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Robert Garlick Hill Kean
 1828 - 1898

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  • Birth  7 Oct 1828  Caroline Co., VA
    Gender  Male 
    Census  17 Jul 1860  Campbell Co., VA - age 31 - Lawyer
    Census  12 Jul 1870  Campbell Co., VA - age 41 - Lawyer
    Census  10 Jun 1880  Campbell Co., VA - age 50 - Lawyer
    Died  13 Jun 1898  Campbell Co., VA
    Person ID  I125428  Herring
    Last Modified  29 Jan 2010 08:49:32 
    Father  John Vaughan Kean, b. 27 Jan 1803, Virginia 
    Mother  Caroline Mildred Hill, b. 14 Apr 1802, Virginia 
    Family ID  F057406  Group Sheet
    Family 1  Jane Nicholas Randolph, b. 10 Dec 1831, Albemarle Co., VA 
    Married  24 May 1854 
    >1. Lancelot Minor Kean, b. 11 Jan 1856, Albemarle Co., VA
    >2. Martha Cary Kean, b. 11 Apr 1858, Campbell Co., VA
    >3. Jefferson Randolph Kean, b. 27 Jun 1860, Campbell Co., VA
     4. Robert Garlick Hill Kean, Jr., b. 26 Dec 1862, Campbell Co., VA
     5. Louis Randolph Kean, b. 17 Aug 1864, Campbell Co., VA
     6. George Randolph Kean, b. 6 Apr 1866, Campbell Co., VA
    Family ID  F057404  Group Sheet
    Family 2  Adelaide Navarro Prescott, b. Abt 1845, Louisiana 
    Married  1874 
     1. Ebbie Kean, b. Abt 1876
     2. Prescott Kean, b. Abt 1877
     3. Carrie Kean, b. Abt 1878
    Family ID  F057405  Group Sheet
  • Notes 
    • Colonel Robert G. H. Kean, of Lynchburg, Va., chief of the bureau of war of the Confederate States during a large part of the existence of that government, was born in Caroline county, Va., October 7, 1828. His grandfather, Andrew Kean, was a distinguished physician in his day and was offered by Mr. Jefferson the first chair in the medical department of the university of Virginia. The subject of this sketch was prepared for college at the Episcopal high school, under the charge of Rev. (afterward General) William N. Pendleton, and at the famous Concord academy, under the -charge of Frederick Coleman. His reputation as a scholar dates from his early boyhood. In 1848 he entered the university of Virginia and there took successively the degrees of bachelor of arts, master of arts and bachelor of law. No student ever left the university more distinguished for scholarship than he. In the autumn of 1853 he settled at Lynchburg and began the practice of law, which he pursued with a success commensurate with his abilities and attainments until 1861, when he enlisted in the Confederate army as a private in the Lynchburg company, Eleventh Virginia infantry. General Ewell thrice offered him a staff appointment, but Mr. Kean refused, saying: "If some men of our position do not remain in the ranks, how can we expect men who have less at stake to stand by us." It was while thus serving in the ranks that he was sent for by General Beauregard on the night preceding the day of the battle of Manassas, to take part in a council of war. Finally, in 1862, at the urgent insistence of his friend and connection. Gen. George W. Randolph, he accepted a position on his staff with the rank of captain, and on General Randolph's appointment as secretary of war, he was commissioned by President Davis, "Chief of the Bureau of War." This position he held until the close of the war. Upon the fall of the Confederacy he left Richmond with President Davis and his cabinet, and, stopping at Danville, opened the war office there for a few days, proceeding thence to Greensboro and Charlotte, N. C., where he, with other officials, was discharged from further duty. It is important to note here that the heads of the different departments were preparing to destroy their official records when Mr. Kean protested vigorously against it, taking the ground that they contained matter of history which would be invaluable in vindicating the South against any malignant or untruthful charge which might be made against her His earnest protest prevailed, and thus, through his instrumentality, the truth of the history of the great struggle of the Confederacy is preserved in the "War of the Rebellion Official Records," since published by our National government. Mr. Kean's position in Richmond threw him in close and constant touch with many of the leaders of the lost cause, and gave him rare insight into much of the inside history of the war. In a diary which he kept during the time much of this is recorded. All the correspondence between the two governments regarding the Federal prisoners at Andersonville passed through his hands and his account of the matter can be found in Vol. I of the Southern Historical Society Papers, page 199. Returning to Lynchburg in the autumn of 1865, he resumed the practice of law and pursued it steadily until death closed his useful and honorable career. He was long recognized as one of the leaders of the Virginia bar, at a period in its history prolific in able lawyers, and was chosen second president of the Virginia state bar association, his only predecessor in that office being the venerable judge William J. Robertson.. As a scholar Mr. Kean's reputation was considerable. One of his letters to Prof. John Tyndall on a scientific subject was embodied in its entirety in an address by that distinguished scientist before the royal society of London. His public addresses and contributions to the press embrace a great variety of subjects and exerted a wide influence. A distinguished member of the faculty of the university of Virginia has said that his address before the Educational society of Virginia on the subject of the"Economy of Higher Education," induced the legislature to raise the annual appropriation to the university from $15,000 to $40,000.Nor was this his only service to his alma mater. For many years he served on her board of visitors and for two full terms as rector, and throughout his whole life he never missed an opportunity of advancing her interests. In 1854 Mr. Kean was married to Jane Nicholas Randolph, daughter of Col. Thomas Jefferson Randolph, and great-granddaughter of Thomas Jefferson. By this marriage he had six children' three of whom survive, one, Capt. Jefferson Randolph Kean, being a surgeon in the U. S. army. In 1874 he was again married, his second wife being Adelaide Navarro Prescott, a member of a distinguished Louisiana family, who with her four children survives him. Mr. Kean died at his residence in Lynchburg, on Monday morning, June 13, 1898, in the seventieth year of his age. At the time of his death he was, with the exception of Postmaster-General Reagan, of Texas, the highest civil officer of the Confederacy living.

