Samuel Zenas Ammen

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Samuel Zenas Ammen
BornOctober 23, 1843
DiedJanuary 5, 1929(1929-01-05) (aged 85)
Resting placeStonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia
EducationWashington and Lee University
Parent(s)Benjamin Ammen
Naomi (Cross) Ammen

Samuel Zenas Ammen (1843–1929) was an American Confederate veteran and journalist. He is known as the 'Practical Founder' of the Kappa Alpha Order.[1] He was the literary editor of The Baltimore Sun and author of three books.

Early life[edit]

Samuel Zenas Ammen was born on October 23, 1843 in Fincastle, Virginia.[1][2] His father was Benjamin Ammen and his mother, Naomi (Cross) Ammen.[1][2]

During the American Civil War of 1861–1865, Ammen served in the Confederate States Army.[3] He enlisted in Company D ("Finchester Rifles") of the 11th Virginia Infantry on August 31, 1861 for 1 year of service and was discharged May 15, 1863 or May 18, 1862.[4] He then served with Captain William Andrew McCue's Fincastle Cavalry Company, Burks' Regiment Virginia Local Defense to do cavalry service with the Confederate Home Guard in Botetourt County.[5]

Following the war, Ammen attended Washington College in Lexington, Virginia, where Confederate General Robert E. Lee was President.[6] While there, he founded the Kappa Alpha Order.[2][6] He designed its ritual, accolade and prayer.[2] He served as its second Knight Commander after John Francis Rogers for six terms.[1] During his tenure, he helped establish twenty-two active chapters and four alumni chapters.[1]


Ammen became the literary editor of The Baltimore Sun from 1881 to 1911.[1][2][3] He was also the author of three books.[1]


Ammen died on January 5, 1929 in Daytona Beach, Florida.[1] He was buried at the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington, Virginia.[1]


  • Ammen, Samuel Zenas (1876). A Latin grammar for beginners combining the analytic and synthetic methods, containing the inflections, the more important principles of syntax, ... parsing and analysis, and vocabulary. New York: Lange, Little & Co.[1]
  • Ammen, Samuel Zenas (1886). The caverns of Luray : an illustrated guide-book to the caverns, explaining the manner of their formation, their peculiar growths, their geology, chemistry, etc. Philadelphia: Allen, Lane & Scott's Printing House.[1]
  • History of Maryland Commands in the Confederate Service.[1]

Further reading[edit]

  • Doty, William Kavanaugh (1922). Samuel Zenas Ammen and the Kappa Alpha Order. Charlottesville, Virginia: Surber-Arundale Co.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Kappa Alpha Order: Samuel Zenas Ammen
  2. ^ a b c d e J. William Austin, II and Rebecca R. H. Austin, Related Families of Botetourt County, Virginia,Genealogical Publishing Com, 2009, p. 4 [1]
  3. ^ a b "One of the Family". The Baltimore Sun. January 8, 1929. p. 14. Retrieved June 2, 2018 – via
  4. ^ documents report both dates, see: Compiled service records of Confederate soldiers from Virginia units, labeled with each soldier's name, rank, and unit, with links to revealing documents about each soldier. (NARA M324) Roll: 0498. Military Unit: Tenth Battalion, Reserves (Fourth Battalion, Valley Reserves); Eleventh Infantry
  5. ^ NARA M324. Compiled service records of Confederate soldiers from Virginia units, labeled with each soldier's name, rank, and unit, with links to revealing documents about each soldier. Roll: 1062. Military Unit: Averett's Battalion, Reserves; Burks' Regiment, Local Defense; Carroll County Militia
  6. ^ a b Clarence L. Mohr, Charles Reagan Wilson, The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, Volume 17: Education, Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press Books, 2011 [2]
  7. ^ HathiTrust