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P. J. Kennedy: Wikis


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Patrick Joseph Kennedy

P.J. Kennedy , circa 1900

In office
1884 – 1889

Massachusetts State Senate
4th Suffolk District
In office
1889 – 1895

Born January 14, 1858(1858-01-14)
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts
Died May 18, 1929 (aged 71)
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Mary Augusta Hickey
Relations Patrick Kennedy and Bridget Murphy
Children Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., Francis Benedict Kennedy, Mary Loretta Kennedy, Margaret Louise Kennedy
Alma mater Boston College
Occupation Politician, Businessman
Religion Roman Catholic

Patrick Joseph Kennedy (January 14, 1858 – May 18, 1929) was an American politician. He was the father of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., and paternal grandfather to United States President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, and Senator Edward M. Kennedy.


Early life

P.J. was the youngest of five children born to Patrick Kennedy, an Irish Roman Catholic immigrant to the United States, and Bridget Murphy. Both of Kennedy's parents were from New Ross, County Wexford. They met during the passage on the "Washington Irving", arriving in 1849 settling in East Boston, Massachusetts, where they married in the same year. The couple's first son, John, died of cholera in infancy. Months after P.J.'s birth, his father also succumbed to the infectious cholera epidemic that infested the family's East Boston neighborhood. As the only surviving male, P.J. was the first Kennedy to receive a formal education. At the age of fourteen, P.J., as he was called, left school to work on the Boston docks as a stevedore to help support his mother and three older sisters. In the 1880s, with money he had saved from his modest earnings, he launched a business career by buying a saloon in Haymarket Square downtown. In time, he bought a second establishment by the East Boston docks. Next to capitalize on the social drinking of upper-class Boston, P.J. purchased a third bar in an upscale East Boston hotel, the Maverick House. Before he was thirty, his growing prosperity allowed him to buy a whiskey-importing business, P. J. Kennedy and Company, that made him a leading figure in Boston's liquor trade.

By the time he died in 1929, P.J. held an interest in a coal company and a substantial amount of stock in a bank, the Columbia Trust Company. His wealth afforded his family of one son, Joseph Patrick, and two daughters an attractive home on Jeffries Point in East Boston." (Robert Dallek)

He attended Boston College on scholarship and became a prominent businessman before entering politics.

Political career

"Likable, always ready to help less fortunate fellow Irishmen with a little cash and some sensible advice, P.J. enjoyed the approval and respect of most folks in East Boston, living on the hill a mixed Boston neighborhood of upscale Irish and Protestant elite. Beginning in 1884, he converted his popularity into five consecutive one-year terms in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, followed by three two-year terms in the state senate. Establishing himself as one of Boston's principal Democratic leaders, he was invited to give one of the seconding speeches for Grover Cleveland at the party's 1888 national convention in St. Louis."[1]

"But campaigning, speech making, and legislative maneuvering were less appealing to him than the behind-the-scenes machinations that characterized so much of Boston politics in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. After leaving the senate in 1895, P.J. spent his political career in various appointive offices—elections commissioner and fire commissioner—as the backroom boss of Boston's Ward Two, and as a member of his party's unofficial Board of Strategy." (Robert Dallek)

An older Patrick J. Kennedy June 11, 1923

Marriage and children

On November 23, 1887, Kennedy married Mary Augusta Hickey, the daughter of a prosperous businessman in the city.

Name Birth Death Age Notes
Joseph Patrick Kennedy September 6, 1888 November 18, 1969 81 years Married on October 7, 1914 to Rose Fitzgerald (July 22, 1890 – January 22, 1995) 9 children
Francis Benedict Kennedy March 11, 1891 January 14, 1892 10 months
Mary Loretta Kennedy August 6, 1892 November 18, 1971 79 years Married on October 12, 1927 to George William Connelly (June 10, 1898 – August 29, 1971)
Margaret Louise Kennedy October 22, 1898 November 14, 1974 76 years Married on June 14, 1924 to Charles Joseph Burke (August 23, 1899 – April 5, 1967)

Patrick Joseph Kennedy is also the name of Edward Kennedy's son, and thus a great-grandson of the elder P. J. Kennedy.


In 1914, their son Joseph married Rose Fitzgerald, daughter of John F. Fitzgerald, the Democratic Mayor of Boston. The union of P.J.'s son and Fitzgerald's daughter essentially created the Kennedy political family. Together, they had many children, including Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. (a World War II casualty), John F. Kennedy (35th President of the United States), Robert F. Kennedy (US Senator, Attorney General, and Presidential candidate), and Edward Kennedy (US Senator from Massachusetts).

The Patrick J. Kennedy School is a public grammar school located in East Boston.




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