Lewis Keen, machinest and assistant foreman of the C., M.
& St. P. R. R., R. & N., McGregor, was born in
Tamaqua, Schuylkill County, Pa., Dec. 25, 1839, a son of
Michael and Mary (Smith) Keen. His father was a
blacksmith, machinist and engineer of locomotives, and
helped build some of the first locomotives in the
country, and set up the first stationary engine on the
Alleghany Mountains. He made a machine that would run
itself, but had no power to run anything else. He was a
native of France, and came to America when a young man.
His wife was born in Saxony, and they were married near
Strasburg, France. They had a family of eleven children,
four living -- Frank, a type manufacturer at Milwaukee,
Wis.; George, a molder and machinist, who has a foundry
in McGregor; Louisa, wife of John Loyd, and the subject
of this sketch. He attended school in Pennsylvania until
ten or eleven years of age, when he came with his parents
to Elkader, Ia., and began to learn the machinist's trade
in his brother's foundry. He remained here five or six
years, when he went with his brother to Clayton, and
worked two or three years; then came with him to McGregor
and worked in the foundry here until 1861, when he
enlisted in the First Iowa Cavalry, Company K, and was
elected bugler of the company, and held that position two
months, when he was transferred to the regimental band,
and remained in the service eighteeen months; was
mustered out, came home, and went to St. Louis, Mo., to
re-enlist in a brigade band for General Warren, but
failing to get a sufficient number for a band, he worked
at his trade in St. Louis until 1863, when he returned to
North McGregor and went into the fruit and grocery trade.
Three months later he sold out and worked for the
McGregor Western Railroad Company two years. Since then
he has worked for the C., M. & St. P. R. R., Co.,
except three months in 1872, when he was R. N. foreman
for the Lake Superior Company at St. Paul. He married
Isabell Norris, Oct. 15, 1864. She was born in Hennpin,
Putnam County, Ill., and was a daughter of Willard B.
Norris and Louisa (Lyons) Norris. Mr. and Mrs. Keen have
had a family of five children -- Isabell, Willard L.,
Louisa E., Edward F. and Robert P. Mr. Keene has held the
offices of School Director and Councilman. In politics he
is a Democrat, and is one of the old C., M. & St. P.
Railroad men, and an old settler of Clayton County, and
an enterprising representative man of North McGregor. He
helped organize the first brass and string band of
McGregor, and is at present a member of the band.
source: History of Clayton
County, Iowa, 1882, p. 990-991