Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 999


Daniel B. Keehn, an old and respected resident of Mt. Penn, has passed his entire life in that section of Berks county. He was born March 1, 1841, in Lower Alsace township, son of Charles and Maria (Biedman) Keehn, and received his education in the public schools, though his advantages were limited, for he commenced work at his trade when only eleven years old. In his boyhood he was reared to agricultural pursuits, but when he began to learn his trade he entered the St. Lawrence Woolen Mills, where he acquired first a knowledge of weaving and later of spinning. He was employed there for ten years, and later was engaged as a spinner at the Stony Creek Mills, where he remained eight years. For several years he was in the carding-room of the hat factory in Reading, and he was also similarly employed at other points. Since 1897, however, he has not worked at his trade. In that year he became helper to the sexton of the Aulenbach cemetery, and for the past four years he has been employed at Carsonia park. He has been justly esteemed for his sterling qualities as an industrious and thrifty man, and he has an honorable standing among his fellow citizens. Mr. Keehn is a member of St. Andrew's Reformed Church, and in political sentiment he is a Democrat. On Oct. 23, 1862, he was drafted for service in the Union army, and served nine months as a private in Company I, 179thPennsylvania Militia, being mustered out at Harrisburg July 27, 1863.

On May 28, 1864, Mr. Keehn married Louisa N. Goodhart, who died in September, 1907, aged sixty-four years, seven months, twenty-seven days. The direct cause of her death was pleurisy, though she had been ailing for two years, and was confined to her bed for some time. Like her husband she was an esteemed member of St. Andrew's Reformed Church. To Mr. and Mrs. Keehn were born five children, namely: Evan Devilla is mentioned below; Charles William m. Annie Fisher, and died when twenty-eight years old; Martin Elmer, a molder of Reading, m. Sallie Sidel; Daniel Edwin, a conductor on a trolley line in Reading, m. Irene Reiff; Nora Octavia is living at home. Mr. and Mrs. Keehn also had an adopted daughter, Mabel G., who survives.

Evan Devilla Keehn, son of Daniel B., was born April 17, 1865. He learned the molder's trade and worked at it sixteen years. In April, 1896, he bought a milk route in Reading, which he is now operating. In 1885 he married Hannah E. Dautrich, daughter of Franklin and Susan (Hoffmaster) Dautrich, and granddaughter of Samuel Dautrich. They have three children, Clarence I., Edna L., and Helen I., and they reside in their own home at No. 513 South Fourth street, Reading.

Frederick Goodhart, grandfather of Mrs. Louisa N. (Goodhart) Keehn, was a substantial farmer in Exeter township, owning the original homestead. He married Mary Gertrude Shaffner, and they had a large family, namely: Frederick, Jacob, John, Daniel, Benjamin, Martin, William, Mary (who died unmarried), Hattie (wife of Jacob De Turk), and Catharine (who married John Bechtel). The parents were members of the reformed Church.

William Goodhart, son of Frederick, was Mrs. Keehn's father. He purchased the parental homestead, which comprised 172 acres, and which his father had improved with a large stone house and barn, William erecting two houses on the property. He followed farming most of his life, which covered the allotted threescore and ten years, his birth having occurred in January, 1796, and his death Aug. 29, 1866. He married Elizabeth Newkirk, and ten children were born to them, as follows: John N., deceased, married Sophia Kline; Reuben died when sixteen years old; Mary Ann, deceased, m. John Christian; Henrietta, unmarried, is of Reading; Amelia Ellen died when twenty-two years old; Lovina died in childhood; Catharine is the widow of Isaac Boyer, of St. Lawrence; Louisa N. was Mrs. Keehn; Elizabeth is the widow of Josiah Ruth, of Reading; and William F. m. Ellen Ruth.


p. 732


Peter B. Keehn, for fifty-two years a resident of Mt. Penn, but now living retired at No. 314 Seventeenth and one-half street, Reading, comes of an old family of this part of Berks county. He was born Sept.29, 1838, in Exeter township, near Schwartzwald Church, from which neighborhood his parents, Charles and Maria (Biedeman) Keehn, moved into Lower Alsace township soon after his birth.

