From Proud Heritage Pioneer Families of Dallas County TX 1986
Abner Keene is believed to have come to Texas from Illinois for Tennessee in the early 1840's as a part of the survey team to stake out the Peters Colony. He is shown on the 1820 census as living in Smith County, Tennessee. He was born in 1799 in Virginia and was married to Nancy Susan ____? In Smith County about 1818 or 1819. Susan is believed to have been born about 1804 in Tenneessee.
Abner received 640 acres of land in Garland "on Duck Creek about 13 miles North 51 East from Dallas by virtue of his Colony Certificate No. 66, Vol 1 issued 1 April 1850 by Thomas William Ward Commissioner for Peters Colony". He signed the document "I, A.M. Keene, D.S." The 1850, 1860, and 1870 censuses list Abner and family as living in Dallas. The 1878 Dallas City Directory lists hi as living at 423 Ross near where the former School Book Depository was, and record books show him as owning a great deal of the surrounding property including where Reunion Tower is now located. He also owned property at Buckingham and Shiloh Road in Garland.
On 8 October 1878 Nancy Susan Keene and husband Abner Keene donated property at Ross and Harwood for the construction of a Methodist Church which became known as the First Methodist Church. The following quote is taken from History of Methodism in Texas by Macam Phelan (page 205)"Abner Keen preached 35 years in Dallas County. Born 1799 in Virginia he moved to Tennessee and Illinois. He came to Texas in 1846 and settled on Duck Creek. He organized many churches in the area. He was a sweet singer, powerful in prayer, and an exhorter of great force. He left Dallas property valued at the time at $4,000 to the missionary board of the church. He died 30 November 1880." The same book gives this information concerning his grandson: Newton Keene was admitted to the ministry on 7 November 1877 in Bonham, Texas." According to records the property given was, as stated by Nancy S. Keene:"....because of love and affection which I have and bear for the Missionary cause of the Church of Jesus Christ on earth and the further consideration to carry out the wish and desire of myself and my said husband....do give...to the board of the Methodist Episcopal Church...for said church in trust for the sole use and benefit for the Missionary cause in China, Brazil and Mexico, equally..." It is assumed that since Nancy S. took care of this business transaction that Abner was in ill health since he died two years later.
To Abner and Susan were born the following children: 1) Wm. Henry born 1820, died 1858; married (1) Susannah Loop (Newton's parents); married (2) Mary Marley. 2)John W. born 1825, died 1874; married Nancy Turner. 3) Abner M. born 1829, married Elizabeth McCullough. 4) Elvira born 1831, married Enoch Dye. 5) Lavenia Adeline born 1834, married Joshua Bennett. 6) Milton V. born 1840. 7) Norris W. born 1843
Abner Keene died in 1880 in Dallas, Texas and is believed to be buried in Garland Memorial, along with his wife who died sometime after 1880. Many tombstones in the cemetery were destroyed to make way for a railroad track and their stones cannot be located.
Ruby Ledbetter, Dallas
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