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MS 7


Size: 3.2 linear feet (2 manuscript boxes, 3 oversize boxes)

Span Dates: 1865-1930s 

Accession Number(s): M2002-0500

Donor: Kathleen Kenney Wiley, Roberta Kenney Schneider, and Linda Kay Baker Green

Summary: The collection contains some personal and professional material of Agnes Chandler Kenney, a schoolteacher in rural northern Kentucky from 1918-1928, and her husband Roy Kenney. It includes photographs, P.T.A. meeting minutes, programs, financial materials, and school certificates. The collection also has correspondence from other families connected to the northern Kentucky region, including the Cawthorn, Milner, Souther, and Williams families, discussing family news, weather, politics, and religion. These families are distantly related to one another through marriage. 


Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research access. For fragile images, researchers will be asked to view digital copies of originals. Department personnel will authorize use of originals on a case by case basis.

Use Restrictions: The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, US Code) governs the reproduction of copyrighted material. The User assumes full responsibility and any attendant liability for the fair use of materials requested in total compliance with the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) that may arise through the use of any requested materials.

Preferred Citation: [Box#, Folder#], MS-7 Kenney Family Collection, Eva G. Farris Special Collections, W. Frank Steely Library, Northern Kentucky University.

Separated Materials: Photographic negatives have been separated and placed in Special Collections Negatives Box 1.

Related Materials: Agnes Chandler Kenney Photos, 1920s, Eastern Kentucky University- Special Collections and Archives, 521 Lancaster Ave., Richmond, Kentucky.

The Behringer Crawford Museum in Covington, Kentucky has Kenney family textiles including wedding dresses, evening gowns, and quilts dating to the 1840s.

Processing Information: Reprocessed by Kellie Peyton and Anne Ryckbost, June 5, 2012. Previously processed by archives staff.


Correspondence--19th century.
Education-- Kentucky--History--Sources.
Families--England--Social life and customs--19th century.
Families--Kentucky--Social life and customs--19th century.
Families--Kentucky--Social life and customs--20th century.
Floods--Ohio River--Photographs.
Rural schools--Kentucky--History--20th century.
School children--Education.
Strikes and lockouts--Coal mining--England.
Women teachers--Kentucky--History--20th century.

Baker, Charles P.
Cawthorn family.
Cawthorn, Charles.
Cawthorn, Levi.
Craig, John M.
Hartley, Amelia.
Kenney, Agnes Chandler.
Kenney, William Roy.
Milner, John.
Milner family.
Souther, Belle.
Souther family.
Williams, Caroline.

Organization(s)/Corporate Body(ies):
Beaver Lick School (Boone County, Ky.)
East Bend School (Boone County, Ky.)
Hume School.
Parent Teacher Association (Beaver Lick School)
Verona School (Boone County, Ky.)
Walton-Verona High School (Boone County, Ky.)

Geographic Location(s):
Adelphi (Ross County, Ohio)
Boone County (Ky.)
Buchtel (Athens County, Ky.)
Ghent (Carroll County, Ky.)
Fairfield (Ohio)
Kilnhurst (South Yorkshire, England)
Patriot (Ind.)
Sheffield (Yorkshire, England)
Union (Ky.)
Walton (Ky.) 

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The collection is comprised of three series. Series I, Kenney Family Papers, contains material related to the lives of Agnes Chandler Kenney and her husband William Roy Kenney (Roy). It has a small amount of items from Agnes Chandler Kenney’s work as a schoolteacher in small, rural northern Kentucky including photographs of schools, teachers, and students from 1918-1928 and six months of meeting minutes and financial records (1924-1925) from the Beaver Lick School Parent-Teacher Association (P.T.A.). It also has a transcript of an oral history interview of Agnes Chandler Kenney by Kathleen Kenney Wiley. The series contains some of Roy Kenney’s school programs, receipts, certificates, and diplomas for various student activities and coursework. In addition, his material includes photographs from the 1937 Ohio River flood near Patriot, Indiana. The series includes several pieces of ephemera: a school bell that the Kenney family believes was used in Beaver Lick Elementary School by Agnes Chandler Kenney; a leather wallet, a tool kit (medical?), and a Kodak camera belonging to Roy Kenney.

Series II, Cawthorn, Milner, Souther, and Williams Family Papers, contains correspondence, financial papers, and printed material from four families. The Cawthorn family correspondence and financial materials contains tax bills, receipts, and checks mostly from Levi Cawthorn, a resident of Boone County, Ky. It also contains a small amount of print materials such as business cards, calling cards, and business advertisement cards. There are two letters from Charles and [Nahala?] Cawthorn addressed to “Dear Uncal [uncle]”. The letters name several other family members by first name and inquire after their health or other news.

The Milner family correspondence contains letters discussing family news, religion, weather, work and wages, trade, coal labor strikes, and politics in England. The majority of these letters are written by John Milner to his “uncle and aunt.” Other letters appear to have been written by Amelia and Richard Hartley. A letter from John Milner to his Uncle and Aunt dated September 8, 1891 mentions a disturbance in the House of Commons over the Russians taking a fleet up the Dardanelles in Turkey.

Incoming letters to Belle and Hattie Souther include courting letters and correspondence discussing family health, religion, politics, and events. A letter dated New Year’s Day, 1865 from John M. Craig to his cousin Belle [Souther] talks about Confederate soldiers in the town of Ghent, Kentucky. One of Belle Souther’s suitors wrote from a military headquarters in East Port, Mississippi on February 28, 1865, although nothing is directly mentioned about the Civil War.