Jacob Keehn, grandfather of Peter B. Keehn, was a resident of Exeter township and a farmer by occupation. He died in middle life, but his wife, whose maiden name was Brahm, attained a good old age.

Charles Keehn was born in Exeter township in the year 1810, and died in 1868. Like his father he followed farming, and he was a substantial citizen, a worthy member of the Reformed Church, and a Democrat in political faith. He married Maria Biedeman, a native of Amity township, this county, daughter of John and Margaret (Hartranft) Biedeman, and nine children were born to this union, namely: Matilda, widow of Henry Allenbaugh; Orlando, an engineer, of Reading; Peter B.; Daniel B., a laboring man, of Mt. Penn; John, a hatter, of Mt. Penn; Almaretta, deceased wife of Peter Helfrich; Elizabeth, widow of Levi Marks, of Reading; Charles, a conductor, of Reading; and Margaret, deceased.

Peter B. Keehn grew to manhood in Alsace township, and there he received his education in the public schools. While still a little boy he entered the Brumbach's woolen mills, at St. Lawrence, in which he worked up to the position of weaver and spinner. He continued in that work until 1897, in May of which year his right side became paralyzed and he was incapacitated for active work from that time. Since that time he has lived retired, making his home at the corner of Perkiomen avenue and Twenty- third street, Mt. Penn, where he built in 1885, until March, 1909, when he sold his home, and purchased his present residence in Reading. During his active years Mr. Keehn was much interested in local public affairs, and he gave excellent service as school director in Lower Alsace, which office he held for six years, and as borough inspector. He is a Democrat in political affiliation.

On June 4, 1861, Mr. Keehn enlisted in Company D, 3d Pa. V. C., being one of the first three-years men, and entered the United States service at Camp McCall, D. C., July 28, 1861, serving until June, 1864. He took part in the following important engagements: Mechanicsville, Gaines' Mills, Charles City Cross Roads, Second Bull Run, South Mountain, Antietam, and Fredericksburg. He was promoted to corporal. By virtue of his army service Mr. Keehn is an honored member of the G. A. R., belonging to McLean Post, No. 16, of Reading.

On Sept. 17, 1864, Mr. Keehn married at Reading, Miss Martha Wesner, who was born March 6, 1845, daughter of James and Maria (Kemp) Wesner. Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Keehn, viz.: Carrie Dora, wife of Franklin Hafer, of Madison avenue, Reading; Katie Octavia, deceased; Harvey Peter, a weaver at the woolen mill, who married Catharine Faust and resides at Mt. Penn; and Jennie Estella, who is at home.

James Wesner, father of Mrs. Keehn, was a charcoal burner by occupation. He died in Reading about 1877, at the age of seventy-four years, and his wife died in 1885, reaching the age of seventy-eight years. She was a member of the Catholic Church. Mr. and Mrs. Wesner had a family of ten children, namely: Matilda, deceased, was the wife of Samuel Hawkins; Henry, who died in Illinois, married Fannie Diffenbaugh; Barbara Ann married James Schull, and both are deceased; Harriet, deceased, was the wife of George Jones; Lucinda, deceased, was the wife of Ezra Romich; Nathaniel died in infancy; James lives in Varna, Ill.; Ephraim, who married Clara Shupe, lives in Maquoketa, Iowa; Martha is the wife of Peter B. Keehn; Adaline, deceased, was the wife of Samuel Schealer, of Reading.


p. 1512


Henry E. Keeler, of Reading, was born in Montgomery county, Pa., Nov. 24, 1859, son of Henry and Elizabeth (Heist) Keeler. During his earlier years he was a student in the county schools and then went to Trappe Seminary, which was conducted at that time by Prof. Rambles. When he was ready to choose a trade, he decided upon that of painting and paper hanging, but after working in that line for several years, he abandoned it, and for a time was clerk in a shoe store at Royersford.

