Arrow-right Camera


Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

An unusual death notice, that of Kitty Kennie, revealed what the paper called “a case of rare devotion on the part of servant to employer.”

Kitty Kennie died after serving as cook and housekeeper for 46 years for Mr. and Mrs. B.J. Webb on the lower South Hill.

“She came to me when she was little more than a girl, with her baby and herself to support, and she remained with me through prosperity and reverses for 46 years,” said Mrs. Webb. “Staunch and true always, she was more like a friend than a servant. We relied on her for everything, even to settle points on which of our memories were hazy.”

Kitty became famous for her excellent dinners, which “endeared her to all who had the good fortune to partake of them.” Kitty soon became friends with some of the “most prominent people in the city.”

“Her ready tongue and kind heart made her friends without number,” said the paper. “Everyone who knew the Webbs knew Kitty.”

Once, when an admirer tried to take a photo of her in her kitchen, she refused, saying she would “have no man in her kitchen.”

Kitty even encouraged Mrs. Webb to go into business, helping her establish the “most fashionable” boarding house of its kind in the city. Mr. Webb had previously made provision for Kitty in his will. Her daughter, Minnie, was now serving as Mrs. Webb’s “right hand.”

Click here to comment on this story »