WASHINGTON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY (Washington County, Utah)
SCIPIO AFRICANUS KENNER (aka S.A. KENNER)
(telegraph operator, newspaper editor, lawyer, politician)
BIOGRAPHYScipio Africanus Kenner was born May 14, 18461 in Saint Francisville, Clark County, Missouri. He was named after the Roman general who defeated Hannibal in the Second Punic War, but he usually went by the name, S.A. Kenner. His mother died in 1855 when he was nine years old. His father remarried Elizabeth Elen Townsend, but lost her within two years (probably to childbirth). His father was intent on raising a regiment for the Confederate Army, but was dissuaded from this purpose by the pleadings of his mother, a devout and zealous Mormon. The family moved to Keokuk, Iowa, where Scipio's father was station agent.
The little family of father and four children immigrated west in 1860, departing from Florence, Nebraska on May 30, 1860. They traveled with the Warren Walling Company and arrived in Salt Lake Valley on August 9, 1860. Scipio's father remarried again to Caroline Schneebeli on February 28, 1863 and had six more children.
Scipio joined the Mormon Church in 1865. He learned telegraphy and in 1866 he became the telegraph operator in Beaver.
He resigned as telegraph operator in Beaver in 1868 and headed south to Dixie, where he had an aunt and uncle living. He worked as the printer of Our Dixie Times, but "deserted" them two months later. He also printed The Mineral Cactus, one of the three newspapers in St George. Along the way, he played on the theatrical stage, hauled wood, herded sheep, drove stock, handled teams, conducted a gymnasium, prospected the mountains, worked at mining, and started & stopped several papers and worked on many more.
Scipio married Isabella Gray Park in 1870 or 1871 in Salt Lake City.
In 1877, Scipio was admitted to the bar of the Utah Supreme Court. He was an attorney and counselor at law, as well as the editor of a newspaper at Leeds.
In 1882, he was admitted to the bar of the Second District and moved south, where he was the editor of the Silver Reef Miner for two years. He was a family friend and former employee of Joseph Ellis Johnson, which is probably how he came to be involved with the Miner.
In poor health for several months, Scipio was seriously ill from cancer of the stomach for two weeks before his death. He died March 15, 1913 in Salt Lake City and was buried there.
After Scipio's death, Isabella lived with her son and daughter in Salt Lake City. She died on June 23, 1932 in Salt Lake City and was buried there.
1 Scipio's death certificate, gravestones, and many of the histories show him born in 1852, but that appears to be incorrect - that would not be consistent with the birth order of his siblings and would make him too young for other events in his early life.
REFERENCESWikipedia article on S. A. Kenner
Scipio Africanus Kenner
A research report by Elaine Young, PhD.
Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel 1847 -1868 entry for Scipio Africanus Kenner
FamilySearch memories for Scipio Africanus Kenner
Scipio A Pioneer Telegrapher
Scipio Africanus Kenner
Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia: A Compilation of Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men
and Women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Volume 2, pp. 278-280
by Andrew Jenson
Geni entry for Scipio Africanus Kenner
Death certificate for Scipio A. Kenner
Find-A-Grave entry for Scipio Africanus "S.A." Kenner
Find-A-Grave entry for Isabella Gray Park Kenner
Ancestry.com entry for Foster Ray Kenner
Find-A-Grave entry for Dr Foster Ray Kenner