SOURCE: Paddock, B. B., Capt., ed. A History of Central and Western Texas – Compiled from Historical Data Supplied by Commercial Clubs, Individuals and Other Authentic Sources. Chicago, IL: The Lewis Publishing Co., 1911, p. 666-667.
Richard W. H. Kennon - The one agency which has done the most for public progress is the press, and Richard W. H. Kennon is a journalist of well known ability, the editor of the Rockdale Reporter and Messenger. He has been connected with journalistic work during the greater part of his business life, and his power as a writer and editor is widely acknowledged. He has made his paper one of the leading journals of Milam county. He was born in Bullock county, Alabama, a son of R. W. H. and Martha B. (Blackburn) Kennon, natives of Georgia. The father served as captain of Company I, Third Alabama Regiment, Colonel Lomax in command, during the war between the North and the South, and he participated in the battles of Chickamauga and Seven Pines. Owing to a serious wound he was obliged to resign his commission and retire from the army. He had been a planter previous to the war, but moving to Union Springs, Alabama, he embarked in mercantile pursuits and conducted an extensive business for some time or until 1875, when he returned to his plantation and died a few years later.
B. W. H. Kennon and his wife reared eight children, namely: Charles A. Kennon; Clarence B. Kennon, living in Milam county; Ida V. Kennon, who married T. S. Milsap, and both are deceased; Ada M. Kennon, wife of J. W. Holman, of Quincy, Florida; Lula H. Kennon, wife of B. L. Perry, of Union Springs, Alabama; R. W. H. Kennon, the subject of this review; S. E. Kennon, of Cameron; and J. W. Kennon, living in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
At the beginning of life’s real activities R. W. H. Kennon apprenticed himself to a printer at Union Springs, and from there he came to Texas, arriving in Dallas in October 1888, and he found employment there with Dorsey and Sharp. He was afterward at various points, and his first venture for himself was at Longview with Evans Terry, they engaging in business under the firm name of Terry and Kennon and publishing the Longview Cycle. They afterward established another paper on the present site of Mabank, and from there Mr. Kennon went to Childress and established Childress Star. Later he spent some time at Memphis, Texas, and then locating in Clarendon he launched the Clarendon Journal in 1891 and remained in that city for six years, when he sold his interests there to R. B. Edgel preparatory to coming to Rockdale.
He arrived in this city in 1896, and purchasing a half interest in the Rockdale Reporter he edited the paper under the firm name of Wade and Kennon until the following spring. He then purchased the half interest of Homer D. Wade, his partner, and continued alone in the publication of the Clarendon Journal until October of 1908, when he bought the Rockdale Messenger and consolidated the two papers under the name of Rockdale Reporter and Messenger. This is a weekly paper with a large and paying circulation. The printing shop is splendidly equipped, supplied with a Cotrell power press, Gordon jobbing presses and all machinery necessary for a first class printing office. The Reporter-Messenger has perhaps the largest circulation of any paper in Milam county, and its politics is strictly Democratic.
Mr. Kennon married in 1890, at Kemp, Texas, Miss Missouri C. Tharp, whose parents were from Alabama, and she was the youngest of a family of seven children. Her father, Jonathan Tharp, was an early Texas pioneer, locating in an early day in what is now Kaufman county, and he farmed there until his death, passing away in the early childhood of his daughter Missouri Tharp.
Two sons have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Kennon, Vilas Albert B. Kennon and R. W. H. Kennon, Jr.
Mr. Kennon was elected a justice of the peace of precinct No. 4, including the town of Rockdale, and he was four times elected to that office and also appointed to fill out the unexpired term of W. D. Wells. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, affiliating with Rockdale Lodge, No. 414, and with the Eastern Star of Rockdale. He is a member of the Episcopal church, and his wife has membership relations with the Methodist church, South.
We must say a special thank you to Karin Galindo of Omaha, NE, for typing the above biographical sketch for use on the Milam County TXGenWeb site.
Created on 19 July 2004 and last revised on ____________