KEEFER, Joseph, Sr., watch and clock maker, was born in Lower Paxton township, Dauphin county, Pa., September 10, 1820, and is a son of Joseph and Christina (Gipple) Keefer. Joseph Keffer(1), father of Joseph Keefer, Sr., died February 1, 1868, aged eighty tears, one month and one day. His wife died October, 1837, aged fifty-one or fifty-two. Their children were: Elizabeth, Jacob, Sarah, Mary, Catherine, Jane, Joseph, Susan, and Annie.
Joseph Keefer, Sr., attended the subscription school in Lower Paxton township one term. When he was nine years old his parents moved to Upper Paxton township to a place three miles east of Millersburg, settling there in April, 1830. There Joseph was in the private school several years, and later went to the district school a part of each year until he was eighteen. For several years previous to this he had been repairing clocks and watches, and had become quite skillful in the trade which he subsequently made his occupation. He remained with his parents until he was twenty-three, and then went to work on the farm of his brother-in-law, near Oakland Mills, Juniata county, Pa. In 1844 he returned to Upper Paxton township and bought forty acres of land of his father, on which he built a house and barn and made other improvements, substantial and serviceable. In 1850 he bought a farm of seventy acres, in Perry county, Pa., in Liverpool worked at his trade, and also conducted a carpet and cloth weaving business until 1866. In that year, his wife having died December 5, 1865, he went back to Upper Paxton township and lived with his parents until the spring of 1867, when he removed to Pumpkin Hill, now Rife Postoffice, in Upper Paxton township. There he worked at this trade of watch and clock making, and later opened a general store. He bought with the store twenty acres of land, which he cultivated. In 1869 Mr. Keefer sold his store and farm and bought a small farm of his father, near Millersburg, consisting of thirteen acres. On this place he remained until 1875, when he bought his present homestead, and in 1876 built upon it the house in which he now resides. It is a farm of nineteen acres, which he has highly improved and made valuable and attractive.
Joseph Keefer was married, May 2, 1843, to Christina, daughter of Philip and Catherine Luckenbach, born February 7, 1827. Of their eight children, three are deceased: Jacob T., born November 8, 1846, died October 6, 1881, married Margaret Dunkle, and left five children; Sarah A., born April 13, 1840, wife of Adam Miller, died July 2, 1884; Rev. Daniel W., born February 4, 1859; attended the district schools of Perry county for a short time before the removal of the family to Upper Paxton township, where he went to winter schools and worked out among the farmers during other seasons. At nineteen years of age he began teaching school at Loyalton, Washington township, and then, after working for a time with his brother, Joseph P., in the woolen factory, in Cumberland county, he began his studies for the ministry. At their completion he was ordained to the sacred office, and occupied several pastorates; he was last located at Highland church, near Steelton, Pa., where he died February 19, 1892. He was an able and faithful minister, became prominent in his profession, and was honored and loved by all his parishioners. He left a wife and one child..
The surviving children of Mr. and Mrs. Keefer are: Joseph P., born October 6, 1848, married Annie Miller; Mare E., born January 8, 1854, wife of Tobias Sheetz; William L., born February 18, 1860, resides in Florida; John B., born May 27, 1862, studied dentistry, and is practicing at Altoona, Pa., married Mary Auxer; Rebecca Jane born August 19, 1864, wife of Morris Shultzberger. Mrs. Keefer died December 5, 1865. Mr Keefer was married again, December 20, 1866, to Sarah Haffley, daughter of John and Magdalena Haffley.
Mr. Keefer was formerly a Whig, and when the Republican party came into existence he united with that organization. While in Perry county he served in numerous township offices. He has been for about sixty years a member of the Brethren in Christ, commonly called River Brethren; was for many years a deacon; In 1879 he was elected to the ministry, and still holds that sacred office.
Philip Luckenbach, father of the first Mrs. Keefer, is deceased, as is also his wife. They had a family of ten girls and six boys; Mrs. Keefer was the youngest girl. The present Mrs. Keefer is one of seven children, one of whom, Martha, died March 19, 1896, aged sixty-eight years and five months. The surviving brothers and sisters are : Jacob, David, Elizabeth, Sophia, Nancy, and Sarah, Mrs. Keefer.
Historical Review of Dauphin County