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  • Writer's pictureJody Ferguson

Henry Kinney

My maternal great-great grandfather Henry Kinney came to Austin, Texas from Cortland County in New York in 1849, serving as a private secretary to Governor Elisha M. Pease in the 1850s. Pease, originally a New Englander, was a pro-Union sympathizer during the Civil War, and served again as governor during the reconstruction period.

Henry Kinney at West 5th St. Austin, TX c.1905
Mary Ailene Kinney c. 1870s

Henry Kinney became the first superintendent of Austin Public Schools and served for twelve years as postmaster general for Austin under appointment of President James Garfield. He built a Greek Revival home at 610 West 5th Street, near Shoal Creek. It was said to be located on an old Native American camp, and many artifacts and weapons were found on the grounds over the years. There is a picture of him in front of the house, taken probably right before his death in 1905.

The house was sold in the 1960s by my grandfather, and the new owner leveled it to make a used-car lot. Today an apartment building stands there.

Henry Kinney’s daughter, my great grandmother Mary Ailene Kinney is pictured here. Her photo was made in a gallery on Pecan Street (now 6th Street), probably around c. 1870s.

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