Mr. Keeler's connection with Reading began when he established himself at No. 624 Laurel street, opening a restaurant there which he conducted successfully for a period of seven years. This property is still in his possession but since July, 1904, he has rented it and devotes his own time to managing the South Market Restaurant for George Albright. As a caterer Mr. Keeler has few equals in Reading, is thoroughly up-to-date and conducts a first class restaurant.

Mr. Keeler's wife was Miss Ida Boas; she is a daughter of Henry Boas, a resident of Reading. Their only child is a daughter, Edith, a graduate from the Girls' high school of Reading, who is now making teaching her profession.

On political issues Mr. Keeler has always been a faithful supporter of the Democratic party, and has been quite active in it ranks, serving three terms as ward assessor. In the spring of 1906 he was appointed school controller for the Second ward, to fill an unexpired term, and is well qualified for such a position, as educational questions have always received his close attention and interest. Fraternally he belongs to the Knights of the Golden Eagle.


p. 670


George Ira Keen, M. D., one of Reading's successful young practitioners of medicine, was born at Reading, in 1870, son of Samuel H. and Mary D. (Landis) Keen.

The Keen family has been known in Reading for several generations and has held the respect of the community. Samuel Keen, the grandfather, died in this city, and here Samuel H. Keen, his son, was born and has resided here all his life. In young manhood he was absent for a short time, operating an engine in Georgia, but for the past forty years he has been with the Reading Railway Company, one of that corporation's most valued employes. He married Mary D. Landis, a member of a large and honored family of Lancaster county. They reside at No. 1213 Chestnut street, which has been the family home for the past thirty-five years. Their children are: George Ira, of this sketch; James 0., a machinist at Reading; Newton Edgar, a printer, who resides in Philadelphia; and Mrs. K William M. Kitzmiller, of Germantown. Philadelphia.

Dr. Keen was educated at Reading arid after passing creditably through the high school, he attended Palmer's Business College, at Philadelphia, and then entered Hahnemann Medical College at Philadelphia, in 1889, where he was graduated with the class of 1892. He entered upon the practice of his profession in his native city, and has met with excellent success. He has established his office in his handsome, newly erected home at No. 941 Franklin street.

Dr. Keen married Elizabeth May Leh, daughter of Frank Leh, of Reading, and they had twin daughters, Helen and Ethel, the latter of whom is deceased. Miss Helen is a student at Reading. Politically Dr. Keen is a Republican. He is a member of the State Medical Association and of the State Homeopathical Association and is president of the Pathological Society of Reading.


p 1215


Morris R. Keen, who for some years has been carrying on contracting and building operations in the city of Reading, was born Jan. 21, 1853, in Brownsville, Berks county, son of Charles and Henrietta (Reeser) Keen.

Jacob Keen, grandfather of Morris R., was born Feb. 7, 1781 and died Feb. 8, 1829. His wife, Sarah, born Nov. 4, 1780, survived him until Dec. 15, 1842. They were lifelong residents of Reading and members of the Lutheran Church. Their children were: Charles, William, Mrs. Sophia Eyrich, Eliza (m. Anderson Harvey), and Susan (m. James Lambert).

Charles Keen, father of Morris R., was born Dec. 28,1816 in Reading, and died June 4, 1864, in Brownsville. He was a tailor by trade, a profession which he followed in Reading, Fritztown and Brownsville, and was a good citizen and highly respected man. He married Henrietta Reeser, who died June 16, 1897, aged eighty-one years, and to them there were born the following children: Reuben m. Rebecca Davis, and had two children, Rev. Edward (of Waynesboro) and Flora; Charles m. Nora Young, and had five children, Claude, Mamie. Nellie, Paul and Earl; Morris R.; Miss Rosie E. is in Philadelphia; Catherine m. Jacob Young, deceased, and had five children. Mr. Keen was a Democrat in politics, and was well versed in local matters, wielding some influence in his district, although never an office seeker. The family were connected with the Reformed Church.

