Today, a half dozen homes rest on what was once part of the
80 acre Kenney farm. Thomas Kenney was born in Buffalo, New
York in 1830 and moved with his parents to Geneva, Ohio where his
father directed him to learn the cobbler trade. Disenchanted with his
son’s lack of interest, he allowed him to pursue his own career and
come to Ashland County where he first clerked in Sullivan for J.M.
Gorham’s hotel. In Ashland, he read law with Smith A. Curtis, taught
school in the Beer district and eventually was admitted to the bar. His
first political job was an appointment as a clerk to a member of the
state legislature. He married Sue Jacobs in 1852. At only 26, he was
elected prosecuting attorney in 1856. Full of patriotism, he enlisted
in the Civil War and served as Captain of Co. B of the 16th Regiment which saw action in West Virginia. Upon his return, he was elected to the State Senate. He was serving his second term as a district judge when he died in 1882.
It is not clear just when he built the brick house or where his son, Charles, and his wife, the former Minnie Gates, later lived there. A picture in the 1895 Ashland Gazette was labeled “The Center Street home of Charles J. Kenney.” Since his mother did not die until 1913, it is conceivable that his family lived there with her. Like his father, Charles became a lawyer and served as city solicitor under the administration of Mayor D.S. Sampsell. Charles had a sister, Kate, whose married name was Hillabrant. It was their daughter, Marian, who became the second wife of Charles Campbell, superintendent of the Faultless Rubber Co. They acquired the house in 1913, and no expense was spared in remodeling and enlarging it.
The music room was done in a red silk brocade wall covering, and the harp which she played
rested in the bay window. A curved ceiling was designed to aid the acoustics. Each room contained entrance and exit doors to allow for traffic flow. Many of these entrances had French doors with “silencers” on the bottom to eliminate noise. Handmade tiles, believed to have been made in Germany, were symbols of love, family, and home and were used as facing on the fireplaces. Faultless board meetings were held in the huge dining room where food was kept warming in the adjoining pantry. The top of the dining room walls was covered with tapestries, and the special rugs were made to order for rooms throughout the home. Outside stucco and floral trim were added.
Sold to Mr. and Mrs. Preston Countryman in 1918 the home was taken over by their son, Guy following his parents’ death. The first garage door opener ever introduced in town was designed by Guy Countryman. When the tires of the car ran over a mechanism in the driveway, it activated the doors, causing them to open horizontally. When neighborhood boys discovered the device they delighted in jumping on it to see the doors open. William Delaney, who was associated with the Faultless Rubber Co., lived in the home in the late 1940s followed by Mr. and Mrs. Gaylord. Dr. and Mrs. Joseph Rowan purchased the home in 1969.