Oconto County WIGenWeb Project
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MEN of EARLY OCONTO COUNTY

.Doctor Patrick Joseph O'Keefe.
and Family

Dr. P. J. O'Keefe
1847 - 1899

Descendant Host: John Andrews

From Ireland to Canada

First Generation:
Senior O'Keefe couple  -  County Claire, Ireland
Children:
    - David Edward O'Keefe - born 1815 in County Claire, Ireland
        married Eleanor Flanagan c:1840 in the Brockville, Ontario area
    - James O'Keefe - born 1819 in County Claire, Ireland
        married Julia Kelly in Ontario, Canada

According to Elizabeth Jane Early Andrews, Dr. O'Keefe's parents were from County Claire in Ireland. They were very wealthy and owned a lead-crystal glass works and a castle. They were Catholics, so no matter how prominent or wealthy they were, their children could not be educated in Ireland. It was against British laws of the time to educate Irish nationals.

James O'KEEFE was born 1819 in County Claire, Ireland, and immigrated to the Brockville, Ontario, area as young boy with parents. He remained there until 1837 when he moved to Kent County, Ontario, where he married Julia KELLY . Parents James O'Keefe and Julia Kelly (shown as Julie) were listed on Patrick O'Keefe's second marriage license.

Brother David Edward, born 1815 also in Ireland, married  Eleanor FLANAGAN c:1840 in the Brockville area. They moved to Kent County in the 1850s. James named a son Edward.
 Second Generation:
Julia Kelly and James O'Keefe had 8 known children :
- Patrick J. O'Keefe - physician in Oconto, Wisconsin. Death at 6/27/1899 in Oconto.
    married 1. Martha ? ; died July 1880 in Oconto Wisconsin. Dr. O'Keefe's mother-in-law, Francis Knowles was the niece of Sheridan Knowles, the poet laureate of England.
                   2. Eliz. Hoeffel - born June 1860 in Wisconsin Married 1883 in Oconto. Died 1946.
- Edward O'Keefe
     married Mary McDonell
- Mary O'Keefe
    married James Taff
- Ellen O'Keefe
    married Jas. Blythe
- Michael O'Keefe
- David O'Keefe
-John Francis O'Keefe - physician in Mt. Clemens, Michigan
    married Ann Coutts
- Joseph Thomas  O'Keefe - was a produce dealer 1901/1911
    married 1. Emma Sibbald;
                   2. Angela McDonell

The family moved to Chatham, Ontario, Canada, where their son Patrick O'Keefe attended undergraduate school at the University of Toronto and medical school at McGill University in Montreal in the 1860s, while his brother, John, graduated from the University of Toronto Medical School.  Joseph was the oldest and Patrick the second oldest. Patrick helped John through medical school at the University of Toronto and John went on to practice medicine in Mt. Clements, Michigan. The 1870 US Census appears to show a single, 24 year old  Dr. Patrick J. O'Keef(e) practicing in East Saginaw, Michigan.

Dr. John O'Keefe practiced medicine in Mt. Clemens, Michigan.

Dr. Patrick O'Keefe in Oconto County, Wisconsin

Third Generation:
Patrick J. O'Keefe - Death at 6/27/1899.  Physician in Michigan, Canada and Oconto, Wisconsin.
    married 1. Martha E.  ? - Died july 1880, one month after their marriage.
                    No Children
    married 2. Elizabeth Hoeffel - born June 1860 in Wisconsin, married January 31, 1883, Oconto, Wisconsin.
                    Father Joseph Hoeffel -  born in France c:1824. Managed Butcher Shop.
                        Mother Frances (Franciska) Knowles - born in Ireland c:1827.
                        Siblings:
                                Peter c:1862, James c:1864, Frank c:1853, Ignase Sylvester c:1854, Agnes (Cole) c:1861.
                 Children of Patrick and Elizabeth were:
                            - Horace William Vincent O'Keefe - son born December 28, 1885 in Wisconsin.
                            - Jessica Agnes O'Keefe - daughter born 09 Oct 1886 in  Oconto Wisconsin.
                                married Edward J. Early of Green Bay, Wisconsin.
                            - Carroll J. O'Keefe - son born 31 August 1889 in Oconto Wisconsin.
                            -  John Sims O'Keefe - 05 May 1893 in Oconto Wisconsin, died as an infant.
                            - Gertrude O'Keefe - daughter born 22 June 1894 in Oconto Wisconsin.
 

