By Trip Wiggins
Rev. Rodham Kenner
28 Sep 1707/Northumberland Co., VA – 1734/1735
Second St. George’s Rector
At St George’s: Mar 1729 – Oct 1730 (continued as “supply” or temporary until 1733)>
With Rev. Staige’s departure in the fall of 1728 the vestry received a request from the Rev. Lawrence DeButts of Westmoreland County – but he was not selected. That fell to Rev. Rodham Kenner who started at St. George’s in March 1729.
He was born at Cherry Point, Northumberland County, Virginia, on September 28, 1707. He attended the University of Glasgow and he returned to his native Virginia with only deacon’s orders in 1729. (You had to be 21 to receive Priest orders.)
During his short tenure, about the only significant event was the 1729 purchase of 544 acres for the glebe on the south side of the Po, about a mile above the falls of that river close to Larkin Chew’s home and the erection of a house 24 by 48 feet on that land by William Johnson. The rector now had a glebe. Chew was a member of the vestry, a Spotsylvania county Justice, and well on his way to becoming one of the leaders of the county.
In 1730 with a swelling of the Spotsylvania population it was becoming difficult for the minister to attend to all his parishoners. Fully one-third of the population lay west of Wilderness Run. That year the far western chapels of Forks and Mountain and the Germanna Church were transferred, following approval by the House of Burgesses, to the newly-formed St. Marks Parish encompassing the soon-to-be-created Culpeper County. Interestingly, unknown arsonists burned down the church at Spotswood’s Germanna in 1732 which was never rebuilt.
On a personal note, on 1 Jun 1730, Rev. Kenner married Judith Beverley (dau. Of Robert B Beverley) in Spotyslvania County (presumably at the Mattapony or Rappahannock Church).
In October of 1730 Rev. Kenner resigned from the parish and traveled back to England to obtain his priestly orders. On his return he acted as a supply (temporary) priest for St George’s three churches on and off for the next two years until the arrival of our third rector, Rev. Patrick Henry. During the interim between Rev. Kenner and Rev. Henry, the parish also utilized the services of Rev. Francis Peart as a supply clergy.
Dr. James Blair, Commissary to the Bishop of London and President of William & Mary College, referred to him as “a very good man,” and in March 1734/35, he was reported as dead or dying. He was not yet 30.
His will lists wife Judith as Executor. It was written by Benjamin Robinson. Half of estate went to Judith; half to their son, George. Judith later married Thomas Roy of Caroline County.
His burial location is unknown.
Crozier, William A. Virginia County Records: Vol 1, Spotsylvania (1905)
Quenzel, Carrol. The History and Background of St George’s Episcopal Church Fredericksburg, Virginia (1951)
Slaughter, Rev. Philip. A History of St George’s Parish (1847)
St. George’s Vestry Minutes
Perry, William Stevens. Historical Papers Relating to the Church in Virginia
Fall, Ralph. History of Caroline County, Virginia (1975)
Kenner Family. William & Mary Quarterly, Vol 9, No. 3 (Jan 1901)
Kenner Family. William & Mary Quarterly, Vol 14, No. 6 (Jan 1906)