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The area known as Galloway in Scotland is located on the southwestern coast of the country and includes the old counties of Wigtown and Kirkcudbright. The name is derived from an 11th century word, Gall--Gallgaidelaib, which means “land of the Gaelic Norse” or more properly land of the “ foreign Gaels.” It should not be confused with the county or city in Ireland known as Galway.

In Roman times, Galloway was occupied by the Novantae, but after the Romans withdrew in the early 5h century AD, it appears to have fallen under Brythonic controul; in fact, the ancient city of Rerigonium is believed by some to have been one of the “three thrones of Britain”associated with the Arthurian legends.

In the late 7th century, English armies from Bernicia invaded Galloway and were followed in turn first by Norse and then by Norse-Gaels, who came from colonies established by Vikings during the 9th and 10th centuries at Dublin, Water, Wexford, Limerick, and Cork in Ireland and in the northwestern isles of Orkney, the Hebrides, Faroes, Iceland, and the Isle of Mann. By the time the Norse-Gales arrived in Galloway, however, they had intermarried over several generations with the native Gaels and adopted much of the Gaelic religion and culture, including the language:

…the people who brought Gaelic to Galloway were part of a new culture which was mixture of Gaelic and Norse cultures. This new culture emerged after the Viking raiders who had moved down the west coast of Scotland and into Ireland became settlers, farms and traders with Gaelic speaking wives and hence Gaelic speaking

children. The earlier bands of Vikings may also have included young Gaelic speaking men attracted to the 'warrior- lifestyle'. Even if the language of the ruling elite was Old Norse, Gaelic was the everyday language of this group – or rather groups – who dominated the lands around the Irish sea and the West coast of Scotland. (From “Airigh farms in Stewartry of Kirkcudbright“, see link below)

Even today, the influence of Norse-Gaels may be still seen in the large number of Gaelic place names found in Galloway, which, according to one estimate, runs as high as 80% in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright.

The surname Kevan is native to Galloway and thought to be derived “from the land of Cavens in the parish of Kirkbean, Kirkcudbrightshire.” (George F. Black, The Surnames of Scotland: their Origin, Meaning & History, p. 143; John E. Wilson, Gazeteer of Scotland, p. 84] Cavens, which “lies a few hundred yards south of the village of Kirkbean…with land running South and Eastward down to the banks of the Nith estuary” and was once part of the Earldom of Morton, was associated with the Maxwell family as early as the 15th century. (See the Maxwell Society website)

JAMES MAXWELL, the third son of John Maxwell, Master of Maxwell, who was killed at the battle of Lochmaben, 1484 (see title Nithsdale), is said to have been the ancestor of the Maxwells of Cavens.1 Who his immediate successors were has not been ascertained, but the next possessor of the estate on record is

Herbert Maxwell, of Cavens, who died 24 March 1572-73,, leaving two sons:—

1. William.

2. John, who, with his son Joke, is named in Herbert's will as his “oyes”

(James Balfour Paul, The Scots Peerage, p. 126; P. H. M’Kerlie, History of the lands & their owners in Galloway p. 162)

Cavens came into Maxwell possession when John Maxwell, 7th Lord Maxwell and grandson of the third Earl, briefly claimed the Earldom after the 4th Earl was executed for involvement in the murder of Lord Darnley, and “[b]y 1589, Cavens [wa]s in the hands of Herbert Maxwell of Cavens who was tried for the murder of Sir Robert Maxwell of Dinwiddie in 1605. John Maxwell, Bishop of Ross was a scion of Cavens Maxwells as were the Maxwells of Kirkhouse. The Cavens Maxwells died out in 1640 and the cadet line of Maxwell of Kirkhouse inherited. James Maxwell, Earl of Dirleton was the last of that line and the property then appears to have been inherited by members of the Murrey family, Earls of Annandale. An eighteenth century house possibly a house built for William Maxwell of Preston is the main caput, is now the Cavens Country House Hotel.” (from the Maxwell Society)

M. Kerlie’s History mentions a William Maxwell, son of William Maxwell of Cavens, parish of Kirkbean, who “had retour” of the “farm of Gate side”…on the 15th April 1617” [ p. 18]

The earliest example found thus far of Cavens used as a surname dates to the late 14th or early 15th century. Gilbert de Cavens, who died in 1420 and for a brief time was Bishop Elect of Galloway, held a Bachelors’ degree in Canon Law by 1406 and was a long-time servant and cleric for the Douglas family, acting as “chaplain and familiar” of Margaret Stewart, Countess of Douglas in 1406 and tutor for her eldest son Archibald Douglas.

