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Wagon Ruts West

By Ralph Ray Keeney

Published in 1983


    The following selection is taken from "Wagon Ruts West" written & published by Ralph Ray Keeney in 1983. The book  is currently out of print. This section is published with the kind permission of Ralph Ray Keeney. The book this selection is drawn from is under copyright and permission has been granted for educational purposes and it is not to be used in any way for any profit or commercial venture.

Click here to read letter of permission.

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The following is Section 17

Thomas Paine Keeney 


___John, Sr. (1750? - 1845?) Married Martha -
| Jonathan Anthony (1778  - 1850)
| ___ John Jr. (1780 - 1845) Married Mary Ramsey Buckhalter, 1805
| |   Mary (1806 - 1850-)
| |   Thomas (1808 - 1842)
| |   Isley (1811 - 1842)
| |   Jonathan (1813 - 1878)
| |   James (1816 - 1885)
| |   Abraham (1818 - 1843)
| | ____Andrew Jackson (1819 - 1898) Married Elizabeth Mulholland, 1841
| | | Frances Ann - drowned with Mother in the Missouri Riv.
| | | 2. Married Hannah Daniels Cooper (daughter, Anna Cooper)
| | | Elias P. (1852 - 1857)
| | | James Madison ( 1853 - 1913)
| | | George R. (1856 - 1859)
| | | William Daniel (1857 - 1930)
| | | ____John Blanden (1859 - 1942) Married Ella Hurt, 1881
| | | |    Maude (1882 - 1958)
| | | |    Rhoda C. (1884 - 1884)
| | | |    Ira Marvin (1885 - 1945)
| | | | ___ Willard Warren (1888 - 1958)    Married Alice L. Crall, 1920
| | | | |      Jack LeRoy, 1921
| | | | |      Ralph Ray, 1923
| | | | |      Harold Blanding, (1925 - 1925)
| | | | |      Loa May, 1926
| | | | |      Ida Dee, 1929
| | | | |     Billie Fae, 1932
| | | | |      William Warren, 1933
| | | | |____Bessie Jo, 1935
| | | |______Glenn (1894 - 1954)
| | | 3 Married Amanda Jane Morse Matthews, 1861 (daughter, Rebecca)
| | |      Martha Ellen "Matty" (1862 - 1911)
| | |      Benjamin Franklin (1865 - 1935)
| | |      Andrew Alva (1866 - 1954)
| | |________Thomas Paine (1869 - 1947) 
| | Rebecca (1821 - 1895)
| | Eli (twin) (1828 - 1878)
| |___________ Elias (twin) (1828 - 1910)
| Thomas (1782 - 1846)   
| Nancy ( 1786 - -- )
| James (- - - )
| Hiram (-- - )
|_________Others -


About 1880

The old farm used to be swarming with kids; there were the Dillard’s and the Matlock’s, as well as the Keeney boys, and it was a rare day that we weren't able to think up some new devilry.

A creek ran down through the Keeney and Matlock places and it was great sport for us to chase Old Man Matlock's pigs into the creek and make them swim. One time two Dillard boys and two Matlocks and myself rounded up the pigs and I chased them towards the creek while the others stood by with clubs to keep them headed for the water. When one pig was about to escape, Lane Matlock let fly with his club and hit the pig such a wallop that he died right there. We decided to bury Mr. Pig in leaves in the woods. Of course, by the time Old Matlock came along, the leaves had blown off and he found the pig. For a long time, after that, I had Lane at my mercy. Whenever he had something I wanted, I only had to threaten to tell his Old Man about the pig, and Lane would give up meekly.

Father put up a building on the farm for Old Man Hoff, the Cheese maker, to use as a factory. Later, Hoff got mad and left, but he took all the window sashes with him, leaving a shell of a building. The place got to be a Convention Hall for all the cats in the country, and their nightly caterwauling could be heard in Goshen, nearly a mile away. I saw a chance for some entertainment, so I boarded up the downstairs windows, then I would slip in, early in the morning, and raise a hullabaloo and chase about a hundred cats round and round, their eyes shining like headlights in the dark; then, led by an old tom cat, they'd sail up the stairway like a flock of flying squirrels and out the open windows to the ground, two stories below.

