Four Generations, One Generous Donation

In 1915, Louisa Kinney purchased a family plot with six gravesites at Springdale for a grand total of $130. More than a century later, her great-grandson and his wife, Bob and Mary Kinney, donated $2,000 to the Springdale Historic Preservation Foundation to restore the area, which had fallen victim to Mother Nature.

A huge stump was all that remained of a beautiful tree that once stood in the middle of the plot, and erosion had caused the headstones to tip and sink.

“We hated to see it falling apart,” Mary says. “We saw another plot nearby that had been restored about three years ago, and they just did a beautiful job. That inspired us.”

With Bob and Mary’s generous donation, the Foundation’s restoration team removed the stump and straightened all the headstones in the Kinney plot. They were also able to use the funds to restore about 25 neighboring monuments in the Hickory Slope section of the cemetery.

Bob’s great-grandparents, Charles Sr. and Louisa; grandparents, Charles Jr. and Marie; and great-aunt, Florence, are buried at the Kinney plot. There’s also a memory stone for his father, Robert, who was cremated. That leaves one open spot. Bob and Mary plan to be cremated and use it as their final resting place.

“I feel good about being there when the time comes, with the history of my family in Peoria,” Bob says.

It’s a long history. Bob’s great-great-grandfather, Peter, emigrated from Ireland around 1840, settling in Peoria around 1850. He and his wife, Isabella, had eight children. Peter was a carpenter, and several of his sons became carpenters and plasterers, too.

Firefighting was also in the family’s blood. Charles Sr., Bob’s great-grandfather, was a Peoria fireman and fire marshal in addition to a host of other jobs: house painter, patrol wagon driver, detective and watchman, to name a few. He was awarded a badge in 1887 as the “fastest single hitcher” in the fire department.

Bob’s grandfather, Charles Jr., chaired the Peoria police and fire commission from 1903 to 1925. And Bob’s dad, Robert, served with the Peoria Fire Department from 1943 to 1968.

Bob and Mary are proud of their connection to Peoria’s past and proud to be part of Springdale’s restoration efforts.

“They’re really working hard to improve the cemetery—they’ve redone the entrance and painted the mausoleum doors,” Mary says. “We just love the history there.”

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