The name Kevans or Kavands is also found as a place name in Wigtownshire from at least the 15th century:

The first lands obtained in the parish of Sorby by the Agnews of Lochnaw were the farms which had been given for the support of the church at Cruggleton, and called the church lands—viz., Baltier, Cults, and Kevands. The grant was subsequent to the Reformation, and by charter in January 1581 by King James VI. Kevands is stated to have been bestowed in 1421 by Archibald, Earl of Douglas, to a John de Cavens,….” [PH M'Kerlie, History of the lands & their owners in Galloway p. 350]

A later addendum by M’Kerlie, however, argues that Balter, Cults, and Kevands could not have been accepted by William Douglas of Leswalt “as an equivalent for Lochnaw when he gave up the castle, etc….[because] “ they had [already] been appropriated or set apart for the support of the Church of Cruggleton,…. [Furthermore] search has recently been made in vain for any charter under the Great Seal in confirmation of such a grant to William Douglas. There were two charters granted by Margaret, Countess of Douglas, and confirmed by King James I., but they did not refer to any portion of the Cruggleton property. [M’Kerlie, p. 338]

Sir Andrew Agnew, however, in The Agnews of Lochnaw: a history of the hereditary sheriffs of Galloway, p. 242, says that “ the Sheriff simultaneously increased his Galloway estates and acquired the lands of Cults, including Baltier and Kevands. The deed conveying these lands to the Sheriff from his son-in-law, James Kennedy, was signed at Lochnaw "in presence of Quentin Agnew, lawful son of the said Sir Andrew Agnew;" and among the charters which then came into his possession, as evidents, is a curious one by the Earl of Douglas to John de Cavens, dated 1421—showing the origin of the word Kevands, which, though much altered by modern orthography, is always pronounced Cavens.”

According to Sir Andrew, the “first rentalls of the lands of Cruggleton Cavens” brought in “ 300 marks.” [Ibid., p. 329]

Ordnance maps for the modern period show “a house called Kevans down a lane off the road from the Isle of Whithorn to Garlieston” and a “Kevan Burn…just west of the house…drained by Wigtown Bay at a small port called Port Allen.” Kevans or Kevands also turns up several times as a place name in the baptismal register for Sorbie Parish. (Nora Kevan, p. 5)

Although we are unable to confirm the use of Kevan as a surname in Galloway during the Mediaeval period, with the exception of Gilbert Cavan, we do know that the name was well-established by the early 17th century where it is found as Kevan or Keuan in the Kirkcudbright Sheriff Court Deeds from 1623 to 1700. (Nora Kevan, Kevan: A Small Clan, p. 59) and as Kevan, Cavens, and Caven in several testaments recorded at the Kirkcudbright Commissary Court:

William Caven, 19 April 1664 of Nether--Testament Dative & Inventory

Cavens, spouse of___Caven, mother of Jon and William Caven --19 April 1664

Janet Halliday 19 January 1672, Relict of William Kevand in Netherthrid, Testament Dative

Janet Cavens 2 Septemeber 1676 spouse to Johne Tait in Hallmyre--Testament and Latter Will

William Caven 22 December 1682

Christian Kevan 1685 spouse to Thomas McCreigh of Milthirds


1. Until the 20th century, married women in Scotland retained their maiden names. Therefore, William Cavan of Netherthrid, who died in 1664, had a wife named Janet Halliday (or Holliday) and two sons--Jon and William Caven. More research needs to be done to determine whether this son William was the William who died in 1682, the first William on the chart below, or another, as yet unidentified William Caven.

2. A Testament Dative indicates that the deceased died intestate or without a will,; the Testament Dative was drawn by the Court to confirm an Executor for the Estate.

