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.
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.
Children with Elizabeth (Owen/s?):
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.