Dedication New Connecticut River Bridge, October 1908
"A man who can collect the taxes for twelve years in one of the largest towns of the state, and still remain one of the most popular officials in the community, gives ample evidence of possessing a large amount of tact. This is the record of Captain Arthur B. Keeney, who is, at this writing, first selectman of the town of Manchester. By his genial manner, and his manifestly fair treatment of everybody with whom he has dealings, Captain Keeney has made a record to be proud of among his townspeople. When political interest was intense in Manchester and one wing of the Republican party was looking for the most popular candidate it could find, to run against the candidate of the rival wing, who was also a man of wide popularity, Captain Keeney was chosen as the standard bearer of his friend, against his wishes, and he led them to victory. For four years Mr. Keeney has been first selectman of the town, and he has given a good administration each year.
Captain Keeney was born in Glastonbury, March 25, 1849. He attended the schools in Glastonbury and also the South Manchester High school He has always been a farmer by occupation. He has taken a prominent part in military affairs in the town, having held every office in Company G, First Regiment, C. N. G., and was captain from 1880 to 1882. He resigned the captaincy in 1882, but is still prominent in the Company G Veteran association. He married Miss Rose Wetherell, and they have one son. Captain Keeney is a member of King David Lodge of Odd Fellows."
"Commemorative Biographical Record of Hartford County, Vol. 2 p. 959 (1901)"
Porter Keeney, our subject's father, married Emily Bidwell, who was born April 19,1806, and died April 17, 1897, two days before reaching her ninety-first birthday. To their union were born ten children, a brief mention of some whom will be of interest: Electa was born April 2, 1826, and died Feb. 8, 1838; Sanford was born Oct. 11, 1827, and died at his home in South Manchester May 5, 1891; Edwin was born April 13, 1830, and is now a merchant of New London; Riley, born Aug. 13, 1832, died at the age of thirty, on Aug. 9, 1862, at Alexandria, Va., having served in the 5th (or Colt's) Regiment, Conn. V. I.; Emily A. (1) was born Sept. 9, 1835, and died Feb. 6, 1838;; Emily A. (2) was born May 2, 1838, and married James Lyons, of South Manchester, where she still resides; Sarah R. was born Oct. 22, 1840; Harriet, born July 19, 1843, became the wife of Asa G. Hills, of Mount Pleasant, Iowa; one daughter, born in ,1845, lived only a short time; Arthur B. is referred to below. The father of this family (Porter Keeney) was born July 24, 1805 and died April 8, 1885, 1885, twelve years before his wife; he was buried in the East Cemetery of Manchester.
Arthur B. Keeney was born March 25, 1849, on the farm on which his father took up his residence shortly after marriage. It is situated in Glastonbury, just across the town line from the old Keeney homestead (see this 1850 map of South Manchester), in the town of Manchester. His early education was obtained at the common schools, and the first twenty years of his life were spent upon his father's farm. For ten years following he was employed in Cheney Bros.' silk mill, and at the expiration of that period he returned to the home of his boyhood, where he has lived ever since. His present farm embraces seventy-four acres, including the "home place" of fourteen acres. On May 9, 1870 he married Miss Rose Wetherell, a daughter of William and Frances (Watrous) Wetherell, the latter a direct descendant of John Alden, of Plymouth fame. One child has come to this union, Harry W., born Aug. 7, 1872, who on June 9, 1897, married Miss Dorothy M. Hall, of Manchester.
For several years Mr. Keeney served in the State Militia, with marked distinction. The date of his enlistment in the 1st Regiment, Conn. N. G., was Nov. 10, 1871. On April 9, 1877, he rose to the rank of sergeant, and on Nov. 9, 1877, was commissioned second lieutenant. He was made first lieutenant May 14, 1878, and captain Sept. 1, 1879. On Dec.19, 1882, he tendered his resignation, which was accepted. His son enlisted in the same company Feb. 16, 1891, and also rose gradually to the rank of captain, receiving his commission July 29, 1896, and having the distinction of being the youngest captain in the brigade. He resigned in 1898. Capt. Keeney is a Republican in politics. In 1896 he was elected tax collector of Manchester, and has been re-elected for the fourth time, holding the office for five years. He is a member of the First Congregational Church of Manchester Center, and belongs to the A. 0. U. W."
Roster of Capt. Keeney's G Company, First Regiment, Connecticut National Guard, 1881:
Click on image to see a larger version
Capt. Keeney's Marksmanship Medals, CNG:
The following image and article appeared in a Manchester, Connecticut newspaper in 1973:
"The artist may have allowed his imagination to enter into the woodblock cut for the advertisement, but the cider mill operated by Capt. Arthur B. Keeney (1849-1921) was very real. For many years, he made the product on the 74-acre farm, including the 14-acre "home place." It was located on the north side of Line St., about 500 feet from S. Main St. The cider was later made at his home at the intersection of the streets.
The advertisement, genealogical data, and other details were furnished by Mrs. Herbert J. (Doris Keeney) Bradley of 291 Lake St., Vernon. She is the granddaughter of Capt. Arthur B. Keeney and the daughter of Capt. Harry W. Keeney.
She said that apples were brought from surrounding farms. The cider was bottled, wire-corked, and then placed in racks in the cellar, with the cork ends tipped down. Later, the sediment-soaked corks were removed, the bottles recorked, and some wrapped in wicker. Mrs. Bradley said that one of her grandfather's customers for cider champagne was the old American Hotel in Hartford's American Row-State St. area.
Arthur B. Keeney served in the state militia from 1871 to 1882. He was Manchester tax collector from 1896 to 1901. His ancestors on the paternal side were Tell, great-great grandfather; Richard, great-grandfather, who lived to the age of 105; Russell, grandfather; and Porter, father, (1805-1885)."
[This genealogy is wrong! Richard lived to 81, not 105. His father was also Richard; perhaps Tell was a nickname. PDL]
Arthur Keeney's Sabbath School certificate from when he was 9 years old (1858):
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