Richard T. Keefe is secretary and treasurer of Henneberry & Company, packers and provisioners at Arkansas City. Mr. Keefe was one of the founders of this packing industry, and had been closely associated with its development. His active career had been devoted almost entirely to the packing industry and he had an ample experience with the great packing concerns of the country before he helped establish this independent plant at Arkansas City.
Mr. Keefe was born in Keokuk, Lee County, Iowa, September 20, 1873. His father, Thomas Keefe, was born in County Tipperary, Ireland, in 1829, came to the United States at the age of fourteen, and lived successively in New York, Ohio and Iowa. In 1879 he removed to Ottumwa, where he died in 1896. He followed railroading and later farming, and a number of his sons also took up railroading. In politics he was a democrat and he was a member of the Catholic Church. Thomas Keefe married Ann O’Connor. She was born in County Tipperary, Ireland, in 1833, came with her sister to America when she was twelve years of age, first living in New York State, and she was married in Marion, Ohio. She died at Ottumwa, Iowa, in 1898. Thomas Keefe and wife had nine children: Mary, who died in Ottumwa, Iowa, in 1883, married William O’Brien, who was roadmaster for the Burlington Railroad Company and died in 1881; John J., a railroad engineer who died at Haxton, Colorado, in 1896; James P., who was also a railroad man and died at Arkansas City, Kansas, in 1910; William, a railroad engineer who died at Leadville, Colorado, in 1892; Thomas F., a member of Keefe Brothers, contractors and builders at Ottumwa; Peter A., a farmer near Gouda Springs in Sumner County, Kansas; Edward G., member of the firm Keefe Brothers at Ottumwa; Richard T.; and Patrick H., who had a cafe at East St. Louis, Illinois.
Richard T. Keefe after 1879 spent his youth at Ottumwa, Iowa. He attended the public schools there, in 1888 graduated from the Ottumwa Business College, and almost immediately engaged with the firm of John Morrell & Company, Limited, a packing house at Ottumwa. He learned the business in its various details, and in the fall of 1892 removed to Chicago, where he became connected with Nelson, Morris & Company, packers. He had ten years experience with the Morris Company 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 and 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 had justified the wisdom of their choice. The plant is 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 are distributed throughout Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The firm also maintains its own ice plant, primarily for local refrigeration, but also supplies some ice to other customers. The officers of the company are: Patrick E. Henneberry, president and general manager; A. E. Le Stourgeon, vice president; and Richard T. Keefe, secretary and treasurer.
Mr. Keefe is also a director in the Arkansas City Savings and Building and Loan Association. He is president of the Rotary Club of Arkansas City and a former president of the Arkansas City Commercial Club and 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. Keefe was married in Chicago in 1898 to Miss Anna Barbara Clark, daughter of James and Eugenia (Hussey) Clark, both now deceased. Her father was connected with the Town of Lake before it was annexed to Chicago, and later became peace officer in that district. Mr. and Mrs. Keefe have five children: Virginia, who was born in January, 1900, and died in infancy; Marian, born in April, 1904, and died in infancy; Richard Clark, born in July, 1909; Edward Clark, born in July, 1912; and Kathleen Clark, born in July, 1914.