The two letters addressed to Caroline Williams contain family news. One seems to have been written by a [Stowers?] and the other by a [Riddell?].

Series III, Baker Family Certificates, contains the marriage certificate of Charles P. Baker and Grace B. Waters as well as a graduation certificate for Charles P. Baker.


Agnes Chandler Kenney was born on January 16, 1900 near Rising Sun, Indiana. She attended Eastern Kentucky State Teachers College and began her teaching career in 1918 at the Verona one-room schoolhouse in Boone County, Kentucky. Chandler Kenney worked in the one-room school until she went to East Bend School. Throughout her nine-year teaching career, she also taught at Hume, Hamilton, and Beaver Lick Elementary schools. Agnes Chandler Kenney was elected the treasurer and secretary of the Beaver Lick P.T.A. in 1924. Her teaching career ended when she married William Roy Kenney, June 2, 1928.1

William Roy Kenney (Roy) grew up in the area of Walton, Kentucky near Beaver Lick, Kentucky and graduated from Walton High School. He completed two and one half years at the University of Kentucky. He received a certificate of completion for the merchants and banking course of study from the Lexington, Kentucky Business University- successor to the Wilbur E. Smith Business College, the commercial college of Kentucky University in 1920. Kenney was a farmer. He also served on the Boone County School Board in the early 1930s when Boone County was consolidating the one-room elementary schools into group consolidated schools- New Haven, Florence, Hebron, and Burlington. He married Agnes Chandler in 1928. Their daughter, Kathleen Kenney Wiley, was one of ten students in her class at New Haven High School in Union, Kentucky where she graduated in 1948 as valedictorian. Their youngest daughter, Roberta Kenney Schneider, was one of eight students in her class at New Haven High School in 1951; she was salutatorian.

Hubert P. Baker (father of Linda Kay Baker Green, a donor of this collection and second cousin to Kathleen Kenney Wiley) was a principal and superintendent of Walton-Verona Independent Schools, serving the community for 49 years.

Only scattered details are known of the correspondents in the various family groups in Series II. Roy Kenney’s mother, Rebecca Ann Taylor Kenney, was the daughter of Samuel and Sarah Louise Cawthorn Taylor. Roy Kenney’s maternal great-grandmother was a Cawthorn. Levi Cawthorn, also spelled as Cawthorne in some items, emigrated from England to Boone County, Kentucky and became a U.S. citizen in 1860. Charles Cawthorn may have been his relative. Charles and his wife lived in Athens County, Ohio before moving to Ross County, Ohio.

John Milner lived in Sheffield, Yorkshire County, England and worked in coal mines before moving to Kilnhurst, Rotherham in Yorkshire. John Milner was a nephew of Roy Kenney’s grandmother, Sarah Louise Cawthorn Taylor.

The Souther family (Belle and Hattie) lived in Boone County, Kentucky near Hebron and were related to the Taylor’s. Donors of this collection believe that the Souther women in these letters were nieces of the Taylor family. Caroline Williams may be related to the Souther family.

Grace B. Waters was a cousin of Agnes Chandler Kenney. She married Charles P. Baker, subject of the certificates in Series III.

1 Montell, William Lynwood. Tales from Kentucky One-Room School Teachers.   Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2011.

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Date Box Folder
Series I: Kenney Family Papers      
  Agnes Chandler Kenney teaching materials:      
Beaver Lick School P.T.A.
  minutes and finances
1924-1925 1 1
Beaver Lick School P.T.A. receipts and checks 1925-1928 1 2-3
Beaver Lick School P.T.A. correspondence 1924 1 4
Transcript, Agnes Chandler Kenney Oral
  History Interview by Kathleen Wiley
May 8, 1988 1 5
Photographs of students, teacher, and schools
(East Bend, Verona, and Beaver Lick)
1916-1928 1 6
Photographs of Hume School and students [?] on horseback 1920-1921 1 7
Published school books on English and Public Speaking 1905-1920 5
  Roy Kenney materials:      
School certificates and diplomas 1914-1918, undated 1
see also O/S Box 4
Northern Kentucky Graded School
Tournament programs
1916-1917 1 9
Receipts and address card     1918-1920 1 10
Certificate of appointment and letter, Agriculture
Adjustment Program, United States Department
of Agriculture
1934, undated 1 11
Photographs of the 1937 Ohio River flood
near Patriot, Indiana
1937 1 12
School bell      undated 2  
Wallet, camera, and tool kit [medical?] undated 3  
Series II: Cawthorn, Milner, and Souther
Family Papers
Levi Cawthorn U.S. citizenship record 1860 1 13
Levi Cawthorn receipts and tax bills 1859-1874, undated 1 14
Outgoing letters from Charles and [Nahala?]
1891-1892 1 15
Printed materials from Cawthorn family 1860s-1890s 1 16
Milner family correspondence 1865-1891,
1 17-18
Incoming letters to Belle and Hattie Souther 1862-1884, undated 1 19-21
Incoming letters to Caroline Williams 1844, 1873 1 22
Envelopes  1990s 1 23
Series III: Baker Family Certificates      
Charles P. Baker school certificate February 2, 1912 O/S Box 4  
Charles P. Baker and Grace B. Waters 
marriage certificate
January 17, 1917 O/S Box 4