IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.

George Keen
Mendon Twp.

George Keen
Mary Keen

Capt. George Keen, one of the early settlers of Clayton County, was born in France, Dec. 9, 1827. His parents emigrated to Somersett County, N.J., when he was a mere child. His father soon after removed to Schuylkill County, Penn., where he was master mechanic on the T. & Pt. Linton Railroad. In 1850 he removed to Elkader, Iowa, where he engaged in farming until his death, which occurred in 1866. The mother died in 1852. The subject of this memoir was reared to the trade of a mechanic, and at the age of sixteen went into the shop as a hand, and at the age of twenty was made foreman. In 1850 he married Mary Broadbeck, who was born in Pennsylvania. Mr. and Mrs. Keen were the parents of eleven children, seven living -- Henry A., Frank G., Charles C., Mary F., Emma S., Amanda A. and Nellie J. After coming to Elkader he erected a machine shop, the first one in the Northwest, in company with his brother, A. Keen. They prosecuted the business until 1856, when he removed to Clayton and embarked in the same business. In 1858 he removed to North McGregor, and engaged in the same business in company with John Thompson. In 1867 he bought out his partner, and has since conducted the business under the firm name of George Keen & Sons. In 1872, before the building of the pontoon bridge across the Mississippi at this point, he overhauled and put in running order the steam barges then in use for transportation of trains. The company's engineers had made a failure of the barges, but Mr. Keen invented a cable chain system, by which they were worked successfully. On the completion of this work he was presented with a handsome gold watch, appropriately inscribed, in appreciation of his valuable services. In politics he is a Republican, and was the first Mayor of North McGregor, and has held other local offices of trust. He is a member of Bezer Lodge, No. 135, A. F. & A. M.; of McGregor Chapter and Commandery; also a member of Itaska Lodge, I.O.O.F.

source: History of Clayton County, Iowa, 1882, p. 990


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