James Allen Kendall and Martha Martin
Married Jun 23, 1839, Spencer Co., KY

James Allen Kendall  was born in Kentucky in about 1819.  He had a twin brother and his father mysteriously disappeared when he was very young.  He was a farmer.  He died in 1890 at the age of 71 of "paralysis" (stroke?).  At the time of his death, he lived at "Washington and Back Alley."

James lived through the civil war.  He registered for the draft, but he was 44 and thus unlikely to have been a participant.  His brother Stephen Hardin registered as well, as well as a weaver Kendall who was slightly younger.

In 1850, he and Martha lived a few houses, or farms, away from Martha's father Alexander.


Martha Ellen Martin was born in 1824 in Kentucky. When she married James, she was only 15 years old.  Her father, Alexander Martin, had to sign a document authorizing the marriage. At the time, James was 20. She had her first child at age 17 and 12 more before she died in 1869 in Owensboro, KY at age 45. 

Children were:

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A note from my aunt Sandy had this information from a relative Walt Kendall:

"James Allen Kendall was my great grandfather. .................. I have some sketch information from old family letters indicating that his father, name unknown, was a cobbler, had a club foot. Apparently he went out one day to sell his shoes in a neighboring town and never came back. Supposedly, his brother, name also unknown. told Hardin, James' twin brother, that he knew nothing about what happened to his father, and this on his death bed, so probably true.
Anyway, the scoundrel deserted (or met with foul play) while his wife was still pregnant with James and Hardin. Hard to find a man who's name is unknown and who disappeared."


Email from Walt Kendall  July 02, 2001

."James Allen Kendall's father was Travis Kendall, and Travis' father was Thornton Kendall.
There are a least two pedigrees for Thornton Kendall out on the web. I do not believe that either of these are correct.

Email from Walt Kendall

"Don't know how much you know about Travis Kendall. Family correspondence for the 1930's indicates that he may have been a cobbler with a club foot.  Shortly after his marriage he apparently went on a trip to purchase materials, and was never heard from again. His wife, Nelly Jewell was pregnant at the time of his departure. The marriage took place in 1818.

Nelly's father also made bequests to James Allen and Hardin (also know as Stephen Hardin) in his will. So, actually, there were twin brothers of the marriage. Twins are not infrequent in the Kendall line.

On the other end, we have Thornton's mark (signature) on a letter of permission for his son to marry Nelly Jewell in Nelson Country, Kentucky. This was necessary as Travis was less than 21 years of age at the time of the marriage. The document puts Thornton in Harrison County, Indiana at that time. There is also a bond posted for the marriage....I don't recall at the moment who signed the bond, but believe that one of Travis' brothers was a signatory, along with Mr. Jewell.

So, we have very good evidence that James Allen was the son of Travis, and that Thornton was the father of Travis....there the trail goes cold.

Many of us are trying, and failing, to determine Thornton's roots conclusively. We know that he arrived in Nelson County, Kentucky in the late 1700's. We know that he had property adjacent to, and various affairs with, several other Kendalls in the area. However, we know of no definite proof as to who Thornton's father was. There are several genealogies on the web that make leaps of faith, I believe them to be incorrect.

The best THEORY is that Thornton may have been the son of Reuben Kendall, who probably came to Kentucky via Southwestern Pennsylvania and was earlier glimpsed in Virginia. However, because we have forebears that kept moving to the edge of the frontier, we don't have great written records.

It is a good bet that the early Kendalls of Nelson County were all somehow related, the lines of relation are just unclear in many cases. We do know, however, that Reuben and William were brothers, based on testimony given in a court transcript of the day.

We know that William was the son of William Kendall and Jemima Kirk, if memory serves me correctly.

Back the, when families were often rather large by today's standards, the 7th and 8th children of marriages often were difficult to trace. This may be the case with what may be our Reuben, Thornton was likely born just before leaving Virginia, or perhaps even elsewhere, as it appears that Reuben was on the move every few years up until the time he came to Kentucky.

I personally have a theory that there is some kind of connection with the New England Kendalls, but have nothing to prove it other than the similarity of given names that entered the family at the time that the two lines may have crossed in Southwest PA and South?e?st Ohio. At least they all seem to have been living within a few miles of each other at the right time in the late 1700s.

What we don't have is the connection between Thornton and Reuben in a definitive way. They seemed to live next door to each other and may have moved around some together, but we don't have the smoking gun."

There are two Thornton Kendall’s that I have in my database.
One Thornton Kendall, was the son of Moses Kendall and Thornton.This Thornton Kendall married Jemima Carver, Thornton was born in abt.1765 and his son was Sanford Kendall born in 1800 in Nelson County Kentucky.

Thornton Kendall, son of Moses Kendall had sons Sanford (1800) and Jeremiah Kendall (1803) both listed as born in Nelson County, Kentucky.
Nelson and Hardin County Kentucky are adjacent counties and Hardin County was formed from Nelson County in Nov 1792, the same year Kentucky became a state.Nelson County, Kentucky originally Nelson County, Virginia was formed in 1784 from Jefferson County, Virginia, later Jefferson County, Kentucky.At times you will see people listed as born in a certain county in Kentucky or Virginia, later as born in another county, when both are the same place and the person never moved, just the State and county lines reformed.
To me, all this only muddies the water for these two Thornton Kendall’s.Some of this information came from Joe Kendall through information he found in the State archives at Frankfort Kentucky, I don’t know how accurate the information is.