James Blake Kennard, born June 24, 1861, in Plantersville, Texas, was the son of Nathaniel W. Kennard of Maryland and Nancy Jane Bradbury DeJournett Kennard of Alabama. He married Mary Fore June 25, 1883, in Navasota, Texas, and they had one daughter. They lived in Navasota until Mary died in 1888, probably during childbirth. James came to Gonzales in 1893 and opened a retail lumber business. Later, he went into the wholesale lumber business that he operated out of Houston and Waco, but returned to Gonzales in 1911.
On August 16, 1893, James married Anna Ashby Jones, daughter of Hartwell King Jones and Mary Frances Braches Jones. The Kennards had one son. In early 1895, Kennard purchased the lots and employed architect, J. Riely Gordon, to design this imposing Queen Anne residence. The house was completed that same year. The structure is two stories with a large attic and is constructed of cypress fish-tail shingles, longleaf pine clapboard siding with a high-pitched hip roof, gabled ells and a corner tower with an open arcade at the third story level. The tower has a tall six-sided pyramidal roof, part of which is copper. The decorative bands around the cupola are embossed metal and the mosaics are of glass pieces and cement. When business associates heard that James was building a house, they began sending him select pieces of wood from all over the United States to be used in the construction. It has six fireplaces, three baths, twelve foot ceilings and ten foot doors. Two of the fireplaces came from the old Jones home near Dilworth. The entrance windows in the cupola and dining room are French beveled glass topped by Tiffany leaded glass. The light fixtures have been refinished and have original shades. The intricate parquet floors are hardwood and the bath fixtures have been retained and restored.