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Thomas Keehn

Mr. Thomas Keehn
Thomas Keehn

Eminent Farmer

County: Turner

Thomas Keehn of Turner County, honored as an Eminent Farmer in 1938, was a typical hard-working farmer.

He was a staunch booster for any movement which he believed to be for the best interest of his community. He worked long hours, speaking and vigorously championing that which he believed to be right.

Keehn was born on a farm in Stevenson County, Illinois, in 1864. Coming to South Dakota in 1906, he bought an unimproved, unbroken farm near Parker. His home in 1938 was modern, having electric lights and running water. He owned 240 acres and leased two additional quarters of land. He raised 200 to 300 Duroc Jersey hogs, usually securing two crops of pigs a year, and 30 to 40 Shorthorn cattle. Wheat, oats, barley and rye were his major crops. He had 40 acres of alfalfa, which he plowed under to conserve the fertility of the soil.

He was married to Catherine Tiernan in 1889. She died in 1929. To the couple were born three children, two boys and a girl.

Keehn had a fine record of community service. He was a member of the school board several years, secretary-treasurer of the county extension board since its start and a member of the livestock sanitary board in Turner County.

His herd of cattle was the first accredited herd in the county and has been accredited continuously since 1922.

Keehn believed in hard work and in keeping free of debt. He said the 1930s were his most difficult farming years, but believed good times on the farm would return.

He believed corn and hogs are the best money-makers; advocated feeding grain rather than selling it.

His advice to young farmers was to have a few hogs and milk cows; start small rather than begin in debt.