Friday, April 11, 2008

The Elusive Anna Kenyon (ca 1742-????, wife of John Kenyon)

I am posting some of my most elusive women ancestors in hopes that someone will Google their name and find my post. Ideally, the Googlers will provide me with more information about my elusive female ancestor's ancestry. Realistically, they will commiserate with me about the lack of records and wonder why no researcher has figured the problem out yet.


Family of Anna (Kenyon) Kenyon

Anna Kenyon was born about 1742 in RI, and died before 1831 in probably Windham County, CT. She married John Kenyon 1764 in probably Newport, Newport County, RI, son of Sylvester Kenyon and Anna Barber. He was born about 1742 in Richmond, Washington County, RI, and died July 1831 in Sterling, Windham County, CT.

Notes for Anna Kenyon:

The parents of Anna Kenyon are not known. It is not known if her maiden surname was Kenyon or not.

Notes for John Kenyon:

Much of the information about this family was obtained from the book -
Kenyon, Howard Nathaniel,. "American Kenyons : history of Kenyons and English connections of American Kenyons, genealogy of the American Kenyons of Rhode Island, miscellaneous Kenyon material," Rutland, Vt.: Tuttle, 1979, originally published in 1935.

The numbers below refer to families numbered using the Henry system in the "American Kenyons" book. This John Kenyon family was not included in the book.

An extensive revision of the "American Kenyons" book was created and posted on the Internet in 1999 at by Clark T. Kenyon. The family of this John Kenyon is not summarized in this work.

[Edited on 2/19/09 for accuracy] Sometime during the 1990's, the author corresponded via email or on a message board with Richard R. Kenyon, who was gathering Kenyon family data together based on the previous work, and additions to the Howard Kenyon book (by the author HK, who died in 1957). He included these paragraphs from Howard Kenyon's 1935 work:

"The book 'A Commemorative Biographical Record of Tolland and Windham Counties, Connecticut,' by J. H. Beers, 1903, indicates that John Kenyon (1134) was the son of John Kenyon (1111) of Exeter, RI and Freelove Reynolds. This is clearly incorrect, since John Kenyon (11111) moved to Oswego, NY, where he was a pensioner for services in the Revolutionary War and where he made extensive affidavits relative to his identity and his war service. The author of this work erroneously assumed that the 1790 census for John Kenyon (1134) was the record of John Kenyon (167) who was reported in Hoosick, NY, 1790, since the latter John executed a deed in Voluntown to land in Rhode Island, which land transaction clearly identified the owner. However, there is no [other] record that John Kenyon (167) ever lived in Voluntown and it is clear that John Kenyon (1134) was first deeded land in Voluntown in 1778 and died there with a will.

"He was deeded land in Richmond, RI, by his father, Sylvester Kenyon (113) in 1769. His mother, Anne, signed the conveyance. In the census in Rhode Island of 1774, he and his brother, Giles, were listed as heads of two families living together [in] Exeter. He made no claim for Revolutionary War service. He cannot be identified as being listed on the military census of 1777. He may have moved. In the deed to land from Peleg Kenyon of Voluntown, 1775, 100 acres, it recited that John was from Exeter, RI. He bought four other pieces of land in Voluntown and in 1793 sold 16 acres to his brother, Moses Kenyon (1136). The son, Lewis Kenyon (11341), was willed the farm bought from Jeremiah Babcock. George got one half the land purchased from Peleg Kenyon; Sylvester got the other half. One of his sons had a daughter named Phoebe. No identity of his wife is disclosed on his land transactions in Connecticut. He was shown in the census of 1790 and in successive census reports prior to his death. [Note by the editor: A handwritten note appears at this point in the typewritten manuscript: "Note error on m. of Anne Kenyon" It appears to have been entered at the same time the wife of John Kenyon (1134) was added. The handwriting in these two cases is different (not as neat as elsewhere). The cause for his comment is not clear. -- RRK]

The book "Mayflower Families Through Five Generations," Volume Three, George Soule, edited by Anne Borden Harding, General society of Mayflower Descendants, 1990 states on page 290:

"The identity and circumstances of marriage have not been proven. A John Kenyon m. Newport, RI, 24 xxx 1764 Ann Kenyon. Shortly thereafter his father Sylvester deeded him land in Richmond RI as his son of Portsmouth of Newport Co. RI. On 5 March 1778 John and wife Anna of Richmond with Sylvester and his wife Anna of Exeter sold Richmond holdings to Joseph Woodmansee. He removed from RI to CT about the time of the Revolution and acquired land and farms in Voluntown and Sterling CT. His will was proved Sterling CT 8 Aug. 1831 but did not contain the name of his wife. In the will be gives sons Lewis, George and Sylvester farms; names son John, daughters Almey Perkins, Nancy Champlin, Abigail Warren and Cynthia Kenyon. He names nine grandsons and nine granddaughters: Samuel, Joseph, John and George Hassard Champlin; James, Varnum, Searls, George and Palmer Dixon; Betsey, Fanny, Alsi (Elsie) and Abigail Champlin; Phebe Kenyon, Almey Oatley, Polly Wilcox, Harriet Card and Nancy Dixon."

The Mayflower Families book is, by far, the most authoritative work for this family to date, although the Russell Kenyon work seems to agree in the details, especially the children of John and Ann Kenyon.

Children of Anna Kenyon and John Kenyon are:

i. Nancy Kenyon, born about 1765 in Washington County, RI. She married Joseph Champlin before 1785 in prob. South Kingstown, Washington County, RI; born about 1758 in Charlestown, Washington County, RI; died 17 June 1850 in South Kingstown, Washington County, RI.

ii. Lewis Kenyon, born about 1767 in Washington County, RI. He married Elizabeth Austin.

iii. Sylvester Kenyon, born about 1769 in Washington County, RI; died 1838. He married Polly Vaughn 08 June 1817 in Sterling, Windham County, CT.

iv. Almy Kenyon, born about 1770 in Washington County, RI. She married Perkins.

v. Abigail Kenyon, born about 1772 in Washington County, RI. She married Warren.

vi. Cynthia Kenyon, born about 1773 in Washington County, RI.

vii. Mary Kenyon, born about 1774 in Voluntown, New London County, CT; died June 1810. She married William Dixon.

viii. John Kenyon, born 10 May 1776 in Richmond, Washington County, RI. He married Susanna Thurston 14 April 1799; born 12 December 1779 in Sterling, Windham County, CT.

ix. George Kenyon, born about 1778 in Exeter, Washington County, RI; died 21 March 1850 in Sterling, Windham County, CT. He married Sarah; born October 1780; died 11 June 1834 in Sterling, Windham County, CT.

My own ancestry is through Nancy Kenyon, who married Joseph Champlin.

If anyone has additions or corrections to this family data, please, please, please, please (shades of James Brown, eh?) email me at

UPDATED 2/19/09: Corrected one paragraph (noted above) per information received from Richard L. Kenyon via email on 2/18/09.

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