Lee County Biography

William Michael Kennedy
Wyoming Township




William Michael Kennedy, formerly editor and proprietor of the Dixon "Sun", was a journalist of rare ability, who stood high in his profession and made his paper one of the foremost publications of the kind in Northern IL. He was born in County Limerick, Ireland, August 11, 1843, and was a son of Edward and winifred (Meade) Kennedy. His father died in County Limberick in 1844, leaving a widow and one child. Soon afterward his mother brought him to America (he being an infant at the time) and first settled in Brooklyn NY. A few years later she came to Dixon to maker her home, and her son wsa reared and educated in this city.

At the age of twelve years the bright lad took the first step towards entering a profession in which he was afterward to win bright laurels, as he then commenced to learn the trade of a printer, completing his apprenticeship in the office of the Telegraph. He followed his trade as a journeyman a few years, and in the winter of 1869-70 opened a job office, which he operateduntil the following November. He then bought the office of the Lee County Democrat, and in January 1871 started the publications of the Rock River Farmer in connection with it, a paper devoted to the interests of the farmers. The following year he established the "Iowa Farmer" which he subsequently consolidated with the other agricultural paper under the name of the "Western Farmer." In October 1871, he changed the name of the "Lee County Democrat" to the Dixon "Sun". He published both the agricultural periodical and the newspaper until 1884, making a complete success of both, and then, owing to failing health, disposed of the Western Farmer, continuing to edit and issue the Sun until his untimely decease, April 28, 1890.

When death set his seal upon his lips and led him into the silent land, our subject was in the prime and vigor of a noble life that seemed to promise many more years of usefulness. He had become one of the leaders of thought and action in his circle as an editor of unusual power, who had given to the public a paper carefully and wisely edited in the highest interests of city and county, exercising a beneficial influcence in business and politics, and helping to elevate the tone of the community; a journal that possessed excellent literary qualities, was a valuable medium of information concerning foreign and local affiars, was bright and progressive in its methods, and had a large circulation among the most intelligent people.

Mr. Kennedy was one of the foremost members of the Illinois Press Association, and took an active part in its meetings. In 1884 he delivered the annual address to his fellow-editors, assembled at Urbana, and was highly complimented for his brilliant effort on that occasion. In the same year he was honored by being elected Vice-President of the association, and in 1885 his professional brethren gave him another proof of their distinguished consideration by making him President of the association. In politics, he was a true Democrat, but was by no means radical in his views, or a partisan in any sense. He was popular in social circles as a member of the following organizations; Friendship Lodge, No. 7, A.F. & A.M.; Dixon Chapter R.A.M; and Dixon Commandery K.T.

From his wife, to whom he was wedded in 1879, our subject always received encouragement in his work, and when he laid it down, on account of ill health, in 1886, she bravely took it up and under her able guidance, with the assistance of John Moore as editor until the spring of 1892, the Dixon Sun retains its old popularity as a newspaper and the high standing that it enjoyed in former days when in the hands of its late lamented editor and proprietor. Mrs. Kennedy is a lady of culture, whose bright, quick mind and pleasant ways make her a favorite in social circles. She has a good had for business; a keen insight into the best methods of carrying it on to the best advantage, and is practical and sensible in regard to money matters. She has a genuine love for art, and is one of the leading members of the Phidian Art Society. Religiously she is a Presbyterian. Two children blessed this union - Russell W., now 10 years old and Jason age six.

Mrs. Kennedy, whose maiden name was Inex A. Timothy is a native of China Township, of which her parents, Otis & Sarh Louisa (Miner) Timothy were pioneers and where they are now peacefully spending their declining years on the old homestead that they improved from the wilderness. Her father was born in Northampton Mass. August 30, 1812, a son of Ebenezer Timothy, who was a farmer and spent his last days in the old Bay State. Otis Timothy wsa reared in MA & VT. He came to IL in 1840 and was an early settler of China Twp., where he bought a tract of Government land. From the wilderness he developed a good farm, on which he and his wife live to this day. For some years there were no railways to this part of the country and Chicago was the nearest market, whither he took his grain and meat with teams. Later LaSalle became a market town, and seemed quite convenient in those days. The mother of Mrs. Kennedy was born in Elmira NY April 1, 1820 and is a daughter of Cyrus & Eliza Miner, wo were also pioneers of Lee County.

1892 Portrait and Biographical Record Lee Co Pg 689

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