From the scant records and testimonies that exist David Stephenson Kennedy lived at what is now known as Hackleburg, Alabama in Marion County. Hackleburg is about 15 miles north of Hamilton- the town where I grew up. During the Civil War many people in Marion County and the surrounding Northwest Alabama counties of Fayette, Franklin, Walker, Lawrence and Winston were staunchly Unionists. A majority of the people in these counties didn’t support the Confederacy and fought to preserve the Union. Many men who were conscripted into the Confederate army chose not to fight for the Rebels and fled to hiding places in the hills and mountains of north Alabama. The Confederate army hunted these men down and gave them a choice; either join the Rebels or die. Some chose death. And quite a few loyal men escaped to the Union lines at Corinth, Mississippi and joined the Federal army. And that’s what David Stephenson Kennedy’s son did. They joined the 1st Alabama Cavalry United States Volunteers, a Federal unit composed of men from Northwest Alabama.
On March 4, 1863 the Nashville Daily Union published the sworn testimony of William H. Smith who had knowledge of the Kennedy murder. An excerpt from the paper reads:
“William H. Smith appeared before me and on his oath says that the rebels was hunting men down with dogs and also two women had been torn up by the dogs. On his way to Corinth, he heard that a man named Kennedy who had two sons in the Union army was taken and hanged by Roddey's men, charged with having visited his sons. They gave a negro a plug of tobacco to bury the corpse.”