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 Jonathan Ralston Kennedy

Jonathan Ralston Kennedy

Brown County, Ohio, USA
Death 11 Nov 1883 (aged 59)
Burial Montrose, Montrose County, Colorado, USA
Plot Sec F, Blk 36, Lot 4, NE 1/4
Memorial ID 27331106 · View Source
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addl info courtesy of bnewby

Jonathan R Kennedy was the founder of the Colorado School for the Deaf. He was the grandfather of silent film actor Lon Chaney, Sr. Jonathan's daughter Emma A Kennedy was deaf as was her husband Frank Chaney. Frank was a barber in Colorado Springs where Leonidas (Lon) Chaney was born.

Jonathan also helped start the Kansas School For the Deaf. Here is a snippet from the history of that school.

Historical Highlights
The Kansas State School for the Deaf is the oldest state educational institution in the State of Kansas. The School was founded by Philip A. Emery, a deaf man who had been a student and teacher at the Indiana School for the Deaf until 1860. Emery had come to the valley of the Wakarusa River to start a new life. He became acquainted with a neighbor, Jonathan R. Kennedy, who had three deaf children. Kennedy was pleased to discover a deaf educator nearby, as there was no institution for the education of the deaf in Kansas. Kennedy tried and became successful in persuading Emery to begin a private school for the deaf. So with $250 borrowed from a relative of Kennedy's, he set out with Emery to find a good location for the school. Emery located a small house with two rooms and an attic in Baldwin City that could be rented for five dollars per month. Although the school officially opened in October of 1861, it wasn't until December 9 that the school welcomed its first student. Elizabeth Studebaker from Clinton arrived with her father, along with some ham, butter and eggs. These items, along with the following week's arrival of a wagon load of corn, served as the barter for the school costs of roughly $2.50 per week.

Jonathan Ralston Kennedy was the grandson of Jonathan "John" Ralston and Elizabeth "Betsy"Pitzer Kennedy of Brown County, Ohio.

His mother and his family moved to Douglas County, Kansas after his father died of cholera in Brown County, Ohio. His mother Margaret lived to the age of eighty-seven.
He was one of thirteen children.


aged .... ys 1 mo 22 ds

Gravesite Details inscription a little difficult to read; Cedar Index 1992 has it transcribed as 59 yrs 1 mo 22 days.




  • Created by: Luie
  • Added: 4 Jun 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 27331106
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Jonathan Ralston Kennedy (19 Sep 1824–11 Nov 1883), Find A Grave Memorial no. 27331106, citing Cedar Cemetery, Montrose, Montrose County, Colorado, USA ; Maintained by Luie (contributor 46993346) .