  Top left: Jessica Agnes O'Keefe, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. O'Keefe

  Left: James Early, World War I,  son-in-law married to Jessica

Grandchildren of  Dr. and Mrs. O'Keefe

  Top Right: Ted Early and future wife Elizabeth Catherine Hargrave-Thomas in England,  son of Jessica and James Early.

  Above: Elizabeth Early Andrews, daughter of Jessica and James Early

Dr. Patrick O'Keefe practiced medicine in East Saginaw, Michigan, for 5 years and moved back to Canada for one year before coming to city of Oconto, Oconto County, Wisconsin, in 1875 to set up his practice in the rapidly growing lumber town in need of a doctor's services.

HISTORY OF NORTHERN WISCONSIN
1881
OCONTO COUNTY

P. O'KEEF, M. D., Oconto, is a native of Canada and graduated at Victoria University, May, 1869; began practice at East Saginaw, Mich., remaining there five years; returned to Canada and was in practice there for one year; in February, 1875, he came to Oconto, and has followed his profession since.

There his first wife died after a lingering illness. It was but one month after their marriage. She is Evergreen Cemetery, Oconto, Wisconsin.

Oconto County Reporter
July 31, 1880

Obituary
 The many friends of Mrs. Dr. O’Keef, were sadly shocked on Saturday morning to hear of her sudden demise.  She had been in poor health for sometime past but was not supposed to be in any immediate danger.  Friday night she suffered considerably and Dr. O’Keef (her husband) was up with her until nearly morning, when she seemed to be so much better that he concluded to lie down for awhile, leaving Mrs. O’Keef, with her niece Miss Johnson.  She arose and passed into the kitchen where she shortly fell over upon the floor and died almost instantly.

The deceased lady was universally respected, and her unexpected death fills the hearts of her many friends with sorrow.  We sympathize sincerely with Dr. O’Keef in his great affliction.

Dr. O’Keefe had his office, hospital rooms and home in one building off of Main Street at the corner of Washington Street and Superior Avenue.  Long after his death, the building became known as the O’Keefe Apartments until demolished. The Wisconsin Telephone Company stands on the O’Keefe lots in 1969.

Parenthood for Dr. O'Keefe was in the late Victorian era when the father was often held to a rigid standard of physical discipline. Infractions of family rules were followed by a "trip to the woodshed" where a wood paddle, the hand, a board, leather belt  or shaving strap was applied meaningfully to the child. "Spare the rod, spoil the child" was the wisdom of the day. His granddaughter Elizabeth Early Andrews remembers that when his children were brought into his room for punishment, he would never take a hand to them. He's simply say, "I know you are sorry and I'm sorry too." She said he was very tender toward children.

