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Patrick Kennedy (1823–1858)

Patrick Kennedy (1823–1858) Father of P.J. Kennedy and great-grandfather to John F. Kennedy

Father of P.J. Kennedy and great-grandfather to John F. Kennedy
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Father of P.J. Kennedy and great-grandfather to John F. Kennedy
Was Businessperson
From Ireland
Type Business
Gender male
Birth 1 January 1823, County Wexford
Death 22 November 1858, East Boston (aged 35 years)
Spouse: Bridget Murphy
Children: P. J. Kennedy
The details

Patrick Kennedy (February 16, 1823 – November 22, 1858) was an Irish farmer who moved to East Boston, Massachusetts from County Wexford, Ireland. He was born in New Ross, Ireland. He was the father of businessman/politician P. J. Kennedy, paternal grandfather of businessman/politician Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., and patrilineal great-grandfather of World War II casualty Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, and longtime Senator Ted Kennedy.

Early life and ancestry

Patrick Kennedy was the youngest son of farmer James Kennedy Sr. (1770–1840) and his wife Maria Maiden (1779 – February 16, 1835). James Kennedy Sr. was born in Dunganstown, (Whitechurch, New Ross, County Wexford) in Ireland. He was the second son of farmer John Kennedy I (1738–1803), and Bridget Shallow (1744–1774). James inherited a small farm from his father during the Penal Law times in Ireland. Patrick had three older siblings:

  • Mary Kennedy (1820–1898), who married James Molloy
  • John Kennedy II (1804–1864), a local farmer who married Mary K. Gunnip.
  • James Kennedy Jr. (1816–1881), also a local farmer who married Catherine Colfer.

Patrick's father James Kennedy Sr. was an Irish local farmer. He was the paternal grandfather of businessman/politician Patrick Joseph "P. J." Kennedy (1858–1929), paternal great-grandfather of businessman/politician Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. (1888–1969), and the paternal great-great grandfather of President John F. Kennedy (1917–1963). James married Maria Maiden (1779-1835) in 1798 in Ireland, and they had four children : John Kennedy II (1804–1864) a local farmer, James Kennedy Jr. (1816–1881) also a local farmer, Mary Kennedy (1820–1898), and Patrick Kennedy.

James Kennedy Sr. died in 1840 at the age of 70.

James's father John Kennedy I was also born in Dunganstown, County Wexford in Ireland. He was the eldest son of farmer Thomas Kennedy (1703–1788) and Rose Elizabeth Davis (1706–1790), daughter of John Francis Fitzgerald Davis (1660–1757). John Kennedy I was the paternal great-great-great grandfather of 35th U.S. President John F. Kennedy.


At the age of 26, Kennedy decided to leave Ireland, largely because he knew that a third-born son had virtually no hope of running his family's farm. His good friend at Cherry Bros. Brewery in New Ross, Patrick Barron, who taught Kennedy the skills of coopering, had come to that conclusion months earlier and left for America. In October 1848, Patrick Kennedy decided to follow.

Patrick Kennedy arrived in Boston on April 22, 1849, having sailed from Liverpool, England on the Washington Irving, a substantial packet ship from the East Boston yard of Donald McKay. Patrick Barron helped settle him into Boston life and organized his coopering job on Noddle's Island (present-day East Boston). Not long after, Barron's cousin Bridget Murphy (1821 - December 20, 1888) who was the daughter of Phillip Murphy (1771-1850) and Mary Barron (1776-1846) who made her way to Boston and married Kennedy, on September 26, 1849 in the Holy Redeemer Church by Father John Williams, who later became Boston's Roman Catholic Archbishop.

After 10 years in the USA, Patrick Kennedy died on November 22, 1858, from cholera at age 35, exactly 105 years before the assassination of his great-grandson John.


Patrick and Bridget had five children:

Name Birth Death Notes
Mary L. Kennedy August 6, 1851 March 7, 1926 Married on January 1, 1883 to Lawrence M. Kane; had five children.
Joanna L. Kennedy November 27, 1852 February 23, 1926 Married on September 22, 1872 to Humphrey Charles Mahoney; had eight children.
John Kennedy III January 4, 1854 September 24, 1855 Died from cholera
Margaret M. Kennedy July 18, 1855 April 2, 1929 Married on February 21, 1882 to John Caulfield; had eight children.
Patrick Joseph "P. J." Kennedy January 14, 1858 May 18, 1929 Married on November 23, 1887 to Mary Augusta Hickey; had four children.

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