born: -1750Dorchester, MA
marr:03-18-1777Barre, MA
marr:03-18-1777Barre, MA


This biography contains facts that seem to link JAMES KENNEDY of Colrain, Hampshire (now Franklin), MA, with the Kennedy family buried at Jennings Cemetery, Edmeston, Otsego, NY. It proposes that JAMES KENNEDY and MARGARET THOMPSON are the parents of William and ANDREW KENNEDY.

The vital records of Colrain, Franklin, MA, report the following marriage intention:

MARGARET THOMPSON of Barre [of Rutland District int.] and JAMES KENNEDY [Kanady, jr. int.] of C., at Barre. Mar. 18, 1777.

The vital records of Barre, Worcester, MA, report similar information:

MARGARET THOMPSON & JAMES KENNEDY of Colrain - Mar. 18, 1777.

Two things are important about this marriage information. First, the name "Thompson" appears three times in the middle names of descendants of ANDREW KENNEDY. Secondly, the spelling "Kanady" is the same as seen in early spellings used in Otsego County history books. The spelling, "Kenada," was also used in Edmeston. "Kennedy" is the spelling used after 1800, including the 1800 U.S. Census.

The History of Otsego County, New York, 1740-1878, by D. Hamilton Hurd, lists JAMES KENADY as an early settler of Burlington in 1794.

The same book, lists JAMES and William Kennedy as early settlers of Edmeston, after 1808 when Edmeston was formed from Burlington. Freelove Kennedy was one of the original members of the Second Baptist church. The church was established in Edmeston Centre, May 30, 1846, after the death of her husband, William Kennedy.

The Gazetteer of the State of New York states that JAMES KENADA was among the early settlers at Edmeston, and erected the first gristmill at Edmeston Center.

More information comes from the application for military pension, filed in 1832 on behalf of JAMES KENNEDY by his son William. It shows that JAMES enlisted in the military service about May 1, 1775, and participated in the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775. Later he was at Fort George, New York, at the south end of Lake George. See transcription of Revolutionary War Document below.

A further discussion of this family can be found in the biography for ANDREW KENNEDY.

William Kennedy

The birthdates of William and Freelove are approximations made from gravestone inscriptions at Jennings Cemetery. Based on those dates, Freelove was born about 1798, and was about nineteen years younger than William. She is identified in William's will as his wife.

Jared is identified, in William's will, as his son. The other children born between, 1804 and 1814, would be too young to be children of William and Freelove. Since there is no indication that William had been married previously it is presumed that all these are children of ANDREW and LYDIA. Furthermore, Jared is the only child mentioned as an heir in either William's or Freelove's wills. Admiral N. Kennedy (possibly Nelson) and Chauncey are executor's of William's will.

Freelove Kennedy

Freelove Kennedy is the daughter of Jared Stevens. This is supported by the fact that the 1850 U.S. Census for Edmeston shows Jared Stevens (age 87, born Conn) to be the head of household for a family that includes Freelove Kennedy (age 51, born NY), and Jared Kennedy (age 19, born NY). Freelove's will mentions two brothers, Elisha Stephens and Darling Stephens. The will also mentions Henry Stevens, who is instructed to take care of all financial matters in the handling of the estate, and who is to inherit the remainder of her estate. The will is witnessed by lawyer David B. St. John, and Rhoda Stevens, wife of Darling Stevens (1860 U.S. Census for Edmeston).

Census Records
[click on link below, then click on census image to enlarge it]

1800 Burlington, NY Census - JAMES Jr., JAMES, and William.
1810 Edmeston, NY Census - J. - JAMES Jr. or JAMES Sr., and W - William
1810 Edmeston, NY Census - J. - JAMES Jr. or JAMES Sr.,


  born marr died
  wife LYDIA
12-    -1777
09-    -1781
  wife Freelove Stephens

Census Research

The 1800 U.S. Census of Burlington, Otsego, NY, includes four Kennedy families. Three of the entries are consecutive, with the fourth family listed six entries later. The "Jr" designation ties back to the same identification in Colrain. Josiah would appear to be unrelated to the others.

------------- male ------------ ----------- female ----------- name 0-10 10-15 16-25 26-44 45+ 0-10 10-15 16-25 26-44 45+ James Kennedy Jr 1 - 4 - 1 - 1 1 - 1 Wm Kennedy 2 - - 1 - 2 1 - 1 - James Kennedy - - - - 1 - - - - 1 Josiah Kennedy 1 1 - 1 - - 1 1 - -

The 1810 U.S. Census of Edmeston, Otsego, NY, includes six Kennedy families. There were no entries for Burlington. Apparently the redistricting resulted in the Kennedy families residing in the newly formed town of Edmeston. The first four entries are consecutive. Unfortunately the census enumeration only records the individuals first initial in most cases. The names in parenthesis are notes of the compiler.

