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Thomas Kennedy

Thomas Kennedy


Information comes from the family files at the Campbell County Historical Society and research done by Margaret Hartman

Thomas Kennedy was born in 1741 and raised in Chester County, Pennsylvania, the son of a Scotch-Irish Presbyterian, Thomas Kennedy Sr.  Thomas Sr. was born in Northern Ireland in 1703 and migrated to Chester County and in time became a person of considerable wealth.  He married twice during his lifetime.  He died in 1788 and is buried in the Presbyterian Churchyard at  Brandywine, Pennsylvania.

Thomas' father always desired that his son become a Presbyterian minister, but young Thomas was not inclined in that direction.  He further disappointed his father when he fell in love with Mrs. Dinah (Davis) Piersel, a widow six years his senior and the mother of three children.  The elder Kennedy attempted to thwart the romance by arranging to send his son on an extended journey to Ireland.  But Thomas say through his father's plans and eloped to Philadelphia with the widow.

Thomas' brother Francis and his wife, Rebecca and seven children came first to Losantiville (Cincinnati) arriving 8 Feb 1789.  At that time there were only 3 shanties with dirt floors.  The first person they saw were Mr. McMillan and Mr. Israel Ludlow, on the the proprietors of the place. They lived on their boat six weeks while a house was being built.  Francis became the first Cincinnati ferryman.  The ferry extended from the foot of Sycamore street to "The Point" (Covington). Near the close of the Indian War, Francis was drowned while ferrying cattle for the army.

"The Point" had been surveyed and patented in the same of Stephen Trigg who sold it to James Welch.  Learning that Welch was in jail in Pennsylvania and desiring to purchase the land, Thomas Kennedy went to the jail and in 1789 he paid 150 pounds ($5300) for 200 acres at modern Covington, where the Licking joins the Ohio, from Welch.  John Bartle had tried to hire an agent to locate Welch, and was prepared to pay the hard-luck Irishman four times as much for the land as Kennedy did, but could not locate him in time.

In the late summer of 1790 Kennedy landed at "The Point" with his wife Dinah, their three children, her three children by a previous marriage and the husband of their youngest daughter. They became the first permanent settlers and Kennedy and his brother Francis operated ferries across the Ohio and Licking rivers.  "The Point" also became known as Kennedy's Ferry and later as "West Newport."  Thomas and Dinah built their home at the Point and it became known as "The Old Stone House at the Point".  Thomas shows up on the first Campbell County tax list in 1796 with 1 slave.

Children of Thomas D Kennedy and Dinah Davis

1. Hannah Kennedy born 1768 Brandywine, Chester Co Pa m-William Porter
2. Samuel Kennedy born 30 Apr 1770 Brandywine, Chester Co Pa m-Jane Richardson-15 Feb 1796; died 22 May 1831 and buried in Linden Grove Cemetery; Jane born 22 Aug 1776, died 10 Nov 1834
3. Joseph Kennedy born about 1768 in Brandywine, Chester Co Pa m-1st Nancy Cummins 1793; m-4th Nancy Sanford 27 Oct 1805

Children of Samuel Kennedy and Jane Richardson

1. Edmund H Kennedy-10 July 1806-22 Nov 1849
2. Thomas Kennedy-10 July 1806-3 Oct 1837
3. Dinah Kennedy b-1810 in Hamilton Oh; m-Thomas Fleming 21 Apr 1830
4. Nancy Kennedy born 24 Nov 1811 in Hamilton Oh; d-12 Dec 1904 in Covington in original home
5. Samuel Kennedy born 12 Oct 1813 and died 9 Dec 1848; m-Amy who was born 4 Mar 1817 and died 29 Jan 1847
6. Eliza Kennedy m-Hays
7. Rebecca Kennedy m-Urmston
8. Robert Kennedy

Child of Joseph Kennedy and Nancy Cummins

1. Thomas D Kennedy-6 Sep 1795 in Cincinnati d-10 Aug 1869 in Covington m-Nancy Davis 20 Feb 1817 in Pennsylvania

Children of Joseph Kennedy and Nancy Sanford

1. Davis Kennedy b-1807 d-7 Nov 1889
2. Alfred Kennedy b-1808 d-4 Apr 1882
3. Hannah Kennedy
4. Eliza Kennedy
5. Nancy Kennedy
6. Sally Kennedy

Children of Dinah Kennedy and Thomas Fleming

1. Child 1831
2. Emma Fleming-1833 in Ohio m-Dr. Bernard W Southgate died 1871 in Walton Ky.
3. Thomas Fleming-b-1835 in Ohio; died in Boone Co

Thomas Kennedy Deeds and Court Orders

Kennedy was one of Newport's first trustees and one of the first justices of the peace.  When the trustees held their initial meeting on May 16, 1796, they selected Kennedy as their chairman, although he lived in Covington.  And except for a brief time from 1813 to 1816 when he did live in Newport, the rest of his life was in Covington.

Kennedy also was one of the first trustees of the Newport Academy created from a charter granted in 1799.  He also was a County Commissioner.

 Western Spy, December 25, 1812

"For sale or rent the farm and ferries, at the mouth of the Licking, opposite Cincinnati. A description is unnecessary, as no person will either purchase or rent without having viewed the premises, if not disposed of, will be let to the highest bidder on the first day of January next.  A general warranty and immediate possession given, and reasonable credit will be given.  For terms apply to the subscriber on the premises."  signed Thomas Kennedy

James Taylor worked to keep Kennedy from promoting a rival city at Covington, which did not become incorporated until 1815. But he failed and Covington was established by Thomas Kennedy. Kennedy began to sell lots for the new city.

Newspaper ad from the Liberty Hall-1815

Just as the use of horse power for Kennedy's Ferry came into place, Thomas D Kennedy died August 1, 1821 at the age of 80 years.  He was buried in Linden Grove with along with his wife, Dinah, who had died 21 Mar 1821 at the age of 86 years.

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