Elijah N. Keeney is one of the principal owners of the town site of Eugene, which post office is known as Gifford. He has always been public spirited and generous for the up building of the town and surrounding country. He has donated lots to several worthy purposes and is always on the progressive side of things.
Elijah N. Keeney was born in Eugene, Oregon, on November 12, 1866, being the son of Jonathan and Margaret S. (Mitchell) Keeney. When our subject was ten, the father went to Colfax, Washington, and his sons joined him three years later. The mother died April 14, 1S99. Elijah worked in the planing mill business in Colfax for eight years and in 1892, went to Valejo, California, where he labored for three years as an undertaker for Henry Connolly.
In August, 1895, he returned to Colfax, and later came to the reservation, securing the claim where he now lives. He built a primitive log cabin and for a long time it was used for the meeting place of the settlers. He has improved his place in excellent shape and raises the cereals, handles stock and has some registered specimens. A portion of his land has been used for the town site of Eugene and many have purchased lots from him. Mr. Keeney has three brothers, Oliver M., George F., and John J., the last two living in the vicinity of Rosedale, Washington, and the former in Whitman County. He has one sister, Martha J., wife of Joseph Cherry of Rosedale, Washington. On May 23, 1900, Mr. Keeney married Miss Eugenia, daughter of John and Catherine M. (Thiele) Allen, natives respectively of Arkansas and Missouri. They reside near Drain, Oregon, having crossed the plains in 1852. Mrs. Keeney’s ancestors on her mother’s side came from Germany and her paternal ancestors from Tennessee. She has four brothers and one sister, Robert L., Frederick A., Murry M., Creed H., all in Oregon. The sister, Mrs. Susie E. Hanson, lives near our subject.
Mr. Keeney has a membership in the M. W. A., Melrose camp, 6216. He was clerk of Beeman Camp, M. W. A., 6885, at Eugene until it disbanded. In politics he is independent. To Mr. and Mrs. Keeney there has been born one child, Hester W. Mr. Keeney’s grandparents crossed the plains with ox carts in 1852, the maternal grandfather being from Maine and the maternal grandmother from Connecticut. Mr. Keeney has served as school director and has always labored for the advancement of the cause of education as well as for the general progress and he has universally shown himself a man of mature judgment and keen wisdom, while his integrity and intrinsic worth is never questioned.
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Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903