WILLIAM JOSEPH KENNY, SR.  - FIFTHTEENTH PRINCIPAL, 1884-1886
Wiliam J. Kenny William J. Kenny, Sr., of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, replaced Benjamin H. Thackston as Marshall College’s fifteenth Principal in 1884. He was an experienced educator and under his leadership the school’s enrollment increased, so he was rehired for the 1885-1886 school year. But, for some reason he was "ousted" and was not hired for the next term. William J. Kenny, the son of Robert Kenny and Mary (Harnett) Kenny, was born July 4, 1830, at Cappoquin, Waterford County, Ireland. Choosing to become a priest, he entered All Hallows College, Dublin, in September 1848, and was ordained a Catholic priest in October 1853. That same month he left for his assigned field of labor, the United States, where he ministered to English-speaking Catholics in the California towns of Columbia, Sonora, Jamestown and Sacramento, becoming the Assistant Priest at the last town. On July 6, 1855, he was made the first resident Pastor of the Catholic Church in Placerville, California.
     At this time, he apparently decided to renounce his vows, and in 1856 he left for Richmond, Virginia. On May 30, 1858, he married Ariola Honorah Mulcahy, of Cork County, Ireland, at Weston, (West) Virginia. To this union there were added five sons and a daughter.
     Kenny taught in a number of West Virginia public schools, located at Point Pleasant, St. Albans, Winfield, Buffalo, Mason City, Welsh, Moundsville, as well as two public schools in Kentucky, at Ashland and Greenup. During this period he also was president of Marshall College, 1884-1886. He finally settled in Point Pleasant, where he served sixteen years as the Mason County Superintendent of Public Schools. At the time of his death on August 25, 1917, he was living with his son, William Joseph Kenny, Jr., in Point Pleasant. He and his wife, who died in 1902, are buried in the Lone Oak Cemetery, at Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

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