James Keen family holds reunion

Members of the James Keen family gathered at the Letcher Community Hall on Sunday, Sept. 11, and a delicious potluck meal was enjoyed by all.
Jenny Keen married Alva Halling and had Vanetta, Maxine, Dorothy, Royce, Cheryl and Beverly. James married Martha VanOverschelde and all their families were represented at the reunion.
Vanetta  (Dvonne Hansen’s mother) married Lyle Shawd; Maxine married Jack Melrose; Dorothy married Joe Fox; Royce married Vi Effraimson; Cheryl married Colman Blindauer; and Beverly married Dewane Johnson. Families of all the above were present at the reunion, and Sharon and Dean Beedle represented the James Keen family.
The majority of the children still live in South Dakota. More than 80 people attended the reunion from South Dakota and other parts of the United States.
James Keen came to South Dakota in 1869 at 21 years of age, driving a team of oxen from Wisconsin and settled in Lincoln County near Hudson, not far from Sioux Falls. He left home with his inheritance, eventually accumulated 800 acres and built up his farmstead to a show place.
He married Amanda Anderson, who came to America from Sweden in 1884. They had four children, Lenora, Mabel, Jenny and James. In 1900, because he wanted his children to be able to have further schooling, he bought 20 acres in Mitchell and 1,900 acres in Sanborn County near the James River, of which the Rainbow Ranch was part of. He lived in Mitchell and traveled or stayed at the ranch to run it.

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