Early parish records for Kirkcudbright, however, are no longer extant, making the Wigtown branch of the family much easier to follow, since the IGI includes extracted births, baptisms, and marriages from the Old Parochial registers of Wigtown. Nora Kevan’s book-- Kevan: A Small Clan--gives a more detailed look at this branch of the family.

The chart which follows traces the descendants of the first William Kevan’s grandson, Alexander Kevan, who was born in Kirkcudbright c 1725. Sources used include a chart prepared by John Kevan McDowell, author of the Carrick Gallovidian; a larger chart complied more recently by Ian Fraser, who descends from William Kevan born c 1765 in Kirkcudbright; Kevan: A Small Clan by Nora Kevan; and various court , census, birth, death, and other official records which are cited in the text.





William Kevan

Born c 1650


Married Margaret Carnochan

Resident of Stockin, Rerrick, Kirkcudbright, Scotland


1. William bc 1680 m Jean McKeand

2. Alexander b 1682

William participated in the Battle of Bothwell Brig in 1679 when Presbyterians were defeated by Royalist Troops and was outlawed 4 May 1684 by Proclamation of Charles II for allegiance to Presbyterianism (Source: Fugitive Roll of Stewartry, 1684.)


William Kevan

B 1680 Kirkcudbright


M Jean McKeand

R Penninghame, Wigtown

William, son of the first Wiliam Kevan, settled in Wigtown where many of his descendants may be found in the Old Parochial Records, most of which are included in the IGI. For more information on this line, see also Nora Kevan, Kevan: A Small Clan.

Issue: (from Penningham Parish Register)

1. John Kevan ch 20 April 1707

2. Jonet ch 2 Jan 1709 m Andrew Stewart 24 June 1735

3. William ch 4 Nov 1711

4. Alexander ch 4 27 Dec 1713 m Mary Heron 2 June 1741

5. Elizabeth ch 9 June 1719

6. Grissel ch 1 April 1722 m Michael Kevan 18 Nov 1746


Alexander Kevan

B 1682



R Kirkcudbright?


1. Alexander bc 1725, Kirkcudbright

The loss of early parish records for Kirkcudbright makes this branch of the family difficult to trace; however, John Kevan McDowell’s chart indicates that Alexander and his family left Scotland for the “Southern States of America” where sons Andrew and William can be traced in New York City and son Alexander in Williamsburg and Gloucester Co., VA.

Source: chart by John Kevan McDowell



Alexander Kevan

Bc 1725 Kirkcudbright, Scotland

D Before 1790 in New York City?


R Kirkcudbright

William and Andrew were naturalized in 1799. The fact that naturalisation was required indicates that the Kevans arrived after 1781, since before that data, the American colonies were officially ruled by Britain.

Issue: (Names from the 1827 will of Andrew Kevan of New York)

1. Peter bc 1757

[Ancestor of the Kevans of Bolton, Lancs., England]

2. Andrew bc 1757-60, Kirkcudbright, naturalized in NY District Court 7 May 1799 with his brother William. The fact that naturalisation was required indicates that the Kevans arrived after 1781, since before that data, the American colonies were officially ruled by Britain.

d 25 April 1827, New York City, m Jane or Jean Dill of Bloomsgrove, Orange Co, NY, 22 June 1806 & had a daughter Mary Kevan who married John M Bloodgood 13 Feb 1817--their daughter Mary Bloodgood died 2 Oct 1829 and sons William and John Bloodgood died after 1831 [No living descendants]

3. William b 1765, Kirkcudbright, 7 Dec 1847 m Eleanor Donnan of Schenectady, NY, d/o The Rev M, Donnan of Stoneykirk, Galloway & Miss Nunnaly?

[Ancestor of the Petersburg, VA. Kevans]

4. John [No issue--Andrew left $1000 each to brothers John and Peter and sister Nelly Fullerton and $1000 to the children of his brother Alexander Kevan decd. He also specified that if his brother John should die without issue, then his $1000 legacy was to be divided equally among the other four legatees. We know from the settlement papers for the Bolton branch, that the children of Joseph Kevan, son of Andrew’s brother Peter Kevan, were entitled to one half of a sum of $250, which indicates that John Kevan died without issue.]

