Born in Dayton, Ohio, Kennedy moved with his parents to a farm on the Indian reserve near Lafayette, Indiana. He soon afterward moved to Connersville, Indiana, where he became a blacksmith's apprentice. Kennedy attended the common schools and later studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1833 and commenced practice in Connersville. Kennedy then moved to Muncie, Indiana, in 1834 and continued the practice of law. He served as member of the Indiana House of Representatives in 1835 and served in the Indiana Senate in 1838.
Kennedy was elected as a Democrat to the Twenty-seventh, Twenty-eighth, and Twenty-ninth Congresses. He served as Democratic caucus nominee for United States Senator in 1847. He was stricken with smallpox on the eve of the legislative joint convention and died in Indianapolis, Indiana, December 31, 1847. He was interred in Greenlawn Cemetery. He was reinterred in Beech Grove Cemetery, Muncie, Indiana.
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