Como Beverley Kennon

Como Beverley Kennon

Mecklenburg County, Virginia, USA
Death 28 Feb 1844 (aged 50)
Virginia, USA
Burial Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA
Plot Chapel Hill, Lot 544.
Memorial ID 37278241 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Chief of the Bureau of Construction, Equipment and Repairs, United States Navy

He was the son of Virginia Governor Richard Kennon (1759-1805), whose place of burial is unknown as of February 23, 2014 and Elizabeth Beverley Mumford. His first marriage was to Elizabeth Dandridge Claiborne in 1829. After her death he married Britannia Wellington Peter on December 8, 1842 at Tudor Place in the District of Columbia. He received his appointment as a Midshipman on May 18, 1809, which he accepted on August 5, 1809. His remains were first interred in the Congressional Cemetery and later removed to Oak Hill Cemetery on April 18, 1874.

The Baltimore Sun Friday, March 1, 1844
[From the National Intelligencer of yesterday.]
Most Awful And Most Lamentable Catastrophe!
Instantaneous Death, by the Bursting of one of the large Guns on board the United States ship Princeton, of Secretary Upshur, Secretary Gilmer, Commodore Kennon and Virgil Maxcy Esq.
In the whole course of our lives it has never fallen to our lot to announce to our readers a more shocking calamity – shocking in all its circumstances and concomitants – than that which occurred on board the United States Ship Princeton, yesterday afternoon, whilst under way, in the river Potomac, fourteen or fifteen miles below this city.

Yesterday was a day appointed, by the courtesy and hospitality of Captain [Robert] Stockton, Commander of the Princeton, for receiving as visitors to his fine ship (lying off Alexandria) a great number of guests, with their families, liberally and numerously invited to spend the day on board. The day was most favorable and the company was large and brilliant, of both sexes; not less probably in number than four hundred, among whom were the President [Tyler] of the United States, the Heads of the several Departments and their families. At a proper hour, after the arrival of the expected guests, the vessel got under way and proceeded down the river, to some distance below Fort Washington.

During the passage down, one of the large guns on board (carrying a ball of 225 pounds) was fired more than once, exhibiting the great power and capacity of that formidable weapon of war. The ladies had partaken of a sumptuous repast; the gentleman had succeeded them at the table and some of them had left it; the vessel was on her return trip up the river, opposite to the fort, where Captain Stockton consented to fire another shot from the same gun, around and near which, to observe its effects, many persons had gathered, though by no means so many as on similar discharges in the morning, the ladies who then thronged the deck being on this fatal occasion almost all between decks and out of reach of harm.

The gun was fired. The explosion was followed, before the smoke cleared away so as to observe its effect, by shrieks of woe which announced a dire calamity. The gun had burst, at a point three or four feet from the breech and scattered death and desolation around. Mr. Upshur, Secretary of State, Mr. Gilmer, so recently as the head of the Navy, Commodore Kennon, one of its gallant officers, Virgil Maxcy, lately returned from a diplomatic residence at Hague, Mr. Gardiner, of New York, (formerly a Member of the Senate of that State,) were among the slain.

Besides these, seventeen seamen were wounded, several of them badly and probably mortally. Among those stunned by the concussion, we learn not all seriously injured, were Captain Stockton himself; Colonel Benton, of the Senate; Lieut. Hunt, of the Princeton; W.D. Robinson, of Georgetown. Other persons also were perhaps more or less injured, of whom, in the horror and confusion of the moment, no certain account could be obtained. The above are believed, however, to comprise the whole of the persons known to the public who were killed or dangerously or seriously hurt.

We understand that Mrs. Gilmer was upon the deck when her husband fell.

The scene upon the deck may more easily be imagined than described. Nor can the imagination picture to itself the half of its horrors. Wives widowed in an instant by the murderous blast. Daughters smitten with the heart-rending sight of their father’s lifeless corpse! The wailings of agonized females! The piteous grief of the unhurt but heart stricken spectators! The wounded seamen borne down below! The silent tears and quivering lips of their brave and honest comrades, who tried in vain to subdue or conceal their feelings! What words can adequately depict a scene like this?

The bodies of the killed remained on board the ship last night. They will be brought to the city this morning.


Planning a visit to Oak Hill Cemetery?



  • Created by: SLGMSD
  • Added: 19 May 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 37278241
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Como Beverley Kennon (17 Apr 1793–28 Feb 1844), Find A Grave Memorial no. 37278241, citing Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA ; Maintained by SLGMSD (contributor 46825959) .