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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 26

Interview of Mrs. J. W. Moore


___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 -

Interview of Mrs. J. W. Moore

By Leslie Haskin - Linn Co.

Interview with Mrs. J. W. Moore at Harrisburg, Oregon. Mrs. Moore is a granddaughter of Elias Keeney, pioneer of the year 1846.

My father was James Bond. He was born in Iowa in the year 1850 and came to Oregon with his father when three years of age, that is, in 1853.

My grandfather on the father's side was George Bond. He also came to Oregon. He was a Baptist preacher and settled in Lane County, near Eugene, at about the place where the County Gold Club is now located. Grandfather Bond was born in Henry County, Kentucky, January 13, 1818. He moved with his parents to Indiana in 1821 and again to Illinois in 1830. As stated, he was a Baptist minister and was the first pastor of the Eugene Baptist Church. During his trip to Oregon, he kept a day-by-day journal of his experiences, which is still preserved in the family.

(NOTE: The writer was shown an abbreviated copy of this journal. It contained nothing of striking interest. Copies of it may be obtained from Harvey Bond, Turner, Oregon, L. H.)

Shortly after the Bond party reached Oregon, the members scattered through the Willamette Valley. Grandfather stayed at Oregon City, for a time, before moving to the Forks of the Willamette. There, according to his uniquely spelled diary, "He lost an ox and eat the first cabeg without seasoning."

My father, James Bond, and my mother, Rhoda Keeney, were married at the Elias Keeney home on a farm near Brownsville in 1888. Mother was a daughter of Elias Keeney and Lucinda Van Winkle. Since my Grandfather Keeney was married three times, perhaps I had better write of his family in regular order as they were born;

My Great Grandfather was John Keeney. My Great Grandmother as Mary Ramsey Buckhalter Keeney. Both were natives of Tennessee, and early settlers in Ray Country, of that state. John Keeney was a farmer and he had eight sons and one daughter. He moved to Missouri about 1842, and there he died in 1845. His widow, my Great Grandmother, continued to live there until the year 1851, when as I shall tell later, she came to Oregon. She died near Brownsville, Oregon, when nearly ninety years of age. She was born in 1788.

My Grandfather, Elias Keeney, was born Dec. 18, 1828, in Ray County, Missouri. He was one of twin brothers who were named Elias and Eli. Elias was very small when he was born and Eli weighed 11 pounds, but he seemed to be the stronger of the two, and soon out grew his brother and finally became the largest of his family. In the Keeney family there were originally eight sons and one daughter. Of these, five of the sons and the daughter came to Oregon. Of those that came to Oregon, Janathan Keeney, commonly called in our family "Uncle Captain", was the oldest. He, with my Grandfather, Elias, came to Oregon in 1846 and settled near Brownsville on the Calapooia. Grandfather's claim was situated halfway between Brownsville and present Halsey. Jonathan Keeney's claim was situated on Courtney Creek about four miles southeast of Brownsville. His old house he build there in the early 1850's is still standing and in use. It is a find example of pioneer building. NOTE: (Now owned by a Mr. Whitney. A photo of this old house has been sent in. L.H.).

After my grandfather, Elias Keeney had been in Oregon for a few years, and had improved his claim to some extent, he returned to Missouri. That was in 1850. While in Missouri on this trip he was married to Margaret Jane Hyatt. The next spring he started back to Oregon, this time taking with him his new wife, his mother and several brothers and sisters who came to Oregon is as follows:

  • Janathan Keeney - The oldest of the family. Came to Oregon with Grandfather in 1846.
  • Elias Keeney (Grandfather). Came in 1846.
  • James Keeney. Born 1817. Died near Brownsville, Ore., April 27, 1885. Came in 1851.
  • Eli Keeney. (Grandfather's twin brother.) Probably came in 1851. Birth date same as grandfather's.
  • Andrew Jackson Keeney. Probably came in 1857.
  • Rebecca Keeney. Came in 1851. Her married names were, 1st, Landingham; 2nd, Putnam.

As already stated, Grandfather and Capt. Jonathan Keeney settled in Linn County. Eli and Andrew J. Keeney settled in Lane County, near Goshen, and Rebecca located at Whitson, in Yamhill County.

