Rev. Dr. Samuel Kennedy

Born in Scotland and educated in the school of medicine at the University of Edinburgh: Dr. Kennedy and his family arrived in New Jersey in the 1740s. 

He pursued theological studies at the Presbytery of New Brunswick. He was licensed to preach in 1748 and ordained in 1750 by the Presbytery in New Brunswick. He became the fourth pastor of  the Presbyterian Church in Basking Ridge (1751 – 1787).

The Bernards Township Library was likely founded sometime between 1751 and 1787 under the pastorate of Rev. Kennedy.

In addition to being a physician and minister, Rev. Kennedy established the Basking Ridge Classical School, which was designed to prepare young men for college in 1755.  Many of his pupils when on to pursue studies at the College of New Jersey (Princeton).

Left:Samuel Kennedy: Grave Memorial 7468233
Right:Sarah (Allen) Kennedy: Grave Memorial 7468234 

From approximately 1762 – 1768, Rev. Kennedy owned the Farmstead. It is thought that the operation of a large farm (over 300 acres) may have been too much for such a busy man or perhaps the location was too far from the church and center of the community. A few years after purchasing the Farmstead it was listed for sale by auction on the 17th day of June 1767:

For auction…his plantation on which now he lives, containing 300 acres of land, more or less, well watered and timbered….on which there is a dwelling house with three rooms and two fireplaces on the lower floor, situated at a small distance from the brink of  said Passaic-River….a good barn and stable at each end of it and an orchard…

During the Revolutionary War, Rev. Kennedy was pastor of the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church.  In 1775 a company of Colonial Soldiers drilled at the parsonage and the church. Many of the congregation joined the military. 35 are buried in the old churchyard in Basking Ridge.(5)

He was married to Sarah Allen and they had seven children – four boys and three girls. (6)

Kennedy and his wife, Sarah, are both buried in the cemetery located in the old churchyard at Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church.

Sources & More information:

Snell, pp. 599, 743 & 748; O.M Voorhees,. “Samuel Kennedy of Scotland and Basking Ridge,” page 2; Peter Wacker, Land and People. A Cultural Geography of Pre-industrial New Jersey: Origins and Settlement Patterns, pp. 176-77. Biographical footnote on Rev. Samuel Kennedy, New Jersey Archives, 1st. Series, XXV, Newspaper Extracts, VI, 1902, page 350.

Snell, pp. 743 & 748; Geraldine Hutner, “MSNJ: America’s First and Oldest Medical Society,” Journal of the Medical Society of New Jersey, 1984, 81(9), pp. 718-721.

O.M Voorhies,. Samuel Kennedy of Scotland and Basking Ridge, page 2; Dennis Bertland, “A Sketch History of Dr. Samuel Kennedy, Johnsonburg, New Jersey,” pg 2.

The New York Mercury, No. 807, April 20, 1767, as quoted in New Jersey Archives, 1st. Series, XXV, Newspaper Extracts, VI, 1902, page 350



Born: 1720 – Culzean Castle, Ayrshire, Scotland 

Died: August 31, 1787 – Basking Ridge, Somerset County, NJ 

Resting Place: Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church

• University of Edinburgh
• Presbytery of New Brunswick

• Founder/Teacher of Basking Ridge Classical  School
• Pastor/Minister of the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church  

Farmstead Owner: 1762 – approx. 1768

Known for: 
• Founder of Basking Ridge Classical School (1755)
• Teacher at Basking Ridge Classical School (1750 – 1787)
• 4th Pastor of the BRPC (1751 – 1787)
• New Jersey Medical Society Member (1768 – 1787)

Honors: Honorary Degree of A.M. from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton) (1760)

Spouse: Sarah Allen (b. 1723 Scotland; d. 1787 Somerset, NJ)

Samuel Kennedy, Jr (1745 – 1804)
Ebenezer Kennedy  (1747 – 1747)
Mary Kennedy (1749 – 1791)
Robert Kennedy (1751 – unknown)
Sarah Kennedy (1755 – unknown)
Allen Kennedy (1759 – unknown)
Elizabeth Kennedy (1761 – unknown)

Parents: Sir John Kennedy 2nd Bt. and Jean Douglas 

Siblings: David Kennedy, Elizabeth Kennedy, Jane Kennedy, Clementina Kennedy, Thomas (Kennedy) Ninth Earl of Cassillis, John Kennedy and Anne (Kennedy) Blair 


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