HISTORY OF THE KENNEDY FAMILY of CARBONEAR, NEWFOUNDLAND
In presenting this documentary it must be understood that I am unable to
authenticate or certify as to the accuracy of the statements contained herein.
It is based on here say from persons whom I know to be entirely trustworthy and
I have no reason to doubt their stories.
William Chester "Louis" A. Kennedy (1897-1988)
Our branch of the
Kennedy's had its origin in the County Wexford, the southeast corner of
Ireland. The Kennedy's were fisher folk with a limited knowledge of farming.
In the early years of the nineteenth century the fishery in Ireland declined and
it was with much difficulty they struggled to gain a livelihood from the sea.
There were reports that the fishery was flourishing in the States and employment
in that line was plentiful.
Consequently in the month of February 1808 two windjammers with two Kennedy families on
board sailed out of Rosslare, a seaport in Wexford, bound for New Bedford, Mass.
USA. February is noted for being the stormiest month of the year on the North
progenitor, Nicholas Kennedy was born in
mid-ocean between Ireland and Newfoundland. The weather was so rough it was
decided, for the safety of the newborn and his mother to put in at the nearest
port, which was in Newfoundland. The other boat continued on and landed not at
New Bedford but at Newberryport [sic] on Cape Cod.
In due time, Nicholas grew
to manhood in Newfoundland married Julia Forestall. This union produced three
sons and a daughter. Their names were; John, Terrence, Nicholas and Grace. I
knew all of them. They were the first of our group to be born in the New
World. Terrence became our grandfather. I shall try to disclose as much
knowledge of these four and their families as I have for your information.
John, the oldest, married
Margaret Hamilton *(this is an error, Capt. John married
Margaret Butler his younger brother Nicholas married Margaret Hamilton).
Their descendants consisted of: Will-John. Julia, who was educated at Mount
Saint Vincent Academy, New York. After graduation she returned to Carbonear,
married John Dunn. They had children: Ellen, Will, Angela and
Valentine. Uncle John’s other children(referring back to John and
Margaret): Stanislaus, (Stan) Nicholas,
Maggie-Jane, Grace. Terrence married Mary
Joy. Always called Aunt Polly by her nephews and nieces. Their family
consisted of : Nicholas, John, William, Julia, Patrick, Terrence, Elizabeth,
Richard, Josephine and Thomas.Nicholas, the youngest of the three brothers had a
large family, who were more diversified than the others. Lawrence, the oldest
was a tailor, Julia married Tom Malone who had a grocery store, Nicholas was a
master of a steamship. William became a navigator in an Artic expedition
with Bob Bartlett an explorer in the North Pole regions. John, worked in a
Cordage Co. a maker of rope and twine. Peter , tinsmith who later
was proprietor of a junk yard; Mary who married Tom Malone’s brother
Maurice. They moved to Chicago. Bridget whom we knew as "Peggy
Gaul"; Maude who married Dr. McPherson, and Michael, who died of wounds
received in World War I.
Most of our grandfather’s family emigrated to the
and Nicholas came to the United States in 1892.
John returned to Newfoundland in
1896 married and had eleven children; Louis (ME) , the writer of
this documentary, Agatha (died at age 1), Vincent, born New
Year’s Day 1900 and died June 8, 1914, Terrence Ted, Agatha, Will died May 24,
1980, Nicholas, Jack, Isabel, Dick, and Rose (twins). John returned to the United States in 1920. His family moved to this country in 1921. I
(Lou) arrived in the US Aug. 10,
1916. Nicholas never returned to his homeland. He married Delia Holleran,
from Ireland . They had three children. Terrence, Mary and Anne. Their father was
killed by falling off a building, Loew’s 25th Street Theatre in New York. He fell five stories and lived 12 days. He died
in Roosevelt Hospital. Is buried in Calvary Cemetery Woodhaven. His
wife returned to Ireland
with their three small children. Leaving the children with her parents
in Galway she returned to the US. She worked and went back to Ireland and
brought her children back to New York. They moved to New Jersey City where the children continued in school. Mary
married Jack Shannahan, a policeman. A great tragedy
entered Mary’s life. It was in the restoration period after W.W.I. Lawlessness was rampant. Robbery and holdups were so
frequent that the police, after their regular tour of duty were sent out in plain clothes to try and stem the crime waves.
Mary’s husband had some suspects lined up with their hands against a wall. Another cop came around the corner and
thinking a hold up was in progress fired at the other cop. Jack, thinking the other cop was a look-out for the ones he had collared fired
back. Each shot took effect – both cops had
killed each other. They had a double funeral in Jersey City. Both cortages moving along the street side by side. Mary later married
another policeman. She died in childbirth with their first child.
