World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Patrick Kennedy (1823–1858)

Patrick Kennedy
Born Between January 15 and February 16, 1823
New Ross, Ireland
Died November 22, 1858(1858-11-22) (aged 35)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Cause of death Cholera
Resting place Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
Occupation Farmer
Religion Catholicism
Spouse(s) Bridget Murphy
(m. 1849–1858; his death)
  • Mary L. Kennedy
  • Joanna L. Kennedy
  • John Kennedy III
  • Margaret M. Kennedy
  • P. J. Kennedy
Parent(s) James and Maria Kennedy
Relatives Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. (grandson)

Patrick Kennedy (bet. January 15 and February 16, 1823 – November 22, 1858) was an Irish farmer who moved to East Boston, Massachusetts from County Wexford, Ireland. He was born in New Ross, Ireland. He was the father of businessman/politician P. J. Kennedy, paternal grandfather of businessman/politician Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., and patrilineal great-grandfather of World War II casualty Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, and longtime Senator Ted Kennedy.


  • Early life 1
  • Adulthood 2
  • Children 3
  • References 4

Early life

Patrick Kennedy was the youngest son of farmer James Kennedy (1770–1840) and his wife Maria (c. 1779 – February 16, 1835).[1] James Kennedy was born in Dunganstown,[2] (Whitechurch, New Ross, County Wexford) in Ireland to John Kennedy (1738–1803) and Bridget Shallow (1744–1774). James inherited a small farm from his father during the Penal Law times in Ireland. Patrick had three older siblings:

  • Mary Kennedy, who married James Molloy
  • John Kennedy (1804–1864), who married Mary K. Gunnip (1816–1881) and was a local farmer.
  • James Kennedy, Jr. (1816–1881), who married Catherine Colfer and was also a local farmer.[3]


By the time Patrick reached adulthood, both his parents were dead and the family homestead was controlled by his eldest brother John, who was already married and the father of four children. The eldest son normally inherited whatever claims existed to the family's farm. Because of the life-threatening scarcity of food and resources, the rest of the children, such as third son Patrick Kennedy, usually were expected to leave for the New World.

Patrick's life as a farmer in Dunganstown consisted mainly of cutting and tying bundles of grain by hand, and planting and tilling potatoes for his family's consumption. This routine varied only when he ventured into the nearest town, New Ross, with supplies of barley, and when the family attended Mass about a mile away.

At the age of 26, Kennedy decided to leave Ireland. It is assumed this was for reasons of starvation related to the Irish Famine, illness, or because he knew that a third-born son had virtually no hope of running his family's farm. His good friend at Cherry Bros. Brewery in New Ross, Patrick Barron, who taught Kennedy the skills of coopering, had come to that conclusion months earlier and left for America. In October 1848, Patrick Kennedy decided to follow.[4]

Patrick Kennedy arrived in Boston on April 22, 1849, having sailed from Liverpool, England on the Washington Irving, a substantial packet ship from the East Boston yard of Noddle's Island (present-day East Boston). Not long after, Barron's cousin Bridget Murphy (daughter of Phillip Murphy and Mary Barron)[5] made her way to Boston and married Kennedy, on September 26, 1849 in the Holy Redeemer Church by Father John Williams, who later became Boston's Roman Catholic Archbishop.[6]


Patrick and Bridget had five children:

Name Birth Death Notes
Mary L. Kennedy August 6, 1851 March 7, 1926 Married on January 1, 1883 to Lawrence M. Kane; had five children.
Joanna L. Kennedy November 27, 1852 February 23, 1926 Married on September 22, 1872 to Humphrey Charles Mahoney; had eight children.
John Kennedy January 4, 1854 September 24, 1855 died young from cholera
Margaret M. Kennedy July 18, 1855 April 2, 1929 Married on February 21, 1882 to John Caulfield; had eight children.
Patrick Joseph "P. J." Kennedy January 14, 1858 May 18, 1929 Married on November 23, 1887 to Mary Augusta Hickey; had four children.

The arrival of P. J. was a particularly happy occasion after the death of John. However that same year Patrick succumbed to the highly infectious cholera that infested East Boston, and died on November 22, 1858, exactly 105 years before his great-grandson John would be assassinated.

Bridget later went on to buy a stationery and notions store in east Boston where she had worked. The business took off and expanded into a grocery and liquor store, which helped pave the way for the success of their son P. J.

The story of Patrick Kennedy has become probably the most famous of any of Ireland's millions of emigrants, due to the quick success of his children and grandchildren in American society and ultimately his great-grandson John F. Kennedy's election as the first Catholic President. In June 1963, John F. Kennedy made a state visit to Ireland, in which he visited Dunganstown[2] and New Ross in County Wexford in what was seen as a personal tribute to his ancestry.


  1. ^ Maier, Thomas (2003). The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings. Basic Books. p. .  
  2. ^ a b "John F. Kennedy's Ancestors". Irish Townland Maps. Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Kennedy Homestead". Warren Farm Guest Cottages. 
  4. ^ Maier 2003, pp. 31–32.
  5. ^ Laxton, Edward (1998). "The Famine Ships: The Irish Exodus to America". Henry Holt and Company. Retrieved 2013-09-16. 
  6. ^ Collier, P.; Horowitz, D. (1984). The Kennedys - An American Drama. 
  • "Kennedy". Political Graveyard. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.