Biography of Dr. John H. Kennedy

DR. JOHN H. KENNEDY. – Doctor Kennedy was born in Iowa in 1850. His father, John K. Kennedy, was born in Tennessee in 1811, and figured in the Mexican war as well as in local politics. In 1862 the parents crossed the plains to Union county, Oregon. They had given their children the advantages of a good early education. In 1865 his father’s house and personal effects were destroyed by fire; and the Doctor was obliged to assist his parents, as well as to care for himself. In 1871, having studied at Whitman Seminary and taken a course in the Medical Department of Willamette University, he received a diploma with first honors as M.D. Since then he has been practicing medicine in the Inland Empire, and has acquired a flattering reputation for success; although he is one of those whom notoriety must seek rather than seeking it himself. He has had his tribulations withal, having buried his first wife and three children all within one year, – in 1877. On April 25, 1880, he married Nancy A., daughter of William Stein, a pioneer of Salem; and there are three children as a result of this union, two girls and one boy; Faith, born February 10, 1881; Hope, born April 30, 1884; and Bliss, born August 19, 1888.

While crossing the plains in 1862, near American Falls, as they were plodding their weary way westward, a horseman came dashing up to his father – the captain of the train – with the report that the company just ahead had been attacked by Indians and were in need of assistance. The captain immediately ordered a corral, and after posting pickets and guards took the available men and proceeded to the relief of the distressed. He found the train almost totally annihilated. Men, women and children were scattered along the road dead, dying, disabled, crying, pleading, or running back towards his train for refuge. The road at that point passed through a rocky coulée; and as the company hurriedly passed by they found other men, women and children secreted among the rocks, as well as a few of the Indians looking for more victims; while the majority of the Indians were engaged in driving off the stock from the train assailed. Captain Kennedy brought up his own train and encamped, having a strong guard out. The next morning, not having stock enough to haul the wounded and the little ones, as well as the supplies for the remnant of the train attacked, he took twenty-five men and went to reconnoiter and if possible recapture enough of the stock to pull the extra wagons. They were partially cut off from their camp and did some blooding fighting on their return, losing seven men killed, while the captain and five others were wounded.

After graduating he located at La Grande, Oregon, where he followed the practice of medicine for two years, and in 1873 moved to Dayton, Washington Territory, where he remained until 1887; he then moved to Sprague, and from there again to Spokane Falls, coming from there to Weston, Oregon, where he now resides. The Doctor is building up a fine medical practice; and we predict a successful future to this man of worth.



History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington. 2 v. Portland, Oregon: North Pacific History Company. 1889.

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