Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 326] a substantial farmer and prominent citizen of Little Beaver township, resides on his farm about two miles from Enon Valley, on which farm he was born Jan. 8, 1853. Mrs. Kenny holds title to this same piece of land, the deed being made in 1799, when John Beer, maternal great-grandfather of the present owner, cleared the fields and reclaimed them from their natural state of rugged timber growth. Mr. Beer was in truth a pioneer, for he was the first white man to pass the winter in Lawrence County. He came with two companions, and they felled the trees, put up log-cabins, and began to render the land capable of sustaining civilized man. The two other men made their way back to their home in Westmoreland County in the fall, but Mr. Beer remained with grit and determination in the new country and stayed in his cabin until spring, when he went back to bring his family. His wife was a Miss Hunter. He lived on the farm until his death at seventy-five years of age. His son, David, lived on the homestead and married Mary Fisher, who came from Westmoreland County at an early day; their daughter, Margaret Beer, was born on a neighboring farm, where she grew up and married Irwin Kenny, becoming the mother of the present Mr. Kenny.

Irwin Kenny, father of Wildress A., began life near Calcutta, Columbiana County, Ohio, in 1819, and his career came to a close in 1881. He mastered the carpenter's trade, but did not follow that trade to amount to much, for he always lived on a farm. He was a son of David and Esther (Hunter) Kenny, the father having served as a privateer in the Revolutionary War. Irwin's grandfather, James, came from Lancaster County, Pa., where the great-grandfather, John Kenny, settled late in life after his emigration from Ireland; John's father was a participant in the Battle of the Boyne, ranking as an officer in the army. Irwin and Margaret (Beer) Kenny were the parents of nine children, as follows: Robert, who was born in Allegheny City a girl, who died unnamed; David, who, died in infancy; Wildress A.; Thomas; Mary; Samuel; Maggie; and Nellie.

Our subject was brought up on the farm that was his birth-place, attending school until he was seventeen years old, and engaging in farm work. When his duties in agricultural lines are not pressing, he works at the carpenter's trade, which he learned from his father, and in winter he has been occasionally employed in the coal mines. His mother was a devout member of the Presbyterian Church, and was personally interested in the building of the church structure of that denomination, that was the oldest in the community or township. Mr. Kenny is thoroughly imbued with the principles of the Democratic faith, and he has served as school director. He has worked and labored to keep the homestead which has belonged to his family for almost a century intact, and he may well be proud of his farm and his history.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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