Biography of William Kenney

Not among those whom poverty restrains, but rather of the number whom untoward obstruction stimulates, the late William Kenney, of Plateau City, in Mesa county, whose untimely death on February 19, 1900, at the early age of thirty-eight, when all his powers were in full maturity and his aspirations were working out a career of benefit to his fellow men while advancing his own fortunes in the sane and healthful atmosphere of utilitarian service, was universally lamented and left a void in industrial and commercial circles as well as in the influence of good citizenship in his community which it is difficult to fill, gave to the world immediately around him an example of worth and high endeavor which will be full of incitement to those who contemplate it rightly. He was a native of Millard county, Utah, born at Holden on March 22, 1866, the son of John and Phoebe (Alden) Kenney, the family a native of Dublin, Ireland, and the mother of Bristol, England. The father was reared in his native land and early in life became a sailor. While yet a young man he was converted to Mormonism and then determined to join the great body of his church in Utah. There he met and married his wife, who was also a member of the Mormon church and had emigrated to Utah from England in 1855. They are still living near the sacred altars of their faith, and of their six children four are now out in the world engaged in its stirring activities, while two have passed over to the activities which know no weariness, one dying at the age of eleven months. William was the second born in the family, and remained at home until he reached the age of fifteen, receiving a limited scholastic training in the common schools and a thorough discipline in useful labor on his father’s farm. Then going to Nevada, he was employed for a time in driving freight teams, and on his return to Utah became a range rider in the service of cattle outfits. In 1884, when eighteen years old, he entered the employ of the Alta Land and Live Stock Company in western Colorado and eastern Utah, having his headquarters most of the time in the Plateau Valley. He was industrious and economical, and with commendable and characteristic enterprise soon started a cattle industry of his own on a small scale, being one of the first to engage in that business in the valley, and also kept on working for the cattle men of the section a few years longer. He advanced rapidly and soon became a leader in his business in this fruitful valley, buying one hundred and sixty acres of wild land two miles southwest of Plateau City in 1893. By improving this he transformed his uncanny waste into a fine ranch and built on it a commodious and attractive modern dwelling, a view of which is presented on the opposite page. In time he increased his land there to three hundred and sixty acres, and also bought and improved another tract of one hundred and sixty acres four miles south of Plateau City and acquired the ownership of several hundred acres of grazing lands. He was extensively engaged in the cattle industry, buying, feeding and selling stock on a large scale, and became widely known as one of the leading live-stock men of the Western slope. He died on February 19, 1900, from injuries received a year before in having his horse fall on him while he was riding after stock. He had hosts of friends in many parts of the Rocky Mountain region, and was held in the highest esteem everywhere throughout the range of his acquaintance. He was a great lover and an excellent judge of horses and always owned a number of good ones. While an ardent Republican in political faith he never held or aspired to public office, holding and elevated and influential position in the councils of his party, but ever averse to the honors and emoluments of official station, finding full satisfaction for his ambitions in his business. Some eight or nine years before his death the golden thread of sentiment began to run permanently through the woof and warp of his life, and on Christmas day, in 1893, he was married to Miss Grace Anderson, a daughter of David and Jessie (Scrimgeour) Anderson, a sketch of whom will be found on another page. Mr. and Mrs. Kenney became the parents of one child, their daughter Grace Edna, who was born on June 1, 1896. Since Mr. Kenney’s death Mrs. Kenney has married with Orville L. Dawson, a native of Kansas and for several years a resident of Plateau valley.

Source: Bowen, A. W. Progressive Men of Western Colorado. Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., Publishers. 1905.

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