5. James

6. Alexander died before 1825 (date of Andrew’s will) leaving children who were residual heirs in Andrew’s will

[Ancestor of the Gloucester Co., VA. Kevans]

7. Nelly m Alexander Fullerton





Peter Kevan--born in Kirkcudbright 1750’s or 1760’s

M Dolly____________


R Bolton Le Moors, England

Issue: (from Parish records for Dukes’ Alley Independent, Bolton Le Moors)

1. Mary Kevan b 18 Sept. 1797 Ch 22 Sept

2. John Kevan b 18 November ch 23 December 1799

3. Joseph Kevan b 7 December 1805 ch Feb 1806

We believe that Peter’s son John moved to Dublin, Ireland where his son William Kevan was born in 1825.


William Kevan

b 1825, Dublin

M Elizabeth Shields 22 April 1844, St. Peter’s Chapel, Liverpool, ENG.

R Liverpool and Tranmere

D 1899 Birkenhead, England


1. John b 1845 Liverpool --male line extinct

2. Catherine Ann b 1849 Liverpool

3. Ellen b 1851 Liverpool d 1855

4. Anthony b 1853 Tran mere m Alice Fitzpatrick & died in 1899 at Birkenhead

5. Hugh Vincent b 1855 Tranmere--living males from this branch

6. William Patrick b 11 Jan 1857, Tranmere--possible living male-line descendants

7. Daniel b 1859 Tranmere

9. Mary Elizabeth b 1864 Tramere

10. Joseph b 1865 Tranmere--this line has been tested


Hugh Vincent Kevan

b 1853 Tranmere

m Alice Fitzpatrick

D in 1899 at Birkenhead



William Patrick Kevan

b 11 Jan 1857, Tranmere

M Margaret Hope


1. Robert William Kevan b 1879 Tran mere m Marian O’Hara & had 1. Marion Marjorie; Marjorie; Dorothy F. Winfired F.; Robert Kevan b 1920; Wilfred G. Kevan b 1922; Norman Kevan

2. Eleanor Elizabeth Kevan

3. Joseph Clay Kevan

4. Ethel Alice Kevan

5. William Ernest Kevan



Daniel Kevan

b 1859 Tranmere


1. Daniel Kevan

2. George Anthony Kevan

3. Frederick Joseph Kevan

4. Winifred Margaret Kevan


Joseph Kevan

B 1865 Tanmere

M Annie Langley 1889




1, Eva Margaret Kevan

2. Annie Langley Kevan

3. Joseph Kevan

4. Harold Kevan b 19 August 1894 m Ada Evelyn Berry 9 August 1824, W. Derby, Liverpool

5. Wilfred Kevan

6. Daniel Kevan m Grace Griffith & had two children but their only son was killed in WW II



Andrew Kevan

bc 1757 in Kirkcudbright, naturalized in NY District Court 7 May 1799 with his brother William

m Jane or Jean Dill of Bloomsgrove, Orange Co, NY, 22 June 1806,

d 25 April 1827, New York City, m Jane or Jean Dill of Bloomsgrove, Orange Co, NY, 22 June 1806


1. Mary Kevan married John M Bloodgood 13 Feb 1817--their daughter Mary Bloodgood died 2 Oct 1829 and sons William and John Bloodgood died after 1831

Will of Andrew Kevan, Cordwainer of New York City, dated 19 May 1825

Wife Jane ½ of personal property and 1/3 of real estate in lieu of dower

Daughter Mary Bloodgood ½ personal property and 2/3 of real estate, etc., wife’s part to her if she survives wife

If she dies without issue, property to be divided as follows:

John Bloodgood $2000 if living

Brothers John Kevan $1000

Children of brother Alexander Kevan deceased or their heirs $1000

Children of brother Peter Kevan the same

Sister Nelly, wife of Alexander Fullerton or her heirs $1000

Brother James Kevan $1000 if living, if not to his children

Brother John Kevan “in case he shall died before the decease of my said wife and daughter leaving lawful issue living at the time of his death such issue shall take his said legacy but in case he shall die without lawful issue then his legacy to the families of my said brothers and sister to be divided in same manner”

If daughter dies without issue, remainder of estate (after legacies are paid) both real and personal to brother William Kevan & his heirs

If any dispute arises, three indifferent persons to be chosen to settle it, one by the legatee, one by executors, and one by the other two & their decision to be final

Executors brother William Kevan and friend Robert Burnett of Little Britain in Orange Co & Samuel Kevan of NYC, Slater

WIT: Wm W Fox, Robert D Weeks, & Peter Hattrick of NYC

Chancery Suits pertaining to the final settlement of Andrew Kevan’s estate.

