Portrait And Biographical Record Of Northern Michigan
Containing Portraits And Biographical Sketches Of Prominent
And Representative Citizens
Record Publishing Co., 1895
|Thomas Kenny, President of the Manistee County Savings Bank, was born
in County Kildare, near the town of Naas, Ireland, February 7, 1842. He was
only seven years of age when he was orphaned by the death of his parents,
James and Catherine Kenny, who died, both of typhoid fever, within less than
a year of each other. For four years afterward he was an inmate of an aunt's
home. At the age of twelve, in company with an older brother, Edward, he
crossed the ocean, arriving in New York, and from there proceeding to Westchester
County, the same state. Six weeks later he came to Manistee, reaching this
place in December, 1854. His brother, with whom he came here, had spent three
years in America previously, having been in Iowa for eighteen months, where
he owned one hundred and sixty acres near the city of Dubuque; he had also
been engaged in lumbering at Manistee for eighteen months.
The first work secured by the subject of this sketch was in the lumber woods of James O'Neill, whose employ he entered at the age of thirteen. Later he was similarly occupied in the employ of other parties. He continued in that line of work for sixteen years, and was foreman of a camp for a number of years. During this time he was for five summer seasons engaged in floating logs on the river and lake. His work was difficult, and it required on his part patience, concentration of energy and great industry. These characteristics possessed, and consequently met with success in his undertaking.
While engaged in lumbering, Mr. Kenny established domestic ties. He was united in marriage September 8, 1868, with Miss Ellen Lynch, a native of New York, who for some years lived in Wisconsin, but at the time of her marriage was a resident of Manistee. After his marriage he opened a grocery store in this city, forming a partnership with Charles Grund, which continued for one year. Later he was in business alone for ten years, during which time he built up a profitable trade. His next enterprise was with Patrick Noud as a partner. Together they took a contract of the Manistee Boom Company for assorting and delivering logs to the amount of $30,000 per year. At the expiration of five years they renewed their contract for ten years, making fifteen years of partnership. About seventy men, on average, were employed. The grocery business was sold out in 1884, and Mr. Kenny gave his undivided personal attention to the fulfillment of contracts, while Mr. Noud was engaged in the manufacture of lumber. This proved a very profitable business, and the firm prospered financially. For fourteen years, or until 1894, Mr. Kenny had the entire management of the concern, and its success furnished abundant proof of his energy and executive ability.
Mr. Kenny owned a tract of valuable pine, hemlock and cedar lands, from all of which logs in large quantities were obtained. As a lumberman few have had a more varied experience than he as he has sturdily worked his way up from an humble position in a lumber camp to a leading rank among the business men and capitalists of this portion of the state.
As a citizen, Mr. Kenny is deeply interested in everything tending to the progress of the city. He has made large real-estate investments here, and believes that a successful future awaits this thriving town. During the period from 1875 until 1879 he filled the office of City Treasurer, to which he was elected upon the Democratic ticket. He also served two terms, 1888-92, as County Treasurer. In religious belief he is a Roman Catholic, and with his family holds membership in the Church of the Guardian Angels.
Mr. and Mrs. Kenny are the parents of the following-named children: Kate and Frances, who are teachers in the city schools; Agnes, a student in the State University of Michigan at Ann Arbor; Esther, Clare and Cecelia, who are students in the high school of Manistee, of which the older daughters are graduates.
The Manistee County Savings Bank was incorporated in 1891, with a capital stock of $50,000, and the following officers: Thomas Kenny, President; Edwin Russell, Vice-President; and W.J. Gregory, Cashier. The capital stock and the officials remain the same as at first, and among the Directors are many prominent and substantial men, including E.G. Filer, C.A. Waal, Joseph Kierster and R.R. Blacker. The deposits of the bank are large, and it has an extensive patronage among the laboring classes. It is located in the Ramsdell Block, which was built especially for banking purposes. From the organization of the bank to the present time, the course of its officials has been such as to commend it to the public confidence, and the institution well deserves its reputation as a solid and reliable monetary concern.