Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday's Obituary - James Keefe - Civil War Vet of Clinton County, Ohio

This may be the most informative obituary I've ever seen for anyone connected to my family! The obituary was published in the Clinton County Democrat in Wilmington Ohio on January 13, 1916. James Keefe's mother was Johanna Creedon and his brother Timothy Keefe was the executor of my 3x great-grandfather Patrick Creedan's will. While I don't know the exact relation to my Creeden family, the two families seemed close. The Keefes were mentioned as being related to Patrick Creedan's daughter Julia in her obituary published in 1918.

On last Friday morning, January 1916, was written the final chapter in the life of one of our foremost citizens, when we consigned to their last resting place the mortal remains of a man, who, during a long and useful lifetime, was loyal to his God, his country and his fellow men. James Keefe was born November 16, 1844, in Macroom, County Cork, Diocese of Cloyne, Ireland. He was a son of John and Johanna Creedon Keefe, to which union were born six children—Patrick, who died while serving his country during the Civil War; Timothy, who died several years ago in Wayne township, Clinton county; James, the subject of this sketch, and three daughters, Mary, Julia and Honore, all of whom have preceded their brother into the Eternal Kingdom.

At the age of thirteen James Keefe, with his parents, emigrated to America and, landing at New York, went from there to Xenia, Ohio, and later came to Wilmington. Modern conveniences of travel were then unknown and the only conveyance obtainable for the trip to Wilmington was an ordinary road wagon. Upon arriving here the Keefe family located in the old home of the late Sheriff Smith, where James grew to manhood under the loving and watchful tutelage of his parents, acquiring those:sterling qualities of mind and heart which he displayed throughout his earthly sojourn. He received a good common school education, attending the school located where now stands the Friends Church. On the 10th of August. 1862, his patriotism led him to enlist and take up arms against the foe of his beloved country and for three years he faithfully and valorously served under the Stars and Stripes and was honorably discharged at Camp Dennison on June 17, 1865. 

The following year, 1866, James was united in marriage to Ann Shea, daughter of Michael and Margaret Shea, which union was blessed with five children, Mrs. Joseph Kuebler, John Keefe. Mrs. Thos. McDermott, Miss Honore and James M. Keefe, all of whom mourn the loss of a kind and
loving father. The early years of Mr. Keefe's married life were spent on the farm, but, upon moving to Wilmington, he was appointed street supervisor by the council, which position he capably held until 1910, when forced to retire by Ill health. Although endowed with a rugged constitution, he suffered in late years  from heart trouble, which, coupled with his advanced age, brought about his dissolution, and on Monday morn, January 3, 1916, at 8:30 he fell asleep in the Lord.

James Keefe was a kind and genial man, endowed with a keen intellect and an abundance of that ready wit found in so many of his race. To know him was to be his friend, for he was honest and charitable in his dealings with his fellow men. He will be missed by his immediate family, also by his few remaining comrades of the G. A. R., and last, but not least, by the members of St. Columbkille church, which he attended for over 50 years. "For God and Country" would be a fitting epitaph to inscribe on his monument, for he loved and served God from the days of his youth, and to his country he gave the best years of his life. At 7:30 Friday morning, after the G. A. R. had paid their last respects in his home to their deceased comrade, the remains were escorted to St. Columbkille church, where funeral services were conducted by Rev. Martin A. Higgins, his pastor, after which interment was made in Sugar Grove cemetery.

Farewell. dear father, your love for us 
Was tender, kind and true, 
And memory's surine will long preserve 
The warmest spot for you. 
Now gathered round your silent grave, 
While tears of sorrow roll, 
The fervent prayer springs from our hearts,
                                                          -God rest your noble soul."
Mrs. Keefe and family wish to express their heartfelt gratitude to all their friends for the assistance and sympathy extended them in their dark hour of sorrow, and also to Rev. Martin A. Higgins for his eloquent and consoling funeral sermon, and lastly to the G. A. R. for the honor accorded their deceased loved one. 

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