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John Hubert Keon was born in 1837 at Roscommon, Ireland. Almost nothing is known regarding Keon’s life prior to his enlistment in the Confederate Army, except the year he was born and where he came from. It was believed his father’s name was Ferdinand, his mothers, Margaret. We do know his adopted home after migrating to America was in the State of Kentucky. As such, having planted his roots in a southern state and having friends and ties there, when the “War Between the States” erupted and northern troops illegally invaded the south in opposition to the U.S. Congress and the Constitution, he chose to join and fight for his home and his friends liberties. According to regimental rosters, a report of the Adjutant General for the State of Kentucky and his conscription records, John Hubert Keon enlisted in the Confederate Army as a private in Company D, 3rd Kentucky Mounted Infantry Regiment at Camp Boone, Tennessee on July 5, 1861; serving as a company clerk. His enlistment records show he was due a $50 bounty in December for enlistment and was later promoted to Third Lieutenant, shown  listed on one Company D roster as a Third Lieutenant, before being promoted on up the line in rank.  He was later promoted to Second Lieutenant on September 25, 1863, receiving $8.00 per month in pay, and when he surrendered he did so as a 1st Lieutenant. 

The 3rd Kentucky Mounted Infantry Regiment was organized on or about July 20, 1861at Camp Boone, Montgomery County, Tennessee; with Lloyd Tilghman serving as Colonel of the Regiment. Once organized, the regiment left Bowling Green to engage Union forces at Shiloh, Corinth, in the Vicksburg Campaign, at Fort Pillow, Brice’s Crossroads and in Hood’s Nashville Campaign. The Regiment was mounted and continually engaging the enemy, until it surrendered on May 16, 1865.

While serving in the capacity of a Lieutenant, Keon was appointed to the general staff of Brigadier General Hylan B. Lyon, as Assistant Inspector General. Brigadier-General H. B. Lyon once offered his thanks, in a report in the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, relating to his expedition through Kentucky, Tennessee and northern Alabama from November 1864, through early January 1865; to Lieutenant Hubert Keon, Acting Assistant Inspector-General and other officers for services performed.  Some of the principal events included skirmishes at Brig Creek, Tennessee; Kingsport, Tennessee; Abingdon, Virginia; Glade Springs, Virginia; capture of Wytheville and Leak Mines, Virginia; Skirmish near Mount Airy and Marion Airky, Virginia; the capture and destruction of salt works at Saltville, Viginia and others.

He apparently was captured at some point because on April 26, 1865 John Keon was paroled at Macon, Georgia as 1st. Lieutenant John Keon and Acting Assistant Inspector General of the 3rd and 7th Regiments of Kentucky Mounted Infantry. He officially surrendered on May 16, 1865 at Columbus, Mississippi. In doing so he was required to sign two parole documents; one on April 26, 1865 and another on May 16, 1865; document, No. 1182, as Major and Assistant Inspector General, Kentucky Brigade and as 1st Lieutenant Acting Assistant Inspector General, Kentucky Brigade. His declaration stated;

“I the undersigned, Prisoner of War, belonging to the Army of the Department of Alabama, Mississippi and East Louisiana, having been surrendered by Lieut. Gen. R. Taylor, C.S.A., Commanding said Department, to Maj. Gen. E.R.S. Canby, U.S.A., Commanding Army and Division of West Mississippi, do hereby give my solemn parole of honor, that I will not hereafter serve in the Armies of the Confederate States, or in any military capacity whatever, against the United States of America, or render aid to the enemies of the later until properly exchanged in such manner as shall be mutually approved by the respective authorities.”

In 1879 John Hubert Keon followed family members to what was to be his new country; Australia. His brother, John Plunket Keon had arrived in Australia in 1845 and was then a New South Wales Customs Officer, a Police Magistrate, a Wool Inspector and held various other governmental jobs. His uncle, on his mother’s side of the family, John Hubert Plunket, had been the first Attorney General of New South Wales. Upon arriving in Australia, John eventually settled down in Eden, New South Wales, where he made his home. The Eden Electoral Roll reveals he was at Eden in 1878 and the 1878-79 and the 1882-83 Electoral Rolls show a John Hubert Keon listed. He worked for many years an agent of the Illawarra Company.  John remained a bachelor throughout his life and the rolls reveal no marriage or registration of children being born to John Hubert Keon in New South Wales.  John died at the age of 80 at his residence at Waringah, Eden, New South Wales on December 3, 1917.

John Hubert Keon was buried on December 5, 1917 in the R.C. section of Eden Cemetery. Being a Catholic, his minister was William J. Stevens. Monument inscriptions reveal that John Hubert Keon's headstone was erected by Rebecaa M. Keon.  Rebecca Mary Keon is shown in the Eden Monaro Electoral Rolls up until 1925 but then she disappears. 

The Eden Courthouse Burial Index of 1856 to 1918 reveals John H. Keon did have family members living in the area including; 

George Plunket Keon, his brother who was born at Mt. Plunkett, Roscommon, Ireland. He died on June 20, 1899 at Eden at 82 years of age. His occupation was that of a retired Police Magistrate, a resident of NSW for 52 years  and he was buried on June 22, 1899 in R.C. section Eden Cemetery. His parents were Ferdinand & Margaret Keon. George was married and had children in Ireland.

 Rebecca Keon, a sister-in-law was married to George Plunket, and was born Ireland. She died at 60 years of age on April 4, 1880 at Eden and buried at Eden. Her parents were James O. & Anastasia.

Anastasia Mary Keon,  a niece was born in Galway, Ireland and died at 74 years of age on June 12, 1917 at Eden, and was buried on June 13, 1917 in R.C. section Eden Cemetery. Parents were George P. & Rebecca.

Ferdinand James Keon, a nephew was born at Carrighan, Shannon, County, Leitrim, Irelandand, working as a Clerk,  died at 66 years of age on December 20, 1909 at Pambula Cottage Hospital and was buried on December 22, 1909 in R.C. section Eden Cemetery. Parents were George P. & Rebecca. James moved to the Kiama district and had at least 13 children while living there.

Ellen E. Keon, a sister who  died in 1905 at Burwood, and a brother,

Edward P. Keon who died in 1912 at Burwood.  Parents were Ferdinand & Margaret.


“Dyer’s Compendium of the War of the Rebellion; Civil War Units”, Frederick H. Dyer

 Eden Courthouse Burial Index, 1856 – 1918

 “Historical Sketch and Roster Kentucky Units”, The Confederate Regimental History Series

“Histories of the 3rd, 7th, 8th and 12th Kentucky”, Henry George

 National Archives, Washington, D.C.

New South Wales newspaper Obituary, December 3, 1917

 “Official Records of the Rebellion”, Govt. Print. Off., Washington

 Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kentucky, 1861 - 1865. Frankfort, Ky., 1866

 Robert Gray, Sons of Confederate Veterans

 Royal Australian Historical Society Library, Sydney, NSW

 “Units of the Confederate Army”, Joseph Crute


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