William Riley McKeen Sr.
The 1898 PLat map lists a B. McKeen as owning a
cottage/lot on the east side of the lake and the 1908
plat map list it simply as "McKeen"
||McKEEN, WILLIAM RILEY, banker, etc., of Terre Haute, was born in Vigo County, Indiana, October 12, 1829.
His father, Benjamin McKeen, was one of the early settlers of Vigo County. His mother's maiden name was Leathy
Paddock. His parents were in ordinary circumstances, and William obtained in the district schools of the county the
rudiments of his education, which was supplemented by a term at Asbury University, Greencastle, in 1848. Ill-health,
however, compelled him to give up his studies, and his subsequent education was obtained wholly by self-c ulture.
Up to the age of eighteen his school life was alternated with work on his father's farm.
In the spring of 1846 he came to Terre Haute, and entered the county clerk's office as assistant, Charles T. Noble
being then clerk. This was his first experience in business life, and he soon became thoroughly familiarized with the
details of office work, and in February, 1848, he was offered and accepted the position of bookkeeper in the State
Bank of Indiana. After serving for four years in that capacity, and proving himself in every way diligent and efficient,
in 1852 he was elected to the more responsible position of cashier. He had by this time not only gained the confidence
and esteem of all who came in contact with him, but had succeeded in acquiring considerable means; and in 1855 he
engaged in private banking, in company with Mr. Ralph Tousey. This connection continued until 1858, when Mr. Tousey
retired, and Mr. McKeen continued the business alone until 1863. He then became connected with Mr. Demas Deming [Sr.],
and until 1868 they conducted the banking business under the firm name of McKeen & Deming.
On Mr. Deming's retirement to fill the position of president of the First National Bank of Terre Haute, Mr. McKeen became
associated with Mr. Deloss W. Minshall, and for several years the bank of McKeen & Minshall was one of the best known
and most highly trusted institutions in the state. Since Mr. Minshall's retirement from active business in 1876, the firm has
been conducted under the name of McKeen & Co. Mr. McKeen owns a controlling interest, although, on account of the
pressing claims of other enterprises upon his attention, he is principally represented in its management by his oldest son.
Mr. McKeen is perhaps better known from his connection - either as prime mover or auxiliary - with various railroad
enterprises centering in Terre Haute than in any other capacity.
He took an active interest in the Terre Haute and Indianapolis Railroad from its inception ; was for several years a director;
and in June, 1867, was elected president, retain ing that position up to the present time. This railroad has the reputation
of being one of the best managed roads in the West, and has always paid dividends on its stock, never having had to
suffer the too common misfortune of passing into the hands of a. receiver. In July, 1870, the Terre Haute and Indianapolis
Railroad became lessee of the Vandalia Line, and the joint management of the roads is in the hands of Mr. McKeen. He is
also president of what is known as the Belt Railroad of Indianapolis, director in the Evansville and Terre Haute Railroad,
and of the Evansville, Terre Haute and Chicago Railroad.
Few enterprises of public utility in the city of Terre Haute have been conceived or consummated in which Mr. McKeen has
not taken an active interest, and almost always a leading part. To him, in concert with a few others whose names can be
found in our volume, the city of Terre Haute owes much of its present prosperity, and his funds were contributed liberally
to most of her public works. He was an active, energetic, and liberal supporter of the movement which c ulminated in the
establishment of the State Normal School at this point, and he has filled the position of treasurer of the board since its
organization. At the inception of the Terre Haute Gas Light Company he was elected treasurer, and retained that position
until recently. He is still a director of the company. He also took an active interest in the completion of the city
water-works and similar enterprises. He has been several times a member of the city council of Terre Haute, and, though
not an active politician, is pronouncedly Republican in principles.
In 1861 the state of Indiana lacked funds to pay the interest on her stale debt, and, on an appeal from Governor Morton,
Mr. McKeen responded by advancing a loan of ten thousand dollars to the state. In 1863 he was appointed by Governor
Morton a member of the Sinking Fund Commission, and retained that ofiice until a change in the school legislation of the
state abolished the commission. In 1876 he was appointed by Governor Williams a member of the Board of State-house
Commissioners, charged with the supervision of the building of the new state-house. This position he resigned, after
holding it about six months.
At present Mr. McKeen's time and attention are taken up principally with his duties in connection with his railroad affairs.
