About the Kennedy House

The Joshua Kennedy Home, located at 607 Government Street, was built in 1857 by Joshua Kennedy, Jr.  His father, also named Joshua Kennedy, was the son of a doctor who was born in Fairfield District, SC in 1775 and who settled in Mobile around 1816 with his brothers, Joseph and William.[1]  By the time that Mobile came under American control, he and his brothers were some of the largest landholders in the area, including most of what is now Downtown Mobile.[2]   In the book The Leaves of Stockton, Volume 1, by Lynn Hastie, the elder Kennedy is credited with “the development of the City of Mobile, laying out the streets, filling in the river front from Royal Street, and developing the city into a commercial shipping port.”


Joshua Jr. amassed a comfortable fortune in the wholesale grocery trade, and constructed the home in 1857.  The façade of the home features an unusual full height portico that has been described as reflecting a transition between the Greek Revival and Italianate.[3]  Kennedy married Mary Emanual in 1853, and like so many of his contemporaries, fought for the Confederacy. Joshua was also rumored to have been an early member of the Cowbellion de Raikin, the very first mystic society in the United States. He was also rumored to have entertained guests from all over the country, and was widely known for his gracious southern hospitality. Kennedy served as a 1st Lieutenant in Company H, 8th Alabama Infantry Regiment (also known as Wilcox’s brigade), and died in 1862 in the Battle of Seven Pines in Richmond, VA.[4]  His only child, Isabel, died at 21 by taking a poison she mistook for a remedy for a sore throat.[5] 


Mrs. Mary Emanual Kennedy remarried William Barnewall and in 1878 traded the Kennedy Home to her sister in exchange for their family home, which was later replaced by the Admiral Semmes Hotel.  Virginia Emanuel Mitchell owned the house until her death in 1919 and her son John sold the house to the Seamen’s Bethel.  A Texaco station arrived on the east end of the block in 1922 and the Seamen’s Bethel was in this home by 1924.  It has been in the hands of the American Legion since 1947.[6]





[1] The Leaves of Stockton, Volume 1,by Lynn  Hastie, 2015; page 68

[2] The Leaves of Stockton, Volume 1, Lynn Robertson, 2015; page 68

[3] Tom McGehee, Historian & Curator of the Bellingrath Home, Mobile, AL

[4] The Leaves of Stockton, Volume 1, Lynn Robertson, 2015; Page 141

[5] Tom McGehee, Historian & Curator of the Bellingrath Home, Mobile, AL

[6] IBID