Theodore C. Kenney

THEODORE C. KENNEY, a prominent factor in the business circles of Scottdale, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, and a man who has very materially assisted in the upbuilding and advancement of the town, is the son of John W. and Catherine (Keller) Kenney, both natives of Berks county, Pennsylvania, and of Irish origin. The progenitor of the Kenney family in America was the great-grandfather of Theodore C., who emigrated to the United States from Ireland, accompanied by his wife and family, locating in Berks county, Pennsylvania, in a very early day of its settling. Among his children was a son named Thomas.

Thomas Kenney, grandfather of Theodore C. Kenney, was but five years of age when he came with his parents to this country, and his entire life was spent in Berks county. In 1797 he married Rebecca McMichael, and reared a family of seven children, namely: Robinson, William, John W., Sariah, Lucinda, Margaret and Patty Ann.

John W. Kenney, third son of Thomas and Rebecca (McMichael) Kenney, was born July 5, 1817, in Berks county. He was by trade a mining engineer, which occupation he followed all his active business life, and in which he was very proficient; he also owned and cultivated a farm. Mr. Kenney was a public-spirited man, interested in all local affairs, and served his township as school director, besides holding various other local offices, and was a member of the F. and A. M. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and an earnest and efficient church work. Mr. Kenney married Catherine Keller, who was of German origin, the daughter of Jacob Keller, a farmer of Berks county, Pennsylvania. Their children were: Jacob Franklin, deceased; William Robinson, deceased; Theodore C., mentioned hereafter; Elizabeth Ellen, deceased; Thomas Jefferson, now a resident of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, where he is employed as a mill worker; Clara, wife of Michael Bannon, and they live in Geigertown, Berks county, Pennsylvania, Aarona P., deceased; John Wayne, a farmer of Pottstown; Webster, of Reading, a conductor on the Philadelphia and Reading railroad; and Lucinda, wife of Adam Styre, a farmer of Chester county, Pennsylvania. The death of John W. Kenney occurred in 1898, at the advanced age of eighty-one years, and his wife passed away in 1895.

Theodore C. Kenney, third son of John W. and Catherine (Keller) Kenney was born in Carnarvon township, Berks county. Pennsylvania, and there received his intellectual training in the common schools. He learned engineering with his father, and receiving an advantageous offer from a Mr. Richards, builder of blast furnaces, accompanied him to southern Illinois and worked for some time as time-keeper. His diligent, conscientious work soon won for him a promotion to foreman on the construction of a large furnace. He retained this position for eighteen months, and then went into the machinery department, where he assumed charge of the blast engine and pumps, remaining there for four and a half years. He then removed to Pittsburg, where he was employed as engineer in the firm of Laughlin & Company, running their blast engine for nearly two years. His next removal was to Scottdale, October, 1872, and there he identified himself with the "Charlotte Furnace Company," having charge of the blast engine and machinery of their furnace. In 1880 he received an excellent offer from an Ohio furnace company in Steubenville, and going there assumed charge of a blast furnace, remaining there but five months Mr. Kenney then decided to go into business for himself, and believing Scottdale to be a good field, removed to that place and formed a partnership with J. D. Hill. They engaged in the foundry and machine shop business under the firm name of Hill & Kenney. In August of 1880 they purchased land on which to erect their foundry and the machine shop of Everson, Macrum & Company. The firm made a specialty of coke manufacturers supplies, and carried a full line of brass and iron fittings, brass castings and machinery supplies. They conducted a very successful business, and the goods that left their shop won a reputation for reliability and quality. They employed twenty men and transacted a business of $40,000 a year. This arrangement existed until 1884, when Mr. Hill retired from the business and Mr. A. K. Stauffer became his successor, the firm name changing to Kenney & Company. The works have since been enlarged, new departments have been added, and the manufacture of stationary steam has been added to their business. The firm of Kenney & Company existed until December, 1901, when it was merged into a corporation of the same name, capitalized at $125000. This was effected after the shops were destroyed by fire, October 11, 1901, which was almost a complete loss. The business had rapidly increased, the transactions amounting to $125,000 per year. The former officers of the new corporation were: A. K. Stauffer, president; E. L. Rutherford, vice-president and secretary; Walter L. Stauffer, treasurer; and T. C. Kenney, general manager. The board of directors were: A. K. Stauffer. E. L. Rutherford, T. C. Kenney E. A. Humphries, Worth Killpatrick, Robert Skemp, B. F. Stauft, John Dick. J. R. Smith, B. F. Overholt, M. J. Kennedy, J. S. Parker, Martin Loucks. The present officers of the corporation are: B. F. Overholt, president: A. K. Stauffer, vice-president; E. L. Rutherford, secretary; and Walter F, Stauffer, treasurer. The present board of directors are: B. F. Overholt, A. K. Stauffer, E. L. Rutherford, E. A. Humphries, J. A. Armstrong, M. J. Kennedy, J. S. Parker, Martin Loucks, and Walter F. Stauffer.

In 1904 Mr. Kenney resigned his position as general manager, and in November of the same year accepted a position with the Vulcan Iron Works, manufacturers of hoisting and haulage engines and general mining machinery, of Wilkes-Barre. He covers territory west of the Allegheny mountains. Prompt, reliable and energetic, Mr. Kenney has rendered the most valuable services to the last named firm, and also represents the Pennsylvania Boiler Works, manufacturers of all types of boilers, tanks and general plate steel work, Erie Pennsylvania. His entire business career has been successful, due in a great part to his upright, honorable business methods and unimpeachable integrity. Politically he is a sound Republican. He is a member of Marion Lodge, No. 562, F. and A. M.; Urania Royal Arch Chapter, No. 192, of Greensburg, Kedron Commandery, K. T., No. 18, of Greensburg.

Mr. Kenny married, April 28, 1874, Emma J. Cant, of Pittsburg, a daughter of Joseph Gant. Their children were: 1. Joseph C., a mechanical engineer, for six years served as superintendent of his father's works; he is a Republican in politics, and was for three years a member of the borough council of Scottdale, he married Jane Stillwoggan, and they have one child, Emma J. 2. John F., in the employ of the Westinghouse Machine Company, having charge of one of the order departments; he served for over two years in the Spanish-American war, a member of the Tenth Pennsylvania Regiment. 3. William a machinist in the employ of the United States Steel Company of Pittsburg. 4. Charles Morgan, also a machinist with the United States Steel Company. 5. Janet M. Mr. Kenney and his family are members of the Presbyterian church.

Source: Page(s) 169-171, History of Westmoreland County, Volume II, Pennsylvania by John N Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906.
Transcribed May 2007 by Nathan Zipfel for the Westmoreland County History Project
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (

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