      Conferate Military History, Vol. III, pp. 976-977.

      Chief of bureau of war, March, 1862-April, 1865; was born on October 24, 1828, at "Mt. Airy" in Caroline county, Virginia, the residence of his maternal grandfather, Col. Humphrey Hill. His father was John Vaughan Kean, of "Olney," and his paternal grandfather was Dr. Andrew Kean, of "Cedar Plains," Goochland county, who came to Virginia from Ireland upon the completion of his education at the University of Dublin. It is said that Dr. Kean was tendered a chair in the University of Virginia by Mr. Jefferson. Young Kean's mother died when he was three years old, and he was brought up by his aunt, Miss Elizabeth Hill, who taught school at "Mt. Airy." His father married a second time, and he returned with him to "Olney." He attended the Episcopal High School under Dr. Pendleton, who was afterwards Gen. Lee's chief of artillery. He subsequently attended the Concord Academy under the famous teacher, Frederick W. Coleman. In 1848 he entered the University of Virginia, and graduated as Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts. He subsequently studied law. In 1853, he settled in Lynchburg, Virginia, and practiced law in partnership with the late J. O. L. Goggin. He entered the Confederate army as a private, and after the battle of Manassas was made adjutant-general on the staff of his kinsman, George W. Randolph. When Col. Randolph became secretary of war of the C. S. A., Mr. Kean was made chief of the bureau of war. After the war he returned to Lynchburg, and resumed the practice of his profession. He always took a deep interest in the welfare of the university, and was for eight years a member of the board of visitors, and rector of the board for four years. During this time, much was done for the university, notably the placing of it upon a better financial condition by refunding its debt. At the bar, Mr. Kean was regarded as among the ablest and most learned members of the profession, and was highly regarded by all who knew him. He was for many years a vestryman in St. Paul's Episcopal Church, and on the standing committee of the diocese of Southern Virginia. In 1854, he married Jane, daughter of Col. Thomas J. Randolph, of "Edge Hill;" and in 1874 married, for his second wife, Adelaide, daughter of Col. William H. Prescott, of Louisiana.

      Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, Volume III
      III--Under the Confederacy, Department Officers.

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