Dr. Patrick O'Keefe put the first silver plate in an injured child's head. In 1980, the comedian, Bob Hope, said that Mitchel Leisen, this child who had received the silver plate at age eight, was the greatest playwright America had ever produced. Dr. O'Keefe had a reputation throughout North America for his abilities as a surgeon and was called upon for specialty consultations and collaborations in difficult surgeries.
MITCHEL LEISEN WORKS: (Hollywood producer-director in 1930s and 40s)
CRADLE SONG (Canción de cuna , 1933)
DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY (La muerte de vacaciones, 1934)
MURDER AT THE VANITIES (El crimen del Vanities, 1934)
BEHOLD MY WIFE (Os presento a mi esposa, 1935)
FOUR HOURS TO KILL (Compás de espera, 1935)
HANDS ACROSS THE TABLE (Candidata a millonaria, 1935)
THE BIG BROADCAST OF 1937 (1936)
EASY LIVING (Una chica afortunada, 1937)
SWING HIGH, SWING LOW (Comenzó en el trópico,1937)
THE BIG BROADCAST OF 1938 (1937)
ARTISTS AND MODELS ABROAD (Cómicos de Paris, 1938)
MIDNIGHT (Medianoche, 1939)
ARISE MY LOVE (Adelante mi amor, 1940)
REMEMBER THE NIGHT (Recuerdo de una noche, 1940)
HOLD BACK THE DAWN ( Si no amaneciera, 1941)
I WANTED WINGS (Vuelo de águilas, 1941)
THE LADY IS WILLING (Capricho de mujer, 1942)
TAKE A LETTER, DARLING (Ella y su secretario, 1942)
NO TIME FOR LOVE (No hay tiempo para amar, 1943)
FRENCHMAN’S CREEK (El pirata y la dama, 1944)
LADY IN THE DARK (Una mujer en la penumbra, 1944)
PRACTICALLY YOURS (Bodas blancas, 1944)
KITTY (La bribona, 1945)
MASQUERADE IN MEXICO (1945)
TO EACH HIS OWN (La vida íntima de Julia Norris, 1946)
GOLDEN EARRINGS (En las rayas de la mano, 1947)
SUDDENLY IT’S SPRING (1947)
DREAM GIRL (1948)
BRIDE OF VENGEANCE (La máscara de los Borgia, 1949)
SONG OF SURRENDER (1949)
CAPTAIN CAREY, U.S.A. (1950)
NO MAN OF HER OWN (Mentira latente, 1949)
THE MATING SEASON (Casado y con dos suegras, 1951)
YOUNG MAN WITH IDEAS (1952)
TONIGHT WE SING (Esta noche cantamos, 1953)
BEDEVILLED (1955)
THE GIRL MOST LIKELY (Eligiendo novio, 1957)

In 1883 the second marriage of Dr. Patrick O'Keefe was announced in the newspaper:

Oconto County Reporter
February 3, 1883 

MARRIED:
O’KEEF—HOEFFEL.
At St. Joseph’s church in this city, Wednesday afternoon, January 31, 1883, by the Rev. Father Swieback,  Dr. P. O’Keef and Miss Lizzie Hoeffel, both of Oconto.

DR. O’KEEF and Miss Lizzie Hoeffel, both of whom are well acquainted in this city and much esteemed by all that enjoy their acquaintance, were quietly married Wednesday afternoon, at Joseph church by the Rev. Father Swiebach.  We are confident, that we voice the feelings of their friends (who are legions) when we express the hope that their most sanguine anticipation may be fully realized and that their domestic life may be without a cloud.

DR. O’KEEF and wife left the evening of their marriage for Chatham, Canada.  The following morning they were to meet at the Grand Pacific Hotel, at Chicago, Mr. And Mrs. Frank Hoeffel and a cousin of Mrs. O’Keef and her husband, the three couples having been married Wednesday, their marriages taking place at different places.

Dr. O'Keefe did one of the first brain and abdominal surgeries in this United States. In 1895 Dr. Patrick and family moved from Oconto, Wisconsin, to Menominee, MI. It is possible that Dr. O'Keefe saw career opportunities in Menominee, MI, while treating his sister-in-law during her final illness.

The following is from Poly Sainton English:

"I was always told that Dr. O'Keefe was the attending physician for my grandmother, Agnes Hoeffel Cole, the sister of Dr. O'Keefe's wife Elizabeth, at the time of her death in the hospital in Menominee. Agnes died July 8, 1895."

Oconto County Reporter
August 23, 1895 

Dr. O'Keef, about the first of September, will move to Menominee for a permanent residence. Oconto friends very much regret the departure of the doctor.

Oconto County Reporter
4 October 1895 

Dr. J. S. McNeel of Waterloo has come to Oconto as the successor of Dr. O'Keef and now occupies the offices vacated by the latter in the O'Keef residence on Superior street.

