Historical Plaque Properties


Martin Kennedy - Retired Farmer & Builder
100 Church Street
Stratford, ON

Martin Kennedy was born about 1854 in a log house on a farm near the village of Kinkora, Ellice Township in Perth County. He was the sixth of eight children born to Hugh and Mary Kennedy. Martin’s father was born in Ireland about 1817 while his mother appears to have been born in Toronto around 1826. They were married in Toronto about 1845.

When Martin was ten, his father died at the age of 47 on December 16, 1864 leaving Mary widowed, at age 38, with eight children and a farm to manage.  Martin and his older brothers pitched in to help their mother run the farm. However by 1881, Martin was the man of the house as his older brothers either had left for other careers or were married or operating their own farms.

On November 4, 1884 Martin married twenty-two year old Ann Sully at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Stratford. Ann or Annie as she was known was born on a farm in Oxford County, the daughter of Robert Sully and Bridget Kennedy. Robert was born in England and Bridget who may have been a relative of Martin’s was born in Ireland.

Martin and Annie’s wedding was a gathering of the Kennedy clan, as Martin’s brother Dennis and sister Elizabeth travelled from Kinkora to be witnesses. The service was performed by a Father Joseph Kennedy who may have been Martin’s younger brother or at very least another relative.

Following their marriage, the couple took over the Kennedy family’s home farm. By the early eighteen nineties, Annie’s parents had come to live with them on the farm. After her parent’s death and the death of Marin’s mother in 1897, Annie and Martin relocated to Stratford at the turn of the century and by 1902 the couple moved into their newly built home at 100 Church Street.

Martin and Annie had six children: Mary (b. 1886) who entered the order of the Sisters of Loretto and taught at Loretto Abbey in Stratford for a number of years. The Abbey existed from 1878-1973 on the site of the present day Jeanne Sauve Separate School; Anna (b. 1889) who was a high school teacher in Windsor; Joseph (b. 1892) who became a doctor and practiced in London; Hubert (b.1897) who emigrated to the U.S. and lived in Detroit; Katherine better known as Kathleen (b. 1899) who moved to Montreal; and a son who was born in 1908 but sadly died on the day of his birth.

Various documents indicate that Martin worked as a carpenter and a builder before he finally retired. On April 4, 1924 while attending to the furnace in his home, Martin suffered a massive heart attack and died at home.

Annie who was described in her obituary as a beloved and well respected resident of Stratford and “a home loving women devoted to her family” was also a devout member of St. Joseph’s Church. She died in 1939 and is buried alongside her husband and daughter, Anna, in Avondale Cemetery.