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James R. Kennedy
Born December 8, 1870


James R. Kennedy is one of the important men of Clay township, where he owns a large and valuable farm. A native of Iowa, he was born December 8, 1870, his parents being William and Mary (Orr) Kennedy, both of Irish birth. The former, who was born March 21, 1839, came to this country in the spring of 1859, and shortly afterward settled in Jones county, Iowa, where he commenced, his American career. He found employment upon a farm, continuing as a laborer for a number of years until he had saved sufficient from his earnings to enable him to purchase a tract of land. He first bought forty acres, and then, as he had opportunity, added another forty to it, afterward selling it and buying eighty acres in Buchanan county, Iowa. He was not permitted to enjoy many years of prosperity, however, for he was called by death March 20, 1879. Nevertheless when he came to this country he was a poor man and when he closed his life he enjoyed a fair competence. His wife, whom he wedded in this state November 10, was born in July, 1847, and came to America in 1863. She died May 5, 1876. Through her marriage she became the mother of four children: James R., the subject of this sketch; John, who was born December 17, 1871; William Allen, who was born August 9, 1873, and is now living in North Dakota; and David Hamilton, who was born March 27, 1875, and died August 29, 1879.
James R. Kennedy was but little more than eight years of age when his father died and he was sent to live with a paternal aunt, Mrs. Jane Orr French, of Jones county, under whose care he grew to years of maturity. He was a pupil in the district schools, while he spent the hours not given to his lessons and his summer vacations in the cultivation of the fields, a vocation to which he has since devoted himself. Until he was twenty-six years of age, he remained with his aunt, and then, having married, he sought to make a home of his own and achieve a name for himself. He first purchased two hundred and twenty acres and subsequently one hundred and forty-eight acres more, the whole three hundred and sixty-eight-acre area constituting the tract he possesses and lives upon today. He follows general farming and is also interested in the stock business, each year pasturing from fifty to sixty heads of cattle which he sends to the feeders. While industry has contributed its large share to his progress, the economy which has marked his operations has been an equally conspicuous factor, and in this Mr. Kennedy has had valuable assistance from his wife, whose eager sympathy with his interests, ready counsel, and capacity for managing so that the most may be made of each bit of money or produce has rendered him an aid that may not be estimated in tangible quantities.
It was on the 9th of December 1896, that Mr. Kennedy wedded Miss Minnie Orr, a daughter of William and Jemima Orr, and their union has been blessed with two children: William Kenneth, born February 10, 1898; and Mary Carol, born December 10, 1904.
Mr. Kennedy is a member of the Presbyterian church, of which he is trustee, while he gives his support in political matters to the democratic party. While he cannot be called an office seeker, as township trustee he rendered the community efficient service through two terms, and for two and a half terms he fulfilled the duties of town clerk with care and ability. As his record in public life is on a par with that of his private life, both giving evidence of strong qualities of a fine manhood, Mr. Kennedy is the recipient of many expressions of good will and congratulation on the part of those whose lives are closely allied with his own.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 67.

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