January 5, 2008 Bonus Blog Post
In response to the gent from Omaha who had the info on outlaw leader John Kinney (see Jan. 3 post):
Kinney (Or Can't He?)
Your Omaha Mesenbrink must be related to the Dorothy Mesenbrink of Denison, Iowa who I contacted back in 1994 or so about the origins of John Kinney. No reason to suppose he'd make all that up about Ireland, but surely the "Potato War" was part of the Wars of Bavarian Succession in the 1770s -- perhaps he means the Irish potato famine of 1845-1852? As for John Kinney's having been born in Ireland, I can only say that's not what he told the U S Government when he applied for a pension. He claimed to have been born in Hampshire, Massachusetts in May, 1847 although no such place exists in that state. His obituaries said the same thing. Hampshire County, MA yielded plenty of Kinneys but none where the names of known siblings coincided. It's not impossible that Mr. Mesenbrink is right, but why would Kinney have had any reason to lie about his birthplace?
According to Kinney's grandson George Linn, Kinney was the son of carpenter John Kinney and his wife Mary Ellen (Hoar) who was Irish. The family tradition was that John died when the children were quite young (there were eight or nine of them) but the cause of his death was unknown. Mr. Mesenbrink might like to take a look at my two-part study of "Boss Rustler" Kinney in the September and October, 1996 issues of TW. I wouldn't claim it was definitive (I know better than that) but it was pretty thorough.
Love to Kathy,
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