Keen Family Collection

Keen Family Collection (1689-1886)


Scope and Content:
The Keen Family Collection contains deeds of the Keen family in Duxbury dating from the late 17th century to the late 19th century. These deeds are helpful in understanding how the Keene family acquired and consolidated their holdings in town. Of special note are two early indentures, one of Josiah Keen to Joseph Stockbridge (1728) to learn the calling of “husbandsman,” and one of Benjamin Dwelly to Isaac Keen (1729) to learn the cooper’s trade. Other legal documents include a partial deposition from a court case between Isaac Keen vs. Hannah H. Sampson, the widow of his business partner, Calvin C. Sampson. The firm of Sampson & Keen sold furniture in New Orleans, LA. The receipts in the Collection and one letter relate to this business partnership.

Biographical Information:
The Keene (also spelled Keen or Kein) family has moved to Duxbury in the late 17th century. Josiah Keen, Sr. and his sons acquired much of the land on the northerly side of Keene’s Brook in the Ashdod section of town.

Josiah Keen, Sr. was born in Pembroke, Ma or London in 1665 and died in Duxbury. By his first wife he had a daughter who died young and a son, Josiah, Jr. By his second wife, Hannah Dingly, he had John, Matthew, Ephraim, Hannah, Elizabeth, Abigail and Sarah.

In the Account Book of Hezekiah Keen, the grandson of Josiah, the following was written: “My grandfather was born in London on London Bridge and he came out of England with his father and mother and left in London two brothers behind them and my great grandfather and great grandmother. Came to Boston in New England and from thence to Hingham and from there to Marshfield and there my grandfather, Josiah Keen [Sr.], married with Abigail Little who he had my father, Josiah Keen [Jr.], by and one daughter who died young and my grandmother died also and left only my father Josiah Keen [Jr.] who married with Lydia Baker and they had eleven children whose names was Benjamin and Josiah who died young and Abigail, Eleanor, Lidia and Josiah, Nathaniel, Bethiah, Samuel, Isaac and myself who is Hezekiah who was born 1702 and I married with Alice Howland and had eleven children by her, Prince, Charles, Mark, Robert, Alice, Diana, Bethiah, Hezekiah, Daniel, Mary, William.” From Mayflower Descendant, Vol. XXVIII, No. 1, January 1930.

Josiah Keen, Sr. purchased land in the area of Duxbury known as Ashdod from Benjamin Church in 1675 and built house on it in 1680. Keen also built and operated a saw mill that supplied the lumber for many of the homes in the Ashdod area. As an active participant in civic affairs, he was a surveyor, constable and on the Grand Jury.

Josiah Keen, Sr. sold his homestead to his son Mathew in 1698, who in turn sold it to his nephew, Isaac (son of Josiah, Jr.) in 1727. Isaac already owned the adjacent farm. This was the first of four generations of Isaac to own the property. Isaac Keen, III (d. 1845) owned the large house on the property that is now Camp Wing. Isaac III’s wife, Lucy lived in the original 1680 house after her husband died. Isaac Keen, IV, operated a prosperous business out of New Orleans with a partner, Calvin Sampson. Isaac Keen, IV also operated a mill on his land that produced shingles and building lumber. It was this Isaac that built the barn, the largest in Duxbury, on the site. Isaac Keen IV’s daughter, Lydia, was the last to live on the property, dying in 1942 at age 90.

Series List:
Series I – Deeds
Series II – Legal Documents
Series III – Family Papers

Series I – Deeds (1698-1886)

Folder 1 – Deeds (1698-1721)
1. Josiah Keen, Sr. to Mathew Keen, 1698
2. Josiah Keen, Sr. to Josiah Keen, 1699 (moved to Oversized drawer)
3. Josiah Keen, Sr. to Josiah Keen, Jr., 1717
4. Children of Josiah Keen, Sr. to Josiah Keen, 1721

Folder 2 – Deeds (1724-1741)
1. Josiah Keen to Isaac Keen, 1724
2. Josiah Keen to Isaac Keen, 1724
3. Thomas Maggoon to Isaac Keen, 1727
4. J. Abraham Pearce to Isaac Keen, 1731
5. Samuel Keen to Isaac Keen, 1737
6. Hezekiah Keen to Elijha Ford, 1741

Folder 3 – Deeds (1750-1761)
1. Isaac Keen, Jr. to Jarius Bisbe, 1754
2. Jarius Bisbe to Isaac Keen, 1754
3. Hezekiah Keen to Isaac Keen, Jr., 1758
4. Hezekiah Keen to Mark Keen, 1754

