Austin M. Keene.One of the most prominent and successful attorneys that has ever practiced at the Bourbon county bar is Austin M. Keene, of Fort Scott, the present representative of Bourbon county in the state legislature, who has not only been eminently successful as a practitioner of law but has also exerted a wide-felt and beneficial influence in the public affairs of Kansas. Mr Keene was born in Middletown, Ohio, Sept. 4, 1865. His father, Marshall B. Keene, is a native of Keensburg, Ill., named in honor of the Keene family, and, prior to his removal to Kansas, in 1890, was engaged in the manufacturing business at Cincinnati, Hartford, Conn., and Monroe, Ohio. Marshall B. Keene married Miss Jennette McCreary, who was born near Lebanon, Ohio. Three children blessed their union, the second of whom was Austin M. Keene. The other two children are Mrs. W. L. Wheeler, of New York City, and George Keene, of Des Moines. Ia. Both parents are still living, the father now being eighty-eight and the mother seventy-five years old. Austin M. Keene spent his boyhood days in and near Middletown, Ohio. His preliminary education, begun in the Middietown schools, was continued for about nine years in a country school and was completed at Middletown, where he was graduated in the high school. He then entered the University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor, where he made a very creditable record as a student and was graduated in 1887, with the degree of Bachelor of Laws. That same year he came to Fort Scott, Kan., and there, with D. F. Campbell, formed a law partnership which continued until about 1890. For the following five years he was associated in practice with William Chenault; then, about 1895, E. C. Gates became his partner and since then the firm style has been Keene & Gates. It is one of the strongest legal firms in Southeastern Kansas and has the largest and most completely appointed law offices in Fort Scott. Fitted by natural gifts and education for the profession of his choice, Mr. Keene, from the beginning, displayed great aptitude and ability in his practice, rose rapidly at the bar, and today is widely recognized as one of the best lawyers in Southeastern Kansas, with a large practice extending to nearly all the towns in that section of the state. Wide research, provident care, and deep thought characterize his work at the bar, which attributes designate him as a man who gives conscientious effort to all his duties, whether of a professional or official nature. He has one of the finest and most complete law libraries in Kansas.
Stanchly devoted to Republicanism, Mr. Keene has taken an active part in political affairs and has devoted his energy and ability to the interests of his party. Through his talent for concise and tactful expression he has been of great service to the Republican party in campaign work, his services being in great demand as a stump speaker, in which line he has made a great reputation. In 1910 Mr. Keene was elected to represent the Eighteenth district in the state legislature, and in the session of 1911 proved himself a statesman of sterling common sense and one of the most able members of the House. He served as chairman of the committee on taxes, which largely remodeled the tax laws of Kansas; was a member of the judiciary committee; and was the author of the Employers Liability Act, which was passed by the legislature of 1911. He was also one of the most active members of the committee that prepared the Public Utilities Act, under which all the railroads, telegraph companies and other public utilities of Kansas are controlled. In 1911 the Supreme Court of Kansas appointed Mr. Keene a member of the State Board of Law Examiners, and Governor Stubhs appointed him as a member and chairman of a committee to examine the state university, state normal schools and state agricultural college of Kansas, as well as other universities and colleges in other states, for the purpose of recommending to the Kansas legislature of 1913 a plan by which one board of control will have supervision over all the state educational institutions. At the present time each school is under a separate board of control, or board of regents, and it is hoped that a plan may be devised whereby all will be under one board of control, thus obviating many present disadvantages and at the same time promoting a higher standard of efficiency in all the state institutions. The public service of Mr. Keene has been so useful and of so high a character, and his prominence and influence in public affairs have become so strong that he has been widely mentioned over the state and solicited by many prominent people to become a candidate for governor.
In May, 1889, Mr. Keene was united in marriage to Miss Mamie Chenault, and of their union two daughters have been bornLouisa and Ruth. The elder daughter, Louisa, is a graduate of Lindenwood College and is the wife of Orlando Cheney, a prominent business man of Fort Scott. Miss Ruth Keene is also a graduate of Lindenwood College. Mr. Keene is a prominent member of the Masonic order, in which he has attained the Thirty-second Scottish Rite degree, being a Knight Templar and a member of the Ancient Arabic Order, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. He also sustains a membership in the Knights of Pythias and in several fraternal insurance orders.Pages 336-338 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
TITLE PAGE / LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I
TITLE PAGE / LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
J | K | L | Mc | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z
Background and KSGenWeb logo were designed and are copyrighted by
Tom & Carolyn Ward
for the limited use of the KSGenWeb Project.
Permission is granted for use only on an official KSGenWeb page.
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project