REV. ALEX KEOWN, who now resides on a farm on section 33, Carbondale Township, Jackson County, has the honor of being a native of Illinois, for his birth occurred in Madison County, August 19, 1832. He is the youngest child of Andrew and Sarah (Goodwin) Keown. The great-grandfather, Thomas Keown, was a native of Ireland, and about 1775 emigrated with his family to America, locating in the Abbeyville District of South Carolina. His son, John Keown, was born in County Down, Ireland, March 17, 1767, and was a farmer by occupation.
The father of our subject was born in the Abbeyville District of South Carolina, October 15, 1794. On the 2d of December, 1819, he married Miss Goodwin, who was born in 1800, in Butler County, Ky., whither her father, John Goodwin, a native of South Carolina, removed in an early day. Mr. and Mrs. Keown resided in Kentucky until 1825, which year witnessed their removal to Madison County, Ill. They located on a tract of wild land near the present town of Alhambra, and there the father developed a fine farm, which became a valuable piece of property. He and his wife held membership with the Presbyterian Church, and were highly respected people. His death occurred February 22, 1879, and his wife died October 7, 1881. Their family numbered six children, of whom four are yet living: John, born in 1822; Mary, in 1826; Calvin, in 1830; and Alex. Those deceased are Elizabeth Ann, who was born in 1820; and Andrew M., who was born in 1824.
In the usual manner of farmer lads our subject spent the days of his boyhood and youth. His early education was supplemented by one year's attendance at an academy in Sullivan, Ill., and he then engaged in teaching school for one term. On the 24th of February, 1859, he was united in marriage with Deborah A., daughter of Henry and Eleanor (Talbot) Warderman. Her parents settled near Columbia, Monroe County, Ill., in 1817, and her father was a prominent citizen of the locality. He served as a soldier in the War of 1812. Mrs. Keown was born in Monroe County December 17, 1834.
After their marriage, Mr. Keown located on a farm near his father's, in Madison County, where he made his home until 1866. He enlisted August 12, 1862, in Company G, One Hundred and Seventeenth Illinois Infantry, was mustered in at Camp Butler, and for over a year did guard duty at Memphis, Tenn. He participated in the battles of Meridian, Lafayette, Canton, Tupelo, Oldtown Creek, Hurricane Creek, Franklin, Nashville, and the siege and capture of Ft. Blakely, after which he remained in Montgomery, Ala., until the close of his service. He was mustered out at Camp Butler August 5, 1865, having for three years worn the blue as a defender of the Union.
In 1866 Mr. Keown came to his present farm, and many of the improvements upon the place are the work of his own hands. He has ninety acres under a high state of cultivation, and the place is neat and thrifty in appearance. A great deal of his time has been given to church work. At the age of fifteen he became a member of the Presbyterian Church, and about ten years later he transferred his membership to the Methodist Episcopal Church, and has since earnestly endeavored to follow in his Master's footsteps. In 1871 he was ordained and licensed to preach the Gospel, and has since been a local preacher. He is also a prominent worker in the Sunday-school, and has served as its Superintendent.
To the Rev. Mr. and Mrs. Keown were born eight children, six of whom are yet living. William L., born February 9, 1860, married Janet Carson, and, with his wife and two children, resides in Centralia; Edward M. was born April 27, 1866; Hettie I., November 17, 1868; Perry W., February 4, 1871; John V., February 10, 1874; and Frank A., September 15, 1877. The family is one of prominence in the community, and its members rank high in social circles where true worth and intelligence are received as the passports into good society. In 1845 Mr. Keown joined the Masonic fraternity. He also belongs to the Grand Army post of Carbondale. He has served as a member of the School Board for many years, and has done effective service in the interest of education. He is now serving his second term as Justice of the Peace. In politics he is a Republican, and is a man whose upright life has made him a valued citizen.
Extracted 22 Sep 2016 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois, published in 1894, pages 485-486.
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