Mr. McKeen was married, in 1852, to Miss Eliza Johnston, of Terre Haute. She died December 25, 1855, leaving one son,
now the junior member of the banking firm of McKeen & Co. March 3, 1857, Mr. McKeen married Miss Ann Crawford, a
daughter of Samuel Crawford, Esq., second president of the Terre Haute and Indianapolis Railroad. By this marriage he has
three sons and three daughters, all of whom are living.
We can not close this sketch without paying a tribute to Mr. McKeen's private character, which will be readily indorsed by
all who know him or have come into contact with him. Generous to a fault, his hand is always ready to contribute to worthy a
nd benevolent objects; accessible alike to rich and poor, all are treated in the same spirit, and the tale of deserving poverty
never fails to enlist his hearty sympathies and gain prompt assistance. He is a man without pretense, without any of that
superciliousness which wealth too often assumes when brought into contact with poverty. Essentially a self-made man,
although not a public man in the political sense, he is "a man of the people," and his name is honored and his character
esteemed wherever known. Citizens of Terre Haute point to him with pride, as a representa- tive of industry and enterprise
and a gentleman of spot- less integrity of character. -- A biographical history of eminent and self-made men of the state of
Indiana with many portrait-illustrations on steel, engraved expressly for this work.Published 1880 by Western Biographical
Publishing Co. in Cincinnati, Ohio. Vol. II The Eighth congressional district Pg. 35
William Riley McKeen was born on 12 Oct 1829 Prairie Creek, Vigo, Indiana died 18 Feb 1913 - Terre Haute, Vigo, Indiana Burial:
Highland Lawn Cemetery Terre Haute Vigo County Indiana, son of Benjamin McKeen and Leathy Paddock William
TERRE HAUTEANS TRIBUTE TO M'KEEN
Business Houses and Public Offices Close During Simple Funeral Services of Banker.
[Special to The Indianapolis Star.] TERlRE HAUTE, In d, Feb. 20.—With the,same lack of ceremony and
ostentation that characterized his many actions through a long lifetime of good deeds, the last rites were
spoken at the bier of William Riley McKeen this afternoon at the family home on South Sixth street. The
funeral service was brief, and was conducted by the Rev. John E. Sulger, rector of St. Stephens Episcopal
Church, assisted by the Rev. T. Curtis Talmage, pastor of the First Congregational Church.
The large parlor of the McKeen home and the wide corridor were, filled with personal friends and relative's,
while hundreds of friends and citizens stood on thr outside.
MANY OFFICIALS ATTEND.
In this crowd were city 'and county officials and/'many men prominent In affairs from adjoining counties.
In the throng wgre many people from Indianapolis, Brazil and other Indiana cities, and from Paris, Charleston
and Martlnsville, Ill.
After the reading of the burial services a, short prayer was offered and the funeral cortege wended its way
to Highland Lawn Cemetery, where the body was deposited in the granite mausoleum owned by the
During the hour of the funeral practically all of Terre Haute paid humble trlbute to the memory of Mr. McKeen.
For two minutes, beginning at 2:30 o'clock, all traction and street cars in the city stopped, while those operating
the cars stood with bowed heads uncovered.
At the close of the funeral services the flre bells tolled a requiem. All offices at the Court House and the City Hall
closed at noon for the rest of the day. The Indiana State Normal also losed at noon and many business houses were
closed during the time of the funeral services
DePAUW HONORS MEMORY.
Special Chapel Exercises Are Held by Faculty and Students.
GREENCASTLE, Ind., Feb. 20.—With special chapel exercises the faculty and students honored the memory of
the late William Riley McKeen of Terre Haute, who was one of the benefactors of DePauw University. Mr
McKeen was a student of Asbury University, of which DePaw is the successor. He gave the institution its
athletic ground, McKeen Field.
Logansport Times Logansport, Indiana - Feb 21 1913
married (1) 03 Feb 1852 Vigo county Indiana Eliza Johnston, of Terre Haute born abut 1933 Indiana She died December 25,
1855 daughter of James Johnson
They had the following children:
|i. Frank McKeen was born 3 Feb 1852 died 20 May 1916 Terre Haute, Vigo, Indiana. Burial: Highland Lawn Cemetery
Terre Haute Vigo County Indiana
F rank McKeen Suffers Fatal Attack
Frank married 11 Nov 1880 Vigo County, Indiana Mary McGregor born June 16, 1853,
in Terre Haute, Indiana died October 12, 1925, in Evanston, Illinois Burial: Highland Lawn Cemetery
Terre Haute Vigo County Indiana daughter of Alexander McGregor and Mary Jane Stewart
While riding with his wife in an automobile on North Seventh street last Saturday. Frank McKeen,
president of the McKeen National Bank, died of heart disease and a general nervous breakdown
from which he had been suffering from for many weeks.
