US Kearny, Agnes Maxwell

Agnes Maxwell Kearny Upshur
From A to Z - Women


Born: ca. 1833

Birthplace: New York

Father: Hugh Maxwell

Mother: Agnes Maxwell

1st Husband: U.S. Major General Philip Kearny

1858 in Paris, France

2nd Husband: John Henry Upshur, USN

Married: 1868


Susan Watts Kearny Selfridge 1856 – Unknown​
Archibald Kennedy Kearny 1858 – 1862​
(Buried: Trinity Churchyard, Manhattan, New York)​
Virginia D. L. Kearny Hunt 1861 – 1897​
(Buried: Trinity Churchyard, Manhattan, New York)​

Antebellum Events:

Evening Star, Washington, DC, July 3, 1917
Page 2,
LOC Collection.

1853: At age 20, Agnes is engaged to be married to a young man she knows from New York​
1853: While visiting Paris with her Parents, Agnes meets Phillip Kearny, who is nearly twice her age, at the Tuileries​
1853: Despite her parents objections, Agnes broke off her engagement to the man in New York. Agnes would make a point to see Kearny daily for nearly half a year. Their affair quickly grows into a scandal in the papers in New York, and in Paris! Kearny is seen taking Agnes dining in Paris restaurants, and taking long buggy rides into the countryside, attended local racing events, and even taking quiet boat rides out on the Seine River together. He would shower her with all the gifts a girl could dream of: perfumes, jewelry, rare books, art. He would send her flowers every day.​
1853: Kearny, who is separated from his 1st Wife, travels to Kentucky to ask her for a divorce, but she refuses. Kearny returns to New York alone, since he cannot get married again, he is planning to forget Agnes and leave the complicated relationship behind him.​
1854: While riding a horse over an old wooden bridge, Kearny is critically injured when the structure collapses, and he falls into the 20 foot deep gorge below. He is rescued and near death, but he begins a long period of recovery which soon falters. The lack of progress in the recovery is a mystery until his doctor discovers that Kearny is longing for Agnes. The doctor is able to find that Agnes has already returned to New York, and when he brings word of Kearny's condition, she comes to him, and helps to nurse him back to health, bringing his spirits back.​
1854: Agnes moves in with Kearny despite the disapproval of New York society​
1855: Agnes became pregnant​
1856: Agnes and Kearny attend the coronation of the new Russian Tsar, Alexander II in St. Petersburg, Russia​
1856: Agnes and Kearny travel to Paris for the birth of their first child, Susan ‘Suzy’ Watts, who was named after Kearny’s mother.​
1857: Philip and Agnes settle at Belle Grove Mansion, in the Township of Harrison, a town that will later be renamed Kearny, in New Jersey​
1858: Kearny's 1st Wife finally agrees to his demands for a divorce, but stipulated in the divorce decree that Philip could not remarry as long as she lived. Kearny’s lawyers later argue that the decree is only valid in New York State.​
1858: To skirt any legal restrictions, Phillip marries Agnes in Paris, France​
Civil War Events:
1861: In April, Philip and Agnes return home from Paris to New Jersey as the American Civil War breaks out.​
1862: In February, their son, Archie dies of Typhoid​
1862: Kearny is Killed at the Battle of Chantilly, Virginia when he accidentally encountered Confederate troops but ignored a demand to surrender​

Evening Star, Washington, DC, July 5, 1917
Page 2,
LOC Collection.

Postbellum Events:
1868 Agnes is married to Admiral John E. Upshur, a Civil War veteran, and a widower with several children​
Died: July 2, 1917

Place of Death: In her Apartment in the Parkwood Apartment Building, Washington, DC

Age at time of Death: 85

Cause of Death: Complications from advanced age, and sorrow over death of her spouse a month earlier.

Burial Place: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia
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