Hyannis Kennedy Legacy Trail

3. Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, Matriarch of the Kennedy Family



Did you notice the amount of roses on Main Street and Pearl Street in Hyannis? Many people on Cape Cod associate the roses here with Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, the matriarch of the Kennedy family and mother of our 35th President, John F. Kennedy. Hyannis Port was the year round home of Rose Kennedy for many years. She attended mass at the nearby St. Francis Xavier Church on South Street until her death in 1995.



Rose Kennedy and her Children
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy is the daughter of John ‘Honey’ Fitzgerald mayor of Boston from 1906 – 1908. She married business man, Joseph P. Kennedy in 1914. They began their married life in Brookline, Massachusetts. Rose & Joseph had 9 children many of whom knew success, yet also tragedy.

The children in order, according to their birth;



  • Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. a naval pilot, killed in World War II

  • John F. Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States, assassinated in 1963

  • Rosemary Kennedy the eldest daughter, suffered from a failed lobotomy

  • Kathleen Kennedy Cavendish married in Europe and became the Dutch Marchioness of Hartington

  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver is known as the founder of the Special Olympics

  • Patricia Kennedy Lawford, an actress, married Peter Lawford, the couple later divorced

  • Robert F. Kennedy, US Attorney General and Senator from New York, was assassinated in Los Angeles in 1968, during his Presidential Campaign

  • Jean Kennedy Smith is the last surviving child of the Kennedy family and is an American Diplomat and former US Ambassador to Ireland

  • The couple’s youngest child, Edward ‘Ted’ Moore Kennedy, US Senator from Massachusetts, died in Hyannis Port in 2009



The Kennedy Curse
The Kennedy family while known and loved for their many achievements and successes, also seemed to live under a dark shadow of tragedy. Rosemary Kennedy’s failed lobotomy that left her institutionalized until her death in 2005, Joseph P. Kennedy Jr.’s death in World War II in 1944, U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 assassination, His brother, Robert Kennedy’s assassination in 1968, John Kennedy Jr.’s tragic death when he crashed his plane in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard to various other illnesses and tragic accidents, it would seem that the family is indeed cursed. However many say that the media highlighted these tragedies, and created the notion of a curse. Superstition or not, there is no doubt that the family has seen more than its fair share of troubling events.

The Kennedy family at Kennedy Compound 1931