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Memorable Manitobans: John Wesley Kennedy (1845-1910)

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John Wesley Kennedy
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Soldier, merchant.

Born at Peterborough, Ontario in 1845, son of Colonel John Kennedy of the 57th Peterborough Light Infantry, he joined his father’s battalion and took military training. Upon graduation he was gazetted an ensign at nineteen. At 22 he became captain of No. 2 company and he and his brothers were officers under the command of their father at the Fenian raid of Ridgeway in 1866. He came to Winnipeg about 1880 and was a member of the home guard at Fort Osborne Barracks. In 1885 he recruited a company for the 91st Battalion when the Riel Rebellion broke out, and was made its captain.

Kennedy and his brothers opened up a painting and decorating business which operated successfully for a number of years. He was a Methodist, prominent in Grace Church, Young Church, and later St. James Park Congregational Church. He was a Mason and an Orangeman. A lifetime temperance worker, he was a member of the executive board of the Royal Templars.

In 1866, he married Sarah Elizabeth Newman. They had three children: William N. Kennedy, John H. M. Kennedy, and Lucy A. Kennedy (wife of Dr. G. A. Brown).

Kennedy was a clerk in the Land Titles Office at the time of his death on 12 February 1910, at his Winnipeg home, 965 Portage Avenue. He was buried in St. John’s Cemetery.


Death registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Capt. J. W. Kennedy dies Saturday,” Manitoba Free Press, 14 February 1910, page 11.

The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.

Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 18 October 2015

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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