Document # 1:

Ellen Kevan, one of the children of Joseph Kevan decd, who was a son of Peter Kevan decd, who resides in Bolton, sends greetings:

Whereas at a Surrogate Court held at New York on 12 Sept 1851, it was decreed, that the six children of Peter Kevan decd are entitled under the will of Andrew Kevan in equal shares to one equal half of a certain legacy of $1000 and also to the one equal half of a further sum of $250 & whereas at the time the said decree was made Ellen Kevan was an infant under 21 & whereas the said Ellen Kevan had since, on the 20th day of May last past, attained the age of 21 years, Now know that I, Ellen Kevan, appoint William Kevan of the City, Merchant, my lawful attorney to receive the said sums of money, etc.

29 June 1854 Ellen Kevan In presence of John Chippendale

Document # 2:

Surrogate Court, of New York: In the matter of the Petition of Robert R, Burnett & Samuel Kevan, Exors of Andrew Kevan decd--Order to pay Elizabeth Kevan her she heretofore paid into the court

Petition of Elizabeth Kevan of Bolton, England that under an order made 12Sept 1851 it was decreed that the six children of Joseph Kevan decd who was a son of Peter Kevan decd a brother of the said testator, to wit Peter Kevan, Ellen Kevan,

Elizabeth Kevan, James Kevan, John Kevan, and Jane Kevan, all of Bolton are entitled under the will in equal shares to a certain legacy of $1000 and also the one equal half of a further sum of $250 as in and by the said order

Petitioner has attained the age of 21 on 11 August 1856

Legacy deposited with the New York Life Insurance & Trust Co and still remains with the Co and a considerable amount of interest has accrued

William Kevan Att

At a surrogate Court held for the Co of New York on 26 Nov 1856

In the manner of the petition of Robert Burnett & Samuel Kevan, surviving executors of Andrew Kevan, decd

William Kevan of the City of New York, Merchant, attorney for the petition

Money to be paid Elizabeth Kevan in full discharge of the state of Andrew Kevan decd.

NOTE: These papers show that the children of Joseph Kevan received equal shares of one-half of the legacy devised by Andrew Kevan to his brother Peter Kevan. Therefore, Peter Kevan must have had two children who were entitled to divide his inheritance. We know that one of them was Joseph Kevan whose six children received equal shares of his part after his death., and we presume that the other was Joseph’s elder son John Kevan, although additional research remains to be done to prove that Peter’s daughter Mary Kevan died without issue and that there were no other siblings or their issue alive when distributions from Andrew’s estate were made.


William Kevan

B 1765 Kirkcudbright, Scotland

D 7 December 1847, New York City

M Eleanor Donnan of Schenectady, NY, d/o the Rev. Mr. Donnan of Stoneykirk, Galloway & Miss Nunnally, 1801

R 604 Broadway, NYC


1. Andrew b 1804 NYC m Ann Clark d/o Wm Clark in Petersburg, VA by c 1835

2. Alexander b 1806 NYC died suddenly 7 April 1846 & never married

3. William b Oct 1814, 310 Pearl Street NCY, d age 94 on 10 Sept 1907 at Lovat, Hastings-on-Hudson [no issue]

4. John b 1816 NYC ,m Mary Elliott d/o Henry Elliott in Petersburg by 1850

5. Jane m Thomas Fraser of NYC res. 20 W 22nd Street

6. Sarah Grace Kevan d 1931

7. Eleanor m Joseph A. Major of Fondas Buch, Co. Fulton, NY

8. Daughter m Miller: Issue: Eleanor K. Miller & William P. Miller under 21 in 1848 (parents dead)

9. Peter C. Kevan of MacKinac, Michigan





Andrew Kevan of Petersburg, VA.

