Charles K. Yancey was the second son of Benjamin Mitchell (1809-1901) and Catherine J. (Banks) Yancey (1817-1861), of Culpeper County, VA. (Charles Kavanaugh Yancey was a third cousin of Charles Albert Yancey of Rockingham County, VA.) Yancey attended the University of Virginia in session 46 (1869-1870), and earned a Doctor of Medicine degree. He also studied at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, PA. He was instrumental in talking Presley Marion Rixey — later Surgeon General of the U.S. Navy and a fellow U.Va. alumnus — into joining the Navy. There is no record that Yancey ever married.
Yancey enlisted in the U.S. Navy as assistant surgeon on 1 May 1871, and served on the U.S.S. Constellation, a training ship, until 1872. In 1875, he was stationed at Mare Island Navy Yard in California. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in 1876. Though he is listed as serving on board the U.S.S. Adams in the South Atlantic in 1876-1878, Yancey ceased active duty 12 June 1876. He was on sick leave in 1878 and 1879, and officially retired from the Navy on 21 May 1880, due to “a disability received during the course of performing his duties” (JAMA, 1907). He lived in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. (“the Government Hospital for the Insane”) until his death in 1907 of tubercular osteitis of the right tibia. Charles K. Yancey is buried in the Yancey Family Cemetery in Culpeper County.
- Ancestry.com. Officers of the Continental and U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, 1775-1900 [database online]. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2007. Original Data: Callahan, Edward W., Ed. List of Officers of the Navy of the United States and the Marine Corps from 1775 to 1900. New York: L.R. Hammersly, 1901.
- Braisted, William C., and William Hemphill Bell. The Life Story of Presley Marion Rixey, Surgeon General U.S. Navy 1902 to 1910. Strasburg, VA, 1930. Accessed via books.google.com.
- “Deaths.” Journal of the American Medical Association. March 2, 1907, p. 820. jama.ama-assn.org (Accessed April 14, 2011.)
- A Naval Encyclopædia. Philadelphia, 1881. Accessed via books.google.com.
- Parker, Joseph B. Hygienic and Medical Reports By Medical Officers of the U.S. Navy. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1879. Accessed via books.google.com.
- Tombstones of Charles Kavanaugh Yancey, Benjamin M. Yancey, and Catherine Banks Yancey. Yancey Family Cemetery, Culpeper, Culpeper County, Virginia. Findagrave.com. (Accessed 4/15/2011).
- Yancey, Dennis J. Yancey Family Surname Resource Center [website]. http://yanceyfamilygenealogy.org/ (Accessed 4/24/2011).