The Kennedy Society of North America was founded in 1973 at Grandfather Mountain near Linville, N.C. That location was not coincidental. John B. Flowers III, whose grandfather Henry B. Kennedy shared a similar vision, had the idea of a Kennedy association that would be present at Highland Games and provide that experience and opportunity to like-minded Kennedys of Scottish descent. While at the Grandfather Mountain games in the early 1970s, John Flowers was asked by Agnes MacRae Morton, one of the founders of those games, why he hadn’t fulfilled his grandfather’s dream. It was Agnes MacRae Morton’s father Hugh MacRae who owned approximately 16,000 acres that comprise the Linville area, including the 3000 acres sold to create Grandfather Mountain State Park. The problem, John Flowers replied, was that it was hard to have an organization that consisted of only himself. Later, John was contacted by Ms. Morton who said that Allison Atkins, wife of Clan Hay USA founder Kent Hay Atkins, had information for him as she had been contacted separately by two men who also shared John’s goal: Hugh MacLean Kennedy of Charleston, S.C. and Harry Clay Canaday of Denmark, S.C. In a pre-internet/social media time, this contact was fortuitous. These three men got together and organized what would become the basis of the Society. Further, and because John knew the 7th Marquess, permission was requested in order to form the Kennedy Society of North America. This permission was given by Lord Archibald David Kennedy and the KSNA was off and running, with the official formation taking place at Grandfather Mountain. The Society then, and has since, expanded by convening tents across the continent as well as by gaining members and leaders throughout the U.S. and Canada. In 2010, the Kennedy Society incorporated into a 501(c)(3) which allows it to operate as a non-profit social and historical organization. As such, membership dues/scholarship donations/other contributions are U. S. tax deductible.
Now, nearly 50 years later, the Society continues to grow, with new games and members continuing to complement its existing fabric. And what happened to its three founders? John Flowers was appointed as the first chief of the Kennedy Society by the 7th Marquess, and Hugh MacLean Kennedy was elected as the second chief. Sadly, Harry Canaday became ill and passed away in 1978. However, their legacy remains.
Through all the changes that are inevitable over the course of time, the commitment to history and heritage has remained at the forefront for the KSNA. Support for the Society has also continued since the 7th Marquess, through the late 8th Marquess, Archibald Angus Charles Kennedy, and currently via The Most Honourable, The Marquess of Ailsa, Lord David Thomas Kennedy.
You are invited to find your heritage as well as yourself in the Kennedy Society, and to be an active participant in the next 50 years.