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Below is a family biography included in Book of Biographies: Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens, Cortland County, New York published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1898.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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CHARLES A. KEECH, who is engaged in fanning in the town of Harford, is a son of Isaac and Betsey (Gee) Keech, and was born in the town of Harford, this county, March 11, 1836.

His grandfather, Robert Keech, was a native of New York City, and was a sailor by occupation. He removed to the town of Virgil about 1808, where he spent the remainder of his life. His wife was formerly Nancy Tompkins, a member of one of the old families of New York City, who lived there before the Revolution and were there when the city was captured by the British. They were originally from France.

Isaac Keech was born in New York City in 1796, and when twelve years old came with his parents to the town of Virgil. Later he moved to the town of Harford where he resided until 1864, when he moved to the town of Dryden, where he died July 31, 1877. He married Betsey Gee, whose father was William Gee, of English ancestry, who served as a major in the Revolutionary War. He was among the first settlers of the town of Virgil. Her mother was Elanah Parliman, whose predecessors were from Holland. Betsey (Gee) Keech was born July 5, 1799, and died Feb. 20, 1876. To this marriage were born the following children: Nancy M., born Aug. 6, 1821, married Elisha Webb of Ohio, where she died May 14, 1858; Ursula, born June 25, 1825, the wife of Charles Miller, a retired farmer of Virgil; Dolly Ann, born Feb. 11, 1828, died July 6, 1894, the wile of Elijah Stowe; Emily E., born June 19, 1830, the widow of Abiathar S. Briggs, a farmer of St. Peter, Minn.; Charles A.; George E., born June 25, 1839, lives in Pleasantville, Pa., where he follows his occupation of a farmer; and Isaac E., born Sept. 10, 1842, a farmer of Dryden. George and Isaac served in the Civil War, George enlisting in the 76th Regiment and serving over three years, and Isaac enlisting in the 9th N. Y. Heavy Artillery and serving two years, part of the time being in the hospital.

Charles A. Keech was instructed in the common schools, while at the same time he did such work about the farm as usually falls to the lot of a farmer boy. This discipline was just the kind needed to make him thoroughly understand all the details of farm work, and the advantages gained by such a training were fully appreciated a few years later when he started out for himself. For seven years he worked at farm work by the month, at the end of which time he farmed on shares from 1864 until 1889, when he removed to the town of Harford, where he has since lived. In 1859, Mr. Keech took as his helpmeet, Eliza Purvis, who was born Nov. 25, 1833, and to them have been given the following children: James E., born April 1, 1863, died Jan 31, 1880; and Frank, born Oct. 11, 1886, and died Feb. 1, 1880. Mr. Keech still carries on his farming, owning one farm of 135 acres, and one adjoining in Dryden of 35 acres, formerly owned by his wife. He disposed of another farm a few years ago. In political belief he is a Republican. In religious views he is liberal, but attends the M. E. Church of which his wife was a constant and loyal member. Mrs. Keech died Dec. 27, 1897, aged sixty-four years.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in Book of Biographies: Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens, Cortland County, New York published in 1898. 

View additional Cortland County, New York family biographies here: Cortland County, New York Biographies

View a map of 1897 Cortland County, New York here: Cortland County, New York Map

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