Dr. Patrick J. O'Keefe died of Brights Disease (now known as Nephritis, inflammation of the Kidneys, it has a number of causes and can be chronic, of long duration, or sudden onset) June 27, 1899, after a hunting trip.  He came home, had a portrait made of himself (the only portrait that exists of him) because he had promised his wife a picture of himself. He had to have his head propped because he was so weak. Remembering stories of her grandfather brought back to  Elizabeth Early Andrews how kind and gentle he was. She speaks of how the Doctor cancelled all debts to him just before his death, saying that no one owed him anything and he just appreciated everyone's friendship. Dr. O'Keefe was given the last rights by General William Sherman's son, Father Thomas Ewing Sherman (1856-1933 biography "The General's Son" - published 1959), who was a Jesuit priest and taught philosophy at St. Louis University, later to be attended by Dr. O'Keefe's great grandchildren, Bill, John, Joan, Susan and Miriam Andrews.

Elizabeth O'Keefe was entered on the 1900 US Census as a widow living in city of Menominee, Menominee, Michigan. She was married 16 years to Dr. Patrick O'Keefe. Had given birth to 4 children (there were actually 5 births), all of which were alive and living with her in 1900. Elizabeth was landlady of a boarding house. Her boarders were all professionals listed as teachers, accountant and fire insurance agent.

The widowed head of house Elizabeth O'Keefe, age 50, was found in living on Calumet Ave, the 6th Ward of Chicago, Illinois, on the 1910 Census. On this census she lists having 5 births and 4 surviving children. She was living with 4 single children and had no profession listed. Horace O'Keefe, age 25, was employed as a "Commercial Traveler - Books."  Jessie O'Keefe, age 22, was employed as "Teaching Domestic Science." Carroll O'Keefe, age 20 was employed as a "Newspaper Cartoonist."

1920 and the US Census finds Elizabeth O'Keefe, now age 60, back in Oconto County, Wisconsin, where she is listed as "Proprietor -  Boarding House." She is living with her married daughter Jessie Early and grandchildren Carroll and Elizabeth. Her boarders are professionals.

Elizabeth O'Keefe is age 71 on the 1930 Census for Oconto, Wisconsin. She is "Proprietor of Apartment House" located on Superior Ave. at the corner of Washington. No family members are living with her at this time. This is the same location as the original family complex of home, doctor's office and hospital of the late 1800's. She had continued ownership of that structure and land, renting it to other doctors and professionals over the intervening years, and had eventually converted that structure into apartments for income as well as her own home.

Memoirs of Grand daughter Elizabeth Jane Early Andrews

Dr. Patrick O'Keefe married late as did his brother Joseph O'Keefe.

Dr. Patrick O'Keefe met his second wife Elizabeth Hoeffel when treating his future wife's mother, Frances Knowles Hoeffel, for a broken leg. Her husband, Joseph Hoeffel, told Dr. O'Keefe that he thought his wife had now recovered and that Dr. O'Keefe did not need to make any further visits. Dr. O'Keefe responded that he was not coming to see Mrs. Knowles and asked the oldest brother, Joe, if he could take his sister out while making house visits by horse and carriage. Elizabeth Jane Early believed that these parents stayed in Ireland and did not come to the United states with their three sons, who all came together; apparently this was not the case, as the parents were found in Canada records.

Dr. O'Keefe's son Horace, as a child watched his father hypnotize patients as an anesthetic, and learned to do this himself. He then hypnotized his brother Carroll successfully and had him do crazy things.

Dr. O'Keefe and Father Thomas Ewing Sherman were very dear friends and very close;  recall seeing Father Sherman's photograph hanging on the wall of her grandparents bedroom in Oconto.  Fr. Sherman (son of  Northern Army Civil War hero General Sherman) gave Dr. O'Keefe the last rights. In matter of fact, Fr. Sherman may have given Dr. O'Keefe the last rights when he was on a trip to St. Louis, where Father Sherman was teaching at the Jesuit University of St. Louis, Missouri, and he later died in Oconto.  Dr. Patrick O'Keefe was becoming internationally well known toward the end of his life and traveled quite a bit, so he may have been in St. Louis on one of these trips.

Dr. O’Keefe went to a hunting lodge. He caught a terrible cold and it hit his liver and that's how he died. It was real quick. He didn't look sick like that. The liver is Brights Disease. The big men, kind of important men in town would gather on a hunting trip at regular times.

