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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Arthur M. Kenney

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 201-202 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Arthur M. Kenney, head of the firm of M. E. & A. M. Kenney, well known optometrists and opticians of Utica, is conducting an extensive enterprise which has had a continuous existence of more than a third of a century. He was born in Truxton, Cortland county, New York, on the 4th of June, 1872, his parents being Marcus E. and Lettie (Freeman) Kenney. He is descended from an old English family in the town of Kenne, in Somersetshire, England, where Sir Thomas Kenney was the last of the name. On account of religious persecution Henry Kenney crossed the Atlantic to the United States in 1637, settling in Salem, Massachusetts. The first representatives of the family in the Empire state removed to Truxton, Cortland county, in the early part of the year 1700, taking up their abode among the pioneer settlers of Cortland county. The mother, Lettie Freeman Kenney, whose mother was a Bowtwell, is of Huguenot parentage. Mr. Kenney is eligible to membership in the Sons of the American Revolution, his great-grandfather, Captain Asa Lamb, and his father having fought in the Revolution.

It was in 1890 that Marcus E. Kenney, father of Arthur M. Kenney, established the firm of M. E. & A. M Kenney in Utica, conducting business in association with his son until 1898, when he removed to California, where he has been engaged in the practice of optometry for the past twenty-six years. He is a prominent citizen of his community who has served for three terms as mayor of Corning, California, giving the city a progressive and businesslike administration characterized by many measures of reform and improvement.

In the acquirement of an education Arthur M. Kenney attended the Advanced School and Utica Free Academy and in preparation for his chosen profession entered the Chicago Ophthalmic College and Hospital, from which he was graduated in 1893. Since his father's removal to California in 1898, he has continued the practice of optometry and optical business independently in Utica, where he has developed a practice of large and gratifying proportions and has become widely recognized as a skilled and successful optometrist. He has pursued several special courses in optics, receiving the degree of Doctor of Optometry from the Philadelphia Optical College in 1916. He was vice president of the New York Optometric Society at the time of the passage of the law making optometry a profession.

In 1895 Mr. Kenney was united in marriage to Miss Emma Louise Davies, daughter of Griffith Davies of Steuben Valley, Oneida county, New York, where the family has been represented since pioneer times. Mr. and Mrs. Kenney are the parents of a son: Reginald A., who was born November 9, 1899. He was an A. B. graduate from William & Mary College in 1924, Williamsburg, Virginia, with special work at Harvard in 1922.

Mr. Kenney exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the republican party, but otherwise takes no active part in politics. He belongs to all branches of the York and the Scottish Rite Masonry and is also a member of the Masonic Club and the Mystic Shrine Patrol. He is a charter member of the Thousand Island Park Club and also a charter member of the Rotary Club and the Republican Club of Utica. In matters of citizenship he is public-spirited and progressive and his cooperation can always be counted upon in support of those movements which have for their object the upbuilding and advancement of the city.

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