Nearly two score years have passed since the time when Mr. Kennedy took up his residence in Antrim county, and in view of this statement it is scarcely necessary to say that he is numbered among the early pioneers of this section, where he has attained to marked prosperity through his efforts in connection with the development of the resources of the locality, which was practically a forest wilderness at the time when he made his advent in the county.
Mr. Kennedy is a native of the fair Emerald Isle and is a scion of the staunchest of old Irish stock. He was born in Tipperary county, Ireland, on the 2d of February, 1833, and is a son of Edward and Maria (Thorpe) Kennedy, who passed their entire lives in their native land, having been folk of sterling worth, — honest and industrious. The father was a laboring man and the family was in modest circumstances, as a matter of course. The parents were devoted communicants of the Catholic church, in whose faith they reared their three children, Jane and Maria, who are now married and residing in the United States, and Thomas, who is the subject of this sketch.
Thomas Kennedy was reared to maturity in his native land, where he was afforded the advantages of the parochial schools, and he early began to depend upon his own resources. He continued to reside in Ireland until 1859, when, as a young man of twenty-five years, he immigrated to America, believing that here were to be had better opportunities for the gaining of success through personal effort. He sailed from Liverpool, England, and disembarked in one of the Canadian ports. He located in Hastings, province of Ontario, Canada, where he remained about a decade, having followed various occupations. At the expiration of the period noted he came to Michigan, in 1868, in the spring of which year he took up his residence in Antrim county. He secured eighty acres of railroad land in Milton township, the tract being covered with the native timber and entirely unimproved. He cleared a little place in the woods and there erected his primitive shanty, which served as his residence for a number of years, and he then turned his attention vigorously to the herculean work of reclaiming his land to cultivation, securing his first returns from the sale of the timber cut on the place. He now owns one hundred and eighty acres of land, of which ninety-five are under effective cultivation, all having been cleared by the owner, and on the place still remain about thirty-five acres of good timber. In addition to general farming and horticulture Mr. Kennedy has made the raising of live stock a profitable phase of his enterprise, and no further evidence of his discrimination and progressive ideas need be asked than that afforded in the appearance of his fine farm, which is one of the model places of this county, the improvements being of the best, including an attractive modern residence and other substantial and well equipped buildings.
In his political adherence Mr. Kennedy is aligned as a stalwart supporter of the principles of the Democratic party, and he has ever taken a lively concern in local affairs of a public nature, having aided in the material and civic upbuilding of the county. He has served nine years as an officer of his school district, was township treasurer for five years and highway commissioner for two years. Both he and his wife are communicants of the Catholic church, being members of the parish at Elk Rapids.
In the year 1859 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Kennedy to Miss Bridget Hogan, who was born and reared in Ontario, Canada, and they have six children, namely : Patrick, Jane, Edward, James, Margaret and Maria. The two elder sons are successful farmers of this county, and the youngest son is associated with the work of the home farm.
Source: Biographical history of northern Michigan containing biographies of prominent citizens; Indianapolis: B. F. Bowen & Company, 1905.