.
Dr. O'Keefe did not die right after the hunting trip, but he got chilled on the hunting trip and was in ill health thereafter and probably died within a year. Is pretty sure he is buried in Oconto. His wife Elizabeth Hoeffel O'Keefe died in Detroit at her daughter Jessica's house in 1946.

 Phone Interview with Elizabeth Jane Early Andrews:

"Dr. O’Keefe had a good and easy disposition. His last child died and they named him John Sims O'Keefe, after a doctor in Chicago with whom Dr. O’Keefe worked closely. Dr. O’Keefe would go to Chicago often to help Dr. Sims. Dr. Sims, possibly with the help of Dr. O’Keefe, developed a surgical device called the “Sims Button” used to hold tissue together during and/or after surgery. Dr. O’Keefe always used this procedure. Dr. O’Keefe dropped the “O” in O’Keefe for awhile."

Memoirs of Great Grandson William X. Andrews

Where my dad is laid back and soft spoken, Mom is a firecracker, a body constantly in motion whose outspoken candor and hardheadedness are perceived by many southerners as emblematic of Yankee assertiveness.  She too came from a conservative background.  She was the daughter of Edward J. Early of Green Bay and Jessica Agnes O’Keefe of Oconto, themselves both grandchildren of Irish immigrants who settled in Wisconsin.  To us children, they were Gampa and Ganger. Gampa was born in 1885 and graduated with a civil engineering degree from Marquette University around 1907.  One of his sisters became a nun and the other, a missionary nurse living in China, survived a grueling four years in a Japanese prison during the Second World War.

Mom’s mother, Ganger, was the daughter of Patrick J. O’Keefe, a physician who graduated from Montreal's McGill University Medical School and set up practice in the small Wisconsin lumber town of Oconto.  Ganger was teaching at St. Joseph Academy, a girls finishing school in Green Bay, when she met my grandfather.

There must have been in those days a social pecking order and some latent class consciousness among the late 19th century immigrants from Erin because the O’Keefes regarded themselves as “lace-curtain” Irish and the Earlys as “shanty” Irish. Gampa and Ganger married in their late twenties and raised three children into adulthood. Their first child died when he was two weeks old from a pneumonia picked up in the Green Bay hospital at the time of his birth. My Uncle Ted was born in 1916, the year before the United States entered the Great War and joined the Army Air Corps and after training piloted a B-24 Mitchell bomber in the European Theatre. In 1918 Gampa was serving in France as a captain in army ordnance when Ganger gave birth to my mother, Betty Jane Early.  Mom was born in Washington DC, during the opening phase of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive that ended the Great War. Reunited at war’s end and anticipating economic opportunities in the burgeoning automobile Mecca of southeast Michigan, Gampa and Ganger moved their young family from Green Bay to Detroit. Two years later their third surviving child, my Aunt Joan, was born.  There my grandfather founded the Michigan Drilling Company, an engineering firm that drilled and analyzed core
soil samples to determine foundation strengths for the skyscrapers being built during the boom years of the Roaring Twenties.  Gampa’s rigorous work ethic built wealth for his family and his savvy investment sense spared him the great economic losses visited on so many other families during the depression.

Other Family Members

Dr. Patrick O'Keefe's nephews were Kenneth Hoeffel and Gerald Norton Hoeffel, through his second wife Elizabeth Hoeffel's brother Sylvester Hoeffel of Oconto. They are sons of Ignatius Sylvester Hoeffel and Genevieve Heath:

Gerald had seven known children. On August 6, 1913 he was appointed first alternate for a 1914 vacancy at West Point by Senator Stephenson of Wisconsin. Apparently the principal candidate accepted the appointment. Dr. Gerald Norton Hoeffel attended Medical School at Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, graduating 1920.

In 1932 Kenneth Hoeffel married Miss Mary Polk Drake of Miami, Fla. and Lenox, Mass. She was a great granddaughter of Gov. Polk of Mississippi, judge advocate of the Confederacy, and a cousin of President James K. Polk. Mrs. Hoeffel's residence is listed as Cambridge, Mass.

