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The KEEF Families of Tennessee
Where did their E go?

Back to Keefe/Keeffe families

There was a group of Keef family members living in several counties in Tennessee in the early and mid 1800s. My preliminary research shows that the Keef Tennessee families may be from a common progenitor named Rebuen Keef who as early as 1758 was in an area of northern Virginia named Bedford. It is further possible (but not proven) that a Tredell Keefe in North Carolina was an ancestor to this early Virginian, Rebuen Keef.

First, here are records I have on the Keef family of Warren Co.Tennessee:

1812 Warren County Tax Returns include:
John Keefe
Ruben Keef

1820 Warren County Census includes:
Thomas Keef

1830 Warren County Census includes:
Reuben Keef (same page)
John Keef
(same page)
Thomas Keef

1838 Warren County Tax list includes:
Thomas G. Keef
Thompson Keef

1840 Warren County Census includes:
John Keef p. 348
Thomas Keef (Jr) p. 352

Thomas Keef, Sr. p.347

The following was interpreted from studying the information in the Warren County, TN census records and notes taken from the LDS Family Search web site:

The John Keefe/Keef listed in above Warren County census/tax records may have been a son to the also listed Reuben Keef who was probably born in Pennsylvania. Reuben may have had two other sons, Jesse and Joel. This father/son, Reuben and John Keef, appear to have moved together to Cass County, Georgia during the state's gold rush period. John Keef married Elizabeth Winnett and had nine children including William Henry Keef who moved to Oklahoma.

A Daily Keef was born 1786 in Virginia. He appears to have been married twice, and by the 1850 census he was living in Warren County,Tennessee with the second wife who was born in Kentucky. A young widow named Jane Keef (1818-?) was living next door to Daily Keef and was probably his daughter-in-law. Jane Keef's children were: Lawson (1838-?), Sarah A.(1841-?), and Daily M. (1843-?). (Some of the individuals listed in census records above may have been children from Daily Keef's first marriage, and Daily Keef may have been somehow related to Reuban Keef).

Another Keef family found in the 1850 Warren County census was that of Mrs. Frances "Fanny" Keef (1819-1887) Fanny Keef's husband appears to have died by 1850 leaving her with the following.children: Louisa Keef (1834-?), Julia A. Keef (1838-?), Harriet Keef (1841-?), James T. Keef (1843-1913), and William Keef 1848-?). I suspect that Fanny Keef was the daughter of a Nancy Hopper who was living nearby in the household of Moses Hopper. I would also guess that Fanny Keef's deceased husband was a son to the above mentioned Daily Keef or Reuban Keef. After 1850 the Keefs and Hoppers may have moved together to Arkansas.

The following families were found in other Tennessee Counties:

In Gallatin Merchant's Journal, (dated 1807) a Thomas Keefe paid Mr. Norvell

Michael Keefe married Mary Gleason? in 1831, Tennessee (County unknown).

In Gibson, TN census for 1850 was a Thomas Keefe (c1815-?) and his wife Jane (c1810-?) with children: William, Martha, Urica, Sarah, Mary and Louisa.

In Dekalb County by 1860.was a Thomas Keefe (c1788-?) born in TN living with his wife, Susannah (1798-?) born in NC . Since they were living alone and considering their ages, I assume their children had married. At least one son, Thomas J. Keefe (1834-?) was listed as their next door neighbor in the 1860 census with his wife, Elizabeth, and children Thomas B. and John C. I'm not sure if these Keefes are related to the above mentioned Warren County Keefs or not.

A Louis Keef of Tennessee was born c1875 died c1968
and is probably a descendant of one of the Warren County Keef families.

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