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Edwards, Richard; Hopewell, M.; Ashley, William; Barry, James G.; Belt and Priest; Casey, John; Hall, W.; Labaum, Louis A.; Leduc, Mary Philip; Lisa, Manuel; O'Fallon, Benjamin; Piernas; Port Folio; Risley, W.; Stoddard, Amos; Williams, Henry W.; Yore, John E. Edwards's Great West and Her Commercial Metropolis, Embracing a General View of the West, and a Complete History of St. Louis, from the Landing of Ligueste, in 1764, to the Present Time; with Portraits and Biographies of Some of the Old Settlers, and Many of the Most Prominent Buisiness Men . St. Louis: Office of Edwards's Monthly, A Journal of Progress, 1860. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; letter; narrative]. Permission: St. Louis Mercantile Library
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=edwards.html


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Hon. Luther M. Kennett.

LUTHER M. KENNETT was born at Falmouth, Pendleton county, Kentucky, March 15th, 1807. His father, Press Graves Kennett, was a respectable and influential citizen of Falmouth, holding for many years the office of clerk of Pendleton county and Circuit Court, and was likewise president of the Falmouth Branch of Commonwealth Bank. He was a man of fine information, and consequently was anxious that all of the avenues of education should be opened to his children.

Luther M. Kennett, after receiving a good English education and some knowledge of Latin, from the most respectable seminaries of learning, was sent to Georgetown, Kentucky, where he remained for two years, under the instruction of the Rev. Barton W. Stone, a distinguished Baptist divine, who was a profound scholar, and faithful in his duties of instructor, both in a pastoral and secular capacity. He boarded in the family of that gentleman, and became a good Latin scholar, and was making a fair progress in the Greek and French, when his father, meeting with reverses, he was taken from school, at fifteen years of age, and, at once, had to seek a situation, that he might do something toward his livelihood. He obtained a situation as deputy-clerk of the county court of his native place, where he remained for eighteen months, with his uncle, Wm. C. Kennett, who then had charge of the clerk's office, and, at the invitation of General James Taylor, of Newport, who was clerk of Campbell county, he removed to that county, and performed the duties of deputy-clerk, and devoted his leisure hours to the reading of law. In 1825, when he was eighteen years of age, animated by that feverish desire of change of place, so often an attendant upon young ambition, he came to St. Louis, then insignificant in size, resolving to prosecute the study of the law, which he had pursued during some interims of leisure, and for which he had formed a predilection. To carry out this design, it was necessary that he should make some business arrangement by which he could live while completing his studies; and, not being able to effect this double object, he engaged in a store, as clerk, and after a short time he went to Farmington, St. Francis county, and served in the same capacity. From Farmington he went to Selma, Jefferson county, now the residence of his brother, Colonel F. Kennett, where he became acquainted with Captain James M. White, a merchant of St. Louis, and nephew of Hon. Hugh Lawson White, of Tennessee, with whom he formed a copartnership, and with whom he continued fifteen years. This connection in business pursuits proved very fortunate to Mr. Kennett, and he amassed an ample fortune. His success was not accidental; it was the fruit of his energy, integrity and business capacity. His connection with Mr. White continued for many years, and resulted in a mutual and permanent friendship which subsisted until the death of Mr. White.

In 1832, Mr. Kennett was married to Miss Boyce, who survived her Carriage but three years, leaving a daughter, who is now the wife of Benjamin O'Farrar, of St. Louis county; and in 1842, having returned

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to St. Louis from the mining region, he was elected alderman of the fourth ward, and served three years. He was again elected, in 1846 but shortly afterward resigned, to make a tour to Europe to benefit his health, and to witness the luxuriant growth of science and art in that nursery of civilization.

Mr. Kennett had returned but a short time from his continental tour, when St. Louis was visited by that dangerous malady, the Asiatic cholera, which has proved such a scourge to many of the cities and towns of the Union. At this visitation — the ever-remembered year of 1849 — St. Louis presented the spectacle of a charnel-house, so awful wore the ravages of that dreadful disease. In vain skilful physicians, for a time, would stem its progress; some boat from the south, freighted with the pestilence, would arrive at the wharf, and again it would spread over the city. The citizens were determined on establishing a quarantine, and Mr. Kennett was on the committee of twelve appointed to select the location, and carry out the wishes of the people. The very day of his appointment, in conjunction with his colleagues, he took boat to put the design in execution. That year he served as chairman of the committee who got up the Pacific Railroad Convention at St. Louis, and was vice-president of the company which was organized to commence the work. In the next year, 1850, being elected mayor of the city, he removed the first shovelful of earth, as a commencement of the great railroad, which, in time, will become one of the main arteries of the Union.

When mayor, Mr. Kennett was indefatigable in his exertions for the welfare of the city. He looked upon the health of the city as a blessing that could not be measured by dollars and cents. He was an advocate of, and efficiently adopted the practice of extensive sewerage, that St. Louis might be drained of its impurities; and his efforts in that particular will long be remembered gratefully by the well-thinking portion of our citizens. Ho served two terms as mayor.

In 1853, he was elected president of the Iron Mountain Railroad, and, as vice-president of the Pacific Railroad, delivered the address, on opening the first division of thirty-seven miles for travel. He was candidate for the Thirty-Fourth Congress, in 1854, and, on being elected to the national council of his country, proved himself an exemplary and efficient member.

Whilst a member of Congress, Mr. Kennett, being a member of the Committee on Commerce, contributed much to secure the appropriations made for the Mississippi Rapids, and also to procure the right of way from the general government through the grounds of the arsenal and Jefferson Barracks, for the Iron Mountain Railroad.

Mr. Kennett now resides at his fine country residence, appropriately called Fair View, in St. Louis county, happy in the pure enjoyment of the domestic circle. He has six children by his last marriage. He married Miss Agnes A. Kennett, daughter of the late Dixon H. Kennett, in the spring of 1842, who was his cousin, and now occupies a more dearing relation.

He was friendless and almost penniless when he came to St. Louis, and now he is in possession of friends, affluence, and position, and owes this possession to his honorable exertions and high moral attributes.

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Edwards, Richard; Hopewell, M.; Ashley, William; Barry, James G.; Belt and Priest; Casey, John; Hall, W.; Labaum, Louis A.; Leduc, Mary Philip; Lisa, Manuel; O'Fallon, Benjamin; Piernas; Port Folio; Risley, W.; Stoddard, Amos; Williams, Henry W.; Yore, John E. Edwards's Great West and Her Commercial Metropolis, Embracing a General View of the West, and a Complete History of St. Louis, from the Landing of Ligueste, in 1764, to the Present Time; with Portraits and Biographies of Some of the Old Settlers, and Many of the Most Prominent Buisiness Men . St. Louis: Office of Edwards's Monthly, A Journal of Progress, 1860. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; letter; narrative]. Permission: St. Louis Mercantile Library
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=edwards.html
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