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home : opinions : jerry pruitt July 24, 2014

4/8/2011 9:46:00 AM
Mowrystown Recollections: George Kennedy

Jerry Pruitt
HCP Columnist

A while back, I was poking around into the Kennedy genealogy in connection to a Moler who married Zed Kennedy, and in the process, I ran into a well-versed Kennedy researcher.
    We started a dialogue, and that has led to some interest research on their history going back to before and during the Revolutionary War.
    In any event, I was looking for an old photo in the “history committee’s” collection of photos, when I ran across the one shown of the “huckster” wagon of Kennedy’s Cash Grocery, whereupon I decided to write some recollections about it.
    In our “collection” of books, papers, etc., is the excellent booklet called the “Sardinia News” done in 1976.
    In it is information about George A. Kennedy’s business activities, but I start with particulars.
    He was born George Augustus Kennedy on Nov. 2, 1851 in Highland County, Ohio (or Brown County, pick one), to Hugh W. and Caroline Cutler Kennedy.
    He married Ann Elizabeth Manker about 1876 and they had six children.
    Ann’s parents were William Wesley and Ann Liggett Manker, born June 1853, died March 4, 1936. George died Oct. 31, 1922, and both are buried in the Sardinia Cemetery.
    Here is what the Sardinia Bicentennial Heritage Committee said about Kennedy: “George Kennedy was one of the early pioneers to make Sardinia what it is today, having lived here more than 61 years.
    “He was civic-minded, an industrialist, a builder, and worked hard for the causes in which he believed. Many have said he lived ahead of his times. He had one of the first ‘Stanley Steamers.’
    “He would drive it out to Five Points to turn around as he hadn’t learned to back it yet. People were curious and would come into their yards to see it pass by.
    “For many years he operated the outstanding fairs in southern Ohio, some of them being Sardinia, Bantam, and Wilmington. Excursions were run from Cincinnati, Hillsboro, and Portsmouth. There were many ‘firsts for Sardinia.’
    “The first airplane ever seen in Brown County was flown here at the fair, and the first dirigible balloon was seen here. The daily balloon ascensions with ‘Bob Doolie’ the monkey were quite an attraction.
    “Mr. Kennedy built the flour mill where the Equity Creamery now stands today, and he also built and operated the first saw mill, located near the N. & W. depot. He also gave the land to Sardinia on which the N. & W. depot still stands today.”
    I am not sure about where the store was located (maybe downstairs at the mill) or who operated it for him. I am sure about the flour mill. Please see the photo from the Arch Bohl collection.
    This mill burned down in 1929 and is now the former site of the Sardinia Equity Creamery.
    The ladies in the photo are possibly Bohls and Guillermans, but I do not know for sure.
    Another clue to the timeframe is the block wall they are sitting on. Ira King Lumber Company had the metal molds which were used to hand-make the cement blocks circa 1905.
    Jerry Pruitt is a Mowrystown historian and a columnist for The Highland County Press.

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