------------- male ------------- ------------ female ----------- name 0-10 10-15 16-25 26-44 45+ 0-10 10-15 16-25 26-44 45+ J Kennedy (James or Jr) 4 - - 1 1 2 - - 1 1 H Kennedy (Henry) - - 1 - - 1 1 1 - - W Kennedy (William) 1 1 1 - 1 1 1 1 - 1 D Kennedy (David) - - - 1 - 1 - 1 - - J Kennedy (James or Jr) 2 1 - - 1 1 - 1 1 - John Kennedy 1 - 1 - - 1 - 1 - -

The 1820 U.S. Census of Edmeston, Otsego, NY, includes four Kennedy families. The entries for David and William are consecutive.

---------------- male ---------------- ------------ female ----------- name 0-10 10-15 16-18 16-25 26-44 45+ 0-10 10-15 16-25 26-44 45+ Andrew Kennedy 5 3 1 1 1 - 1 - 3 1 - James Kennedy - 1 - 1 1 1 - - 1 1 - David Kennedy - - - - 1 - 2 1 - 1 - William Kennedy - - 1 1 - 1 - - 2 - 1

Revolutionary War Records

Original Document (PDF)
document discovered by Neil Jones
[transcript of document follows below]

 Mass.  Kennedy, James  S. 23739 


New York

James Kennedy

of Edmeston in the State of New York,
who was a Private in the Company commanded
by Captain Scott of the Regt. commanded
byCol. Stark in the Massachusetts
line for 8 months

Inscribed on the Roll of New York
at the rate of 28 Dollars 33 Cents per annum
to commence on the 4th day of March, 1831.

Certificate of Pension issued the 18th day of Jany.
and sent to H. Sill, Burlington

Arrears to 4th of Sep. 1832,
Semi=anl. allowance ending 4 Mar '33

Revolutionary Claim
Act June 7, 1832
Recorded byGeo. B. StilesClerk
Book   D     Vol.   5     Page   105

BRIEF in the case of James Kennedy
of Edmeston in the State of New York

(Act 7th June, 1832.)
1. Was the declaration made before a Court or a Judge? a Judge
2. If before a Judge, does it appear that the applicant is disabled by bodily infirmity? yes
3. How old is he? Eighty-two years.
4. State his service, as directed in the form annexed.
Period. Duration of Service. Rank. Names of General and Field Officers
under whom he served.
  YearsMonths,Days.  Asn  Gen.
 In 1775 May 1  8    Capt. Wm Scott, Col. Stark [1]
Col. Sargent [2]
    (6 or 7)   Capt. Doty, Col. Van Cortland [3]
    (6 or 7)   [Capt] O'Neil?, [Col. Van Cortland]
notes by compiler
[1] Col. Stark - John Stark of Peterboro, NH (1st New Hampshire Regt).
[2] Col. Sargent - Peter Dudley Sargent of Amherst, NH (27th Massachusetts Regt).
[3] Col. Van Courtland - Phillip Courtland of NY (2nd New York Regt).

5. In what battles was he engaged? Bunkerhill
6. Where did he reside when he entered the service? Colrain, Mass.
7. Is his statement supported by living witnesses, by documentary proof, by traditionary evidence, by incidental evidence, or by the rolls? Prentice Fitch [4], Wm Kennedy [5], Halsey Spencer certify to traditionary evidence.
note by compiler
[4] Prentice Fitch is related to Freelove Kennedy, wife of William Kennedy. Prentice is the first cousin of Freelove's father, Jared Stevens.
[5] William Kennedy is the son of James Kennedy, and brother of Andrew Kennedy.
8. Are the papers defective as to form or authentication? and if so, in what respect?
    I Certify that the foregoing statement and the answers agree with the evidence in the case above
D Kuntz Examining Clerk


In Order to obtain the benefits of the provisions of the Act of Congress passed June 7th 1832

State of New York
Otsego County

On this 12th day of September 1832 personally appeared before James C. Walworth Esquire one of the judges at the Court of Common Pleas in and for the town of Otsego, James Kennedy a resident of the town of Edmeston in the County of Otsego and State of New York and being first duly sworn according to law upon his oath maketh the following declaration in order to obtain the benefits of the provisions of the Act of Congress passed June 7th 1832.