Morris R. Keen was educated in the schools of Brownsville and in 1864 came to Reading and attended the grammar schools and Prof. D. B. Brunner's Commercial College, after which he taught school for two terms in Cumru township. He then learned the carpenter's trade, at which he worked for one year, after which he entered Jones and Clauser's hardware store, remaining two years. In company with Reuben Keen he engaged in a general mercantile business at Third and Washington streets, where he continued for five years, after which he purchased a farm in Penn township, which was his home for nine years. Mr. Keen then returned to Reading, and in 1887 engaged in contracting with Adam Brossman, under the name firm name of Brossman & Keen, but after one year each branched out in business for himself. Mr. Keen is now associated with Mr. H. G. Fisher, and they do a large business, having built many, structures in the northwestern part of the city, including houses on Pear, between Washington and Walnut streets, on Elm between Schuylkill avenue and Front street, and two blocks of houses, twenty-six in all, on Buttonwood street.

On Feb. 6. 1879, Mr. Keen married (first) Susan A. Richards. On Dec. 6, 1902, he m. (second) Catherine Lesher, by whom he has had two children: John L., who died aged about ten months; and Josephine E. He is a member of Epler's Reformed Church. Mr. Keen was one of the organizers of the Schuylkill Fire Company, of which he was the first treasurer and did much towards the maintenance of this organization.


p. 1324


Amos Emery Keeport, one the representative business men of Reading, Pa., in the line of jewelry and clock and watch manufacturing, sale and repairing is Amos Emery Keeport, a valued and esteemed citizen. Mr. Keeport was born at Littlestown, Adams Co., Pa., Sept. 6, 1853, a son of Amos Lefever and Lavenia Emily (McIlvain) Keeport.

Daniel Keeport, the grandfather of Amos E., was an iron master and at the time of his death was the principal owner of the York Furnace. His son Amos, father of Amos E., was a civil engineer, a chemist and mineralogist. He now lives retired at Littlestown, where he is much honored. For many years he was a teacher and became distinguished in the scientific world on account of his valuable discoveries. He was the first to maintain that platinum existed in its salts as well as its native form, and he was awarded a bronze medal and diploma for this and was elected a member of the Paris Academy of Science.

The mother of Amos, Emery, Lavenia Emily (McIlvain) Keeport, was a daughter of Capt. William McIlvain, who served in the 14th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, during the war of 1812-14. Mr. Keeport's maternal grandmother was a daughter of Dr. Massing, who was physician to the royal family of Germany. There were five children born to Amos L. Keeport and wife, as follows: Gustavus, who died aged seven years; John, who died aged four years; Clara Wilhemina, wife of Dr. John W. Hickey, a dental surgeon at Littlestown, Adams county; Mark Aaron, a jeweler at Reading, married Elizabeth Betz, daughter of Jacob Betz, of Lancaster; and Amos Emery, of Reading.

Until he was twelve years old Mr. Keeport attended the schools of his native city and then began to learn the business of jeweler and watchmaker. When seventeen, he went to Logansport, Indiana, where he took charge of a jewelry store and operated it for a nine months and then returned to Littlestown in order to assist his father. He later visited various portions of the West, working at his trade, and then located for six years at Lancaster, where he engaged in a watch and jewelry business.