Early in the spring Mr. McKeen went to Hot Springs. Returning home, he appeared to be rapidly
improving and of late had been taking; rides over the city with his wife and physician.
Mr. McKeen was born in Terre Haute in May, 1853, in apartments over the old State Bank, now
Memorial Hall on Ohio street.
His father, W . R. McKeen, was cashier of the bank and lived in the rooms above it.
Frank MeKeen received his education in the public schools and was graduated from the higrh school
in one of the earlier classes.
That Mr. McKeen should die in the arms of his wife, while a terrible shock to Mrs, McKeen, seemed
particularly touching. During the four months of his last illness she has been his constant companion,
sitting many nights through the still hours until daylight, holding his hand aa he dozed in a chair, the
patient not being able to sleep in bed, owing to an enlarged heart.
Few married couples have been separated as little as Mr. and Mrs. McKeen. Their tastes were for a
quiet, retired domestic life - Terre Haute Saturday Spectator May 27 1916
FUNERAL services for Mrs. Mary McKeen were held Wednesday afternoon at St, Stephen’s
church. The Rev. Mr. Chittenden of Paris, III, officiated in the absence of Rev. John E. Sulger,
who is in New Orleans attending an Episcopal church convention.
Interment was in the McKeen’s lot on the west front section, the first drive, in Highland lawn.
At the time of her husband's death, Mrs. McKeen had a large slab placed over his grave. The
slab covered not only Mr. McKeen’s grave, but space for another, next to it, and was inscribed
with his name and that of Mrs. McKeen.
In order to place the body of Mrs, McKeen beneath the slab, a grave was dug at the foot, quite
deep, and then space tunnelled for a coffin, below the slab. After the coffin had been lowered, it
was pushed into its place and sealed with concrete.
Mrs. McKeen desired this because she felt that there would be no one to keep the graves in
condition and she thus eliminated the necessity. She first conceived the idea from a grave in a
St. Louis cemetery.
Died While Asleep
Death came suddenly to Mrs. McKeen. She was enroute to Terre Haute from California, and was
planning to have an operation here for the removal of her tonsils. She was taken slightly ill on the
train, and upon her arrival in Chicago went to the Congress hotel, being removed from there to
the Evanston hospital, when she suffered a severe hemorrhage of the throat. Her condition was
not considered grave, and she died in her sleep.
Mrs. McKeen was 73 years of age, the widow of Frank McKeen, who was for many years associated
with the McKeen National bank. He was a half brother of S. Crawford McKeen. Mrs. Robert Herkimer
also is a relative, niece by marriage, and upon word of the death of Mrs. McKeen, Mrs. Herkimer left
at once for Chicago.
The Ball Undertaking company completed the funeral arrangements, the remains being taken to the
Ball parlors prior to the church services.
The McKeen’s resided in a large home which was dismantled a few years ago and in which place the
home of Mr. and Mrs A. Bruce Bernent, 705 South Fifth, now stands.
Following her husband’s death, Mrs. McKeen went to California, where she divided her time between
Santa Barbara and San Francisco. She came to Terre Haute for numerous visits, having many friends here,
who were indeed saddened at the news of her death. - Terre Haute Saturday Spectator - Oct 17 1925
William also married (2) March 3, 1857 Vigo County, Indiana Ann Forbes Crawford born about 1833 Indiana died October 1881
Terre Haute Vigo county Indiana buried Woodlawn Cemetery Terre Haute Vigo County Indiana daughter of Samuel Crawford,
Esq. and ELizabeth Cunningham
Mrs. Anna F. McKeen, wife of Hon.W. R. McKeen, President of the Vandalia Railroad, died at her home inTerre
Haute of typhoid fever Monday night, at the age of 49 years. The deceased was a woman of great strength of
character, and was always foremost in all works of charity and philanthropy. She leaves a family of six children.
- Logansport Chronicle October 8, 1881
They had the following children:
- ii Ann E McKeen born January 25, 1856 Indiana died May 31, 1941, in Los
Angeles, California Anna married August 20, 1885 Indiana, Valentine L Shuler
born August 1854 anville, Hendricks, Indiana son of Lawrence S. Shuler & Prudence
Edith Shuler born Jun 1887 Indiana
Lawrence Shulerborn November 1888 Illinois.
