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DANIEL CURRAN KENNEDY is the founder of The Leader, the oldest newspaper in Springfield, a breezy sheet, which enjoys a good circulation and is published in the interests of the community, especial attention being paid to local affairs, making it a history of the events that transpire in this locality. Moreover it reviews intelligently the public issues of the day, and its advertising columns are well filled and show that the business community of Springfield and neighboring towns appreciate it as a medium for making themselves known to the people at large. The intelligent and able editor of this journal is a native of Dublin, Ireland, where he was born February 14, 1842.
His father, Michael Kennedy, was obliged to flee from Ireland on account of political complications, and in 1843 came to America with his family and settled on land in Alabama, where he became a tiller of the soil. Later he came West to Missouri, settled at St. Louis and engaged in steam-boating on the Mississippi River, rising to the rank of captain. He prospered in this business and continued it until his death, which occurred about 1853. He was a Democrat politically, and he and his wife, Elizabeth Candron, whom he married in Dublin, were devout members of the Catholic Church; and in that faith reared their children: Catherine, Anthony, Mary, William and Daniel C., all of whom were born in the Isle of Erin.
Daniel Curran Kennedy was educated in the public schools at St. Louis, after which he attended a commercial college for some time, where he acquired a sound and practical education. Upon leaving this institution, he, in 1858, began the study of law, and in 1867 was admitted to the bar, the interruption in his legal studies being caused by his enlistment in the Confederate Army at the breaking out of the war. He was first a member of the Missouri State Guards, and on May 6, 1861, his regiment was encamped at St. Louis. On the 10th of that month an attack was made by the Federals under Gen. Lyon, and the entire brigade under Gen. D. M. Frost were taken prisoners, and Mr. Kennedy was paroled and exchanged in December, 1861. He then enlisted in Guiber’s battery, Green’s brigade, with which he served from the battle of Pea Ridge through the Vicksburg campaign, where Gen. Green was killed and Col. F. M. Cockrell was promoted to brigadier-general. He was in the battles of Camp Jackson, Pea Ridge, Arkansas, after which he was transferred east of the river, and was at Shiloh, Corinth, Iuka, the second battle of Corinth, Grand Gulf, Champion Hill, Big Black, thence to Vicksburg, in which engagement he was taken prisoner and sent to a parol camp where he remained until December, 1863, after which he was in the battle of Franklin and the Atlanta campaign. He first held the rank of sergeant, then quarter-master-sergeant, and after the battle of Vicksburg was promoted to lieutenant. On April 9 his brigade was disbanded near the city of Mobile, and he returned to St. Louis with a view of becoming a lawyer, but owing to the Missouri Constitution of 1865, which debarred any person who was engaged in the Confederate service from practicing law, preaching the Gospel or holding any office of honor or trust, etc., he was unable to resume his legal career. By the advice of friends he came to Springfield in 1867, and established the Springfield Leader. Some time after the law of prohibition having been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States, Mr. Kennedy was examined and admitted to the Missouri bar, St. Louis, in 1867. He, however, continued his newspaper enterprise, and The Leader has continued to be published to the present time, as it was established on broad Democratic principles. In the years immediately following the war the paper experienced great opposition, the bitterness of war partisanship freely expressing itself, at times to such an extent as to endanger the personal safety of the editor and employes of the paper. The Leader was fearless and outspoken and advocated its principles so freely, as it saw fit, that in those days a man was considered disloyal who was one of its patrons. At one time, after an exceedingly bitter political campaign, the office building was destroyed by fire, the work of an incendiary. In 1890 a substantial and commodious brick building was erected as the home of The Leader, and the facilities for publication were increased. In size and editorial ability it compares favorably with its contemporaries, and is recognized as the leading Democratic organ in that section of the county, if not in the Southwest. Whatever cause he sustained he espoused because he believed it with his whole heart, and being a man of strong convictions, whatever he believed in he clung to with tenacity. He is a versatile writer-decidedly original, sometimes unique, and always interesting and entertaining. Nothing is suffered to lag that he takes hold of, and the success of the paper, which was started with very small capital and in the interests of an unpopular cause, has been due to his push and perseverance. It has been a great benefit to the town of Springfield, for it has always advocated all public improvement, and is decidedly public spirited in its tone. Mr. Kennedy has been liberal with his means in behalf of public improvement, and assisted in the erection of the St. Louis & Santa Fe Railroad, being one of the delegates of Springfield men who visited the State Legislature in 1868, and secured the passage of an act for its establishment. About the same time Mr. Kennedy advocated in his paper the construction of a railroad from Kansas City to Springfield and Memphis, which resulted in the building of the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Memphis Railroad, to which Greene County sub-scribed $400,000. Mr. Kennedy has also given liberally of his means for the building of mills, foundries, the Metropolitan Hotel and the Gulf Railroad shops, the Sewerage Water Works, street car lines, besides many other enterprises of a like nature. In 1887 he was appointed by Gov. Marmaduke, with-out solicitation, as a member of the Board of Managers of the Insane Asylum No. 3, at Nevada, Missouri, and was reappointed by Govs. Morehouse, Francis and Stone. While at all times active in politics, and arduous in his devotion to his political friends, he has never been an office seeker. Socially he is a Mason of Solomon Lodge No. 271, Springfield, and in the chapter has held the offices of high priest, captain of the host, master of the veil, and in St. John’s Commandery has held the office of captain-general. He is also a member of Aarat Temple of the Mystic Shrine, and a non-affiliated Knight of Pythias and Odd Fellow. He was married November 20, 1866, to Miss Lulu Boyd, daughter of Hon. Marcus and Lucinda (Price) Boyd, and to their union three children have been born: Robert L., Daniel C. and Norman. Both Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy are members of the Episcopal Church, and have many and faithful friends, consequent on their correct mode of living.