In 1883 Mr. Keeport came to Reading, becoming an employee of a local firm with which he worked for six years and then opened up a store of his own at No. 833 Penn street. At the end of two years he moved to No. 635 Penn street and afterwards to No. 230 Penn street. He spent several years in the Elgin Watch Factory and also had training in the Hamilton Watch Factory, the former in Illinois, and the latter at Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

On May 10, 1876, Mr. Keeport was married to Addie Clemmens Landis, daughter of Levi K. Landis, owner of a machine shop in Lancaster for many years, where he was looked upon as a mechanical genius. The Landis family is an old, numerous and very influential and wealthy family of Lancaster county. Mr. and Mrs. Keeport have had three children, viz.: Mabel, who died aged twenty-one years; Clara Clemmens, wife of William G. Schaeffer, superintendent of the bicycle and machine department of the W. F. Remppis Company's iron works; and Helen Landis, a student.

Mr. Keeport is a Royal Arch Mason; a member of the P. O. S. of A.; the Jr. A. O. U. A. M.; the Knights of the Golden Eagle; the Foresters; and is collector and district superintendent of the Grand Fraternity and a representative of the 4th District and chairman of the Governing Council of the Grand Fraternity as well as one of the directors.

In politics he is a Republican and he was nominated for common council from the fifteenth ward, Reading, and for select council from the fifteenth ward. Four years later he was nominated and was triumphantly elected, owning to personal popularity, to select council. Usually the fifteenth ward went 150 votes Democratic. Mr. Keeport's term expired in 1908. He is a member of Grace Lutheran Church.

In his business Mr. Keeport is looked upon as an expert. He does all the work for the Schuylkill Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad and keeps all their clocks in perfect order.


p. 1546


Among the highly esteemed citizens and practical farmers of Berks county, may be mentioned Frederic H. Kehr, who is engaged in cultivating the old Kehr homestead in Ontelaunee township. Mr. Kehr was born Dec. 21, 1851, in OnteIaunee township, son of Samuel and Mary H. (Hoover) Kehr.

Frederic Kehr, grandfather of Frederic H., was born near Pottstown, Montgomery Co., Pa., and was there married to Rebecca Keating, a native of England. They had these children: John m. Rebecca Althouse, removed to Illinois, and there reared a family; Frederic m. Catherine Hottenstein, by whom he had two children, Frederick and Emma, and died in Muhlenberg township; Samuel; Sallie m. Jacob Eppler and had three children-- Samuel, Frederic and Mary; Mary m. John Hill and had six children--Henry, James, Samuel, Lizzie, Mary and Emma; and Ellen m. Reuben Luthensen.

Samuel Kehr, father of Frederic H., was born Sept. 18, 1817, near Reading, in Bern township, was educated in the schools of Reading, and early in life engaged in milling. Later he embarked in agricultural pursuits, carrying on operations on Frederic H. Kehr's present farm for many years. He was married to Mary H. Hoover, daughter of John and Catherine (Hottenstein) Hoover, and two children were born to this union: Frederic H.; and Charles C., a prominent attorney of the Berks county Bar, who died July 20, 1892. He married Laura Hoover, and they had three children, one of whom has since died, Florence, Mary and Charles, deceased.

Frederic H. Kehr was two years old when the family came to his present farm, and here he has always made his home. He has a finely cultivated piece of property and is known throughout his community as an enterprising and ambitious farmer and good citizen. Nov. 22, 1879, he was married to Sarah Adams daughter of John and Elizabeth (Dunkel) Adams, and two children have been born to this union: Edmund A., who married Eva Rickenbach, daughter of Edward and Ellen (Roth) Rickenbach, and has one child Emily; and Maggie, who is unmarried and at home.

Mr. Kehr is a Democrat in politics, and he has held various township offices, never aspiring to high public position. He and his family are members of the Reformed Church.


p. 1548


Irwin B. Kehs, tinsmith of Bechtelsville, was born March 31, 1877, in Hereford township, Berks county.

Tradition says that three Kehs (Kase or Case) brothers emigrated to America, one settling in Somerset county (Leander Case the millionaire being one of his descendants), one in Northampton county, and the third in Berks county.

