John Stewart Kennedy


1909 john kennedy wmMr. John Stewart Kennedy  was born 4th January 1830. He married Emma Baker (b1833-d1930) on 14th October 1858 in USA and died 31st October 1909.

His parents were John Kennedy and Isabella Stewart. His father was from Stirling, his mother from Glasgow and they had settled in Blantyre after their marriage to pursue work in the Blantyre Works Mills.

Sometime between 1833 and 1841 the family moved from Blantyre to Gorbals, Glasgow. (His 2 brothers were born between 1830 and 1833 also in Blantyre). He emigrated to America, aged 20, in 1850.

From 1850 to 1857, he was employed by William Bird & Co., a firm engaged in the iron trade, in the US and Canada. In 1857, he moved to New York City and entered into business with Morris K. Jesup. They founded Jesup, Kennedy & Co. of Chicago in 1861.

In 1868, he formed J.S. Kennedy & Co., which he left to his nephew, J. Kennedy Tod, when he retired in 1888. Mr. Kennedy was closely associated with James J. Hill in the Northwestern railroad development. He was interested in the construction of what is now the Great Northern Railway, and was a member of the syndicate that contracted with the Canadian Government to build a Canadian Pacific Railway. He was also one of the incorporators of the Union Pacific Railway.

In 1889, he was president of the board of managers of Presbyterian Hospital. In 1893, he was a director of the National Bank of Commerce, and was President of Presbyterian Hospital, President of the Board of Trustees of the American Bible House at Constantinople, and a trustee of the Central Trust until his death. J.S. Kennedy Dead Of Whooping Cough according to New York times Nov. 1, 1909.

Kennedy left $2,250,000 to the Presbyterian Hospital, which he had given $1,000,000 the year before; $2,250,000 to the Presbyterian Church; and $2,250,000 to Columbia University, as well as smaller bequests to members of the family of its president, Nicholas Murray Butler.

From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul D Veverka (c) 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 23.12.12

John Kennedy-1

On social media:

Fairlie Gordon Good read Paul,

Elizabeth Dobson Grieve Any chance we know the parentage of Isabella Stewart? I’ve that name on my family tree

Elizabeth Grieve added, “Hi Paul – I am attaching the death record for the Isabella Stewart, daughter of Allan Stewart and Janet McLaurin, wife of John Kennedy and mother to John Stewart Kennedy. Hope you find it useful as part of the family story.


The Blantyre Project something for you or I to look at Elizabeth?

Elizabeth Dobson Grieve will take a look for you Paul. I’m off to Edinburgh tomorrow so will do a check then

Robert Stewart Very interesting

Jean McIntosh Very interesting Paul

Jane Johnstone Love all the information, Paul, thank you!


Add a Comment
  1. John Stewart Kennedy was my wife’s g-g-uncle. How can I access the family tree above to see her g-gfather, Robert Elliot Tod, who was the first immigrant to serve as Commissioner of Ellis Island?

    1. Hi Richard. This family tree can be accessed at or if international at a search for any person in the tree should provide a result linked to the tree. If you’re still needing help or exact link, just let me know. Cheers. Paul

Leave a Reply