Thomas S. Kenan Papers, PC.129


Thomas S. Kenan Papers, PC.129


Thomas Steven Kenan (1838-1911) was born in Kenansville, Duplin County, a son of Owen Rand and Sarah Rebecca Graham Kenan. Includes Civil War papers of Kenan, Duplin Co. lawyer, captain of the "Duplin Rifles" (1861), colonel of the 43rd Regt. NCT, prisoner on Johnson's Island, Ohio, and state attorney general (1878-1886), including commissions; military orders and a few letters concerning equipment, organization, and regulations (1861-1862); recommendation of Kenan by fellow officers of 2nd Regt. N.C. Volunteers (12th Regt. NCT); list of casualties at Gettysburg, Co. A, 43rd Regt.; and clippings satirizing Lincoln and giving history (1863) of 6th Regt. NCT.

Descriptive Summary

Thomas S. Kenan Papers
Call Number
Kenan, Thomas Stephen, 1838-1911
1830-1875 1861-1875
1.00 boxes
State Archives of North Carolina

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    Copyright is retained by the authors of these materials, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law (Title 17 US Code). Individual researchers are responsible for using these materials in conformance with copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item] in PC.129, Thomas S. Kenan Papers, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, N.C., USA

    Collection Overview

    Consists of enlistment papers, military orders, scrapbook, letters to Kenan, autograph book, list of prisoners, and miscellaneous material. Topics in the military orders include cleanliness of the tents and camp, selling of surplus provisions, arms firing, ammunition and gun supplies, pickets and guard duty, hospital provisions, routines of camp and rules for leaving camp. The material on Johnson's Island includes an autograph book with the signatures of many of the officers in prison, a list of the Confederate prisoners from 1863-1865, copied in 1909 from a list owned by Colonel James W. Bowles, and a letter from Colonel Charles W. Hill (1865), commander of the prison. Of particular interest in the prison material is a pencil drawing of the prison and playbills of the entertainment presented by the "Rebel Thespians" and "Island Minstrels." Miscellaneous papers include the enlistment papers of 95 men in 1861, mainly from Wake County, ranging in age from 16 to 41; a list of casualties of Company A, 43rd Regiment, at Gettysburg; certification of Kenan's parole from prison, May 12, 1865; receipt from payment of salary from June 1, 1863-May 31, 1864, $2,340; and an envelope which contained a letter sent from Johnson's Island [n.d.].

    Note that the records concerning the 43rd regiment do not go beyond October of 1862.

    Arrangement Note


    Biographical Note

    Thomas Steven Kenan (1838-1911) was born in Kenansville, Duplin County, a son of Owen Rand and Sarah Rebecca Graham Kenan. He studied at Grove Academy and the Central Military Institute, Selma, Alabama before attending Wake Forest College for a year. Thereafter he enrolled as a sophomore at the University of North Carolina before graduating in 1858. After leaving the University Thomas studied law with Judge Richmond Pearson, at Richmond Hill, Yadkin County, then opened a law practice in Kenansville, I860.In 1859 Thomas and his brother, James, had organized the Duplin Rifles, a local militia company. Within three days after the attack on Fort Sumter, S.C., the Duplin Rifles volunteered for service and the militia was subsequently designated as Company C, Twelfth N.C. Regiment, with Thomas Kenan as captain. After six months the company was designated as Company A, Forty-third Regiment, and Thomas subsequently was promoted as colonel in April of 1862. He was wounded at Gettysburg Penn. on 3 July 1863 while leading an attack on Culps Hill. The following day Thomas was captured in the vicinity of the hospital wagon train. During the next months he was confined at several Federal hospitals until commitment at Federal prison on Johnson's Island (Ohio). Both Thomas and his brother, James, survived the cold of two winters at the prison. During the suffering of that period they joined other Confederate prisoners in an unsuccessful attempt to escape through a tunnel dug under the walls. In February 1865 Thomas served on a committee that sought permission to establish a form of self-government for prisoners. Though favorably received, the imminent end of the war prevented implementation. On 14 March 1865 Kenan was transferred to Point Lookout, Maryland, and later paroled.By May of 1865 Kenan was home in Kenansville and subsequently became a successful candidate for the General Assembly, 1865-66, and in 1866-67. In 1868 Kenan and Sallie Dortch (1845-1916) of Edgecombe County were married. The following year the couple moved to Wilson, where Thomas continued the practice of law. Though he lost a bid for Congress in 1868, Thomas returned to political service when elected to the office of Attorney General, 1876, and was subsequently reelected for an additional four-year term. During that period Thomas also served as reporter for the North Carolina Supreme Court.

    Contents of the Collection

    Subject Headings

  1. Kenan, Thomas Stephen, 1838-1911
  2. Kenan, Thomas S.
  3. Lincoln, Abraham
  4. Vance, Zebulon Baird, 1830-1894
  5. Confederate States of America
  6. Confederate States of America. Army. North Carolina Infantry Regiment, 43rd. Company A
  7. Confederate States of America. Army. North Carolina Infantry Regiment, 43rd
  8. Confederate States of America. Army. North Carolina Infantry Regiment, 2nd
  9. Confederate States of America. Army. North Carolina Infantry Regiment, 12th
  10. Confederate States of America. Army. North Carolina Infantry Regiment, 6th
  11. Confederate States of America. Army. North Carolina Artillery, 10th
  12. Confederate States of America. Army. North Carolina Artillery, 1st
  13. Artillery, Engineering, and Ordnance (1861)
  14. 43rd Regiment, North Carolina Troops
  15. Gettysburg, Battle of, Gettysburg, Pa., 1863
  16. Prisoner-of-war camps
  17. Prisoners of war
  18. Ship captains
  19. Colonels
  20. Confederate Prisoners
  21. Officer
  22. Attorneys general
  23. Governors
  24. Presidents
  25. Choctaw Indians
  26. Prisoners
  27. Military prisons
  28. Prisons
  29. Equipment and supplies
  30. Regulations
  31. Military discipline
  32. Military supplies
  33. Entertainment Events
  34. Prisoners' Writings
  35. Wages
  36. Payment
  37. United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Monuments
  38. United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
  39. Duplin County (N.C.)
  40. Wake County (N.C.)
  41. South Carolina
  42. Gettysburg (Pa.)
  43. Point La Flore (Miss.)
  44. Scrapbooks.
  45. Processing Information

  46. Processed by Betty S. Carter, 1967; rearranged and rehoused by Fran Tracy-Walls, 2012
  47. Finding Aid by Betty S. Carter, 1967; additions and revision by Fran Tracy-Walls, 2012, and June 2019