Major Lenox, who represented the government of the United States at the court of St. James, was a resident of Bristol for many years. He built the handsome dwelling known as the Keene mansion, on Radcliffe street, which has just now been renovated for occupancy. It was built in 1816 during the residence of the Major and his wife in Bristol. They were visited by many distinguished men of this country and Europe. Joseph Bonaparte, ex-king of Spain, whose residence was at Bordentown, N.J., was a frequent visitor.
Major Lenox's niece, Miss Sarah Lukens Keene, who was one of his family, fell heir of his estate. She was a woman of personal beauty as well as mental culture. During the residence of her uncle in England she frequently attended the receptions given to the foreign ministers by the King, who, on one occasion, led her in the dance, after which he complimented her on her beauty and gracefulness. During her stay in England she was known as the American beauty. The late Mr. Kinsey knew Miss Keene well and knew whereof he wrote.
Miss Keene, although ardently courted by numerous swains, died an old maid. She devised her beautiful mansion on the river bank to the bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the Diocese of Philadelphia in trust for the maintenance of five, six or more aged gentlewomen, widows or single women of respectability and decayed fortunes who had become destitute in old age.
Historical item from Bristol as reported in the Bucks County Gazette of August 1910.
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