Kenly is located on the northeastern edge of Johnston County. The town limits are within two counties, Johnston and Wilson. Kenly is approximately centered between the towns of Smithfield and Wilson on U.S. 301. Raleigh, the state capital, is forty miles west.
The Town of Kenly has long been known as “Friendly Kenly”, and visitors will find that sentiment to be true. Whether you find yourself with car trouble and need repairs, or decide to pull off for a day at the Tobacco Farm Life Museum, the town truly appreciates your visit.
The beginnings of the Town of Kenly go back to a day in the year 1885, when owners of the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad purchased a right-of-way on a tract of land owned by Charlotte (referred to in latter deeds as Lottie) Watkins and Augusta Barney Watkins. Shortly thereafter, the actual laying of the railroad track began.
Kenly’s town limits are within the counties of both Johnston and Wilson and approximately centered between the towns of Smithfield and Wilson on U.S. 301.
Convenient to Raleigh – the state capital, which is only forty miles west – Kenly is home to approximately 2,000 residents and enjoys a proud farming history that is still evident today.
Boyette Slave House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town of Kenly has a total area of 1.5 square miles (3.9 km²), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,569 people, 671 households, and 414 families residing in the town of Kenly. The population density was 1,035.1 people per square mile (398.5/km²). There were 754 housing units at an average density of 497.4 per square mile (191.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 55.32% White, 40.60% African American, 0.25% Native American, 0.25% Asian, 2.29% from other races, and 1.27% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.57% of the population.
There were 671 households out of which 32.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.8% were married couples living together, 20.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.2% were non-families. 34.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 3.02.
In the town of Kenly the population was spread out with 28.1% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 29.1% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 13.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 90.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.8 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $20,865, and the median income for a family was $33,214. Males had a median income of $24,250 versus $17,917 for females. The per capita income for the town was $14,181. About 23.3% of families and 25.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.5% of those under age 18 and 19.3% of those age 65 or over.
Kenly is a fun and lively little town full of treasures to find. Have fun during your next visit and have a great stay.