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The house does have historical value not just for the Wakarusa Valley but also Lawrence . This property was settled on by William J. Kennedy in 1865 with his new bride, Lucinda Shields Kennedy. They had only married the year before in the Eudora township. Interior photos appearing on the auction site indicate that the house may be the original structure.
Here is a biography of Kennedy found in Andrea's 1883 History of the State of Kansas.
William J. Kennedy, farmer and stock-dealer, Section 34, Post Office Lawrence, settled on his present place in 1865. There are 100 acres in the home farm and 160 acres in the immediate vicinity devote to grain and stock, the former principally. W. J. Kennedy is one of the pioneers of Kansas: he was born in Brown Co. Ohio, May 21, 1832. He was educated in his native county and move to Illinois. In 1852, located in Fulton Co, here he learned to run a steam engine, having a natural taste of mechanics. In 1855, he and three other companions, W. J. James, Harrison Green and Sam Parks, hired a man with a light wagon to drive them to Kansas City; from there they walked to Franklin, Douglas County, Kansas settling October 12th. He at once commenced working as an engineer, and for the next five years was engaged at this, making wages of $5.00 per day. His first place was in charge of a saw mill at Lawrence, which he operated until it blew up a few months later. He then operated a saw and grist mill in Franklin, until the supply of timber was exhausted. He then put an engine into a saw mill, built by Darland, in North Lawrence, and after putting it up took charge of it for about two years. The next year, he took charge of a mill for Dr. Williams, and then the following year bought a farm which he operated until he bought the place on which he now resides. During the border ruffian troubles, he took an active part with the Free State men, holding the position of Lieutenant of the Franklin Company from its first organization until the troubles ended, participating in all engagements; at the taking of Franklin, he was the first man in the fort, disarming Ruckles, the Captain of the defenders; afterward distinguishing himself in preserving order, with his own hands emptying on the ground two barrels of whiskey which his men had captured. During the late war, he was attached to the headquarters of the Kansas State Militia, at Shawneetown, on special duty. He was married in Eudora Township, Douglas County in March 1857, to Miss Licinda Shields, daughter of Joseph Shields, Esq., one of the pioneers of 1855. They have six children - Lizzie J., Asa D., Frank H., John H., Flora M. and Horace E. Mr. Kennedy is a member of the K. of H. and the A.O.U.W. of Lawrence.
February 26, 2010 at 5:42 p.m.
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This is the homestead site of the William and Lucinda Shields Kennedy family.Their youngest daughter, Flora Kennedy Cowgill, was born and raised there. She later wrote her little book "Never Forgotten, Memories of a Kansas Childhood" about her life on her parents farm in the 1870's and 1880's. She never mentions the "Underground Railroad" but it may well be true.
February 19, 2010 at 2:14 p.m.
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