Thomas Kennedy. The door of opportunity is everywhere opened to the man of enterprise. The most characteristic industry in the State of Kansas was built up by a young machinist who came to Galena nearly thirty years ago and somewhat later established a factory for the manufacture of perforated metals. The Thomas Kennedy Company of Galens is the only concern of its kind west of the Mississippi River as far as the Pacific Coast.
Mr. Kennedy created in his own mind the idea for the machines that are now at work in his plant. He realized the need of perforated metal in various industries, and set his mind to working out the details of a piece of machinery which would accomplish the work economically and efficiently.
In 1892 he set his first factory in operation. His plant now contains a battery of four perforating, machines, each weighing twenty-five tons. One of these machines is capable of taking a sheet of metal four feet wide and ten feet long and when it comes from the machinery it is perforated with 3/8-inch holes. It is possible to secure all sizes of perforation and the industry supplies a demand for such commodities all over the United States. The main source of the business is in supplying perforated metal sheets for screens used in the mines. The plant, which is located at 103 North Main Street, between the Frisco, and the Missouri, Kansas & Texas tracks, has floor space of 175×250 feet. About fifteen men are employed in the plant and several of Mr. Kennedy’s children are also active helpers in the office and business.
Thomas Kennedy was born in Ontario, Canada, July 22, 1865. Up to the time he was twenty-one years of age he had the advantages of the public schools of Ontario. On leaving school he learned the trade of machinist, and it was experience and observation that finally opened the way for his enterprise and the building up of a successful industry in Kansas. He followed his trade in Ontario, afterwards in Detroit, Michigan, and St. Louis, Missouri, and arrived in Galena in 1887.
Mr. Kennedy is a stockholder in the Galena National Bank and is owner of 1,100 acres of mineral lands in Cherokee County. His home is on Windsor Heights. He has at the same time not neglected those duties which come to the public spirited citizen. He has been a member of the city council, is an active republican, and is affiliated with Lodge No. 677 Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Ancient Order of United Workmen, the Woodmen of the World, the Sons and Daughters of Justice, the Knights of Pythias, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, being a member of these various organizations at Galena.
In 1892, the same year that he started his factory at Galena, Mr. Kennedy married Miss Nellie Coldwell. Six children constitute the household of Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy. Claude is a graduate of the Galena High School and is a young machinist in the Thomas Kennedy Company. Nellie is also a graduate of the high school and assists in the office of her father. Richard has completed his high school course and is also employed in the business. Catherine is a graduate of the high school, Thomas is still in high school and Mildred, the youngest, is in the grammar school.