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Daniel Kenny Jnr. 1881-1967

It is only in recent years that there has been recognition of a Daniel Kenny born in 1881, the eldest child of a Daniel Kenny and a Marion McPherson. He was a fisherman of Irish origins and family folklore says that he had a fishing boat named “The King William”. In 1874, while fishing in the Skye area , he met a Marion McPherson, then living with her parents at Heribusta in the Parish of Kilmuir in Skye.

Herbusta, Isle of Skye
Heribusta, in the Parish of Kilmuir on the Isle of Skye.

After her mother Mary died, the family folklore says that Marion eloped with Daniel to live in East Lothian. They were married on 3rd October 1874 in the Roman Catholic chapel in Lauriston Place with the address of Daniel, mason’s labourer being 15 West Port Edinburgh and Mary’s address as Chapel Farm Dirleton. According to the marriage certificate, she was twenty years of age. In 1882, the couple were living at Canty Bay with their five children.

Their eldest son, Dan was born in 1881. It was a period when several young men in North Berwick became significant golfers. In 1897, he enlisted to serve in the Army and took part in the Boer War. His mother died of cancer in 1902 at the age of forty-five. She had given birth to ten children. His father died in May 1921.

On his return from South Africa, he was asked by Willie Fernie to join him in Kirkcudbright to open a new golf course. He was offered the post of golf professional and it is there that he met Francis Mary Harrison Stitt, daughter of a ship owner in the Burgh. He travelled to America in 1907 to take up a similar post at Buffalo Golf Club. In 1910, the Club were keen to support his entry into the Canadian Open Golf Competition which he won. Frances joined him. They returned home before WW I where he joined his father in law’s firm as a clerk but it was not a job that appealed to him . He preferred to return to the USA. An undated newspaper article shows him teaching Golf to High School twin sisters and refers to him being employed by a Recreation Dept. It probably dates from 1921. Another article from my archive reports that he was Golf Pro at Toronto Golf Club from 1911 to 1914, after which he was at Hamilton Golf Club from 1915 to 1920 and that he returned to Scotland permanently in 1928.

Dan Kenny giving Golf Lessons.
Dan Kenny giving Golf Lessons.

Discussion with his eldest daughter in 1996 and his son Dan disclosed that he had been listed in the Guinness Book of Records for having played the most holes of golf in one day. A copy of a newsletter for Lambton Golf and Country Club in Toronto has a paragraph about his link with that club but does not reveal his later trips to the States. He died at Kirkcudbright in 1967. Before he died, there were two Dan Kennys and a Daniel Kenny Keir. One was his son, born in 1920. When he died in 2016, it was revealed at his funeral that he had served with distinction during World War II in the RAF Bomb Disposal unit. His skills had been used to save Gretna from an unexploded bomb and has also disarmed a bomb at Buckingham Palace. The phrase, “Dare to be a Daniel” was quoted. The third Dan Kenny Keir was his cousin who did not like his first name and changed it legally to Ken Keir. His mother was a daughter of the first Daniel Kenny.

Plaque in QUALITY Street North Berwick
Plaque in Quality Street, North Berwick.

© David Keir Affleck.
East Linton.
18th April 2020