Folder 4 – Deeds (1788-1798)
1. Distribution of the lands of Isaac Keen to his heirs, 1788
2. Transcription #1, c. 1900
3. Executors of Estate of Isaac Keen to Gideon Harlow and Isaac Keen, 1788
4. Lemuel Keen to Isaac Keen, 1796
5. Isaac Bisbe to Isaac Keen, 1798

Folder 5 – Deeds (1806-1813)
1. Josiah Hatch to Gideon Harlow, 1806
2. Settlement of estate of Abner Dingly, 1808
3. William Church to Cornelius Church, 1810
4. Michael Ford to Isaac Keen, 1811
5. Micah Foster and James Keith to Isaac Keen, Jr., 1813

Folder 6 – Deeds (1815-1820)
1. Charles Keen to Isaac Keen, Jr., 1815
2. Benjamin Simmons to Isaac Keen, Jr. 1816
3. Isaac Bisbee to Isaac Keen, Jr., 1818
4. George Patridge to Isaac Keen, Jr., 1819
5. Isaac Keen to Isaac Keen, Jr., 1820

Folder 7 – Deeds (1824-1830)
1. Thomas Randall to Isaac Keen, Jr., 1824
2. James Ford to Isaac Keen, Jr., 1827
3. Executor of the Estate of Waterman Ford to Isaac Keen, Jr., 1827
4. Heirs of Hezekiah Keith to Isaac Keen, Jr., 1828
5. Susanna Keen to Isaac Keen, 1830

Folder 8 – Deeds (1831-1850)
1. William Keen to Isaac Keen, 1831
2. Elijah Baker to Isaac Keen, 1832
3. Joseph Corlew for Estate of Bill Corlew to Cornelius B. Church, 1832
4. James Simmons to William Watson, 1836
5. Ebenezer Fish to Gideon Harlow, 1850

Folder 9 – Deeds (1875-1886)
1. Henry Harlow to Isaac Keen, 1875
2. Thomas Alden to Isaac Keen, 1884
3. Isaac Keen to William W. Cross, 1886

Folder 10 – Partial Deeds
1. Partial Deed signed by Benjamin Turner, John Turner and Nathaniel Loring, 1750
2. Partial Deed of Hezekiah Keen to Isaac Keen, Jr, c. 1700-1750
3. Parital Deed of Isaac Keen, 1789

Series II – Legal Documents

Folder 1 – Legal Documents
1. Will of Josiah Keen, 1728
2. Indenture of Josiah Keen to Joseph Stockbridge, 1728
3. Indenture of Benjamin Dwelley to Isaac Keen, 1729

Folder 2 – Court case of Keen vs. Sampson, 1870
1. Interrogation of Isaac Keen, 1870
2. Page 2 of letter regarding court case by Race, Foster & Merrick, n.d.

Folder 3 – Legal Documents
1. Copy of newspaper article re: Mortgage Sale of Real Estate of Lydia Keen, 1931
2. Insurance Bill for Lydia Keen property, 1932
3. Sketch of survey of property, n.d.
4. Inventory of Estate of Lucy Keen, n.d.

Series III – Family Papers

Folder 1 – Correspondence
1. Jarius Keene (New Orleans) to Isaac Keene (Duxbury, MA), Aug. 21, 1877
2. Robert Treat (Boston, MA) to Mrs. M. C. Blakeman (Duxbury, MA), Mar. 12, 1836
Re: property of Lydia Keen

Folder 2 – Accounts and Receipts
1. Statement of Account of Sampson & Keen, 1860
2. Adams Southern Express, Boston, 1861
3. St. Louis Hotel, New Orleans, May 28, 1867
4. St. Louis Hotel, New Orleans, June 4, 1867
5. St. Louis Hotel, New Orleans, June 9, 1867
6. Statement of Account with Isaac Place Estate, 1923

Folder 3 – Other
1. Miss Keen’s recipe for Candy Fudge
2. Page of Church family Genealogy

3 thoughts on “Keen Family Collection

  1. Pingback: Duxbury High School Interns Catalog Three New Collections | Drew Archival Library

  2. Many people list John Keen ( brother of Josiah) married to Hannah Stebbins as the parents of William Keen,while others list them as the parents of Jane Keen who married William. Does anyone have proof as to which is correct.

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