B 16 Jan 1804 NYC

M Ann Clark of Petersburg by c 1835

D 11 April 1888, Petersburg, VA

Issue: (born in Petersburg, VA)

1. Eleanor Ann b 21 June 1836 m James Fraser 12 May 1859 d 11 Feb 1919, NYC bur Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Tarrytown, NY

2. Andrew b 3 Dec 1838 bur 9 July 1852 Blandford Cemetery, Petersburg

3. William (Henry or Clarke?) b 19 Nov 1840 d 25 Sept 1889

4. Walter bc 1842 d 12 Jan 1865, bur 14th at Blandford m Fannie Collier d/o RR Collier of Petersburg 14 Dec 1864

5. Infant daughter b 18 June 1844 bur 23 June 1844 Blandford

6. Alice b 6 Sept 1845 bur 1931 Blandford m Robert O Epes s/o Dr JS Epes of Prince George 10 March 1870

7. Alexander b 20 Dec 1846 bur 3 Aug 1857 Blandford

8. Stillborn son 3 July 1848

9. S. Kevan bc1849

10. Grace b 22 Oct 1849 bur 10 May 1851 Blandford

11. Ann Grace b 28 Aug 1851 m J William Friend 25 Nov 1896

1840 Census, Dinwiddie Co, p. 79 Andrew Kevan of Petersburg had 3 male slaves and 4 female slaves.

1850 Census, Petersburg, VA, p. 432-- Andrew Kevan, 46, was a merchant, with $20,000 in real estate


John Kevan of Petersburg

B 1816 NYC

M Mary Elliott d/o Henry Elliott (buried at Blandford 27 Dec 1845)


R living in Petersburg by 1850

1850 Dinwiddie Census, p. 349

John Kevan merchant 34 born in NYC

Real estate $12,500

Living in household of Pleasant C. Osborne 45, cashier in bank, born in New York, $75,000 real estate

Also Carter Osborne 17 born in VA



All available evidence links this branch of the family to the Kevans of Petersburg, VA, and New York City:

1. The will of Andrew Kevan will shows that he had a brother Alexander Kevan who was dead by May 1825 and that Alexander had children living in 1825. We know from Gloucester Court records, that Alexander Kevan was dead by 1822 and that he had three minor children living in Gloucester Co at that time: Alexander Kevan, John William Kevan (father of John Richard Cavan, Sr.) and a daughter Frances Kevan.

2.John Richard Cavan Jr. said that the Kevans of Petersburg were related to the Gloucester family and that the spelling of the name changed from Kevan to Cavan following a disagreement about money. Harvey Cavan (son of an older half brother of John R. Cavan, Jr.) had also heard this story but thought that the money came from Scotland.

3. The change in spelling, which occurred c 1860, is well documented. The name is spelled Kevan in Gloucester until at least 1860. By 1870, when John Richard Kevan and his brother Alexander Thomas Kevan were living in West Point, both were using the form Cavan.

4. The court papers cited above regarding payment of residual legacies to heirs who were just coming of age in the 1850’s coincides roughly with the change in the way the Gloucester family spelled its name and appears to support the story that this change was related to a dispute about money. Although that money came from New York rather than Scotland, it did belong to a native of Kirkcudbright who settled in New York as a naturalized American citizen.

5. Also worth noting is that Alexander Thomas Kevan married Sally Vaden from Chesterfield in 1871. The Cavans, who were merchants in West Point, would probably have had business connections in Petersburg and may have heard something about their inheritance from those connections.


Alexander Kevan (son of Alexander Kevan bc 1725, Kirkcudbright)

Bc 1765 or before in Kirkcudbright, Scotland ?

M 1st Felix Scouvemont, d/o Nicholas Scouvemont, Bond dated 5 Oct 1786

2nd Ann?, possibly Ann Thruston

Dc 1815? And before , Gloucester Co., VA.

R Williamsburg, VA, later Gloucester Co., VA.


1. Alexander M. Kevan married Ann Purcell of Gloucester Co., and died before 1840 in Gloucester Co., VA

2. John William Kevan bc 1814, Gloucester Co., VA; married Frances Moore of Gloucester Co., VA. Died January 1850, Gloucester Co., VA.

