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  • Writer's pictureKyra Mangold-Ostovich

Voices of the Past: Jacob J. Kennedy

Born: 1892

Died: 24 September 1908, aged 16

Location: Old Section C Singles, Row 20, Lot 20

Photo of headstone, courtesy of Find-A-Grave user, "Ellis Michaels." Originally added 31 Aug 2022.

Jacob Kennedy was a 16-year-old boy who made good on a threat to run away from his East End home of 125 Enterprise Street. In April of 1907, he left his family for Bridger, Carbon County, Montana, to be with his grandfather, Jacob Shade. Four days after he left, his elder brother, John Kennedy, 18, was sent by their mother, Mary L. Kennedy, to bring Jacob home to Pittsburgh.

The brothers both successfully reached their destination in Montana, only to learn that their grandfather had moved to Pittsburgh some time before. Hopping on freight trains, they back-tracked east towards Chicago, but were separated along the way. John safely returned home in early September of 1908, and the family marked Jacob’s progress via sent postcards as he traveled towards Pittsburgh and estimated his arrival for the 27th of September.

Mrs. Kennedy was ecstatic to greet him at the train station the following morning, but instead received a letter on the 26th of September from an undertaker in Beaver County, PA. J. T. Anderson, a mortician, had the unfortunate task of alerting the family of an accident along the Cleveland & Pittsburgh railroad in which Jacob had been involved just two days prior on Wednesday, September 24, 1908.

Jacob had been sleeping in a car loaded with steel rails. The load had shifted during transit sometime that Wednesday night, throwing the rails against him and crushing him. His remains were discovered at a stop in Vanport Township, Beaver County, PA, less than 40 miles from Pittsburgh. He was identified by his family’s letters which he kept in his pocket.

Information gathered from:

  • “Expected son home from trip; hears of death.” Pittsburgh Press. 26 Sep 1908. Pg. 24.

  • “Picks fatal bed.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, 25 Sep 1908, Friday, Pg. 12.

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