Mary Shuler born January 1892 Illinois.
Prudence Shuler born July 10, 1892 Minneapolis, Minnesota
- iii Mary J. McKeen born August 28, 1860 Vigo County, Indiana died June 24, 1946 os Angeles, California
Mary married April 4, 1883 Vigo County, Indiana Horace C. Pugh born September 1854 Indiana son of
David Pugh and Catherine W. Durham.
Edith Pugh born November 1884 Indiana.
Horace H Pugh born about 1888, Vigo County, Indiana
Ruth Pugh born i December 1889 Indiana
- iv Samuel Crawford McKeen was born on 7 Dec 1862 Vigo county Indiana died October 28, 1937 Burial:
Highland Lawn Cemetery Terre Haute Vigo County Indiana, Suamuel married November 9, 1896 Vigo
County, Indiana Henrietta Delius Strong born February 20, 1873 Terre Haute, Indiana died March 1,
Dau. of Joseph Strong
and May Bourne
William Riley McKeen born July 29, 1897 Terre Haute, Vigo County, Indiana died June 28, 1977
Burial: Highland Lawn Cemetery Terre Haute Vigo County Indiana married September 24, 1925 Vigo
County, Indiana Henrietta Frances Gilchrist born June 17, 1906 Terre Haute, Indiana died February 2000
daughter of Robert A Gilcrhrist and Virginia Harrison.
Virginia D Mckeen
William R Mckeen, Jr
Joseph Strong McKee born May 21, 1899 Vigo County, Indiana died October 1934 Terre Haute,
Indiana; Burial: Highland Lawn Cemetery Terre Haute Vigo County Indiana
TWICE within a few months Terre Haute has been shocked by the untim ely passing of young
men, prominent in their own right as well as in their families. The death this week of Joseph S.
McKeen struck the same note of tragedy as that associated with the death of John F. Rawley
in the late summer. It is hard for the family and friends to adjust them selves to the passing of
these two who were in the youthful stage of life.
married Aurie Meredith Bernreuter born May 26, 1906 Jacksonville, Florida August 6, 1968, Pompano
Beach, Florida Burial: Pompano Beach South Lawn Cemetery Pompano Beach Broward County Florida
married 2nd -- Bacon daughter of David Walker Bernreuer and Aurie M. Hall.
“Joe" McKeen died early Tuesday morning, following a lingering illness of more than a year's
duration. He never fully recovered from an operiation performed at that time.
He was buried Thursday morning from the residence, 428 South Sixth, the Rev. W. T. Capers
of St. Stephen's church officiating.
Interment was in the McKeen mausoleum at Highland Lawn. His pal! bearers were Frederick
Reckert, James Black, Warren Hussey, David Bronson, Harold Whitney, and Hamill Baker.
He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. S. Crawford McKeen, one of the most prominent and influential
families in the city. His father has long been connected with banking circles here.
The young man attended several Eastern colleges before completing his education in the
University of Illinois.
He had been a partner in the McKeen-Boyer company and had been associated with the McKeen
National bank. In addition to his prominence in the business world he took an active part in the
city’s social activities. He w as a member of the Elks, the Aero club, and the Delta Tau Delta
Besides his parents, he is survived by the widow, Mrs. Aurie McKeen, two daughters, Aurie
Meredith and Henrietta, and one brother, William R. McKeen. - Terre Haute Saturday
Spectator - Nov 3 1934
Aurie Meredith McKeen Birth: May 8, 1927 Terre Haute Vigo County Indiana Death: May 13, 1977
Broward County Florida Burial: Pompano Beach South Lawn Cemetery Pompano Beach Broward
County Florida married Feb 1949 William Sanders Lake Sr. Birth: Aug 8 1923 - Brooke County, WV
Death: June 18 1991 - Broward County, Pompano Bealch, FL aon of William Henry Lake, & Helen
Alberta Sanders. Children:
William Sanders Lake Jt
Joseph Mckeen Lake
Henrietta Delius McKeen Birth: Oct 10 1929 - Terre Haute, Vigo, Indiana married Robert Edward
McClellan Sr Death: Jan 10 1991 - Pompano Beach, FL son of George Sterling Mcclellan, Md,
Novice Ruth Collier
Robert Edward McCellan II
- v Benjamin McKeen born January 1864 in Indiana died December 16, 1947, St Louis County, Missouri
Burial: Bellefontaine Cemetery Saint Louis St. Louis City Missouri Benjamin married October 20, 1891
Vigo County, Indiana Anna Massie Strong. born October 1867 Indiana October 13, 1943, St Louis
County, Missouri Burial: Bellefontaine Cemetery Saint Louis St. Louis City Missouri Dau. of
Joseph Strong and May Bourne Blake
Mary Josephine McKeen born 24 January 1900 Indiana married Thomas K. Niedringhaus Jr.