3. Frances Thruston Kevan bc 1810, Gloucester Co., VA.?; m Francis Whiting Cooke, son of Col. Mordecai Cooke of The Cedars, Gloucester Co, VA. D before 1850 (not on census) (Sources: Stella Pickett Hardy, Colonial Families of the Southern States of America, p. 166ff and J. Montgomery Seaver, Cooke Family Records)

Alexander Kevan first appears in the records of York Co., VA. when he married Felix Scouvemont, daughter of Nicholas Scouvemont in 1786.

By 1788, if not before, he was living in Williamsburg and is found on the James City Tax List for the city, dated March, 1788, when he was charged with himself and two blacks above 16 years.

In June, 1788 Alexander Kevan purchased a house on Nicholson Street in Williamsburg (Lot #271) from his father-in-law Nicholas Scouvemont--deed witnessed by Dr. John M. Galt and his kinsman Alexander Galt.

Between 1788 and 1794 Alexander Kevan was party to a number of law suits brought in York Co, which indicate that he was a merchant and assignee of Phillip Moody, trading as Alexander Kevan & Company.

The last known suit dates to March, 1794, shortly after which Alexander Kevan moved to Gloucester Co., where he appears on Personal Property Tax Lists from 1795 to 1815. Alexander was dead before October 1821 when his sons Alexander M. Kevan, John William Kevan were placed under the guardianship of Robert Stubblefield in October, 1821, bond $1000 (Gloucester Co. Minute Book 1820-21, p. 429) and his daughter Frances T. Kevan was placed in the guardianship of Richard M. Thornton, bond $1000. (Gloucester Co. Minute Book 1822-25, p. 436)

In 1823 Ann Kevan, who may have been Alexander’s widow, was charged with 2A of forest land, 3 miles south of the Court House, transferred to her by Jacob Krumer or Crumer, formerly belonging to H. Billups


Alexander M. Kevan

bc 1812 (first appears on Personal Property Tax Roll in 1833)

m Ann Purcell, d/o Thomas Purcell of Gloucester

d before 1840?

r Gloucester Co., VA.

Gloucester Co Land Tax 1840-48

Alexander Kevan (life) 30A forest e miles south of courthouse, dower land allotted Kevan’s wife from Thomas Purcell’s estate (1841), transferred from Tho. M Stubblefield in 1840)--Last appears in 1848, but the listing may have been for his widow or children and does not necessarily indicate that Alexander himself was still alive

1840 Gloucester Census, p. 356 lists Alexander Kevan, but all males in the household are minors; 1 male 10-14, 1 male 15-19, 2 females 5-9, and a female 30-39

The last record indicating that Alexander Kevan was still living dates to May, 1837 (Gloucester Co. Surveyors’ Book 1813-1849, p. 159)


John William Kevan

Bc 1814 Gloucester Co., VA

M Mary Frances Moore

D January 1850, Gloucester Co, VA.

R Gloucester Co., VA


1. William Kevan bc 1836

2. Alexander Thomas Kevan bc 1838 died before August 1879, West Point, VA., m Sally Branch Vaden of Chesterfield Co. , 27 February 1871 at the West Point Hotel, (The Daily Courier, 17 March 1871, p.2, col. 3)

3. John Richard Kevan, b 1 September 1842 d 17 July 1902 West

Married 1st Mary C. Smithers, 17 February 1870, Gloucester Co., VA.

2nd Fannie Keezee Smith

M 3rd Rosa Lee Spencer, 10 Nov, 1892, King & Queen Co., VA.

4. James? Frank[lin?] Kevan bc 1846, killed in the Civil War

5. Mary Louisa Kevan born about 13 Sept 1850 [ as reported on 1850 census], m Thomas Henry Dunston 17 Oct. 1869

First appears on Gloucester Personal Property Tax 6 April 1835 with 2 slaves above 16, a horse, gig, and harness

His estate is listed in 1850

1850 Mortality schedule shows that he died of pleurisy in January, 1850

Gloucester Co 1850 Census, p. 80, 20 September 1850, shows the Kevan family living with Fanny Kevan’s brother Richard Moore shortly after the death of her husband.

Frances Kevan born VA 35

William T. Kevan born VA age 14

Thomas Kevan born Va age 12

John R. Kevan born VA age 7

Frank Kevan born VA age 4

Mary l. Kevan born Va 1 week old

William and Thomas Kevan attended school within the year


John Richard Kevan aka Cavan

Born 1 September 1842, Gloucester Co, VA

Married 1st Mary C. Smithers, 17 February 1870, Gloucester Co., VA.

