IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.


Michael Kennedy and M.T. Kennedy

Michael Kennedy. For about forty years the subject of this sketch has been intimately connected with the growth and development of Clayton County, as he settled on a farm in Volga Township in the early days of its history, the land being then but little broken and there being few settlements within its limits. For ten years he engaged in improving and cultivating his farm, making it one of the valuable ones of the township; he never spared his energy in any direction when he believed it might be directed to the advantage of his place. In 1866 he retired to some extent from active cares, removing his family to Elkader, where he resided for three years.

A native of Ireland, Mr. Kennedy was born in County Tipperary September 26, 1816, being a son of Michael and Jude (Stapleton) Kennedy, also natives of the Emerald Isle. In the schools of his native land he acquired a good general education and there continued to make his home for many years after reaching his majority. In 1844 he carried into effect a resolution which had been growing within him for some time to seek his fortune in the United States, and therefore he set forth in one of the slow sailing-vessels of that period and in due course of time arrived in New York City. Going to Syracuse, N. Y., he made that city his place of abode for a period of ten years, when in 1854 he departed for the west and for one year was a resident of Dubuque, this state, after which, as previously stated, he came to this county.

About 1860 Mr. Kennedy went to Highland Township and there conducted a farm until 1894, when he once more retired to make his home in Elkader. His hard-earned money, which he has acquired through years of honest and industrious effort, he has invested mainly in real estate. He has never regretted the fact that he decided to cast in his lot with the inhabitants of this favored region for his efforts have been blessed with success far beyond his expectations, and he has laid up ample means whereby to spend in comfort his declining years.

In 1848, while a resident of Syracuse, N. Y., Mr. Kennedy married Miss Catherine Burke, who was called from this life in the spring of 1855, leaving five children to mourn her loss. In the latter part of 1855 our subject was united in marriage with Mrs. Mary Mooney, who was a faithful and devoted helpmate and companion to her husband for about thirty-five years. She departed this life on the 7th of August, 1891, leaving many loving friends, who deeply lamented her loss.

In politics Mr. Kennedy is independent, preferring not to be bound by party ties but to vote for the man whom he considers best qualified in every way to carry out the wishes of the people.

source: Portrait and Biographical Record of Dubuque, Jones and Clayton Counties; Chicago: Chapman Pub. Co., 1894; pgs. 372-373
-transcribed by Becky Teubner


M.T. Kennedy is a dealer in wholesale and retail drugs, books and stationery in McGregor, and is one of the leading business men of the place. He has ever been interested and active in all local public affairs, and is a man of wide reading and information, which he has extended by his frequent and lengthy journeys in different parts of the northwest.

The paternal ancestors of Mr. Kennedy were natives of Scotland, who settled in New England at an early day. His father, John Kennedy, was born in Erie County, Pa., and followed agricultural pursuits in order to obtain a livelihood. His wife, Eliza (Deitz) Kennedy, was also born in the Keystone State and is still living, her home being in Erie County, Pa., she having attained the good old age of eighty-two years.

A native of Pennsylvania, Mr. Kennedy of this sketch was born in Erie County in 1836, and passed his early years on his father's farm, becoming thoroughly acquainted by actual experience with the workings of the same. His primary education was obtained in the common schools, which was supplemented by further study in the academy of his native county.

In 1861 Mr. Kennedy came to Iowa, settling the same year in McGregor, and at the expiration of about one year commenced clerking in a drug store, where he laid the foundation of his knowledge as a pharmacist. He became thoroughly conversant with the business during his clerkship of three years and this has been of great use to him in his later years. In the spring of 1864, on account of poor health, he went across the plains on horseback to Montana, traveling in that state and the other northwestern states, Utah, Idaho and Colorado. This trip proved of great benefit to him and at the same time expanded and widened his knowledge of men and the beauties of nature.

On his return to this city our subject entered into partnership with S.J. Case & Co., and together they continued in business for about one year, at the end of which time their connection was dissolved by mutual agreement. For two years thereafter, O.M. Buck was a partner of Mr. Kennedy, after which time he carried on his business alone until the spring of 1894. His trade is extensive and continually increasing, and he keeps a full line of wholesale and retail drugs, stationery, books, wall paper, etc. The present partner of Mr. Kennedy is his son-in-law, and the name of the firm is now M.T. Kennedy & Co.

In 1864 Mr. Kennedy married Miss Louisa Bowen. She is a native of the Bay State, and is a daughter of Liberty Bowen. Two daughters were born to this couple, the elder of whom, Mabel E., is the wife of C.W. Bliss, an enterprising young business man of this place, and the partner of Mr. Kennedy; the other, Grace E., is a well educated young lady and lives with her parents.

In religious belief our subject and his wife are Methodists, holding membership with the methodist Episcopal church of McGregor, in which they are active and efficient workers. Mr. Kennedy is a member of Beezer Lodge No. 137, A.F. & A.M., of Clayton Chapter No. 108, R.A.M., and Honorious Commandery No. 8, K.T. Prominent in the ranks of the Democratic party, he has often been solicited to serve in a public capacity but has always declined, preferring to tend strictly to his business interests; nevertheless he has twice been prevailed upon to serve as Mayor of the city, in which capacity he acquitted himself most commendably.

source: Portrait and Biographical Record of Dubuque, Jones and Clayton Counties; Chicago: Chapman Pub. Co., 1894; pgs. 540-541
-transcribed by Sharyl Ferrall


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