“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Hagerstown in Washington County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Thomas Kennedy


Thomas Kennedy Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bradley Owen, April 2, 2022
1. Thomas Kennedy Marker
Maryland State House of Delegates Served 1817-1823, 1825-1826
Maryland State Senator Served 1826-1831
Co-founder Hagerstown Mail Newspaper - Hagerstown, Maryland
Writer and Poet

Thomas Kennedy was born in Paisley, Scotland in 1776. In 1795 he sailed to Georgetown, Maryland. In 1802, he married Rosamond Thomas from Frederick, Maryland and signed a lease for mill land on the Conococheague. Two years later, he built a home for himself and his family in the village of Williamsport, Maryland. Kennedy was first elected to the House of Delegates in 1817, representing Hagerstown. At the time Maryland excluded Jews and other non-Christians from holding public office. From the very beginning of his legislative career, as his granddaughter later noted, he "took an active part in politics largely....because of his interest in religious freedom." Indeed, one year after his election, he joined in the house committee considering removing the political disability of the Jews." In that legislative session Kennedy introduced the Jew Bill to allow Jews to hold public office.

Because the Jew Bill did
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not pass on his first introduction, Kennedy persisted with its introduction in successive sessions of the legislature. It was not until 1826 that the Jew Bill finally became law, and the religious ban was removed. Along with his legislative career, Thomas Kennedy also helped to establish the Hagerstown Mail, of which he later became editor. He also served in the Senate, but found that he preferred the lower house and so returned to that body. Thomas Kennedy died from asiatic cholera in October 1832.

For his success, he has been called the Maryland father of religious anti-discrimination. Thomas Kennedy's courageous stance against anti-semitism and religious discrimination is a legacy that lives on today.
Erected 2019 by City of Hagerstown.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & ReligionGovernment & Politics. A significant historical month for this entry is October 1832.
Location. 39° 38.309′ N, 77° 43.232′ W. Marker is in Hagerstown, Maryland, in Washington County. Marker is on East Baltimore Street west of South Locust Street, on the right when traveling west. Marker is located in Thomas Kennedy Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 50 East Baltimore Street, Hagerstown MD 21740, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Thomas Kennedy Park (a few steps from this marker); Elliott-Bester House
Thomas Kennedy Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bradley Owen, April 2, 2022
2. Thomas Kennedy Marker
(about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Our Journey Transports Us Through Time (about 600 feet away); St Johns Episcopal Churchyard. (about 700 feet away); St. John's Cemetery (about 700 feet away); Retreat from Gettysburg (about 700 feet away); Hagerstonians in the Civil War (approx. 0.2 miles away); First Hose Company (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hagerstown.
Thomas Kennedy Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bradley Owen, April 2, 2022
3. Thomas Kennedy Marker
Donor Plaque.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 24, 2022. It was originally submitted on April 4, 2022, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. This page has been viewed 56 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 10, 2022, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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May. 29, 2023