John P. Kennedy

For other people named John Kennedy, see John Kennedy (disambiguation).

John P. Kennedy

21st United States Secretary of the Navy

In office
July 26, 1852 – March 4, 1853

Millard Fillmore

Preceded by
William A. Graham

Succeeded by
James C. Dobbin

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland’s 4th district

In office
April 25, 1838 – March 3, 1839

Preceded by
Isaac McKim

Succeeded by
Solomon Hillen, Jr.

In office
March 4, 1841 – March 3, 1845

Preceded by
Solomon Hillen, Jr.

Succeeded by
William F. Giles

Personal details

John Pendleton Kennedy
(1795-10-25)October 25, 1795
Baltimore, Maryland, US

August 18, 1870(1870-08-18) (aged 74)
Newport, Rhode Island, US

Political party

Elizabeth Gray
Margaret Hughes

Politician, lawyer, writer


Military service

United States Army

War of 1812

John Pendleton Kennedy (October 25, 1795 – August 18, 1870) was an American novelist and Whig politician who served as United States Secretary of the Navy from July 26, 1852 to March 4, 1853, during the administration of President Millard Fillmore, and as a U.S. Representative from Maryland’s 4th congressional district. He was the brother of U.S. Senator Anthony Kennedy. He was also the Speaker of the Maryland State assembly and served several different terms in the assembly.
Kennedy helped to lead the effort to end slavery in Maryland,[1] which, as a non-confederate state, was not affected by the Emancipation Proclamation and required a state law to free slaves within its borders and to outlaw the furtherance of the practice.[1]
Kennedy was also an advocate of religious tolerance and also of memorializing and furthering study of Maryland history.
He is also credited with playing seminal roles in the founding of several historical, cultural and educational institutions in Maryland; including (the now called) Historic St. Mary’s City (site of the colonial founding of Maryland and the birthplace of religious freedom in America), St. Mary’s College of Maryland (then St. Mary’s Female seminary), the Peabody Library (now a part of Johns Hopkins University) and the Peabody Conservatory of Music (also now a part of Johns Hopkins).
He also played key and decisive roles in the United States government’s study, adoption and implementation of the telegraph.


1 Early Life/Education
2 Literary life