|Enterprise 15 Jan 1915|
In the demise of Alvan McKenney which occurred at the family home in this city on last Sunday, January 10th, at 8:30 P.M., society is deprived of the companionship and counsel of a warm heart and wise head – one of God’s elect-his relatives of a valued and loved adviser, the needy and afflicted of a liberal, unostentatious, benefactor, and his fond and loving wife of an affectionate husband and protector, her constant and ever loyal, faithful lover.
He had been in poor health for several years but was able to attend to his business affairs, come and go, until something more than a year ago, since which time he has been confined to his home, the victim of an insidious disease which sapped his physical vitality until the last spark ebbed away.
Deceased was a native of Maine, the mother of stalwart sons, born at Saco, in that state, April 6th, 1838. He came west to Nebraska and Washington county to visit his brothers, Maurice and Wilbur, who had preceded him in coming by a few years, in 1874 and liked the country and prospects so well that he purchased land, adjoining that previously purchased and occupied by his brothers, on the bottom, the place now occupied by John Binnell, two miles northeast of town. He remained here for nearly a year, teaching a term of school at Arizona, east of Tekamah, when he returned to Maine and on February 26th, the following year, 1875, married his first and only love, Miss Ellen Waterhouse. To this union one only child was born, a daughter, christened Celia, who was taken from them by death when three years of age. Soon after marriage he took employment at Boston in the freight department of the Boston and Maine railroad and shortly was given charge of the Boston freight depot of the road, which position he held for 18 years when he resigned and came west again something over 20 years ago, locating on the land previously purchased, where he remained till about 10 years ago when he rented the farm and moved to Blair, residing here since.
Alvan McKenney was a strong man intellectually, a great reader and deep thinker, a student of economic conditions, ably informed on all leading subjects of concern to humanity, unassuming and retiring in his manner and habits, only those who knew him intimately could estimate him at his true worth.
Sometime after moving to Blair he was persuaded to serve upon the city council during the troublous times when the liquor question was the dominating factor in the city management. Upon this question he took a firm stand and announced his position, which he maintained throughout, dismissing the subject from his mind and looking about the city to discover an opportunity to better conditions, the then neglected, unsightly condition of the cemetery, the approaches to it, means of ingress and egress, attracted his notice and he set heroically and energetically about to make a radical improvement in existing conditions. He proposed the organization of a cemetery association and was the chief instrumentality in having a cement walk built from the city, as also in planting the row of trees along the walk, and in many other ways contributed toward the adornment of the city which is evermore to be his eternal home, where his house of clay will be kept green for generations by kind hands and loving hearts bearing a remembrance of the interest and activities which he manifested in the beatification of this eternal city.
Some years ago he acquired the old family homestead, a Maine farm, wher he was born and reared, and a couple of years ago, impelled by a sentiment of love for the old home, more than hope or expectation of financial returns, spent the summer there, repairing and renovating the buildings and improvements. During all his years residence in the west he never quite abandoned a desire to, sometime, return there and end his days in the home in which he was born, but, as was always his habit through his married life, yielded to the preferences of his wife, who was better satisfied in her Nebraska home. His brothers, Maurice and Wilbur, prominent in the early days here, died a number of years ago, the last named at his home in Portland, Maine. Two sisters, Mrs. Fannie Moulton, of Gorham, and Mrs. Ana Milliken, of Saco, Maine, and a younger brother, Orin, who resides in Chicago, survive him. A widowed and only sister and living relative of Mrs. McKenney’s, Mrs. A. P. Flye, has made her home with the family since the death of her husband a few years ago and is her inseparable companion and comforter in her bereavement.
The funeral service was held at the family home on Wednesday, at two o’clock P.M. Rev. Dr. Lewis, the Methodist clergyman, conducting the exercises, and was attended by many friends of the family. The music was supplied by Messrs. F. H. Claridge and Asa Dixon Jr. and Misses Mary Cook and Gertrude and Ethel Mead. The casket was banked with beautiful flowers, sent in by friends, the contribution from the Cemetery Association being most elaborate and beautiful. The Pall-Bearers were Messrs. A. C. Jones, Paul Peterson, John A. Rhoades, W. P. Sampson, John F. White and F. H. Claridge.
The remains were buried on a lot, selected and marked by deceased in the Blair cemetery during his activities as a councilman, engaged in his labor of love in beautifying the city of the dead.
Manifold condolences are tendered the bereaved widow and relatives in their affliction.
Article #2 Pilot
Alvan McKenney died at his home in North Blair at 7:30 Sunday evening of pernicious anemia, having been sick for over a year, though he was up every day but the last one. Sunday morning he was too weak to get up so Mrs. McKenney served him his breakfast in bed for the first time. Shortly after noon he became unconscious and died peacefully at the close of a beautiful Sabbath day. The funeral is to be held at the house at 2 o’clock today and interment will be made in the Blair cemetery. While Mr. McKenney was on the city council he took a great interest in the movement to beautify the cemetery and was active in helping to organize the Cemetery Association. He also helped raise the funds for planting the row of trees from the city out to the cemetery and was very proud of them, wishing last summer he was able to go out and trim them up as they should be. All unknown to his wife he selected a lot, near the old soldier’s mound, and put a marker on it where he wished to be laid to rest when his turn should come. There his body will be placed by gentle hands this afternoon and the spot will be kept green by the Cemetery Association for many years in his memory. Mr. McKenney was born in Saco, Me., April 6th, 1838, and would therefore have been 77 years of age had he lived to that date this year. In 1874 he came to this county and bought the farm up on the bottom now owned and occupied by John Binnell. He taught one term of school in the Arizona district in Burt county and then returned to eh old home in Maine, where he was married to Miss Ellen Waterhouse, Feb. 26th, 1875 An only daughter, Celia, died when she was but three years old, and much of the heart’s love of her parents has lain with the little body away back in the pine woods of old Maine for all these years. For eighteen years they lived in Boston, where Mr. McKenney was clerk in the office of the Boston & Maine Ry. Co. Twenty years ago they came and settled on the farm and lived there for ten years, the past ten years being spent in the house on Park street where death found Mr. McKenney last Sunday evening. Besides the wife he leaves one brother, Orin, of Chicago, and two sisters, Mrs. Ana Milliken, of Saco, Me., and Mrs. Fannie Moulton, of Gorham, Me. An unmarried sister, Olive, died at the old home about a year ago, and Morris and Wilbur, who lived in this county for many years, died several years ago. An only sister, Mrs. A. P. Fly, has been making her home with Mrs. McKenney for some years, and they will continue to make their home together in this city. They have the sympathy of the entire community in these days of deepest sorrow.
Note: He is buried in Block: 14 Lot: 1 Grave: 1 in the Blair Cemetery; Find A Grave Memorial# 117241230
~~~ Obituary courtesy of the Washington County Genealogical Society. Newspaper clippings on file in the Blair Public Library at Blair, Nebraska.~~~