DAVID EDWARD KEEFE
. Among the most prominent of the many well-known lawyers of Southern Illinois is David Edward Keefe, of the firm of Wise, Keefe & Wheeler, of East St. Louis. Mr. Keefe is a self-made man, and although the phrase has become hackneyed from over use, yet in this case nothing else is applicable. Forced to earn the money for his education, he early learned to depend on himself. With no backing, he started out to win a place for himself in a profession already overcrowded and succeeded by his own merit, alone. As a lawyer he is keen, a clear and logical thinker, and above all possesses that rare quality among lawyers of having a deep sense of honor and of truth. He is one of the men upon whom the country will have to depend to raise the legal profession from the depths to which it has been dragged by unscrupulous lawyers. It is fortunate that here and there such men are to be found, and it is more than fortunate in this case, for Mr. Keefe is also interested in politics and has considerable influence in the councils of his party.
David Edward Keefe was born in Madison county, Illinois, at Dorsey Station, on the 13th of December, 1863. His father was John Keefe, who was a native of Ireland. He emigrated from Ireland in 1848, and settled in St. Louis in December of the same year. He later moved to Madison county, Illinois, and in 1855 settled on a farm near Dorsey Station. Here he spent the remainder of his life, continuing his occupation of a farmer till his death, which occurred on the 11th of May,
1893. Mr. Keefe's mother was also a native of the Emerald Isle, and her name was Honorah Quinlan. She was the daughter of the superintendent of the beautiful Goskin estate in county Limerick, Ireland.
Mr. Keefe was educated in the common schools and later attended the Northern Illinois University at Dixon, Illinois. His father was none too well supplied with this world's goods and in order to obtain his college education the boy was forced to teach school and to put by every penny towards his education. He taught for five years and then began the study of law under Solomon H. Bethea, who was afterward made judge of the United States court at Chicago. Mr. Keefe was admitted to the bar in 1890 and opened his office at Bunker Hill, Illinois. The fame of the young lawyer soon spread, for he inherited from his Irish forefathers the facility of tongue, for which they are noted, and his experiences had given him the steadying influence which the Irish temperament often lacks. In 1898 he was elected county judge and served in this office four years. So satisfactory was his service to the people that he was urged to accept another term, but refused in order to enter into partnership with Wise and McNulty at East St. Louis, Illinois. This firm of Wise, McNulty & Keefe ranked as one of the best firms of lawyers in Southern Illinois. The present firm of Wise, Keefe & Wheeler has one of the largest practices in the southern part of the state. Mr. Keefe was appointed corporation counsel of East St. Louis in 1905, and it fell to him to handle the largest financial questions with which the city has ever had to deal. Strong pressure was brought to bear in the attempt to persuade him to run for congress in 1912, from the twenty-second district in Illinois, but he declined, preferring to devote himself to his profession.
In politics Mr. Keefe has always been a Democrat and he has given much of his time to campaign speaking, where his eloquent tongue has helped the cause of many candidates. In his religious affiliations he is a Roman Catholic, having been raised in the church and having always been a consistent member of the same. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus and of the Elks. He is grand knight of the East St. Louis Council and has filled various offices in this order, taking a deep interest in the work of the society.
Mr. Keefe was married at Bunker Hill, Illinois, on the 29th of November, 1893, to Jennie C. Eline, of Littlestown, Pennsylvania. She received her education at St. Joseph's Academy, McSherrystown, Pennsylvania, being a graduate of this institution. She is the daughter of John W. and Annie Eline. Her father was a general contractor and his great-grandfather served in the Revolutionary war, taking part in the battle of Brandywine. Six children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Keefe, namely: Robert, May, Virginia, Agnes, Helen and David.