Ed Kennedy biography

No history of early development in Jones county would be complete without mention of Ed Kennedy, one of the old time residents here. He is a native of Camden, South Carolina, and comes of Scotch ancestry. His father, William Kennedy, was born in Greenoch, near Glasgow, Scotland, and when a young lad entered upon a five years’ apprenticeship with a company of ship chandlers. When he was seventeen years of age he came to America, landing at Charleston, South Carolina, and up to the time of his marriage he was engaged in merchandising at Charleston and at Columbia, that state. Subsequent to his marriage he became a cotton planter near Camden and one of his main business enterprises in early days of the state before railroads had been built was the propelling of flat boats by means of long poles up and down the Wateree, Congaree and Santee rivers, hauling cotton and general merchandise to and from Charleston and Camden. In those days this was a paying business. His home was about seven miles west of Camden in a fine old country mansion, where he made his home for a number of years. In 1846 Benjamin Gass, with whom he formed a partnership several years before, went to Mississippi with a view of buying land there, but in that state he learned much concerning the Texas country and finally changed his plans and came into the Lone Star state, purchasing fifteen hundred acres on Oyster creek, Brazoria county. Here he established his planting interests and spent the winters on his farm in Texas, while the summer months were passed with his family on the old home place in South Carolina until after the war.

In the latter part of the year 1865, however, Mr. Kennedy permanently left the Empire state of the south and with his family came to Texas, arriving in January, 1866. In 1857 he had purchased the interest of Mr. Gass in the place on which they had settled on first coming to Texas, and he afterward made other purchases, so that when the family arrived in 1866 he was the owner of forty-five hundred acres of land here. He continued to make his home upon this ranch until his death, which occurred in February, 1869, his remains being interred in the old cemetery at West Columbia on the banks of the Brazos river in Brazoria county. He married Miss Mary White Haile of Camden, South Carolina, who died about Christmas time in 1894 at Colorado City, Texas, at the home of her son, Judge William Kennedy, a man prominent in the history of western Texas. In the Kennedy family were twelve children, five sons and seven daughters, of whom two daughters and one son died in early childhood.

Ed Kennedy was born on the old home place near Camden, South Carolina, October 4, 1846. There was in the neighborhood an old school house and three families hired a teacher, under whose instruction Mr. Kennedy pursued his studies for year. He afterward attended private schools at Camden for a time, or until the spring of 1863. The civil war was then in progress and although but sixteen years of age he was an enthusiastic supporter of the cause of the Confederacy, and went to Virginia, where he joined Holcombe’s Legion of South Carolina Cavalry. This was just prior to the battle of Chancellorsville, but the command to which Mr. Kennedy was attached did not participate in the engagement. When the main army went to Gettysburg this cavalry was attached to the brigade command by ex-Governor and General Henry A. Wise for the purpose of protection against the approach of the enemy to Richmond by way of the Yorktown and Jamestown Peninsula. These troops did picket duty on the peninsula that summer and fall, or until the end of the year 1863. In the early part of 1864 the Holcombe Legion joined some other cavalry troops brought up from the coast and joined the Seventh South Carolina Cavalry, commanded by Colonel A. C. Haskell, and with three other regiments constituted Gary’s Brigade of Cavalry in the Army of Northern Virginia. Mr. Kennedy continued to serve in this regiment and brigade, which was afterward under the command of General Fitzhugh Lee untill [sic] the surrender of the southern forces at Appomattox on the 9th of April, 1865. Mr. Kennedy witnessed and participated in many engagements, some of which although not classed with the larger battles of the war were hotly contested. He can relate many interesting episodes and incidents of his soldier life and he experienced the usual hardships and rigors of war.

After the close of hostilities Mr. Kennedy spent the summer and fall at the old home place in South Carolina and in December, 1865, came to the plantation in Texas.

On the 17th of December, 1868, occurred the marriage of Mr. Kennedy and Miss Anna E. Quarles. Her people were from Alabama, but came to Texas during her infancy. The young couple remained residents of Brazoria county until December, 1882, when they removed to Jones county, to which Mr. Kennedy had made a trip in the previous June. Being pleased with the country and its prospects he bought his family here in December and located six miles east of Anson. He squatted on a section of land until it was placed upon the market in 1883, when he made purchase of the claim under the act of the state legislature of that year. He continued to engage actively in farming on his two hundred and fifty acres until 1899, when he sold the place and removed to Anson. In January of that year he formed a partnership with L. M. Buie in the land business under the firm name of Buie & Kennedy and they are also conducting an abstract business in Jones county. They have a liberal clientage and have negotiated many important realty transfers. Mr. Kennedy is thoroughly familiar with land values wnad with the possibilities for development in this section of the state and is thus enabled to assist his clients in making judicious investments.

Unto our subject and his wife have been born ten children, six sons and four daughters, of whom seven are now living. Mr. Kennedy belongs to the Presbyterian church and he and his wife are prominent socially, having the warm regard of many friends and the esteem of all with whom they have been brought in contact.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 481-482.