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Callis Cocke Kean Price

Obituary of William Kean, Louisa County, Virginia.

William Kean was of Scotch-Irish and Huguenot ancestry, uniting in his own character the sterling qualities of both races. He was bron in Louisa County, Va., his father being Dr. Julian Kean, who married Mary Callis, daughter of Col. William Overton Callis and granddaughter of Capt. Thomas Price, both officers in the Revolutionary War. Dr. Andrew Kean, the eminent physician who served as regimental surgeon in the War of 1812 in the command of Gen. John H. Cocke, was his paternal grandfather.

William Kean was educated in the private schools of Louisa County and at Bloomfield Academy, from which place he enlisted April 21, 1861, in the first company of Richmond Howitzers, in which he served throughout the war. His friend and comrade, Robert Stiles, in his book, "Four Years under Marse Robert" (pages 45, 46, 84, 146, 241), has told much of this boy soldier with his gay courage, high ideals, and splendid strength. No one by bravery and devotion to duty contributed more to the proud record of the 1st Howitzers. He was present and on duty at First Manassas, Leesburg, Williamsburg, Seven Pines, Savage Station, Malvern Hill, where he was wounded, and returned to his command in time to fight at Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Mine Run, the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Second Cold Harbor, and in the lines of Petersburg until April 2, 1865, and was at Appomattox Station when Lee surrendered his army. Unwilling to give up so long as General Johnston's army was in the field, young Kean started on foot to join him in North Carolina, but when near Danville he heard of Johnston's surrender.

Weary, footsore, heartsick, he returned to his home, in Louisa County, desolated and debt-burdened, to take up a yet harder struggle. Upon his young shoulders rested the burden of saving his home and supporting a widowed mother, her children and grandchildren. At the age of twenty-two he began his second struggle against adverse fortune. He never hesitated nor faltered, but went to work with a will and by untiring industry and good judgement cleared his home of debt, supported a large and dependent family, and gave liberally to the poor.

His home was the seat of boundless hospitality. He delighted to have his friends around him, while the wayfarer and the needy stranger were never turned away from his door. He was ready to give, not only of his means, but of himself, in the cause of suffering humanity. To those of his own household he gave, as he received in return, unstinted love and devotion, A good husband and a good father, a good friend, he was also a useful and public-spirited citizen. As Commander of Louisa Camp of Confederate Veterans perhaps no one in the county did more for the support and comfort of needy Confederates. To the cause of the Confederacy he had given willingly the best years of his young manhood, and his heart ever turned in fullest love and sympathy to his old and battle-scarred comrades.

William Kean was paroled in June, 1865, by the provost marshal at Louisa Courthouse; but he never registered nor took the oath of allegiance until October, 1878 when Gen. Joseph E. Johnston was a candidate for Congress. Joyous, generous, and kind, ever a friend to the young, a happy life was his. Hardship and exposure had left their marks upon his spendid consitution, and age came on, but "Marse William," as he was universally called, never surrendered; nothing could daunt the brave heart which ever held cheer and courage. With composure he awaited the last call. Fourteen of his old comrades stood by his side when he was laid to rest, and two faithful negroes who had lived with him for over forty years, with their sons, bore him to his last home, where he sleeps as sleep

"The brave who sink to rest,
By all their country's wishes blest."

[This tribute is by one who knew him well and loved him with the deepest affection-R. W. H.]

SOURCE: Confederate Veteran Magazine, October, 1916.

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