fond of lively company and high spirits for his own good, and died young leaving a family in Virginia of which I can give no account. Did James’s lifestyle have something to do with his early death? His brother, John, lived in Bedford County, Virginia. Perhaps James also lived and died there.
6. Butler, born c1748; died in North Carolina. Jesse Kennedy stated that Butler traveled back and forth from Maryland to North Carolina several times. He married young and had several children. A death date of 26 June 1781 was found, but no county information was included.
7. Joseph, born c1750; died 1797 of accidental arsenic poisoning, Bourbon County, Kentucky; married Christiana Van der Akers King, a widow, 3 October 1778, Frederick County, Maryland. Jesse Kennedy stated that Joseph was short and weighed about 300 lbs. He further said Joseph “came to his end taking arsenic he had bought at a store for cream of tartar. Feeling a little unwell in the morning he took it and died in the evening of the same day.”
8. Hugh, born c1752; murdered and robbed in Virginia; married Susanna Fisher, 26 October 1779, Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Jesse Kennedy added that Hugh was portly, a tailor and a Methodist and an excellent singer. He married a widow and farmed in Frederick County, Virginia.
9. Elizabeth, mentioned in Jesse Kennedy’s papers, but not in her father’s will. Said to have married a Hagerty.
There is much more that Jesse Kennedy wrote about his extended family, so if you are cousin, I’d strongly recommend that you visit the Bourbon County, Kentucky website and read his papers for yourself.
However, Jesse provided enough detail that the descendants of Thomas Kennedy can now be fairly accurately pieced together, so there is one more post in this series, coming tomorrow.

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