Biography of Hon. James B. Kennedy
Mahoning County, OH Biographies

HON. JAMES B. KENNEDY, formerly judge of the court of common pleas, and a member of the law firm of Hine, Kennedy & Robinson, at Youngstown, has been identified with the bench and bar of Mahoning County since March, 1885. Judge Kennedy was born in Youngstown, November 20, 1862, and is a son of John R. and Elizabeth (Bird) Kennedy.

The Kennedy family is of Scotch-Irish extraction, the original stock having been implanted in Ireland early in the 18th century. The founder of the Kennedys in the United States, who bore the family name of James, established himself late in the 18th century in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, where family records reveal that he married a daughter of Lord Stewart, who came across the Atlantic about the same time. Their son James was reared 'in Cumberland County, married there and reared four sons, one of whom distinguished himself later in the War of 1812. In 1808 James Kennedy and his four sons came to the Western Reserve of Ohio, and settled in Trumbull County.

James Kennedy, the third of the name, was the grandfather of Judge Kennedy. His whole life was passed in Mahoning County, where he married Sarah Reed, also of Irish extraction and pioneer parentage, and they reared a family of ten children, John R., the second son, being the father of Judge Kennedy.

John R. Kennedy was born in 1820 at Coitsville, Ohio, and was the pioneer in the iron business, which has been one of the foundation stones on which Youngstown has built her present prosperity. He was interested in furnaces, as builder and manager, during the rest of his life, and also had other business interests in Youngstown. In his early political life he was a Democrat, but later became identified with the Republican party. On numerous occasions he was chosen by his fellow citizens for positions of responsibility and for a number of years he was county commissioner of Mahoning County. His death occurred in 1869 at Haselton, Ohio, to which place he had removed two years before, and where his wife also died in 1870. She was born in England, in 1823. The two children of John R. Kennedy and wife were David S. and James B. The former has long been connected with the steel interests at Homestead, Pennsylvania.

James B. Kennedy was but six years old when 'he suffered the loss of his father and this was soon followed by the death of his mother. The two orphan sons came under the care of the paternal grandfather. The subject of this sketch was in school at Coitsville for two years, later went to school on Wood street, Youngstown, and still later attended school at Poland, being there prepared for the classical department of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Failing health caused him to leave Ann Arbor and his studies within a year, but as soon as he had regained his normal condition he took a commercial course at Duff's Business College, at Pittsburg, and thus prepared himself for entrance into commercial life. His inclination however led him in the direction of the law, and while teaching school, in 1882-83, he did his preliminary reading and later devoted several years to its serious study. In March, 1885, hem was admitted to the bar at Columbus, Ohio.

Judge Kennedy wisely chose his birthplace as the scene of his professional labors. His ability was almost immediately recognized and from that time until the present he has enjoyed a very liberal patronage and has won many professional laurels. Intelligently interested in public affairs, he became identified with the Republican party, and on this ticket he was elected prosecuting attorney of Mahoning County, in November, 1890. His fearless conduct while attending to the duties of this position, as well as his wisdom and tact in handling many important cases which came up for his consideration, but added to the confidence and admiration he had already inspired and his election to the bench logically followed. Judge Kennedy served with admirable results from 1897 to 1900, when he resigned the position in order to give attention to a private practice, which has since absorbed his time and energy to a large degree and the emoluments of which are entirely satisfactory. The junior members of the firm are C. D. Hine and Thos. L. Robinson, a son of judge Robinson, of the common pleas court.

Judge Kennedy was married March 4, 1884, to Roxanna Rice, who was born in Poland, Ohio, and died in June, 1896. Judge Kennedy later married Mary Swift Young, of Baltimore, Maryland. Three children were born to the first marriage: D. R., Florence and D. S. Kennedy. Judge Kennedy and family reside at No. 270 Madison avenue.

20th Century History of Youngstown
and Mahoning County, Ohio and
Representative Citizens,
Edited and compiled by Gen. Thos. W. Sanderson
Youngstown, Ohio
Biographical Publishing Company
Chicago, Illinois 1897

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