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Kenan, James

by Thomas S. Kenan III, 1988

23 Sept. 1740–23 May 1810

Revolutionary war voucher issued to James Kenan. From The Kenan family and some allied families of the compiler and publisher.James Kenan, colonial and state official and Revolutionary officer, was born at his father's plantation, The Lilacs, in Turkey, N.C., the oldest son of Thomas and Elizabeth Johnston Kenan. Elected sheriff of Duplin County, he served from 1762 to 1766 and again from 1785 to 1786. Kenan led a company of volunteers to Wilmington in 1765 to oppose enforcement of the Stamp Act, and he was a member of the Assembly in 1773 and 1774 and of the Provincial Congress in August 1774, August 1775, and November 1776. He was chairman of the Duplin Safety Committee and a member of the Wilmington Committee.

As colonel of the Duplin militia, Kenan participated in military operations during the American Revolution. Immediately after the war he was chosen brigadier general for the Wilmington District. He served ten terms in the North Carolina Senate between 1777 and 1793, was a member of the state constitutional convention in 1788–89, and became councilor of state. He also was a trustee of The University of North Carolina.

Kenan married Sarah Love in 1770, and they had eight children: Thomas, Catherine, Elizabeth, Owen, Susannah, Daniel Love, Sarah, and Jane. A member of the Presbyterian church, he died at his plantation in Turkey. His grave has since been moved to the Liberty Hall Restoration in Kenansville.

References:

Walter Clark, ed., State Records of North Carolina, vols. 12, 19–21 (1895–1903).

W. R. Kenan, Jr., ed., Incidents by the Way (1946).

Faison W. McGowen, ed., Duplin History and Government (1971).

Alvaretta Kenan Register, ed., The Kenan Family (1967).

Additional Resources:

Kenan Family Papers, 1748-1996 (collection no. 04225). The Southern Historical Collection. Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/k/Kenan_Family.html (accessed February 15, 2013).

Register, Alvaretta Kenan. The Kenan family and some allied families of the compiler and publisher. Statesboro, Ga., J. S. Kenan II. 1967. http://archive.org/details/kenanfamilysomea00regi (accessed February 15, 2013).

"James Kenan." N.C. Highway Historical Marker F-26, N.C. Office of Archives & History. http://www.ncmarkers.com/Markers.aspx?sp=Markers&k=Markers&sv=F-26 (accessed February 15, 2013).

(Raleigh) News and Observer, February 4, 1950

A. T. Outlaw, “General Kenan, Duplin’s Revolutionary Leader” (copy in marker files, Research Branch, North Carolina Office of Archives and History)

Image Credits:

Register, Alvaretta Kenan. The Kenan family and some allied families of the compiler and publisher. Statesboro, Ga., J. S. Kenan II. 1967. http://archive.org/details/kenanfamilysomea00regi (accessed February 15, 2013).

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Copyright notice

This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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