This is a compilation of information and family lore sent to me after I posted a query on another message board:
Originating from Ireland, (probably Belfast), were two brothers, Charles Keeley and Frank Keeley, who both made their way to America.
In the 1850s, Charles Keeley, apparently born in 1827, changed his surname to the more English-sounding “Small” in order to successfully immigrate without being turned back, a problem that people of obvious Irish heritage were experiencing. He traveled on a ship, “The Queen”. I’ve found mention of a ship of that name based in Quebec which sailed back and forth between there and the British Isles, but I’ve found no immigration lists associated with it, though there is notice of it arriving in Quebec on May 30, 1850 from a trip that had taken it through the port of Cork, Ireland, (that date would be about right for Charles’ arrival). Charles met his bride-to-be, Anna (or Ann) Masterson, (born 1833 in Cavin County, Ireland), whilst traveling on “The Queen” and married her the same year.
Charles was naturalized June 7, 1887.
Charles Small (Keeley) and Anna Masterson settled in Mendota, Dakota County, Minnesota, (now considered part of metropolitan St.Paul), and had 8 children, James - (the eldest), Peter, Charles, Mary-Ann, Elizabeth, Margaret, Alice and Cecelia. The child Margaret used the “Keeley” surname while I’ve seen “Small” used in referring to James, Peter, Charles, Mary-Ann, Alice and Cecelia. Which leaves the child Elizabeth - I don’t know what surname she chose to use.
The subsequent marriages of these children that I know about are: James Small wed Maria McNamara; Charles Small wed Elizabeth Fee; Mary Ann Small wed *unknown* McCahey; Elizabeth wed Milton Deem; Margaret Keeley wed William Thomas Cassidy; Alice Small wed Reinhart (or Rheinhart) Pagel; Cecelia Small wed Alphonse Beaudette (or Beaudet).
I thought I had found a grave listing for Charles Small showing him passing away in 1911 in Mendota, Minnesota, but I can no longer find that in my notes to confirm it. Anna’s will was dated 1917 and all of this family is mentioned in it except her husband Charles and son James who had apparently passed on by that time.
That other Irish brother, Frank Keeley, married Charles’ wife’s sister Alice Masterson and they had settled in Louisville, Kentucky by 1863 or 1864. I know no particulars of this couple’s immigration or marriage, but I have seen that this Alice Masterson married a John Kerans in 1856.
So, please correct any information I have wrong here or share anything you might have about these unions.
Steve Keeley - firstname.lastname@example.org
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