John Kean Accounts For The United States

John Kean Accounts For The United States

John Kean was an American Revolutionary from South Carolina.

Kean used his accounting skills to help the Continental Army and, later, to assist in the creating of the National Government.

John Kean

John Kean came of age just as the American Revolution was beginning.

Kean was apprenticed to his stepfather’s business partner, Peter Lavien, a wealthy South Carolina merchant. Unbeknownst to Kean, Lavien was the older half-brother of Alexander Hamilton (who was just at that time arriving in New York to begin his education).

During this training, Kean learned all the facets of the merchant trade but especially excelled at bookkeeping.


Due to his excellent accounting skills, John Kean was recruited by his home State to serve as Deputy Paymaster of the South Carolina Militia.

Though he performed his duties well, Kean was capture during the Siege of Charleston. He was locked in a prison ship at sea for several months. John’s poor treatment led to him developing breathing problems which would haunt him the rest of his life.

After the war, and his jail time, Kean continued to carry out bookkeeping tasks for the Continental Army.


Eventually, John Kean would represent South Carolina in the Confederation Congress.

While in New York, John courted a young woman named Susan whom he wed. She was a member of the powerful Livingston Family, and they became his in-laws.

Familiar with the difficulties sustained under the Articles of Confederation, Kean returned to his home State to attend the Constitutional Ratification Convention in support of the National Government.

Accounting for the Nation

President Washington called on Kean for several important accounting-related needs.

First, the President nominated John (and Congress approved him) for the Board of Commissioners to settle debts between the United States and Individual States. In this position, Kean delicately maneuvered through the consolidation of the treasury from the Confederation Congress to the United States in Congress Assembled.

After completing this objective, John Kean was appointed as a Cashier for the Philadelphia Branch of the Bank of the United States.

Kean served in this position well until he passed away at the young age of 39 from the respiratory problems he developed while on a prison ship fifteen years earlier.

To learn about other Founders who helped Finance our young republic, check out my articles on Robert Morris, Tench Coxe and Gouverneur Morris.

If you’d like to get a better understanding of the troublesome monetary situation the United States was in when it began, pick up a copy of ‘The Founders and Finance’ from the affiliate link below.

If this is your first time on the site, please subscribe to my email list to receive a new Founder every day.

William Washington's Quaker Gun

William Washington's Quaker Gun

Peter Muhlenberg Starts A Society

Peter Muhlenberg Starts A Society