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Rev. Gilbert Alexander Kennedy of Cambusnethan

Cambusnethan old parish church in Wishaw, Scotland, where the Rev. Gilbert Alexander Kennedy was minister from 1900–1916.
Cambusnethan Old Parish Church. Source of image: Cambusnethan Old & Mornngside Parish Church (Wishaw, Scotland). Photograph by G. Laird, under Creative Commons licence CC BY-SA 2.0; online at Wikimedia (accessed 2020-12-28). Edited by Alison Kilpatrick, Arborealis (2020); licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 CA. — Readers should consult the information provided in these Creative Commons links to learn the rights and restrictions attached to this photograph.

A research friend, Jonathan Gray of Killeeshil & Clonaneese Historical Society and keen student of all things [Kennedy + Carland], often refers to the “genealogy” of ministerial descendants from the Rev. Thomas Kennedy (1625–1714).[efn_note]Jonathan Gray is author of “The Rev. Thomas Kennedy (c1624–1714), first minister of Carland Congregation.” Dúiche Néill. Journal of the O Neill Country Historical Society (Dungannon, County Tyrone). No. 24 (2017).[/efn_note] This 17th century Rev. Mr. Kennedy was the first minister at Carland c.1646, and what Mr. Gray says is remarkable. Not only are there two distinct lines of ministers descending from Thomas and his brother, Gilbert (1627–1688), but there are also branches in the Maclaines of Kingarth (later of Markethill, county Armagh), the Turners of Glasgow and Greenock, and the Tennents who emigrated to Pennsylvania to establish the Log College.

Born on December 8, 1861,[efn_note]Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Carland Congregation, Parish of Donaghmore, County Tyrone. Gilbert Alexander Kennedy born 3rd August 1861, son of Robert. Microfilm copy held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (Belfast). Archival ref. MIC/1P/28 (accessed October, 2003).[/efn_note] the Rev. Gilbert Alexander Kennedy was a late entrant in the multi-generational field of Kennedy Presbyterian ministers.

As part of this Presbyterian ministerial “genealogy,” Gilbert Alexander Kennedy was a third great grandson of the Rev. Thomas Kennedy of Carland. A biographical sketch has been prepared to trace the progress of the public career and private life of the Rev. G.A. Kennedy. Glimpses of this man’s devotion to his parishioners and his family in equal measure, and the tragedies which appear to have hastened his death, may be gleaned from the following obituary: [efn_note]Hamilton Advertiser (Lanarkshire, Scotland), 9 December 1916 (pg. 6). “Death of Cambusnethan Parish Minister.” Citing the death of the Rev. Gilbert Alexander Kennedy, aged about fifty years. Digital image online at, per the British Library Board (transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2020-12-07). Please note that Mr. Kennedy was born at Gortnaglush, county Tyrone.[/efn_note]

Hamilton Advertiser (Lanarkshire, Scotland), 9th December 1916.
   Death of Cambusnethan Parish Minister.
We regret to announce the death — which took place yesterday morning at The Manse, Cambusnethan — of the Rev. Gilbert A. Kennedy, M.A. The Rev. Gilbert A. Kennnedy was born about 50 years ago at the Manse of Ballyhobridge, County Cavan, Ireland, where his father was minister. Educated at one of the best provincial schools, he in due time entered Magee College, Derry, where he graduated B.A., afterwards graduating M.A. at the Royal University of Ireland. On completing his theological course at Edinburgh University, Mr Kennedy returned to Ireland, and was in due time licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Cavan. His first charge was the congregation o[f] Carland, County Tyrone, where he laboured for two years. He then became minister of Aghadowey, County Antrim [sic], one of the largest congregations of the Irish Presbyterian Church. Towards the close of 1900 he was called to succeed the Rev. J.L. Rentoul as parish minister of Cambusnethan. During these 16 years Mr Kennedy threw himself heart and soul into all work that lay to the hands of a parish minister, and won the respect of the parishioners general[l]y. He devoted a considerable part of his time to the management of education, but indeed there was no movement having for its object the welfare of the community and its advancement which did not receive his whole-hearted support. The sincere sympathy of the community is with Mrs Kennedy and family in their loss. Eighteen months ago Lieut. G.M. Kennedy, elder son, fell in action in France. The younger son, Norman, is also an officer on active service. Of the two surviving daughters, Nurse Adelaide has been on hospital duty in France. There will be no service in Cambusnethan Parish Church to-morrow. The funeral takes place on Tuesday, when a service will be held in the church at two o’clock.

Source citation for this page: — Kilpatrick, Alison. “On this day: Rev. Gilbert Alexander Kennedy, 3rd great grandson of the Rev. Thomas Kennedy (1625–1714).” Citing the birth of Mr. Kennedy on 8th December 1861. Blog post published to Arborealis on 8th December 2020, online at, accessed [insert date of access].