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KEFFER, John J., of the firm of Smith & Keffer, tobacconists, was born in Lancaster, Pa., October 16, 1848. He is son of Peter B. and Annie M. (Royal) Keffer. His paternal grandfather, Henry B. Keffer, was born in Germany, where he was educated and learned carpentry. Coming to this country, he located in Lancaster, and there followed his trade. He was a prominent politician, and was elected to various offices, among them that of county commissioner. He was married in Lancaster, to Miss Elizabeth Brock, a native of Germany. Their children were: Peter B., John L., Washington, Benjamin, and Julius; all now deceased. Henry B. Keffer died January 9, 1850, aged sixty-five years; his wife died November 14, 1871, aged eighty-six. Mr. Keffer's maternal grandparents were both natives of Germany.

Peter B. Keffer, father of John J., was born in Lancaster county, Pa., December 20, 1820. He followed the occupation of house painting until the outbreak of the war of the Rebellion. He was one of the first to enlist in the army, under the call of President Lincoln for three years' soldiers. He was discharged, December 18, 1864, on account of disability. After the war, he lived retired from active business. His wife, Annie M. Royal, was born in Lancaster county, Pa., February 22, 1821, daughter of Josiah Royal. They had nine children, eight of whom are living: Annie M., wife of D. B. McDonald; Henry B.; Sarah E., wife of C. G. Smith; John J.; Clara, wife of Dr. E. Fornias, Philadelphia, Pa.; Washington B.; Charles F. Edward F. died at the age of eight years. Mr. Keffer was a Democrat. He was a member of the Episcopal church. He died in Harrisburg, November 8, 1874, aged fifty-four. His wife is living; she resides in Harrisburg, and is in good health, at the age of seventy-four.

John J. Keffer attended the public schools of Lancaster county until he was twelve years of age. In 1860 he became clerk in a tailoring establishment, where he was employed three years. In 1863 he began an apprenticeship of three and a half years at coach trimming. Upon its completion, in 1867, he was made foreman in the trimming department, and served in that capacity for nine months; he then resigned. In 1868 he was employed as a coach trimmer by Stoner & Co., of Pittsburg, Pa., for eight months. He was employed by Vance, Halleck & Whiteside, Harrisburg, Pa., for eight months. During 1871 he served as passenger brakeman on the Pennsylvania railroad, between Harrisburg and Altoona, and between Harrisburg and Philadelphia. In 1872 he was employed by C. G. Smith as clerk in the wholesale tobacco business. After a clerkship of two years he became the partner of Mr. Smith, under the firm name of Smith & Keffer, doing business at 506 Market street. The firm removed in 1885 to No. 439 Market street. After conducting business there for ten years they removed in 1895 to No. 432, same street, where they have established a large and increasing business.

Mr. Keffer was married in Lancaster, November 8, 1877, to Miss Elizabeth, daughter of William and Elizabeth (Showers) Marshall, born in Lancaster, June 20, 1847. They have six children, of whom four are living: Edward, Frank, John and Donald. Their deceased children are: Charles W., died in 1885, aged seven years, and Sarah E., died in infancy.

Mr. Keffer has for ten years been an active member of the Masonic order, Lodge No. 21, and for twenty-three years has belonged to Capital City Castle, No. 40, K. G. E., and to the Knights of the Mystic Chain, No. 17. In his political views he is Independent.

William Marshall, father of Mrs. Keffer, was born in Lancaster city, Pa., January 12, 1834. He was a shoemaker, and pursued that calling for thirty years. He was then appointed overseer at Franklin and Marshall College, and held that position for some years, after which he retired. His wife, Elizabeth Sowers, was the daughter of Henry and Elizabeth Sowers. Their living children are: James H.; Elizabeth, Mrs. John J. Keffer; William A., lieutenant in the United States navy; Emma; Alice, wife of Harry G. Elias. Mr. Marshall died, February 13, 1881, aged sixty-nine years: his wife died June 16, 1893, aged seventy-nine. Both were members of St. John's Episcopal church. Mrs. Keffer's grandparents were natives of Lancaster county. Her grandfather was born in Lancaster.

Historical Review of Dauphin County

Transcribed by Gwen Bixler Drivon at for The Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Transcription Project -

Date of Transcription: 21 Feb. 2001

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