William Charles Kennedy, who stands at the head of the legal profession in San Jose, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, February 25, 1849, a son of James F. and Serena (Salter) Kennedy, both also natives of that city, and members of prominent American families whose history dates back to the period of the Revolution. In that struggle the great-grandfather of our subject took an active part. James F. Kennedy was prepared to the legal profession and was a protege of Commodore Stockton, and came to California in 1850 to take charge of property purchased by that gentleman, known as the Stockton ranch. This comprised about three thousand acres and located between San Jose and Santa Clara and between the Alameda and Guadalupe rivers. Mr. James F. Kennedy was the first Republican sheriff of Santa Clara county, and his death occurred while in office in 1865. he was ever an active and prominent worker in the ranks of the Republican party, and on one occasion, with Governor Stanford, was the candidate for the office of lieutenant governor, but was defeated, but was afterward a member of Governor Stanford's official staff. He was the first president of the Agricultural Society and Jockey Club of Santa Clara county.

William Charles Kennedy, who was one of a family of six children, five sons and one daughter, came with his mother and brother to California in 1851. The knowledge which he received in the public schools was supplemented by a course in Santa Clara College, in which institution he graduated at the age of eighteen years, with a degree of Bachelor of Arts. Going thence to Nevada, he pursued the study of law and was admitted to practice in the supreme court at Carson City, and in 1871 came again to California and located for practice in San Jose, where he has since maintained his residence and where he is well known as a successful and distinguished lawyer, whose marked abilities have gained him prestige among those who are devoting their energies to the legal profession.

In December, 1879, Mr. kennedy was united in marriage to Miss Kate Moody, a native of San Jose and a daughter of Charles Moody, one of the prominent early settlers of California and for many years prominent in the milling industry. The home of Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy was brightened and blsssed by the birth of one son, Karl F., who is now attending Stanford University, where he is pursuing the study of law. For several years Mrs. Kennedy has been president of the Woman's Club of San Jose and is a trustee of the Carnegie Public Library, being the only lady to hold that position. Mr. Kennedy is a stalwart supporter of Republican principles, and in his fraternal relations is a member of the Masonic order.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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