and Birth: August 16, 1898 Death: June 8, 1941 married also Neal Crieghton Birth: July 4 1898
Thomas K Niedringhaus, III a
Mary Niedringhaus married --- Kayser
| vi William Riley McKeen Jr. born 2 Oct 1869 Terre Haute,Vigo county Indiana died October 19, 1946 Santa
Barbara, California Terre Haute, Vigo, Indiana Santa Barbara Cemetery Santa Barbara Santa Barbara County
California William married Elizabeth Maria Chalfant New born on December 20, 1870, she married also Bernays Kennedy
Birth: August 18, 1872 Indianapolis, Marion, IN Death: October 26, 1910 daughter of John Chalfant New
& Elizabeth Rowena McRae; also married Carmen T Tarilton
- vii Edith McKeen born Sep 1875 Indiana died 1931 Edith married Howard Atherton Cutler Children:
Ann C Cutler Birth: Nov 11 1916 - Andover, Mass Death: Jan 1990 - Tucson, Pima, Arizona married Joel Moffatt Brecheen Birth: Mar 14 1911 Louisianna Death: Feb 18 1995
Green Valley Arizona Burial: National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, Phoenix, Arizona,
Howard McKeenCutler married Polly ---
Benjamin C Cutler
Dorothy McKeen Cutler married Malcom Burr
married 3rd September 27, 1883, Terre Haute Vigo County, Indiana Sarah J Sibley born August 1839 Indiana died in
December 1904 She married 1st Thomas T Dowling and they had five children together. John Sibley and
Logansport Journal September 29, 1883 Hon. W. R. McKeen, President of the Vandalia railroad, was married at Terre
Haute to Mrs. Dowling, widow of the late Colonel Thomas W. Dowling.
Logansport Chronicle Saturday, September 29, 1883, W. R. McKeen, president of the Vandalia railway,
was married to Mre. Sarah J. Dowling, of Terre Haute-
February 20, 2011
Historical Perspective: Terre Haute finds itself on the brink of prominence in 1871 Mike McCormick Special to the
August 29, 2010
HISTORIC PERSPECTIVE: William Riley McKeen’s long battle with the Pennsylvania Railroad Mike McCormick
Special to the Tribune-Star
Terre Haute known as railroad hub By Mike McCormick, Special to the Tribune-Star - February 23, 2003
The Pennsylvania Railroad at Bay: William Riley McKeen and the Terre Haute & Indianapolis Railroad. By Richard T. Wallis. (Bloomington:
Indiana University Press, 2001. Pp. xiv, 189. Illustrations, maps, index ). - - - Richard Wallis has written a model business history that tells
the story of a Terre Haute banker who kept the country's biggest railroad "at bay" for a quarter century. In so doing, he sheds light on
a critical phase of American history when railroads, the dominant enterprise, were transformed from local to centrally controlled corporations.
William Riley McKeen was a typical mid-nineteenth-century entrepreneur who believed that his community's success was linked to
keeping important assets in local hands. The Terre Haute & Indianapolis (TH&I) represented an important asset by connecting
the city to Indianapolis and eastern markets. When a Cincinnati syndicate threatened to snatch control of the TH&I in 1867,
McKeen stepped in to become its president and began a long and complicated series of maneuvers to keep the railroad independent.
At first, he found an ally in the Pennsylvania Railroad, which also was conceived by its Quaker merchant bankers as an intrastate enterprise
linking Philadelphia with Pittsburgh. "But the company's hired managers had quickly come to realize the necessity of helping to construct
connecting feeder lines" west of Pittsburgh to tap the emerging Midwest markets, Wallis writes. (18) Constrained by his conservative
board, J. Edgar Thompson, president of the Pennsylvania, pursued a stealth policy of empire building by cooperating with local interests
to build "independent" lines and then to enter into traffic alliances with them.