Biography of Reverend Alexander Kennedy
Portrait of Alexander Kennedy in Port of Spain
Alexander Kennedy matriculated as an Arts student at the University in 1827. He was born at Dalricket Mill, near Cumnock, Ayrshire on 12 May 1804, the son of James, a farmer.
Kennedy studied at the University of Glasgow and Edinburgh before completing ministerial training at the Theological College of the United Presbyterian Church.
Sponsored by Greyfriars Church in Glasgow, the Reverend Kennedy was the first Presbyterian missionary to the island of Trinidad in 1836, founding Greyfriars Church in Port-of-Spain. A staunch anti-slavery supporter and critic of the apprenticeship terms, following the Abolition Act in 1833, he was a popular, though occasionally controversial, figure among the local population. He also spoke out against the trade of indentured servants from India to Trinidad. As well as preaching he also taught at the first public school inaugurated by Sir Ralph Woodford on the island.
Suffering from poor health Kennedy left Trinidad in 1850, intending to return Scotland. Visiting Canada, however, his health improved and he resolved to stay in the country, continuing his work as a Presbyterian minister. He remained in Canada until his death in Welland, Ontario on 19 January 1892, at the age of 87.