One day Lane Matlock brought over his new dog, a young terrier, and I said, "Let's give the pup some fun."

So, we went over to "The Katzenjammer Castle" and put the dog in and slammed the door. In the uproar that followed, we could not tell whether the cats or the pup were having the worst of it, but pretty soon the usual stream of cats came streaming out of an upstairs window, with tails spread out, and right behind the last cat came the dog. He was so hot after the cats, that he never did notice the window until he came tumbling down. The cats had gotten used to the high dive, but the dog was never much good as a hunter after that.

Old Hoff lived in our homestead log cabin before Father built his cheese factory. When he moved into the factory, he left a lot of hams and bacon, he had cured, in a smokehouse close to the cabin. We boys used the log cabin as sort of a clubhouse, and we'd hack off a big chunk of Hoff's ham and roast it in the cabin fire-place. Hoff knew what was going on, but had not been able to catch the thieves.

One crisp fall evening, just right for a fire and a chunk of hot ham, seven of us were there, feasting on half a ham, when somebody yelled; "Jiggers for Hoff!" The whole seven of us dropped our hambones and scrambled through a scuttle in the ceiling and lay among the rafters, trying not to breathe. Hoff surveyed the fire and the wreckage of his fine ham. Then, he broke out with such a oration of German wrath and imprecation that I nearly choked to death trying not to laugh out loud.

There was an old Irishman, named Mike, who used to work on our farm pretty regularly. He was the biggest eater I ever saw, and one time Dad figured out that Mike was receiving far more than he was worth, board considered. The next time Mike came around, my Father told him he wouldn't need him anymore.

"Well, s'long's I'm here, I'll have a bite to eat," said Mike, and the lazy old bum stayed for a couple of days, eating regularly, but not doing any work because he was not hired. Mike was the dirtiest, orney-looking, old squirt-eyed varmit in the country, and Mother was a little afraid of him. The second day, Dad had to go to town, and when he came back, at supper time, and found Mike still there, he called out.

"Hey Mike, - didn't I tell you I don't want you? Now the next time I catch you hanging around this place when I'm away, I'll kill you! Now, get out!!"

Mike replied, with injured dignity, "Well Keeney, if you're going to fly off the handle like that, I guess I'll be going," and he went over to Dillards, where he said, "I just can't make out that man Keeney; he used to be all right as far as I could see, but lately he's been getting so crazy jealous that 'taint safe to be around him"'.

"Yes," Dillard said; "The Keeneys are like that; very violent too. If I were you, I'd keep away from there."

Mother had a pet cat which was not like other cats. It was a nice, gentle pussy, with a ribbon around it's neck, and it never associated with the cats at the old cheese factory.

One day, Mother baked a dozen pies and let them set on the log dining room table, to cool, and then she was called to a neighbor's --a new baby coming, or something like that.

Alf Dillard and I were in the house alone, and had to find something to do. We decided to have some fun with Kitty, so we got a small tin box, with some rattly knickknacks in it, and tied it to her tail with a rawhide string, and turned her loose. The first jump and she landed on the table with an awful "Yee-0-w-!!", and went right down the length of the table, through every pie, and pie flew in all directions. Out she went through the door, with the box clattering behind her, and we next saw a waving streak through the grain field as she headed for the next county.

For weeks, Mother called, "Kitty - Kitty", and no kitty came.

Of course, no one knew anything about her. Then she came back. The box was gone, but a piece of the rawhide was still knotted to her tail; the tail was dead, or ossified, and was curled in a stiff hook to one side. When she'd go through a door, the hook would catch on the door jam and she'd have to back up and try again. This went on until once she went through a door too fast, and the tail broke off. All this nearly broke Mother's heart, because she thought so much of Kitty.

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A Keeney Family Genealogy was established in 1986 & has been online ever since under one name or another.
 This site is maintained as a hobby site, some information may not be accurate.