2nd Fannie Keezee Smith

3rd Rosa Lee Spencer, 10 Nov, 1892, King & Queen Co., VA.

D 17 July 1902, West Point, VA.

R Gloucester Co, before the Civil War, West Point from c 1870

Issue by first wife:

1. Frances Cavan born 1871, m Capt. Lewis Mulford of West Point

2. William Franklin Cavan b 1876; married Ida C._____; moved to Philadelphia, PA.--had a daughter named Mildred M bc 1908 and sons Harry Frank Cavan b December 1900 d December, 1978, Morton, Rutledge, Del., PA and Ernest M. Cavan b 1905 [1910, 1920, 1930 Census PA]

Harry F. Cavan had a son Stuart Cavan who lived in Philadelphia and was dead by c 1990.

Issue by second wife: (This branch survives in the male line.)

1. Richard Harvey Cavan--died at age 56, leaving 5 sons--Richard Harvey Jr. (no issue), Louis Cavan; Hunter Cavan;Ernest Cavan, and William Cavan; and two daughters Mrs. J.E. Lyer and Mrs. A.F. Hancock

2. Ernest Marvin Cavan born May 1886, [King William Co. Births, p. 168]--had two daughters

3. Mary Anderson Cavan d 1886, buried with her mother at Sunny Slope Cemetery, West Point, Va.

Issue by third wife: (This branch is extinct in the male line.)

1. Thomas Boggs Cavan born 25 Aug 1893in West Point, m Edith Myers, d 19 July 1924, Richmond, VA. and had a daughter Rose Margaret Cavan (1922-99) who married Van Pelt and had Judith Lee Van Pelt and Thomas Van Pelt

2. John Richard Cavan born 21 February 1895 West Point, m Emma Elizabeth Lindsey 18 May 1918, Washington, DC. D 21 December 1957, Clifton Forge, VA.--had two daughters

3. Rudolph Lee Cavan m Thelma Gregory of King William Co died 27 Aug 1973, Richmond, VA. and had two daughters

4. Ruth Spencer Cavan b 25 Sept 1898 d 9 Oct 1899, West Point, buried at Sunny Slope

5. Robert Spencer Cavan b 18 Nov. 1902, West Point, d 8 June 1920, Richmond, VA.--died young without issue


A. Tombstone of John Richard Cavan--Sunny Slope Cemetery, West Point, VA.

B. News stories on death of J.R. Cavan--The Richmond Dispatch, July 18, 1902, p. 5 and July 19, 1902, p. 3

C. Tombstone of Rosa Cavan Schools--Sunny Slope Cemetery: (Note: she married 2nd John C. Schools)

D. Death Certificate of Rosa Cavan Schools # 3378

E. Obituary of Rosa Cavan Schools, The Richmond Times-Dispatch, February 7, 1927, p. 12

F. 1870 King and Queen Co. Census, p. 387

G. King and Queen Co. VA Marriages 1891-1935, p. 192



Alexander L, Wiatt, 26th VA Infantry, p. 63:

John R. Cavan age 18 oysterman enlisted 4/20/1861 at Belle Roi into Company A

Detailed to work at Brigade Hospital 5/64

Captured near Petersburg

POW Pt. Lookout, Md & Elmira, NY

Took oath 6/14/65 and was released

Fair complexion, auburn hair, blue eyes, 5’8”, Residence Gloucester Point

His brother Alexander Thomas enlisted at Belle Roi on the same day, also in Company A and was captured near Petersburg on 6/15/64

POW Pt. Lookout, Md & Elmira, NY

Took oath 6/14/65 and was released

Fair complexion, blue eyes, 5ft. 6 ¾ in.

Another entry describes Thomas Kevan as 22, sailor

p. 99--Frank Cavan was also in Company A 5th VA Infantry and was killed by the enemy at Gloucester

John Richard Cavan was a prominent citizen in West Point. He owned a block in the town with houses and a business and was a trustee of the Methodist Episcopal Church (King William Co Record Book 18, pt 1. P. 239, 16 July 1879 names JR Cavan and others as Trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church)



































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