|JOE JAMES KEELINE. Owner and operator of one of the most valuable ranches in Campbell County, Joe James Keeline easily dominates in ranching matters, and his experience and knowledge are generally recognized. He belongs to a family the members of which have given the best of their abilities to an agricultural life, and this part of the state is indebted to the Keelines for some of the most constructive progress which has been made in methods of ranching.|
The Keeline family is of German origin, and was founded in the United States by the grandfather of Joe James Keeline, George [Frederick] Keeline, a native of Germany, one of the solid, honorable immigrants who bore so important a part in the development of this country. But a boy when brought here by his parents, George Keeline spent some years at Wheeling, [West] Virginia, where the family located. There he remained until after his marriage, learning the trade of a butcher, at which he worked, but later he became a lumberman. After he moved to Council Bluffs, Iowa, which he did in the course of time, he acquired large land holdings and was a pioneer of Council Bluffs. In 1874 he came to Wyoming, pioneering on the banks of the Platte River, and there was extensively interested in ranching, although he continued to maintain his residence at Council Bluffs, and died in the latter place. In addition to his other interests he was a banker, and at the time of his death was a capitalist.
One of the sons of George Keeline, Harry W. Keeline, resides on his ranch forty-five miles southeast of Gillette, and he is the father of Joe James Keeline. He was born at Wheeling, [West] Virginia, January 1, 1869, but was taken to Council Bluffs, Iowa, when a lad of eleven years, in 1880, and there he was reared and married. Following his marriage he was engaged in farming in Pottawattomie County for about ten years, and then, selling, came to Niobrara County, Wyoming, where his father had founded a ranch. In 1896 the grandfather, George [Frederick] Keeline, and his sons, Harry W., George A., Oscar and Will [S.] Keeline, bought 160 acres of land which they named the 4 J Ranch. They had become interested in this section while driving through with a band of steers to Montana. In 1910 Oscar and Harry W. Keeline bought the old 21 Ranch, situated forty-five miles southeast of Gillette, increasing the acreage until they owned 60,000 acres. This property is now operated under the name of Harry W. Keeline & Sons, and the firm are extensive cattle raisers, the most important ones in Campbell County. They have some registered Herefords, and their product receives top notch prices on the market. Harry W. Keeline is a director of the Stockmens Bank of Gillette, and is a stockholder in many corporations, he, too, being a capitalist of great wealth. In addition to the home ranch he operates 2,100 acres of valuable farm land between Council Bluffs and Sioux City, Iowa, in the vicinity of Little Sioux and Blenco, Iowa. His political views make him a Republican, and he is staunch in his adherence to party ties. He married Nettie Redman, who was born at Omaha, Nebraska, April 12, 1873, and three children have been born to them, namely: George R., who is a partner of Harry W. Keeline & Sons, and a veteran of the World war, having seen service in the United States for eight months, as a member of the Dental Corps; Joe James Keeline, whose name heads this review; and Coramay, who resides at Gillette, the wife of William Edelman, Junior, the leading druggist of Gillette.
Joe James Keeline was born in Pottawattomie County, Iowa, June 16, 1896, and he was sent to the public schools of Council Bluffs, Iowa, through the first two years of high school. Subsequently he had a year in the Council Bluffs Business College, leaving it in 1914. Coming to Wyoming in that year, he joined other members of his family on the 21 Ranch, then known as the O. & H.W. Keeline Ranch. Here he has since remained, and since 1923 has been one of the partners, his uncle, Oscar Keeline, having given him a share in the buisness. He and his brother George [A.] superintend the operations of the ranch, while the father has charge of the finances. They reside in a beautiful modern home on the ranch, at the head of Black Thunder Creek, where they enjoy life, and at the same time have the satisfaction of knowing that their efforts are productive of so much value not only to them personally but to their calling and the people at large. Joe James Keeline, following family precedent, is a Republican, but, like the other Keelines, prefers to exert his influence as a private citizen, as he has no political aspirations. He affiliates with the Episcopal Church, and is one of its generous supporters. A Mason, he belongs to Gillette Lodge No. 28, A.F.&A.M.; and Gillette Chapter No. 17, R.A.M. He is also a member of the Council Bluffs Lodge No. 531, B.P.O.E.; the Wyoming Stockgrowers Association; and the Northeastern Wyoming Stockgrowers Association.
On January 26, 1921, Mr. Keeline was married, at Deadwood, South Dakota, to Miss Irene Collins, a daughter of James D. and Florence (Hunter) Collins, both of whom are deceased. Mr. Collins operated an extensive ranch, running from 1,000 to 1,200 head of cattle, and this property was located twenty-five miles north of Gillette, and there he died in March, 1929, his wife having previously died, January 16, 1921. Mr. and Mrs. Keeline have two children: Joe James, Junior; and Harry Walter II, both of whom are attending the 21 Ranch School.7