Trustee of the Oak Grove school


Operating on an extensive scale as an orchardist, Edward G. Keeble has become closely identified with the horticultural interests of Santa Clara Valley, since coming here to make his home, nearly twenty years ago. Mr. Keeble's native state was Tennessee, and there he was born at what was known as Miller's Cove, Blount County, on April 4, 1872, his parents being Marion and Jane (Clark) Keeble, both barn and reared in Tennessee. Marion Keeble, who was a well-known resident of this part of Tennessee, was postmaster at Miller's Cove, and also served as justice of the peace there; he passed away on May 5, 1890, the mother surviving him only until December of that year.

In 1891 Edward G. Keeble made a trip to California and was so much impressed with what he saw that he determined to some day make this his home. He returned to his old home in 1892 and was married in 1894 to Miss Mary Hatcher, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Hatcher, old residents of Blount County. He again came to California in 1903, returned the following year and in 1905 brought his family to Santa Clara County, with the intention of making this their permanent home. He first entered into partnership with his older brother, R. P. Keeble, but after a short time sold out his interest and acquired the orchard of Judge Lewis at Edenvale, taking up his residence there in 1906. In 1918 he sold this orchard for $95,000, and as an evidence of the rapid increase in values of orchard property in the Santa Clara Valley, in two years it was resold for $150,000. In 1910 Mr. Keeble took a lease on the Fisk orchard on South Monterey Road, this running until 1930[? as written] and this fine property of 114 acres of choice fruit requires his entire time in superintending its care, a position for which his long training and thorough experience has eminently qualified him.
Mr. and Mrs. Keeble are the parents of five children: Annie P. married John Lannin of San Jose, and they have one child; Rebecca lives at San Jose; E. G., Jr., is a rancher; Florence and Martin are attending school. Capable and enterprising, Mr. Keeble has taken his place among the progressive men of this district, and has served three years as trustee of the Oak Grove school.

Sawyer, Eugene T, History of Santa Clara County, California : Los Angeles, Calif.: Historic Record Co., 1922, 1776 pgs. 
page 1603

Pioneer of the Fruit Industry of Santa Clara County

A typical representative of the self-made men of our times, occupying a well-deserved place of prominence and affluence in the Santa Clara valley, is Richard P. Keeble, known to his wide circle of friends as Dick Keeble, who has contributed much to the upbuilding of the county during his long residence here, and particularly has he done much to advance the interests of the fruit industry. He was born near Maryville, Blount County, Tenn., August 6, 1868, a son of Marion and Martha Jane (Clark) Keeble, both natives of that state. The Clark family were of English ancestry, while Mrs. Keeble's maternal ancestors, the Thompson's, were of Scotch descent and among the early settlers of Tennessee. The Keeble family came from England, settling in Virginia just prior to the Revolutionary War and Great-grandfather Richard Keeble served in that struggle for independence. Grandfather Keeble, also named Richard, was a pioneer of Tennessee, and his son Marion Keeble, the father of our subject, was an officer in the Confederate army in the Civil War, serving under Gen. Fitzhugh Lee. For many years he was a prominent farmer in Eastern Tennessee, where he passed away, the father of ten children, seven of whom are living, five of them being residents of California .

The second eldest of the family, Dick Keeble, attended the public schools of Blount County for a short time during the winter months, his summers being spent in working on the farm. In 1889 he came out to California, remaining for a month at Los Angeles and then going on to Ventura County, where he was employed on a bean thresher for a season. At the time of his father's death, in 1890, he returned to his old home in Tennessee where he remained for a year and a half, and then he made up his mind to return to the Coast and locate here permanently. For a time he resided in Washington, where he was engaged in the lumber business, coming back to California in 1892 and settling in the Santa Clara Valley, where he found employment during the fruit season. He began at the bottom of the ladder on arriving here, working for A. D. Rice, a rancher, at twenty-five dollars a month, but as he was willing and observant, he soon mastered ranching methods as practiced in California. By thrift and economy he saved a considerable portion of his wages, so that in 1905, with his brother, he purchased a ranch near Edenvale. Later he acquired a five-year lease on the Ogier ranch, on the Brokaw road, and after five successful seasons, he purchased the 115 acres that comprised the Ogier home place. Energetic and enterprising, he began at once to add to its improvements and set out and reset much of the place to all varieties of pears, until he developed it into one of the finest and best equipped pear orchards in this state. The phenomenal success which attended his efforts is a conclusive proof of the statement that the Santa Clara Valley is the center of the pear raising industry.

Mr. Keeble has also engaged extensively in the fruit business and besides it shipping his own fruit he bought pears, apples and olives, packed them and shipped them East, his business growing to very large proportions, so that in 1920 he had become the largest individual green fruit shipper in the United States, building up this business through his energy and capability from a small beginning and increasing its volume each year. He has constructed his own packing sheds, moderately equipped with a full complement of machinery, ten men being employed the year around, while the services of sixty men are required during the busy season. Mr. Keeble has also developed a forty-acre pear orchard just north of San Jose, so that it can readily be seen that he has unbounded faith in the prosperity of the fruit industry in the Santa Clara Valley. The products of his orchard have been shipped to all the large markets of the United States as well as supplying the export trade. In the fall of 1921 he disposed of his large orchard, a record sale, as it was the consensus of opinion that it was the highest price ever paid for a like acreage in the valley.

During the past twenty-five years Mr. Keeble's life has been a varied one, and he has crossed the continent twenty-seven times in disposing of his fruit and looking after his interests. His rise to prominence and affluence in a few short years is all the more interesting, since he says that it was in California that he made his first dollar. Besides his fruit interests, he has invested in two other ranches, one of fifty-two and one of forty-two acres; the latter is in alfalfa and is leased to a dairy. Politically Mr. Keeble is a staunch Republican, supporting the principles of the party of his choice, and has served on the county election board several times. Deservedly popular among a large circle of friends, he participates in the activities of the San Jose Country Club and the Chamber of Commerce and is a charter member of the San Jose Commercial Club. It is to such men that the rising generation may look for moral and material guidance, for unselfishness has been one of his chief characteristics and industry and courage his unfailing guides.

Transcribed by Joseph Kral, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 359


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight