This jumping-off spot into the swamps and bayous of the world's most famous river for the hunter of game birds (until it was drained in 1915) was named for the man who ran the country store on the northeast corner of the crossroads from about 1855 to 1900 -- Jerry M. Kenney.
His namesake and grandson, Jerry Clifford Kenney, was born on the homestead to the east of the corners midway during his grandfather's 50 years in business. He well remembers the store and its importance, not only to sportsmen but to the farmers at Orchard Grove and Plum Grove, when Lowell was a long four miles and more away.
Returning at the age of five with his father, George, from Coates, Kansas, where his mother was buried, Jerry C. put in considerable time with his grandfather, who carried the usual country store stock of hard candies. His first earnings for work in the trade, candling and packing eggs in 30-dozen crates that Grandfather Kenney bartered with farmers for staples, was not paid for in pennies but in pocketfuls of hard candy.
The eggs, by the way, had to be hauled up the Nine-Mile stretch, beginning a half mile west, to Crown Point for shipment on the Pennsylvania, then the Chicago, Indianapolis and Cincinnati railroad, to the big city. Later, with the construction of the Monon in 1882, Lowell became the shipping point.
At the time Jerry and his father lived on another Kenney farm south of the corner and now owned by Jerry's daughter Nelda and her husband, Walter Childress. He went to Orchard Grove school, where his first teacher was Martha Haste.
Among Jerry's momentoes are three commencement programs one of them for "The 13th Annual Commencement of Crown Point High School to be held at Central Music Hall Friday Evening, May 31, 1895.
Jerry and his fiancée, Miss Bertha Wallace, also of Orchard Grove, drove the Nine-Mile stretch that hot summer day in ankle-deep dust to attend the exercises on the invitation of Bertha's cousin. On receipt of the invitation they had, however, decided to make that day their wedding day and they were married by Rev. W. A. Mathews, who had given the benediction at the exercises earlier in the evening.
They farmed the Wallace homestead, later building a house on 10 acres north of Kenney's corners and farming the homestead. About the timeGrandfather Jerry retired at the corners Jerry Clifford started work for the International Harvester dealer at Lowell. He afterward took over the agency himself.
The agency building, built over Cedar Creek on Commercial avenue, also housed from four to siz cows, which were milked daily and driven to pasture by son Cecil , with whom Jerry now lives near Leroy. Cecil also delivered milk on foot to regular customers in Lowell, carrying three one-quart pails in each hand.
After selling the agency Jerry returned to the farm and was in the ditch contracting business before retirement. He has seven grandchildren and five great grandchildren. He keeps house by himself in a big trailer parked under shade trees in Cecil's yard.
Jerry will be 82 on March 10.
Go to Jerry Clifford "Kip" Kenney, "Pioneer History Index," for further information.
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