He was born Sept. 23, 1878, at Falls of Rough, Breckinridge County, Kentucky; he died Oct. 19, 1937, at Danville, Vermilion County, Illinois. He was buried in Sunset Memorial Park, Danville, Illinois. He married Erie E. Robbins on Sept. 2, 1901, at Hardinsburg, Breckinridge County, Kentucky. They had three children: Dr. Reid Lionel Keenan, Emma A. (Keenan) Richie, and Wilbur Eaton Keenan.
Wilbur Elvis Keenan began his studies for the ministry at an advanced age and at a College in Jacksonville, Morgan County, Illinois, while he was farming there. He later studied full time at the Garrett Biblical Institute in Evanston, Illinois, from which he graduated and he was there at the same time that his son, Reid, was attending medical school at Northwestern University in Chicago. He graduated from the Garrett Biblical Institute in 1921. He pastored a Methodist church in Bismark, Illinois, from 1918 to 1921, and designed the Church there. It was built by Durbin & Providence. He next accepted the Methodist parish in Georgetown, Vermilion County, Illinois, for one year and then moved to Bloomington, Illinois, where he approved architectural plans for the remodeling of the Methodist Church at 706 Allen Street.
In the fall of 1929, he moved to pastor the Lincoln Methodist Church in Danville, Illinois, where he remained for four years. At this time, he began to suffer from ill health. Next, he moved to a Methodist Church in Villa Grove, Illinois. Following this ministry, he returned to the Lincoln Methodist Church in Danville, Illinois, about 1935, for two more years. He was stricken with multiple myeloma and serviced the Danville parish from his bed during his final days. He had served the ministry for twenty years.
Rev. Keenan was the son of Patrick Benjamin Keenan, Sr., and Mahala (Reed) Keenan. He was a very happy and good man who enjoyed life immensely and was deeply loved by all of his parishioners. Prior to his ministry and as a young man, he had worked for a time as an itinerant laborer doing odd jobs near Hopkinsville, Kentucky, in the Green River area. Subsequent to this early phase of his life, he removed to Morgan County, Illinois, with his family where he rented and operated a farm. It was at this time that he sensed that he had a vocation which he had to honor which was the ministry. He then began part-time studies in Morgan County, Illinois.
His ancestry traced to his grandfather, Patrick Keenan (1766-1832) who was born in Ireland and died in Breckinridge County, Kentucky. His paternal grandmother and wife of Patrick Keenan (1766-1832)was Cassandra (Burch) Keenan.
Further information about this man, his ancestors and descendants, is available from the poster. There is a book available about this Keenan lineage.
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