Henry Keney (1806 – 1894) & Walter Keney (1808 – 1889)
Joseph Keney became a business owner in Hartford in the early 1800s when he opened a wholesale grocery business on Main Street. He married Rebecca Turner, and they had two sons – Henry in 1806 and Walter in 1808. In 1811, at the age of 48, Joseph died leaving Rebecca to raise their two young boys alone.
Rebecca arranged for her brother, Robert, to take over the family business until the boys were old enough to resume managing the business. As agreed, in 1830 Robert stepped aside and Walter and Henry took over. In addition to being best friends, the brothers had good business sense and were well respected in the community. At the time of Walter’s death, The New York Times reprinted a Hartford Courant article that praised Walter and the firm H&W Keney for being the oldest company in Hartford and never having a lawsuit against them.
Walter married Mary Jeanette Goodwin, the daughter of the well-known and wealthy Goodwin’s. They purchased a lovely home on Main Street in which Henry, who never married, lived with Walter and Mary Jeanette.
The boy’s mother, Rebecca, died in 1848 just days shy of her 72nd birthday.
Walter died in 1889 and Henry followed in 1894. The brother’s made charitable contributions to various institutions, including Trinity College, donated land to the City which is now Keney Park, and setaside funding to erect a large a clock tower in honor of their mother on the site of the family business and home. The memorial is unique in that it honors a woman whose greatest achievement was simply being a good mother. The Tower was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
Campbell, Susan. “History Set in Stone.” Hartford Courant, September 6, 2007. Accessed at http://www.courant.com/features/hc-citytrek0906.artsep06,0,6788292.story on August 27, 2010.
Hartford.Omaxfield.com. Downtown Landmarks, Hartford, Connecticut. Accessed at http://hartford.omaxfield.com/landmarks.html on August 27, 2010.
The New York Times. “A Sensible Gift to a College.” January 27, 1889.