My Great-grandfather Abraham G. Kennedy, Well Respected and Lauded Schoolteacher and Principal. 52 Ancestors, Week 4: Education

The above information is from the book The History of Perry and Fairfield Counties, Ohio; Their past and present by A. A. Graham and Ephraim S. Colborn and published in 1883. Directly below the biographical sketch for Abraham G. Kennedy is a sketch on his brother George W. Kennedy.

As it states, my great-grandfather Abraham G. Kennedy (they incorrectly give his middle initial as “C’) was born 10 January 1848. He was born in Pike Township, Perry County, Ohio. He was the son of John Davis “J.D.” Kennedy and Susan Palmer. His Kennedy family has strong ties to Perry County, Ohio and his ancestors were very early in Ohio and were in Perry County when it was settled and established. After his birth, his family lived briefly in Rush Creek, Fairfield County, Ohio, where his sister Mary Jane Kennedy was born in 1849, and they are found in the 1850 US Census living in Rush Creek, Fairfield County, Ohio. The next sibling James Monroe Kennedy was born in 1852 back in Perry County. Then the family was in Vinton County, Ohio in 1856 where George W. Kennedy was born. By 1858, when Alfred P. “A.P.” Kennedy was born, they had returned in Perry County and are found in the 1860 and 1870 US Censuses living in Monday Creek Township, Perry County, Ohio.

The distance between Pike Township in Perry County and Rush Creek in Fairfield County is about 12 miles. I do not know exactly where they were living briefly in Vinton County or why they were there, but in general it is about 40 miles between Pike Township in Perry County and Vinton County in general. His father worked as a Cooper (maker of barrels) and that is his occupation listed in 1850 and 1860. In 1870 it is listed as Farmer and Cooper.

I do not find the family living in Jackson Township as is listed in the biographical sketch as the place he grew-up, but Jackson Township borders with both Pike and Monday Creek Townships.

He began his occupation of teaching school on 11 January 1868 and in the 1883 biographical sketch it states he had been teaching for fourteen years and was considered one of the best teachers in Perry County.

His brother George W. Kennedy was also a teacher and taught eight terms before he worked as a clerk in a store and then established a business as a dealer in books with a shop on Main Street in New Lexington.

The biographical sketch does not discuss where Abraham was teaching school between 1868 and 1878. In the 1870 US Census we find him living with his wife and children in Monday Creek Township, Perry County, Ohio and his occupation is listed as schoolteacher, and he would have been teaching at the neighborhood school in the area near Monday Creek, before going to the county seat New Lexington to teach in 1879. He is found in the 1880 Census for New Lexington, Perry County, Ohio living with his wife in his parent’s household, and his occupation is listed as Schoolteacher. Then in 1882 moving to the school in New Straitsville to teach.

The above photo is of an abandoned brick schoolhouse found west of New Lexington. Which gives us an excellent idea of the schoolhouses my great-grandfather taught in. The photo was taken 12 years ago by Ken and posted on his Flickr.

To give you an idea of the distance between each of the places he taught school, Monday Creek and New Lexington are 11.8 miles from each other. New Lexington and New Straightsville are 8.8 miles apart.

He was a much lauded schoolteacher for decades and later became a principal of the schools in Perry County. After retiring from the education field, he is found in the 1900 US Census for Athens, Athens County, Ohio living with his wife and children and his occupation is listed as a music dealer. We know the family migrated to Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio when his wife, Mary Elizabeth Price Kennedy, became ill. She died there on 12 May 1909 of Carcinoma of the liver.

After her death, Abraham migrated with three of his adult children to Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio, where he is found there in the 1910 US Census. He is listed as working as a Piano Salesman. I do find him in the 1920 US Census in Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. But they only listed his name and then put a line through it with no explanation as to why.

The photo to the left is of Abraham G. Kennedy and his mother Susan Palmer Kennedy, and is part of a 5 generations photo. The photo was taken in 1922. His mother lived to the ripe old age of 106 1/2 years!

He is found in the 1930 US Census in Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio, living with his married daughter Tessie (Kennedy) Menninger, with her husband and son. He is listed as aged 82 years and retired.

He dies aged 91 years on 24 July 1939 at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. His cause of death was a Cerebral Compression/skull fracture due to a fall.

He taught school for decades, and then was a principal, for a total of 30+ years. Then after retiring, he worked as a music dealer and piano salesman.

I have great respect for education and am a perpetual student. I also can play the piano and am musically inclined. I would like to think that I got some of this passed down from my great-grandfather Abraham G. Kennedy.

To learn more about my Kennedy ancestors in Northern Ireland, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, with links to New Jersey, please visit my blog post My Kennedy, Graham, and Murray Ancestors from Ballintoy, Antrim, Northern Ireland.

The above 19th century pencil case is from the 19th Century School Supplies post of Joanna Church’s WordPress blog.

All research for this blog post was done by me and any references used are cited and included within the body of the post.

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If you use any information from my blog posts as a reference or source, please give credit and provide a link back to my work that you are referencing. Unless otherwise noted, my work is © Anna A. Kasper 2011-2023. All rights reserved. Thank you.

About Anna Kasper, ACDP

I am an avid Genealogist. I am currently a student at Phillips Theological Seminary (one of the few Catholics!). I am an ACDP - Associate of the Congregation of Divine Providence (Sisters of Divine Providence of Texas). If you are unfamiliar with what a Religious Associate (also called an Affiliate, Consociate, Oblate, Companion) is exactly, visit my about me page for more information. In community college, I majored in American Sign Language/Deaf Studies, and Interdisciplinary Studies when at university.
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