Urn Recovered from Ocean No Longer a Mystery

by M-Gillies

The urn containing the remains of William George Kennedy.

For 17-year-old Alex Reed, it was just another day with his friend as the two were relaxing along the seafront of Warrenton, Oregon, but as he made to leave, something wedged between the rocks caught his eye. After reading an inscription on the mysterious capsule dated as 1870-1925, Reed carried this mysterious object to his car. It was only later that he would learn that what he had found was an 87-year-old urn holding the remains of William George Kennedy.

Unsure of what to do with the urn, Reed contacted Astoria, Oregon funeral home Hughes-Ransom Mortuary, and explained to funeral director Tom Preston of his find. Agreeing to help return the urn to the rightful family, Preston contacted the media, which encouraged volunteers and genealogists to come to his aid. Through their combined efforts, it may only be a matter of time before Kennedy’s remains will find their way back to the proper descendants of his family lineage.

Funeral Director Tom Preston, with the urn that washed up on the Oregon coast. (Photo reprinted with permission from The Daily Astorian of Astoria, Oregon)

Meanwhile, as the search for members of the family are under way, there were some questions that still arose in regards to who William George Kennedy was and how his cremains ended up off the coast of Oregon.

Using obituaries to uncover the history behind Kennedy, volunteers and genealogists have been able to determine that Kennedy was an Englishman who had lived in British Columbia, Canada before moving to the Washington State, where he died on April 9, 1925. In the obituary, Kennedy was described as a gardening expert who lived in Canterbury, England prior to moving to Canada in 1922 and then to the United States. However, before moving to Washington to run a hotel with his wife Adelia Clohessy, he had briefly lived in Oregon.

In the obituary, it read that Kennedy had been married twice, and had four children with his first wife in England and three more with his second wife in Canada. With the discovery of children, the search for the rightful descendent has lifted the veil of mystery and now the search is on to find out to whom the urn rightfully belongs. At this time a great-granddaughter has stepped forward claiming the family has been searching for the urn for years.

While the cremains do not have DNA that can be tested for 100% accuracy, the volunteers and genealogists will be looking to see supporting evidence that rightfully links any individual to the remains of Kennedy.

Even with the discovery of the urn and a potential descendent, there is still the mystery of how the urn ended up in the water. This story may have been solved when Larry Sherratt a resident of Oregon contacted the media to inform them that the urn belonged to his ex mother-in-law who happened to be a niece to Kennedy. Sherratt said that he found the urn in the closet of his house and requested his mother-in-law remove it from his home. It was at this point that Sherratt said his mother-in-law took the urn aboard a boat and disposed of the urn in the ocean 30 to 35 years ago.

Read more:

William George Kennedy Search for Descendants | UK Daily Mail

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