Death: 14 March 1900, Crawfordsville, Indiana
Spouse: Sarah Harrison/Mary Chistman
Occupation: Photographer, bookseller
*The tenure of Kenyon’s time as mayor was contested. There is a popular claim that the territorial legislature granted a charter for the city of Salem 1857, but that it was determined “illegal.” It appears that two petitions for the incorporation of Salem were presented to the legislature in December 1857 (see Oregon Statesman 22 December 1857 “In the House”) one signed by 118 citizens and another presented by “Wilie Kenyon and several others for the same.”
A much later account in the Oregon Statesman (28 Mar 1926 “Problems of Walks and Streets.”) claiming sources from hand written notes of Chester N. Terry city recorder and secretary indicates that the petition was presented earlier with the first regular council meeting being held February 17, 1857, with Wiley Kenyon presiding as mayor.
Ben Maxwell, writing even lager (see Capital Journal 4 June 1956) writes “Salem’s first mayor was Wiley Kenyon and what a time he had. The magnanimous charter granted the village that was Salem by the territorial legislature of 1857 turned out to be frost. Learned counsel declared it to be illegal. Paid officials resigned when they learned that their pay was not only uncertain but unlikely. Aldermen, too failed to show up, there was seldom a quorum and Salem’s municipal government com summer in 1857 had gone to pot.”
A 1912 letter to the editor signed by “Pioneer” (see Oregon Statesman 4 Jan 1912), claims that Kenyon was elected mayor at first city election in December 1857, followed by John Henry Moores (1858); Lucian Heath (1860); E.N. Cooke (1861); H. M. THatcher (1862); and John Henry Moores (1864).