Matthias Kehs (Case or Kase) was born in Albany township, Berks county, about 1776, and it is said that his father also bore the name of Matthias. He passed many years in Washington and Hereford townships engaged in farming, and he died at Clayton, in Washington township, in October, 1861, and was laid to rest at Bally. In 1802 he married Mary Kuhns, daughter of John Kuhns, of Washington township, whither Mr. Kehs had a short time before removed from Albany. The children of this marriage were: Maria, who died unmarried; Elizabeth; Polly; Charles, whose son James is of Reading; Margaret; Matthias; David, who died unmarried; and Henry. Two daughters were married to John and Simon Adam, another wedded Xavarius Stengel; and a fourth married John Zimmerman.

Matthias Kehs, son of Matthias, was born in July, 1802, and he died in Hereford township in April, 1866, and was buried at Bally. He was a carpenter, and also owned a small tract of land. He came to Hereford from Lehigh Gap. In 1826 he married at Bally, Rebecca Stahler, who was born in Longswamp township, April 22, 1805, and died in Hereford township April 30, 1895, daughter of Jonathan Stahler, of New Jerusalem, in Rockland township, and his wife, Margaretha Spring. The children born to this marriage were: John, born April 13, 1828, died 1852; William, born Aug. 23, 1829; Samuel, born April 5, 1831, died 1902; Peter, born Sept. 11, 1832, died 1904; Daniel, born Feb. 13, 1834, died 1907; Henry, twin to Daniel, died 1898; George, born Sept. 16, 1835; Joseph, born July 10, 1837; Jonas, 1839; Solomon, born 1840, died 1841; Jeremiah, born 1842; Mary, born 1843; Aaron, born 1845, died 1850; and Nicholas, born 1847.

George S. Kehs, son of Matthias and Rebecca, was born in Hereford township, Sept. 16, 1835. He was reared in the county, and he acquired his education in the old time pay school. He learned the shoemaker's trade when he was twenty-one. For a number of years he worked on the farm, and from 1860 to 1863, he ran an engine in an ore mine. On Dec. 2, 1863, he enlisted in Company K, 47th Pa. V. I., for the Civil war, and was discharged at Charleston, S. C., Sept. 25, 1865. After the war he lived in Lehigh county a short time, and then returned to Hereford township, where he lived near Treichlersville, on his own farm, for thirty-six years. In April, 1904, he and his family came to Bechtelsville, where they have since made their home with their son, Irwin B. Mr. Kehs is now living retired. On April 23, 1871, he married Mary Borcky, daughter of Charles and Elizabeth (Kuhns) Borcky, and grandfather of Philip and Kate (Renninger) Kuhns, of Washington township. Both Mr. and Mrs. Kehs are members of the Most Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic Church, at Bally, and have reared their family in the Catholic faith. They have had two children: Annie R., who married George R. Bartholomew, proprietor of the "Union House" of Bechtelsville; and Irwin B.

Irwin B. Kehs was reared upon his father's farm, and until he was sixteen years old he attended the public schools. He then learned the tinsmith's trade from J. D. Shiffert, at Chapel, and worked at this at different places about three years. At the end of that time he engaged in business for himself (1898) at Harlem, in Hereford, where he remained two years. In 1900 he came to Bechtelsville, where he has since made his home. He has a hardware and tinware store, carries a full line of goods including stoves, and enjoys a fine local trade. He is very successful, and his place of business is most conveniently located on the main street near the "Union House."

In his political views Mr. Kehs is a Democrat, and he has been very active in his party's interests. For two years he was judge of election, one year inspector, and since 1905 has been tax collector. He is in the strictest sense of the word a self made man, and he deserves to the utmost the high estimation in which he is held.

On Sept. 16, 1899, Mr. Kehs was married to Mary Fichter, daughter of John and Matilda (Schott) Fichter, of Washington township. They have had children: Helen, Annie, Viola, Hulda and Martin, the last named dying in infancy. Mr. and Mrs. Kehs are members of the Most Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic Church at Bally.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:54:48 EDT

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