Biography of
Raab Dysart Keen

p. 1664

     RAAB DYSART KEEN. Wayne county is justly noted for its old families, and among these none are more highly honored than that of Keen. Its members have always been found in the front rank of the county‘s successful men in the various walks of life, and have contributed to the growth and development of its interests in no inconsiderable manner. John Keen, Sr., a son of Ford Keen, of Virginia, was the founder of the family in Southern Illinois. He was born in Sumner county, Tennessee, and migrated to Wayne county in 1831, becoming one of the pioneers of this section, where he took up government land and at one time was the owner of 3,000 acres. His death occurred September 5, 1895, when he was eighty-eight years of age. Mr. Keen was married (first) to Catherine Book, a native of Kentucky, and a daughter of Harry Book, an early pioneer of Wayne county, and she died December 19, 1867, having been the mother of ten children, as follows: William, who is deceased; James; Samuel; John, deceased; A. P., a farmer, operating north of Keenes; a child who died in infancy; Edmund, a farmer near Keenes; B. F., who is deceased; G. W., a farmer near Keenville; and Mrs. Jane (Webber) Fisher, of Keenes, John Keen, Sr., married for his second wife Alma E. Atterbury, and four children were born to this union: Leathie Clark, of Keenville; Mrs. Alice Webber, also of that place; Mrs. Laura Crask, of Bluford; and Sallie, who is deceased.

     Samuel Keen, son of John Keen, Sr., was born November 25, 1840, in Hickory Hill township, Wayne county, and was reared on his father‘s farm. When he was twenty years of age he took charge of 1,000 acres of his father’s land, but is now engaged in carrying on operations on a property of 1,250 acres, owned by himself and wife, and one of the best farms in the township. He is prominent fraternally as a member of the Odd Fellows, and has also taken a leading part in Democratic politics, holding various minor local offices and acting in the capacity of supervisor for six years. In 1865 he was married (first) to Amanda J. Scribener, daughter of Joel and Lucy Scribener, and of the seven children born to them three are still living: Edmund F., Nora B. and Samuel R. Mr. Keen’s first wife died in 1904, and in 1906 he was married to Miss Alice M. Clark, of Boyleston, Illinois.  

     James Keen, one of the leading agriculturists of his part of Wayne county, was born February 15, 1839, at old Keenville, and is a son of John Keen, Sr. Reared to agricultural pursuits, he has followed the vocation of farmer throughout his life, and is now the owner of a finely-cultivated property embracing 900 acres. He has been a stanch and active Democrat since attaining his majority, and has served in a number of local offices, such as township assessor and collector, has also acted in the capacity of township and county supervisor,  and in 1881-2 was a member of the state legislature. On October, 18, 1871, he was married to Miss Sarah Jane Ellis, daughter of Alfred Ellis, and she died July 16, 1875, having been the mother of two children: Horatio, deceased, and a child who died in infancy. On October 29, 1881, Mr. Keen was married to Miss Rispah J. Whitney, daughter of Nathan and Mary Jane (Moore) Whitney, and there were two children born to this union: Raab Dysart and Rispah Catherine, the latter the wife of Dr. William A. Dulany, a well-known physician of Keenes. The family is well known in Methodist Episcopal church circles.  

     Raab Dysart Keen, son of James and Rispah J. (Whitney) Keen, was born September 15, 1882, on his father’s farm, and secured his education in the common schools and the Southern Illinois Normal University. In 1906, when the Bank of Keenes was organized by James and Samuel Keen, James Strouse, Jacob Gregory and E. F. Keen, with P. 1665 a capital of $200,000, Raab D. Keen was placed in charge of its affairs, which he ably managed until January 1, 1912. Since that time he has been conducting his father‘s farm of 900 acres, and has demonstrated his ability as a farmer as well as a financier. He is one of the progressive young agriculturists of Wayne county, and is carrying on his operations along modern methods. Following the example of his father, he has identified himself prominently with Democratic politics, and is at present central committeeman of Four Mile township and an influential worker in the ranks of the organization. Fraternally he is connected with the Modern Woodmen of America. He has numerous friends throughout the township, and is known as a worthy representative of the old and honored family to which he belongs.  

     In 1906 Mr. Keen was united in marriage with Miss Otie L. Damon, daughter of J. C. Damon, who is engaged in, the milling business at Keenes. Mr. and Mrs. Keen have two children: Helen, born in 1907; and Rispah Susan, born in 1911.

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