Kenney is at the junction of Farm Road 2754 and State Highway 36, on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway eight miles north of Bellville in far northern Austin County. Settlement in the vicinity began in the late 1820s, and several waves of German immigration reached the area between the 1830s and 1900. The town was founded in 1880 as a station on a new line of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway between Bellville and Brenham. When a post office was established in 1880, the town was named Thompson, after J. E. Thompson, an early resident who served as the first postmaster. The name was changed first to Kenneyville in 1884, then to Kenney in 1892, in honor of pioneer evangelist John Wesley Kenney. By 1885 a steam-powered gristmill and cotton gin had been constructed, and the town had three churches, a district school, several businesses, and a population of 150. In 1890 a population of seventy-five was reported. William Schill established the first hotel in the community, and John Chernosky operated the first general store. By 1904 the population was an estimated 202. An active Red Cross chapter, organized in 1917, included seventy-six black residents among its 178 members. In 1936 the town had an estimated 200 people and twelve businesses. It had a church and two schools in the late 1980s. In 1990 the population remained an estimated 200. The population remained the same in 2000.
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