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Re: Dr. Owen Hill Kenan of Lusitania and Wilmington
Posted by: David Rivenbark (ID *****2973) Date: April 09, 2002 at 09:50:43
In Reply to: Dr. Owen Hill Kenan of Lusitania and Wilmington by Zachary of 148

A very nice exhibition on the life and art collection of Owen Hill Kenan was mounted at the the St John's Museum of Art in Wilmington, NC in 1998. Here are some excepts from the catalogue, "A Wilmingtonnian Abroad, the Remarkable life of Colonel Owen Hill Kenan." He was born may 23, 1872 on a planatation in Duplin County, NC. He was the son of Annie Hill and James Graham Kenan (grandson of Owen Rand Kenan, Confederate congressman, great-grandson of Thomas Kenan, US Senator, and great- great-grandson of General James Kenan of the American Revolution). He attended UNCC at Chapel Hill and roomed with his first cousin, William Rand Kenan Jr. of Wilmington, NC. In 1895 he recevied a medical degree from the College of Phussicians and Surgeons in Baltimore. In 1901 he attened the wedding of William Rand Kenan Jr's sister, Mary Liliy Kenan. She married Henry M. Flagler at the Kenan family seat,Liberty Hall, in Kenansville, NC. Owen later became the house physcian during the winter season for the Flagler Palm Beach hotels as well as Flagler's personal doctor. In 1910, he purchased an apartment in Paris and began collecting art. In 1915, he boarded the Lusitania in New York for Livepool enroute to Paris. He survived the sinking of the ship (the pocketwatch he was wearing at the time was in the exhibition) and returned to the United States where he volutneered for the Ambulance Corps. He received the Croix de Gurerre for bravery in action. Follwoing the death of this first cousin, Mary Lily Flagler Bingham in 1917 he volunteered for the for the AEF Medical Corps and relief Mission to Russia during the Russian Revloution. He served until 1919. In 1924, he and his second cousin, Lousie Wise Lewis, re-opened "Whitehall," the palatial home of Mary Lily and Hanry Flagler, where they hosted a final one night gala ball prior to the sale of the estate. For many years Owen maintained a residence in Plam Beach and later moved to Wilmington, NC where his cousin and sister-in-law Sarah Graham Kenan,and his cousin Jessie Kenan Wise had homes. He died there of a crebral hemorrhage while a resident of the Cape Fear Hotel on July 9, 1963 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Sincerly, Tony Rivenbark


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