Archibald Kennedy


Archibald Kennedy

Greenock, Inverclyde, Scotland
Death 22 Jan 1903 (aged 87)
Charlottetown, Queens County, Prince Edward Island, Canada
Burial Rosehill, Prince County, Prince Edward Island, Canada
Memorial ID 191866925 View Source

Bio courtesy of Charles Dawson and Bill Burns (contributor #46505403):
Archibald appears to have gone to sea as a boy and then immigrated at an early age to Canada, and also to have reached captain’s rank. The rank of master, however, in the British North American mercantile marine in the 1840s and 1850s was attained informally on the basis of service, and no separate official PEI register of master’s names appears ever to have been kept. Nor could Archibald’s name in the British official merchant marine records be traced.

Early in life, Archibald married Mary Crawford McLaurin, born in Greenock Scotland in 1825, who had moved to Cape Traverse, P.E.I. with her father Humphrey McLaurin (1795-1869) believed to have been in shipbuilding, although no details of this have so far been traced. Archibald is first noted as living at Bras d’Or, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia as ‘mariner/owner-skipper’ then at Baddeck, Cape Breton, N.S., as ‘trader/dealer’. It was possibly at about this time that he became, or was at least in the process of becoming, a recognised shipmaster. There is a record of the marriage of Archibald Kennedy in 1847 at Cape Breton, but not of Mary MacLaurin.

It is not known when Archibald moved to PEI, but Hutchison’s Business Directory of 1864 listed him as ‘Harbour and Ballast Master’ at Souris, PEI and he still owned ships in 1876, as can be seen from the list of the ten ships he owned or part-owned. There is an illustration of the largest of them, of which AK had one sixty-fourth share. This is an oil painting on canvas 18” x 28”, by an unknown artist, of the iron steamship PRINCE EDWARD, 1365 gross tons built in 1872 by Aitken & Mansel, Whiteinch, Glasgow.

Archibald eventually established a sail-making business in Charlottetown, and is shown in the 1861 census as a sailmaker at Peak’s Wharf on Queen Street near Water Street. About 1865, he added shipschandlery to his activities, the business being under the name of A.Kennedy & Co. This is substantiated by Lovell’s Province of Prince Edward Island Directory of 1871. There is a photograph of the business premises of A. KENNEDY & CO. LTD. in Queen Street, Charlottetown, which was apparently still in existence in the early 1970s.

At the death in 1876 in San Francisco of his brother Captain William Kennedy aboard his command, the iron ship DUNBRITTON of Glasgow, Archibald had presumably taken into his business William’s nephew Duncan, born Greenock 1855, for the latter is shown in the 1881 census as being part of the Kennedy household.

The PATRIOT of 22 August 1891 had a short report of a trip that Archibald and his wife Mary took to Cape Breton, perhaps partly as a recuperative measure for Archibald who had been in poor health. They took the steamer STATE OF INDIANA (bound for Boston) as far as Port Mulgrave, Nova Scotia, and from there the steamer MARION to Cape Breton Island. She sailed presumably to Port Hawkesbury across the Strait of Canso. On the island they were to “visit some of the many places of interest on that picturesque isle”, and no doubt the places where he had lived there.

The childless Kennedys appear to have had no one near and dear to whom they could leave the family business. It therefore seems that the goodwill might have been sold or passed on in some way or other, perhaps in order at least to maintain the family name. This could perhaps be the reason for the continuing existence, at least into the early 1970s, of the firm of shipchandlers A. KENNEDY & CO. LTD. in Charlottetown, whose premises appear in the photograph mentioned above.

Archibald’s business was a prosperous one. His will, dated 14 July 1902 and proved on 4th March 1903, confirms both this and what was written in his obituary about his being “a most generous giver to the support of church work and various religious and philanthropic enterprises”. Archibald was long an elder of the kirk of St James in Charlottetown and, as superintendent of the Sunday School, had laid the cornerstone of the kirk hall in 1895. In 1901, after his wife Mary had died, presumably in Charlottetown, on 2 July 1899, Archibald erected in her memory a stained glass window in the church. Archibald died in Charlottetown on 22 January 1903. Their dates of death and ages are inscribed on their red granite tombstone at Lot 16 in the cemetery of their church.

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