Pioneer Families
of Henderson County TN

Hugh J. & Minerva (Austin) Kennedy

Photos & Information by Ralph C. Kennedy

Hugh J. & Minerva Jane (Austin) Kennedy
Son of Hugh & Jane (Delaney) Kennedy // Daughter of Jeremiah & Matilda J. (Hart) Austin

There were two Kennedy brothers who came from NC to settle in the Scotts Hill area. They were Hugh Kennedy born about 1795 and his brother Robert Jackson Kennedy born about 1800. They might have been sons of Wagstaff & Behethland (Ramsey) Kennedy of Virginia who settled in North Carolina. Both brothers left a long line of descendants and a strong impression in the southern most section of Henderson County. I'll do my best to present their lineage below. There are a number of different people putting information online regarding the Kennedy family-- it differs drastically..

Early History of the Kennedy Family in Henderson and Decatur
(Submitted by Ralph C. Kennedy)

Hugh Kennedy and Robert J. Kennedy (many spelling variations noted, e.g. Canada, Canida, Keneday, Kenada, Kenedy, etc.) were early Henderson/Decatur Co., TN settlers. Oral family history and other evidence suggest that Hugh and Robert were most likely brothers. To date, their parentage has not been established. U. S. Census records consistently indicate both Hugh Kennedy and Robert J. Kennedy were born in NC. In the 1880 U. S. Census, Robert J. listed his father?s place of birth as Maryland. Oral family history and immigration patterns suggest the family was of Scotch-Irish descent. Census records indicate Hugh Kennedy was born c1780-c1798. On 18 OCT 1818, Hugh Kennedy married Jane Delaney in Greene Co., TN. Hugh died before 1850 in Henderson Co., TN.

Jane Delaney was born c1798 in TN (probably in Greene Co.) and died before 1860 in Henderson Co. Jane Delaney was a daughter of John Delaney. In 1782, John Delaney received a land grant in Washington Co., TN. The Delaneys probably immigrated to Tennessee from Pennsylvania. Early Hardin Co., TN, residents included Jane Delaney?s brothers Jacob and Wesley. After their 1818 marriage in Greene Co., TN, Hugh and Jane Kennedy apparently resided for a time in neighboring Washington Co., TN. Hugh appeared on Capt. Sand?s Tax List in 1819. In 1821, Hugh Kennedy purchased items from the estate sale of Able Wiley in Washington Co., TN.

U. S. Census records indicate Robert J. Kennedy was born c1801. Little is known about Robert J. prior to his residence in Henderson Co., TN. In the late 1820?s, Robert J. married Cynthia Eason. Cynthia was probably a daughter of Shadrack Eason... Many of the Eason?s came from Pitt and Edgecombe Co., NC. Robert J. Kennedy died c1884 in Decatur Co., TN. Tennessee land grant records (1823 ? 1839) indicate that Hugh Kennedy and Robert J. Kennedy separately purchased several tracts of land in Perry and Henderson Co. near the farming communities of Doe Creek, Cedar Grove, Sardis, and Scotts Hill. Hugh Kennedy?s first known land purchase in 1823, and Robert Kennedy?s first known purchase was in 1825. Robert Kennedy?s land became part of Decatur Co. in 1845. Hugh and Robert are listed in the 1830 U. S. Census in Henderson Co., TN, as ?Hugh Canada? and ?Robert Canada.?

Exactly how and when Hugh Kennedy and Robert J. Kennedy arrived in the area is unclear. There are conflicting accounts. The following sources provide conflicting accounts about the family?s arrival to the area: J. B. Bell wrote that the Eason family made the journey from Anson County, North Carolina to Henderson County, Tennessee, with possessions in an ox cart and family members on foot before 1830. The caravan was to have included the Johnsons, Kennedys, Lacys, and Stegalls.

Zelma O'Neal, a Scotts Hill historian, wrote the earliest Kennedys, Robert, Hugh, and possibly an Isaac, arrived in the Scotts Hill area by flatboat from middle Tennessee; the Robert Kennedy family was one of the earliest settlers around Scotts Hill; and descendents claimed Robert helped clear the first road leading from Clifton to Scotts Hill.

Oral family history suggests that three brothers of Scotch-Irish descent traveled from North Carolina to the Scotts Hill area. Two brothers were to have settled close together around Scotts Hill and the third brother another location. Some part of the travel to the Scotts Hill area may have been by flatboat.
The truth is probably a combination of facts from the above accounts.

Elias Laras & Fannie Jane (Hicks) Kennedy /// Charles Edward & Nettie Lous (Clenney) Kennedy
Elias is son of Hugh & Minerva (Austin) Kennedy // Charlie is son of Elias & Fannie Jane Hicks) Kennedy

Charles Elco & Ethelyn (Stewart) Kennedy
Charles is the son of Charles Edward & Nettie Lou (Clenney) Kennedy

Doe Creek School & Church
Settlement of the Doe Creek area early 1800's
The Doe Creek School & Church was restored in 2007

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