That he was born in the town of Dorchester in Norfolk County in the State of Massachusetts in the year 1750, and that he is now 82 years of age, that he entered the United States services in the year 1775 at the town of Colrain in the then County of Hampshire in the State of Massachusetts about the first of May immediately after the raids of the Lexington Battle he enlisted into Captain William Scott's company and William Scott was his Lieutenant and the Ensign not used _______ and was marched to Cambridge near Boston and was there first in the Regiment commanded by Col. John Stark, afterwards Genl. Stark, and was there stationed until about the middle of June and then marched to ______ Point and then on the morning of the 17th of June was marched on to Bunkerhill and was in all of that engagement under Col. John Stark and was one of the last men that left the Hill and there joined General Putnam in that engagement and then was marched to Winter Hill under Col. Stark and when General Washington arrived in camp he was paraded and inspected by him and was then transferred to Col. Sargents Regiment and then was stationed on what was then called Inman's Point about one mile east of Cambridge College and there stood guard and watched the movements of the enemy and so served out the 8 months time that he first enlisted for, and was discharged at Inman's Point in the month of January in the year 1776 by Col. Sargent verbally and then returned home to Colrain aforesaid, and then again the year next he ____ at the town of Cambridge in the now County of Washington and state of New York in the month of August he volunteered and went into Captain Doty's company of New York State militia and Col. Van Courtland's regiment and was marched to Fort George at the Head of Lake george in State of New York. This was in an Alarm made at the time that Sir John Johnson came down from Canada and took his silver plates that he formerly owned when Governor of New York, and was gone at this time in the service 6 or 7 days and then returned home to Cambridge aforesaid. And then again the next year was called onto again in the Militia under the same Captain Doty and the same Col. Van Courtland's regiment and was marched to Fort George again and there assisted in burying the dead at time that Col. Warner's regiment was cut off or _____ by the Indians and was out at this time 6 or 7 days and then returned home again to the town of Cambridge aforesaid making in all 8 months service and that he does not know of any ______ evidence nor any living witnesses by which he can prove he served by, and that he never had a written discharge from any officer, and that he has no record of his age and from his bodily infirmities is unable to attend the Courts.

Since the war he has lived in the town of Cambridge in the County of Washington and in the County of Otsego and in the town of Edmeston in the State of New York where he now resides and has for 39 years lived.

He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or annuity except the present and hereby declares that his name is not on the Pension Roll of the agency of any state.

Subscribed and sworn the year and day aforesaid.
James [Mark] Kennedy

Before me
James C. Walworth, a Judge
of Otsego County Courts

We Prentice Fitch, William Kennedy and Halsey Spencer --- all residents of the town of Edmeston in the County of Otsego and state of New York severally testify that we are well acquainted with James Kennedy who has ____ and sworn to the above Declaration that we believe him to be 82 years of age that he is ---- to have been a soldier of the Revolution and that we concur in that assertion and from his bodily infirmities that he is unable to attend the Courts.

Subscribed and sworn this
15th day of September 1832

Before me
James C. Walworth, a Judge 
of Otsego County Courts
Prentice Fitch
Wm Kennedy
Halsey Spencer

December 14, 1939.

Myrtle L. Kealer
4306 West 38th Street
St. Louis Park Branch
Minneapolis, Minnesota
James Kennedy
S. 23739

Dear Madam:

      The data which follow were obtained from the papers on file in pension claim, S. 23739, based upon service of James Kennedy in the Revolutionary War.

      James Kennedy was born in the year 1750 in Dorchester, Norfolk County, Massachusetts; the day of his birth and name of his parents were not given.

      While a resident of Colrain, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, he enlisted May 1,1775, served as a private in Captain William Scott's company, Colonel Sargent's regiment, was in the battle of Bunker Hill, later was stationed near Cambridge College and was discharged after service of eight months; he returned then to Colrain. Afterwards, the date not given, he moved to Cambridge, Washington County, New York. He enlisted there in 1780 and 1781, and served two short tours of seven days each as private in Captain Doty's company, Colomel Van Cortland's New York regiment, engaged in the vicinity of Fort George when attacks were made by the indians.

      The soldier resided in Cambridge, New York, after his service in the Revolutionary War and moved from there to Edmeston, Otsego County, New York.

      James Kennedy was allowed pension on his application executed September 12, 1832, at which time he resided in Edmeston, New York. He had lived there for thirty-nine years.

      The soldier made no reference to wife or children.

      In September 1832, one William Kennedy was a resident of Edmeston, New York, and made affidavit in behalf of this soldier, James Kennedy; no relationship between them was stated.

      In order to obtain the date of last payment of pension, name and address of person paid and, possibly, the date of death of this pensioner, you should address The Comptroller General, General Accounting Office, this city, and furnish the following data:

James Kennedy
Certificate #4435
Issued January 18, 1833
Rate $28.33 per annum
Commenced March 4, 1831
Act of June 7, 1832
New York Agency

      Very truly yours,

      A. D. HILLER
      Executive Assistant
      to the Administrator.