History of Virginia - Kendall P. Birckhead

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Kendall P. Birckhead

KENDALL P. BIRCKHEAD has devoted the years since he left college to the cause of education, has been identified with several public school systems, and is now principal of schools at Abingdon, one of the popular citizens of that old and cultured community.

The Birckhead family is of English origin and settled in Maryland about the time Lord Baltimore planted his colony there. They were members of the established Church of England or Episcopalians. The principal seat of the Birckheads in Virginia is Morven Farm in Albemarle County. The founder of this fine country estate was Edward F. Birckhead, who was born in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. He acquired a large tract of land in Albemarle County, and developed an extensive plantation, where he lived until his death. His son, Thomas Birckhead, succeeded to the ownership of Morven, and conducted his planting operations on a large scale, employing many shaves. He was born in Morven in 1789 and died there, a comparatively young man, in 1834. His wife was Mildred Ferneyhough, a native of Albemarle County, who also died at Morven. Their son, Edward H. Birckhead, grandfather of Kendall P., was born at Morven, June 24, 1820, and lived there all his life, passing away at the old estate in July, 1907, at the venerable age of eight-seven. While he operated Morven as a farm and plantation, his chief vocation was inedicine, and he was one of the ablest physicians of Albemarle County. he graduated in medicine from the University of Pennsylvania. Doctor Birckhead married Cornelia Graves, who was born at Solitude Farm in Madison County in 1826 and died at Morven in 1896. They reared a large family of three sons and nine daughters, the five now living being: Miss Nellie R., of Morven; Thea, who is proprietor of Rockland Farm in Albemarle County; Miss Mollie E., at Morven Annie, wife of Charles P. Garth, a farmer at Proffit in Albemarle County; and Robert G., who operates Morven Farm.

Thomas G. Birckhead, father of Kendall P. Birckhead, was born at Morven, March 23, 1852. While war times imposed restrictions on his educational opportunities, he became a male of sound learning and for many years taught school in Albemarle County. In addition he conducted his farm. He died at Proffit in that county November 30, 1922. He was a democrat and for many years held the post of senior warden in the Episcopal Church. His wife, Annie L. Clowes, was born at Lexington, Virginia, February 27, 1863, and lives at Proffit. Her two sons are Edward F. and Kendall P., the former a student in Harvard University.

Kendall P. Birckhead was born at Proffit in Albemarle County, June 25, 1889. He attended public schools there, including the Profitt High School, and spent the years 1904-8 in. William and Mary College, where he was graduated Bachelor of Arts. Since leaving college he has been principal of grammar and high schools in Virginia. he became principal of the Narrows High School in 7919, and in 1923 took charge of the schools of Abingdon. In the meantime by work in vacations he was awarded the Master of Arts degree from Columbia University of New York in 1916. He is a member of the National Educational Association.

Mr. Birckhead was a volunteer at the time of the World War, joining the navy in January, 1918. He was stationed at the naval base at Norfolk, and served with the rank of petty officer of the second class until mustered out in January, 1919. He is a democrat, a member of the Episcopal Church, is affiliated with Claremont Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, at Claremont, is a Royal Arch Mason, and is a member of Proffit Camp, Modern Woodmen of America.

He married Miss Gladys Fox, of Roanoke, Virginia, June 27, 1923.