Anne also married. Mike Nolan a widower with a son. The son was killed in World War II. They lived in Bayonne, N. J.
Your mother is probably as familiar with the details of
family. Nicholas, John, Will, Pat,Terrence, Julia and Lil all immigrated to
the U. S., Boston. Terrence had the best education, having graduated from St. Bonaventure’s College. He taught school at Torbay, a suburb of St.
John’s. He obtained a high executive position with the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad. He lived in New Haven and Aunt Julia was
his housekeeper. He was about to be married when suddenly he was jilted
and his fiancée married another. He took to drink and resigned his excellent position and remained a bachelor.
Aunt Julia returned to
Newfoundland and married Luke Hayden. They had five daughters.
Margaret, Mary, Grace,
Paula and Betty. They all came to the U. S. and Canada but returned to Newfoundland. Grace married Jack Finn. They had
a Store in Carbonear. And apparently were doing well. Grace
died suddenly last summer. Paula
was born when I was home on a visit after W. W. I.
That was in Dec. 1918. Betty was born two years later. I never
have seen her. Pat was a carpenter and a cabinet maker. He worked
mostly in Boston. On church work, pews, altars
and pulpits. But did work in Detroit, Baltimore and Washington.
Uncle Will was a Captain in the
Coast Guard. He served in Alaska. In W. W. I he was transferred to the
Panama Canal and retired from there .
He married a girl less than half his age. Uncle Tom came to the United
States in 1922.
He was a master mechanic.
He stayed only a year.
He had lost an eye when a young man but that did not impair his wonderful
Josephine married Tim Hogan.. They had six children. Will is a Monsignor and
pastor of the church where my father and mother were married. St. Patricks’s in
Carbonear. Your grandmother and all the Kennedys including my father,
mother and me were all baptized in that church. Richard married Mary Pumphrey.
They had three children. Frank, Alice and William. Alice still lives. Frank
and Will are dead. Frank was superintendent of
schools in Newfoundland, at the time of death. The Children were 4, 3 and 1 when
their mother died. Their maternal grandmother was
along in years and unable to care for them. So grandpa Kennedy was appointed their guardian.Uncle Dick was so distraught at his wife’s death he joined the Canadian Army.
He died in Wansworth General Hospital in Aldershot in England and is
maiden name was Sophie Mahaney. Her father’s father came from Derry in the
North of Ireland and her mother’s
people came from Liverpool, England. My mother was called after her mother
Sophie Bennett. The Bennetts were
blacksmiths. Although I spent nine years in the merchant marine and worked as a
blacksmith for forty years, I have always considered myself a sailor.
Sometimes when talking to someone about my work
I say facetiously I was a
blacksmith on my mother’s side.Taken for
all in all, there was nothing spectacular or dramatic about any of the Connors
or the Kennedys. They were just plain ordinary honest folks, minding their own
business and avoiding trouble. The type of people the poet Gray must have
had in mind when he wrote his immortal
"Far from the maddening crowd’s ignoble Strife
Their sober wishes never learned
Along the cool sequestered vale
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way."
The previous excerpt is
a portion of
Louis A. Kennedy’s original essay which includes
some information pertaining to a Connors line of Harbor Grace that which his
Aunt Lillian married into and which I left out here so as not to add confusion
regarding our Connors line of Placentia Bay. The author's sister Agatha Kennedy
(my grandmother) married a Connors of Placentia and the author's Aunt Elizabeth
"Lillian" married a Connors of Harbor Grace and the original essay discusses the
Connors of Harbor Grace and this can be confusing to the descendants of
Agatha Kennedy and Lou Connors. For the entire document see
of Connors in Kennedy History.
Great Grand Uncle
Louis A. Kennedy described our Irish Kennedy ancestors as ordinary "fisherfolk," and while this in large part is true after a
little investigation it is hard to imagine that those who sailed and fished on
the Grand Banks in the early days were anything but extraordinary.
They were a hardy group of
individuals who captained their own schooners and who were well-respected for
their knowledge of the sea. They were productive members of society and
contributed to the betterment of their community . They advanced
themselves through education and hard work and when their families grew and the
fishery suffered from decline many again felt compelled to migrate. Some east
out of Carbonear to Bell Island and St. John's, and others to lower Canada, Boston,
Massachusetts and Brooklyn, New York. Transcribed
by the authors great grand niece Joanne Connors copyright@2000.
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