Richard T. Keefe was the son of Thomas Keefe, who was born in County Tipperary, Ireland, in 1829.
Thomas Keefe came to the United States at the age of fourteen, and lived successively in New York, Ohio, and Iowa. Thomas Keefe removed to Ottumwa, Iowa, in 1879 and died there in 1896. He followed railroading and later farming. A number of his sons also took up railroading. In politics he was a Democrat. He was a member of the Catholic Church.
Thomas Keefe married Ann O’Connor, who born in County Tipperary, Ireland, in 1833. Ann O’Connor came with her sister to America when she was twelve years of age, first living in New York State. She married Thomas Keefe in Marion, Ohio. She died at Ottumwa, Iowa, in 1898.
Thomas and Ann Keefe had nine children.
Mary Keefe married William O’Brien, a roadmaster for the Burlington Railroad Company. Mary Keefe O’Brien died in 1883 in Ottumwa, Iowa.
John J. Keefe became a railroad engineer. He died at Haxton, Colorado, in 1896.
James P. Keefe became a railroad man. He died in 1910 in Arkansas City, Kansas.
William Keefe was a railroad engineer. He died at Leadville, Colorado, in 1892.
Thomas F. Keefe was a member of Keefe Brothers, contractors and builders at Ottumwa, Iowa.
Peter A. Keefe became a farmer and lived in Sumner County, Kansas, near Geuda Springs.
Edward G. Keefe was a member of the firm of Keefe Brothers at Ottumwa, Iowa.
Patrick H. Keefe became the owner of a café located in East St. Louis, Illinois.
Richard T. Keefe was born in Keokuk, Lee County, Iowa, on September 20, 1873. He spent his youth at Ottumwa, Iowa, attending the public schools there. He graduated from the Ottumwa Business College in 1888, and almost immediately went to work with the firm of John Morrell & Company, Limited, a large packing house at Ottumwa. Richard T. Keefe learned the business of meat packing in its various details. In the fall of 1892 Mr. Keefe moved to Chicago, where he became connected with Nelson, Morris & Company, packers. He spent ten years experience with them working at Chicago, East St. Louis, and St. Joseph, Missouri. In 1902 he returned to Chicago, spent one year with Armour and Company, and in 1903 came to Arkansas City, where he assisted in establishing Henneberry & Company’s packing business.
Henneberry & Company saw in Arkansas City a logical field for a packing enterprise, and the success of the business justified the wisdom of their choice. The plant was located at the south end of Summit Street on the Arkansas River. This plant had a capacity for slaughtering and curing and handling 250 cattle, 1,000 hogs, and 100 sheep weekly. The products were distributed throughout Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. The firm also maintained its own ice plant, primarily for local refrigeration, but also supplied some ice to other customers. The officers of the company were Patrick E. Henneberry, President and general manager; E. E. LeStourgeon, vice president; and Richard T. Keefe, secretary and treasurer.
Mr. Richard T. Keefe was also a director in the Arkansas City Savings and Building and Loan Association. He was president of the Rotary Club of Arkansas City and of the Arkansas City Commercial Club as well as a member of the Ponca City Council of the Knights of Columbus. Besides his home at 221 East Washington Avenue he had other real estate in Arkansas City, East St. Louis, and Colorado.
Mr. Richard T. Keefe was married in Chicago in 1889 to Miss Anna Barbara Clark, daughter of James and Eugenia (Hussey) Clark. Her father was connected with the Town of Lake before it was annexed to Chicago, and later became peace officer in that district. Mrs Keefe died June 20, 1927. Mr. and Mrs. Richard T. Keefe had five children: Virginia, who was born in January, 1900, and died in infancy; Marian, born in April, 1904, and died in infancy; Richard T. (Dick), born in July, 1909; Edward Clark (Ed.), born in July 1912; and Kathleen, born in July, 1914.
Mr. Richard T. Keefe died of a heart attack on May 5, 1934, in Denver Colorado. His remains were returned to Arkansas City, Kansas, and he was buried in Riverview Cemetery.