an intelligent, energetic farmer of Dover township, makes his home on section 34, about two and a half miles from Princeton, where he owns, and operates two hundred and twenty acres of rich and productive land, which he has tiled and placed under a high state of cultivation. He also owns forty acres of timber land two miles from his farm.
A native son of Bureau county, he was born in Ohio township, May 13, 1856, and here has spent his entire life. His father, John W. Keel, first opened his eyes to the light in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania, January 12, 1809, but was reared in Stark county, Ohio, where he was taken by his father, Joseph Keel, about 1819. There the latter opened up a farm and reared his family.
On reaching manhood, John W. Keel was in Stark county, after which he removed to Putnam county, Ohio, where his wife died, and he later wedded Barbara Bridenbaugh, a native of the buckeye state. In 1853 he brought his family to Bureau county, Ihinois, first purchasing land in Ohio township, which he made his home for ten years. On the expiration of that period he sold out and purchased the farm on which our subject now resides. He at once began its improvement and development, and for many years was numbered among the progressive and prosperous agriculturists of Dover township. He spent his last years, however, in the village of Dover, where his death occurred July 13, 1891, at the age of eighty-three. His wife is still living in that place at the age of seventy-eight years. In their family were the following children: Nathan, who is married and is living in Bureau county; Lavina, wife of J. E. Scoti, of Whiteside county, Illinois ; John, who is married and engaged in farming in Dover township ; Lizzie, wife of J. H. Coddington, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this volume: Samuel, of this review, and Mattie A., wife of Ed. Nichols, a business man of Princeton.
As soon as old enough, Samuel Keel began to assist in the arduous labors of the farm, and in the district schools acquired his education. He continued to reside upon the old homestead in Dover township, to which he succeeded after the death of his father, and has actively and successfully engaged in its operation. He is a thorough and skillful agriculturist, as the neat and thrifty appearance of his place plainly shows.
On the 8th of February, 1880, in Dover township, Mr. Keel was joined in wedlock with Miss Lelia M. Conant, who was there born, reared and educated, and after leaving school successfully engaged in teaching for several years. By their marriage have been born three children — Mary, Lizzie and Pearl, all at home.
Mr. Keel uses his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the republican party, and cast his first presidential ballot for Hon. James A. Garfield. He takes quite an active part in local politics, has served as delegate to a number of county conventions, and has been elected to several local offices, now serving his second year as road commissioner. He does all in his power to promote the cause of education, and has most efficiently served as a member of the school board. Religiously, both Mr. and Mrs. Keel hold membership in the United Brethren church of Dover, in the work of which they take a prominent and active part. Their exemplary Christian lives have gained them the respect of all with whom they have come in contact and are certainly worthy of emulation.
Source: The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois published in 1896, page 489.