~ Fort Hill Cemetery ~


T J Kennedy



  &nsp T. J. Kennedy was born at Saratoga Springs NY Oct. 13, 1820. He began the work of painting, as an apprentice, in Troy NY at 12 years of age and was soon employed in ornamental coach painting, decorating them with landscapes, and allegorical pictures, many of which were fine works of art. He came to Auburn in 1838, at the instance of Col. J. M. Sherwood, then a large stage proprietor here, and has since resided here. He was the first man in the County to practically prepare for the great rebellion, by enlisting men, and was actively and efficiently engaged in the service during the war.

    Cayuga County came promptly forward to aid the government. Indeed, one of her citizens, Capt. T. J. Kennedy, had anticipated this action of the government by several months and had written Governor Morgan as early as January 6, 1861 for permission to raise troops, to which the governor replied on the 17th of that month, that "if the necessity arises your services will be accepted." This is believed to have been the first offer of military service in the rebellion made by any of our loyal citizens. Capt. Kennedy believed that the "necessity" already existed and acted accordingly. He sent out his own instance and personal cost, recruiting sergeants to the different villages in the vicinty, Jordan, Skaneateles, Seneca Falls, Springport and Aurora, and also opened a recruiting office in Auburn, thus liberally devoting his time and limited means to this patriotic service. He wrote stirring articles for the press and sought by every means in his power to impress his countrymen with the reality of the existing danger. Our citizens were, however, slow to believe that the rash act of secession would be followed by a real war, and Capt. Kennedy was considered by some as "crazed" by his enthusiasm. He proceeded nevertheless, and on the day of the attack upon Fort Sumter, had one hundred and seventy-five recruits drilling in an open field near the city. The events thus justified the sagacity and wisdom of his preparations.

    Capt. Kennedy now applied to the governor for arms and equipments; but the "necessity" for them had not been anticipated, and they were not ready. The governor only had rifles available for them. His group became part of the 19th Regiment at Elmira.

    KENNEDY'S INDEPENDENT BATTERY- Coincident with the recruiting of the 75th Regiment, Capt. T. J. Kennedy had received permission to raise an independent battery of artillery; and in less than two months had one hundred and twenty-five men on his rolls. It was entitled, "Kennedy's 1st. Light Battery NYS Volunteers," and was mustered into service for 3 years on the 23rd of November 1861. Capt. Kennedy left with his Battery, for the seat of war on December 2.

    Kennedy raised an independent battery of artillery but, for want of guns and equipments, was compelled to change it to an infantry company. He received orders December 2, 1861 to report with his battery to Washington DC. Capt. Kennedy was offered the commission of Major in the 3rd Artillery, and Col. Ledlie and Lt. Col. Stewart through whom the offer was made, claimed the battery as part of the 3rd Artillery. Kennedy denied the claim and refused to be sworn as Major and for the time remained with his battery. He finally accepted the commission on the 16th day of April 1862. The battery was formally turned over to Lt. Andrew J. Cowan.

    Popular sympathy for the volunteers found expression in various ways. Capt. Kennedy was honored with a brace of pistols accompanied by a presentation address, from which the following extract was made.

    "You sir, were among the first to hear and the readiest to respond to the patriotic call; home, family and friends, with all their endearing associations, could not hold you back; a prosperous business, dependent for its success on you alone, could not hold you back; but with alacrity and enthusiasm, you were first at the muster, as no doubt you will be, in the coming encounter." He also received an elegant Bible from the Board of Education.

-- from Storke's History of Cayuga County 1789-1879.

The Kennedy family vault is located in the Mount Auburn section of the cemetery.

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