There were four children to grandfather's first marriage. Their names were:

  • Eli. He made his home in Eastern Oregon, near Hepner.
  • Rebecca. Her married name was Warmoth.
  • John. He never married. He made his home principally in California and Nevada.
  • Emma. She married James McHargue of Brownsville. Two of her daughters, Mrs. Ida Hanson and Mrs. Kitty Hume are still living at Brownsville. A grandson, also at Brownsville, is John McHargue.

Grandfather's second marriage was to Lucinda Van Winkle. The Van Winkles settled near Brownsville at a very early date and were prominent Methodists there. This is the same family as Oregon's present Attorney General belongs to. Lucinda Van Winkle's father was Isaac Van Winkle who was born May 27, 1791 and died near Brownsville on May 24, 1860. To this second marriage of my grandfather's the following children were born:

  • George W. Keeney
  • James Keeney.
  • Rhoda Keeney. (Mother of the informant.) She first married James Vaughn of Halsey. Second marriage to James Bond, father of the informant. She is still living at Newport, Oregon.
  • Edward Elias Keeney. Died young.
  • Homer J. Keeney. He was a physician in Portland.
  • Clark Keeney. Died young.
  • Charles Keeney. Died young.
  • Roy J. Keeney. He is still living at Moscow, Idaho.
  • Ilena J. Keeney. Her married name was Wright. Her home was at Portland and at San Francisco.

Grandmother died on Feb. 15, 1887. She was born in 1840 or 1841.

Grandfather married a third time, this time to Mrs. Matilda Noffsinger. Her maiden name was Lee. Her father, Hiram Lee who came to Oregon in 1863.

Grandfather did not live on his claim near Brownsville all of his life. In 1891 he moved to Eugene for a time so as to send his children to advanced schools. About the year 1900 he moved back to his farm and in 1901 he bought property in Brownsville and lived at that place until his death. Grandfather died in 1911. His home in Brownsville was on the south side of the river and nearly opposite the South-Side schoolhouse. It is the house now occupied by Mrs. John Rebham. (Note: This is the old Hugh L. Brown property and a picture of the house and the old walnut tree there has been sent in. L. H.)

Grandfather was an Indian War Veteran and enlisted in Company C. 4th Regiment where he served as a private under Captain Maxon. He saw action in at least three battles, those at Des Chutes and at Well Springs, and another I cannot name. He was also a soldier in the Rogue River Indian troubles participated in the "Battle of the Meadows."

All of the Keeney family were members of the Methodist church, as were my grandmother's people, the Van Winkles. Grandfather, Elias Keeney, and "Father" John McKinney the early Brownsville Methodist Circuit rider were great friends.

Uncle "Capt.", Jonathan Keeney, grandfather's oldest brother, was also a Rogue River Indian War Veteran. He got his title of Captain at that time. He was elected Captain of a company which was organized at Brownsville. Later, for various reasons, he did resign, and Captain James Blakely took his place. Blakely was the founder of Brownsville. Captain Keeney was very active in helping emigrants to reach Oregon. He made many trips back and forth helping the stranded trains to cross the mountains. (Note: Captain Jonathan Keeney was very highly regarded by all Linn County Pioneers. This writer has lived at Brownsville for many years and has absorbed much of its local traditions. Among these, the tradition of the integrity and kindness of "Capt."Jonathan Keeney is among the strongest.)

Contrawise, though perhaps out of place to mention it here, the traditions concerning Elias Keeney is that of a hard man, a hard-fisted, hard-fighting, hard-drinking roisterer. L. H.)

Uncle Andrew Jackson Keeney was a soldier in both the Mexican War and in the "Mormon Skirmishes". He went to the Californian gold mines in 1849, traveling about the Nicaragua route. On the river there, the steamboat on which he was riding was carried over some falls and many passengers were drowned. Andrew Jackson returned to Missouri and later came to Oregon in 1847.

Note: this interview is also posted in WPA Interviews #46.

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A Keeney Family Genealogy was established in 1986 & has been online ever since under one name or another.
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