Family Stories

Silas P. Kenney and Margaret Hamilton Smith – Buried at The Lexington Cemetery – Fayette County

Good morning!  Today we visit Lexington, Kentucky, Fayette County, and in particular the Lexington Cemetery.  My photos were taken in April of 2014, giving us a glimpse of spring – even though it is January, and here in Rudyard we have a good eight or ten inches of snow on the ground!

The first is a group photo of the gravestones of the Kenney family.  The first mention of this family was found in neighboring Jessamine County, where they lived and were accounted for in the 1850 census.  Silas P. Kenney was 38, born in Kentucky.  He was a farmer with real estate valued at $14,000.  Margaret H., his wife, was 34, also born in Kentucky.  Two children are listed, Eliza J., 12, and William H, 2.  Also living with the family is Polly Allen, 45, with property worth $2,000.  Also, two young children, Alice Smith, 6, and Margaret Smith, 4.  Margaret was the daughter of Captain William Smith and Jane H. Mallory.  She had a sister Mary, “Polly”, who married John Allen who died in 1849.  I’m sure this is the Polly Allen living with the Kenney’s in this census.  The two Smith children could be a niece and nephew visiting the family.

In 1860 Silas and Margaret were 48 and 44 respectively.  23-year-old Julius T. Smith lived with them when the census was taken – again, possibly a nephew.

In the May 10, 1860, edition of The Louisville Dailey Courier, Silas P. Kenney, of Jessamine, is listed as one of the directors for the Kentucky Agricultural and Mechanical Association.

The Courier-Journal of January 16, 1868, Louisville, announced that Silas P. Kenney was one of the persons elected as directors for the coming year of the First National Bank of Lexington. 

An interesting note was found in the Kentucky Gazette of July 20, 1833.  Silas P. Kenney was one of many listed as having a letter at the post office in Lexington.  A clue that Silas lived in Lexington before his marriage to Margaret.

Did you notice there were no children listed for Silas and Margaret in 1860?  Eliza would have been 22 – perhaps she married before the census was taken.  I could find no marriage on Ancestry for Eliza.  However, I still believe she married since there is no gravestone in the family plot. 

I do know the two younger children, William, and a daughter, Mary M., both died under the age of four.  They are buried beside their parents.  This is the biggest reason I believe daughter Eliza married – otherwise she would be buried near her parents.  Even though Silas and Margaret lived in Jessamine County when their children died, they buried them in the Lexington Cemetery.  Did they know they planned to move to Lexington eventually? 

Mary M., daughter of S. P. & M. H. Kenney, born May 14, 1851, died August 12, 1852. William H., son of S. P. & M. H. Kenney, born May 10, 1848, died March 13, 1851. Lexington Cemetery, Fayette County, Kentucky.

In the 1875 Lexington City Directory Silas P. Kenney is listed as a farmer and stock raiser, also President of the 1st National Bank, home at 72 S. Upper Street.  He is again listed as such in 1877.  In 1881, after Silas’s death Margaret H. Kenney is listed as widow at the same residence.  Upper Street, which intersects with Main Street, is now filled with restaurants, shops and hotels.  No house left to give an idea of where the Kenney’s lived, but I believe it would have been where the Residence Inn by Marriott is located, Upper Street side.

Silas P. Kenney died June 17, 1878, aged 67 years.

I found no obituary for Silas.  I find that unusual since he was a man of means and was the president of a bank at one time.  However, on not every newspaper is included.

Margaret Hamilton, wife of Silas P. Kenney, died March 1, 1897.

Margaret continued to live at 72 S. Upper Street, until later in life, since she died at her residence at 183 High Street in Lexington March 1, 1897.  Her obituary lists no children.  Even though her age was not listed, we know she was about 81.

The Daily Leader, Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Monday, March 1, 1897

Mrs. Margaret H. Kenney

Mrs. Margaret Hamilton Kenney died at her residence on High Street this morning at 8:30 o’clock, after a long illness of la grippe.  Mrs. Kenney was the widow of Mr. Silas P. Kenney and has a wide circle of friends and relatives in this city and county.  She was very wealthy and a prominent and liberal member of the Central Christian Church.  She was a Miss Margaret Smith before her marriage and a daughter of Capt. William Smith, of the Bryan’s Station neighborhood.  Her age is not made known, but she was well advanced in years.  The funeral services will be held at her late residence, 183 East High Street, at 3 o’clock tomorrow afternoon, conducted by Rev. I. J. Spencer.  The burial will be in the Lexington Cemetery.

I had to check one more source – History of Bourbon, Scott, Harrison & Nicholas Counties, Kentucky. On page 482, in the biography of W. W. Massie, of Bourbon County, ‘Franklin Massie, the second son, married Lizzie Kenney, only daughter of Silas Kenney, of Fayette. He settled in Paris, and was for several years associated with his brother William in business; after a successful career he moved to a farm near Paris; he made other changes and finally died at a farm near Muir’s Station, in 1878. He left two sons: Robert, the older now in business in Rich Hill, Mo.,; Willliam, the younger, a student at Centre College, both being fine young men of bright promise. Eliza, the eldest daughter, married Benjamin Ogden, a nephew of Governor Metcalfe, . . . Bettie, the second daughter, married Dr. Edward Ingels, of Paris . . . Mary Gates Massie, youngest daughter of the family, married B. F. Williams.’

A search on Find A Grave for the Massie’s in Bourbon County revealed that Franklin and Lizzie Massie are buried in the Paris Cemetery. Franklin Massie was born July 5, 1827, died April 24, 1878. Eliza J. Kenney Massie was born May 2, 1838, died January 20, 1874. Eliza died before both her parents – the reason she was not listed in an obituary for them. I checked my photos from Paris Cemetery but I do not have one for the Massie’s gravestone.

3 replies »

  1. I had not heard of La Grippe before, had to google it to find out that it is an 1800’s term for influenza. Also, I believe you and I share a number of common Ancestors. I am a descendant of the Elder family.

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