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.
HON. WILLIAM K. KENNEDY, than
whom probably no man has been more closely identified with the political
and business affairs of Ritzville and Adams county during the past twenty
years, is the police judge and justice of the peace of Ritzville, though
he is living practically a retired life from business. Born in Chicago,
September 2, 1851, he was the only son of Alexander and Mary (McKee) Kennedy,
the former a native of Alabama and the latter of Ireland. Mr. Kennedy's
paternal grandfather was born in Ireland, but in early life came to Alabama,
and from there, on account of his abhorrence of slavery, he came to Chicago.
He engaged in the hardware business near Fort Dearborn, where he prospered,
and where he, his wife and our subject's mother fell victims of the cholera
in 1851. Alexander Kennedy succeeded his father in business upon
the latter's death, and himself died in 1859. Mr. Kennedy's mother
was married in Wisconsin. She was sister to Judge Samuel B. McKee
of Oakland, California.
Until eighteen years of age William K. Kennedy
was reared in the city of his birth and educated in the grammar and high
schools, from which he was graduated, and in 1869 went to Southwestern
Iowa, where he engaged in farming. While a resident of Page county,
of that state, he was married, on September 22, 1872, at College Springs,
to Aimee B. Tweedy, a native of Iowa, and daughter of Robert and Mary (Kinnear)
In 1886 Mr. Kennedy came to Ritzville from
Iowa, filed a homestead on a quarter section of land and purchased two
sections of railroad land near town. He farmed this tract until 1901,
when he sold five hundred acres at twenty-five dollars an acre and erected
a handsome home on Knob Hill, in Ritzville. His residence contains
eleven rooms, richly furnished and strictly modern, and was built at a
cost of six thousand dollars. It is one of the finest homes in the
In 1889-90 William K. Kennedy served as a
representative from Adams county in the lower house of the state legislature,
having been elected on the Republican ticket, and was re-elected at the
following election. For twelve consecutive years he was chairman
of the Adams county Republican central committee and a member of the state
central committee, and in 1896 he was one of the four presidential electors
from this state, and had the honor of casting his vote for the martyred
McKinley. In 1895 and again in 1899 he was elected alternate state
delegate to the national Republican convention. He has been police
judge since September, 1903.
Although, as has been stated, he is practically
retired from business, he has considerable money invested in city realty.
Mrs. Kennedy has three brothers and two sisters:
Columbus, William, Milton, Idaho farmers; Mrs. Emma Axtell, of Idaho; and
Mrs. Maggie Van Buren of Ritzville.
The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy has been
blessed by five children: George A., a bank cashier at Odessa, Washington;
Robert C., whose life is sketched elsewhere in this book, cashier of the
First National Bank of Ritzville; William R., a member of the Ritzville
firm of Myers, Shepley Company; Lizzie, wife of Isaac W. Myers, of the
firm just named; and one who died in infancy.
Mr. Kennedy is a devoted member of the Congregational
church, as is also Mrs. Kennedy.