Biography of Robert E. Kenner

Robert E. Kenner. No better lesson relative to the value of honorable effort intelligently directed can be found than that offered by the career of a man who has risen to a responsible position through his own initiative, and in this connection the life of Robert E. Kenner presents an example. Still a young man, he has worked his way to an important post, that of superintendent of the American Zinc, Lead and Smelter Company, at Dearing, Kansas, and in so doing has been dependent only upon his own resource and industry.

Mr. Kenner was born at Eureka, Kansas, August 5, 1883, and is a son of J. W. Kenner and Cora Frances (Cogswell) Kenner, the mother a member of the old Colonial Cogswell family of New England. The Kenners originated in England and at an early day were to be found in Illinois, in which state, in 1815, James Kenner, the grandfather of Robert E. Kenner, was born. He became a pioneer in Kansas of the early ’60s, settling on Batchelor Creek, as a homesteader of 160 acres of land. There he passed the remaining years of his active life in agricultural pursuits; and died in 1900, at Eureka. During the Civil war be fought as a soldier of the Union, and assisted in repelling the forces of Price when the Confederates were engaged in their memorable raid. He was first a whig and later a republican, and was an ordained minister of the Christian Church, and active in the ministry the greater part of his life. James Kenner married Judith Willis, who was born in Kentucky, in 1824, and died at Eureka, Kansas, in 1914, and they became the parents of two children: Henry T., who was a farmer all his life and died at Eureka in 1896; and J. W.

J. W. Kenner was born at Albion, Edwards County, Illinois, in 1852, and was still a youth when he accompanied his parents to Kansas. He grew up on the farm located about four miles from Eureka, on Batchelor Creek, and secured his education in the district schools of Eureka and the State Normal School at Emporia. Later he studied law and was admitted to the bar, served as county clerk of Greenwood County for eight years, and was then employed in the banking business in Eureka and the vicinity for many years. Finally he turned his business talents and legal knowledge to account in the field of real estate and insurance, in which business he is now engaged at Eureka. He is a republican, and his religious connection is with the Congregational Church, of which he is an influential worker and strong supporter. Mr. Kenner stands high in Masonry, belonging to the Blue Lodge, Chapter and Knights Templar of that order. He married Miss Cora Frances Cogswell, who was born at New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1860, and they have four children: Willis Cogswell, who resides at Atlanta, Georgia, and is connected with the Southern Express Company; Robert E., of this notice; Fred, who resides at Atchison, Kansas, and is with the Atchison Champion; and Winifred, residing with her parents, a teacher of piano in the Eureka High School.

Robert E. Kenner attended the public schools of Eureka, where he spent two years in high school, and then entered the Southern Kansas Academy, at Eureka, in which institution he spent two years also. Leaving school in 1905, he secured employment on a farm, on which he worked for about one year, when, becoming interested in the zinc industry, he secured a position in the plant of the American Zinc, Lead and Smelting Company, at Caney, Kansas, as a timekeeper. From that time to the present his career has been marked by constant promotion, won solely through merit and by the display of fidelity, and in 1912 he was made superintendent of the company’s plant located one-half mile west of Dearing, with a capacity of 4,480 retorts and employing 400 workmen. Mr. Kenner has thoroughly familiarized himself with every department of the zinc industry and is considered one of the best informed men upon the subject in this part of Kansas. He is thoroughly trusted by his employers, stands high in the confidence of his associates, and has the respect and friendship of the men under him.

Mr. Kenner is a republican, but has been too busy to do more than discharge the duties of good citizenship. His career has been full of hard work, but his labors have been rewarded and he has the supreme satisfaction of knowing that all his work has been well done. Mr. Kenner is unmarried.


Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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