Monday, June 30, 2014

Mary Anna Keen Weber: A Life Lived in Large Families -- 52 Ancestors Challenge

  The 52 Ancestors Challenge is the creation of Amy Johnson Crow at  She's bringing together family history writers who share ancestral stories throughout 2014.  There’s a weekly update on Amy's blog linking to these stories by surname.
      Mary Anna Keen grew up in a large German Catholic family and carried on that tradition throughout her life.  She was one of nine children of Lawrence and Elizabeth (Kraut) Keen. Her father was a shoemaker. (I've included a link to his story below.)  Mary Anna was the seventh child in the Keen family, born in Zanesville, Muskingum County, Ohio, on 11 February 1860. Soon thereafter she was baptized at St. Nicholas Catholic Church. 
     The family lived in Ohio from approximately 1840 to 1864.  After 24 years in that Zanesville home, Mary's parents decided to move 230 miles west to Indianapolis, Indiana. Why and how exactly the Keen family made that life change is only speculation.  For a young girl the journey could have been exciting or frightful.  They might have traveled by wagon with all their belongings across the National Road, the pathway constructed in the early 1800s to help the hordes of settlers going east to west.  Also, by 1864 when the Keens moved with 5-year-old Mary, railroads were built that could have taken them to their new home. Maybe the ten of them had an exciting ride from eastern Ohio to central Indiana by rail.
     Regardless of how they made the journey, Mary's family soon established their home in Indiana.  By the time the census-taker asked for their family information in 1870, the Keens lived at 175 South New Jersey Street in Indianapolis, the home where Mary grew to adulthood. Her father had a shoe repair shop on Virginia Avenue, a short walk from their home.  We also know from the 1870 census that Mary was attending school in Indianapolis at age 10, becoming an educated young lady. 
    The south side area of Indianapolis where the Keen family settled was heavily populated by German immigrants. When the Keens became residents in the mid-1860s the German language could be heard on the streets as the merchants sold their wares and people went about their daily lives.  In Mary's neighborhood lived a young man named Harry Adam Weber.  The two were very close in age and may haveKeen siblings in 1907. attended school together.  The families would most assuredly have known each other.  By following Mary's path through Indianapolis City Directories, I see that as a young woman she became employed as a clerk at the New York Store.  Records also show that Harry Weber was a clerk in that store. Was sharing their work at this popular department store in downtown Indianapolis the catalyst that brought these two young people close?  I can't say for sure what ignited that spark.   But they were married on 21 October 1886 in the local German Catholic parish of St. Mary’s. 
The photo on the left, taken in the early 1900s, is eight Keen siblings ranging in age from 40 to 57 years old.  They are posing outside St. Mary's Catholic Church in Indianapolis.  Mary Anna Keen is the small lady in the front of the group. 
Pictured in this 1907 photo are:  Men in back - Left, George Keen; Right, Fred Keen.
Sisters left to right are: Lizzie Keen Suess, Anna Keen Cheseldine, Katie Keen Kasberg, Mary Keen Weber, Lena Keen Buennagel, Clare Keen Paetz
(The eldest son, John Keen, was already deceased at the time of this photo.) 
Mary Anna Keen Weber and her husband, Harry Adam Weber.
         Mary Anna Keen Weber gave birth to 12 children between 1887 and 1908.  The Weber home on South Alabama Street in Indianapolis was bubbling with family, including Harry's mother who lived with them for 13 years. Their home remained a gathering place of children and grandchildren until the 1940s.
Children of Mary Anna Keen and Harry Adam Weber:
Harry Lawrence WEBER (1887-1946)
Ida Theodora WEBER (1888-1968)
Walter Maximilian WEBER (1890-1942)
Mary Stella WEBER (1892-1962)
Elizabeth Magdalena "Lillian" WEBER (1893-1976)
Edith Marie WEBER (1896-1987)
Clarence George WEBER (1898-1989)
William John WEBER (1899-1973)
Herbert Lawrence WEBER (1901-1975)
Albert Edward WEBER (1903-1903)
Catherine Amelia WEBER (1906-1990)
Alberta Clara WEBER (1908-1995)
     Mary Anna Keen Weber died at 68 years old on the 16th of October 1928, just a few days before her 42nd wedding anniversary.   She is buried in St. Joseph Cemetery, Indianapolis, alongside her husband and near several of her children and grandchildren.  Of course, there is quite a long list of Mary's descendants.  I have posted a list of the Keen descendants at this link if you would like to take a look.  
     In closing, I believe I'll continue to include a happy birthday wish here in this family history spot.  Below is a chart showing the ancestry of my cousinSteve Holzer, great grandchild of Mary Anna Keen Weber, Steve Holzer, to Mary Anna Keen.  Steve recently celebrated a birthday and this sends out wishes for a good health and good fortune!
Ancestry chart - Steve Holzer to Mary Anna Keen
       I welcome your comments or inquiries about our family history.  Click on the comments section below or send me an email at nancyhurley1 at gmail dot com.
Thank you for visiting Indiana Ties.

     If you'd like to read about Mary Anna Keen's father, Lawrence Keen, here's a link to his story in an earlier segment of 52 Ancestors.)
     Nancy Niehaus Hurley Copyright 2014 ©

1 comment:

  1. Love reading these 52 ancestor challenges! And Happy Birthday to Steve!!


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