Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties, State of Washington",
published by Western Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
JAMES M. KENNEDY is a well-known
stock man residing on Cow creek, four miles north of Hooper postoffice,
Adams county, Washington.
Born in Madison county, Kentucky, January
12, 1830, he was a son of Thomas S. and Evaline (Hawkins) Kennedy natives
also of Kentucky, in which state they lived until 1842, when they removed
to Clay county, Missouri, and later to Clinton county, where they died.
The father was a blacksmith and wagon maker by trade, and was survived
several years by the mother, who lived to an extreme old age. They
were parents of nine children, Nancy, James M., Esther, Sarah, Elizabeth,
Ebenezer, Martha, Thomas S., and one who died in infancy.
James M. Kennedy was born on soil made historic
by the life and activity of Daniel Boone, and he had for his early neighbors
a great many old inhabitants who had been intimately associated with that
great pathfinder. Until arriving at the age of twenty, Mr. Kennedy
attended the common schools, both of his native state and Missouri, and
at the same time assisted his father with his work. He left home
to make his own fortune at the age mentioned, and was one of the historic
"forty-niners" of California, he having crossed the plains with a train
of ox teams during the year 1849. The train, which was known as the
"Hell Town Train," and commanded by Captain George Goddard, started out
from Missouri with provisions to last two years, and experienced many trials
and adversities before finally arriving at its destination, viz., the gold
fields of the "Golden State." Here Mr. Kennedy engaged in placer
mining until 1858. He served through the Modoc Indian war of 1857,
and in 1858 he started for the Fraser river mining region, where he mined
until 1861, when he went to the Cariboo district and there mined until
1864. He was always considered a "lucky" miner and during his operations
made a great amount of money. For putting through one ditch, while
engaged in placer mining in California, he received twelve thousand dollars,
and in 1864 he received nine thousand dollars in return for his work in
British Columbia. After leaving British Columbia, he, in partnership
with Henry Haws, purchased for sixteen thousand dollars, a pack train of
one hundred and thirty animals. This he brought to Kootenai, Idaho,
where he sold his interest in the train and opened a store. He remained
here until 1868, when he went to Walla Walla and engaged in the sheep business.
He drove his sheep to the Montana markets, disposed of them and dealt for
several years in beef cattle. He came to his present locality in
1877 and purchased thirteen hundred head of cattle, a quarter-section of
railroad land and pre-empted one hundred and sixty acres more. Here
he lived five years, when, in 1880, he filed a homestead claim on the land
where his residence now stands. Subsequently he has continued to
add to his holdings in land until he now owns eight thousand acres.
All of his land is fenced and cross fenced,--a total of thirty miles of
fence being in use on his land. In addition to his own land he leases
for pasturage three sections of school land. He at one time owned
three thousand head of cattle, but during the winter of 1881-82 he lost
heavily, since which time he has raised on an average of only between five
hundred and six hundred head. He has one of the greatest hay ranches
in the state, harvesting each year about six hundred tons of hay.
He keeps a large herd of horses, has first-class farm buildings on his
ranch and an excellent orchard. Cow creek divides his farm, so that
every month in the year his meadows are kept well watered by a running
In 1883, after an absence of thirty years,
Mr. Kennedy took a trip to his old Kentucky home. There the transition
that had taken place was enough to bewilder the most wildly imaginative.
The mother was still living but the father had long since departed this
life; what thirty years before was little better than a wilderness of forest
and plain, was a thickly peopled commonwealth, and almost every one to
him was a total stranger.
Mr. Kennedy is a Democrat politically, but
his political belief rests on a broad plain and he is decidedly liberal
and conservative in his views. He is one of the most highly respected
and substantial citizens of Adams county.