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Name:    Kearny, Stephen Watts
Profession:  Military
Born/Started:     Aug. 30, 1794
Died/Ended:     Oct. 31, 1848
Description:    Stephen Watts Kearny was the youngest of 14 children born on his family’s estate in Newark, NJ. After joining the military and being promoted to major, he was sent to Fort Bellefontaine near St. Louis. He was then put in charge of the construction of a new army post at Jefferson Barracks.

As Jefferson Barracks´ first commander, he supervised the construction of several forts and barracks throughout the Midwest and the West.

In 1830 Kearny returned to Jefferson Barracks and married William Clark’s stepdaughter, Mary, with whom he had 11 children. In 1833, he was appointed lieutenant colonel of the First Dragons, the first cavalry unit of the United States Army, which earned him the nickname of “Father of the U.S. Calvary.”

He eventually became a general and participated in the Mexican War. He spent several years in California building military posts and training soldiers. Two of his lieutenants were William Tecumseh Sherman and Ulysses S. Grant. While in Mexico he contracted a disease and died one month after President James Polk commissioned him as a major general.

He is buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery. [Final Resting Place, p. 42]

Structures & Places
Jefferson Barracks

Final Resting Place-The Lives and Deaths of Famous St. Louisians

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Stephen Watts Kearny



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