Rear Admiral Kenneth Hoeffel, prior to WWII, was the naval liaison to the white house for two presidents, Coolidge and Hoover. In WWII he was captured by the Japanese and was a prisoner of war. He is buried in Arlington Cemetery, not far from John F. Kennedy.

1942 - Oconto & Washington DC - The navy department announced Saturday that the 1270 ton gunboat Asheville was presumed lost in enemy action south of Java. Her commander was Capt. Kenneth Mortimer Hoeffel, 48, who was born in Oconto, Wis. and was at one time a resident of Green Bay. No word has been received of the personnel of the ship, the navy said, all must be presumed lost. Navy records show that Capt. Hoeffel, who was graduated from the naval academy in 1917 and served in the first World war, was ordered to Pearl Harbor in June, 1938. On Dec. 19, 1940, he was given command of the Asheville, with
additional duties as commander of the inshore patrol. Capt. Hoeffel was the son of Mr. and Mrs. I. S. Sylvester Hoeffel of Oconto. In 1932 he married Miss Mary Polk Drake of Miami, Fla. And Lenox, Mass. She was a great granddaughter of Gov. Polk of Mississippi, judge advocate of the Confederacy, and a cousin of
President James K. Polk. Mrs. Hoeffels residence is listed as Cambridge, Mass. The Navy did not announce the number of the personnel of the Asheville, but Janes Fighting Ships lists her normal complement as 185 officers and men. USS Asheville was launched July 4, 1918. She had a length of 241 feet and a beam of 41 feet. Her designed speed was 12 knots.

SECOND ARTICLE:
A report Friday that Captain Kenneth M. Hoeffel, United States Navy officer and former Green Bay and Oconto resident, was missing in action while on duty with the fleet was denied late last night, according to advice reaching his cousins, L. H. Joannes, De Pere, and Mrs. HA. Macpherson of S. Monroe Ave.
The Captain's brother, Dr. Paul Hoeffel, Evanston, Ill., was notified Thursday by the Navy department that he had been lost. Last night Dr. Hoeffel informed Mr. Joannes that the first report was untrue and that he is safe. No details were given.

About Dr. Patrick O'Keefe's nephew, Joseph Merrill Hoeffel, through Elizabeth Hoeffel's brother Joseph Peter Hoeffel, Jr.:

Joseph Merrill Hoeffel - Was a Wisconsin football star. He coached the Green Bay Packers in 1920, but then decided to spend his life continuing his father's business.

MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL
October 28, 2001

         HOEFFEL WAS STAR PLAYER IN HIGH SCHOOL, COLLEGE
Son surprised to hear father coached Packers, hopes he’ll get credit.

Although Joseph Merrill Hoeffel has long been forgotten by almost everyone but his surviving family, he was once one of the biggest names in Wisconsin football.

Hoeffel was captain at the University of Wisconsin in 1912, the last year that the school had an unbeaten football team. An end, he also was selected second-team All-American that year by Walter Camp.

Those honors were deemed worthy enough for Green Bay to hold a public banquet for him on November 27, 1912.

A native of Green Bay, Hoeffel was born in 1890 and starred in football at Green Bay East, the same high school that Curly Lambeau later attended. After graduating from Wisconsin, Hoeffel spent three years as an assistant coach at the University of Nebraska.

In 1916, he coached the East High team, and Lambeau was his star player. After coaching the Green bay Packers in 1921, Hoeffel went to work for his family’s business and remained in Green Bay until his death on April 15, 1964...........

Joseph Hoeffel, Jr. was 4 years old in 1921. He had no recollection of watching his father coach, he said. He remembered attending his first Packers game in the late 1920s. He went with his dad to old City Stadium in Green Bay to watch the Frankford Yellow-Jackets play.

Hoeffel said his father told him that he served the Packers in a coaching capacity, but he figured he was the end coach.

“It’s just a great surprise to me,” Hoeffel said. Maybe I just assumed because he was the end coach at Nebraska and that was his position. That’s just what I’ve always thought.”

“I can’t say which is right, but the newspaper reports at the time are certainly more accurate than what I remember 75 years ago.”

Hoeffel said it would be welcome news if the Packers and the NFL decided to recognize his father’s role in future publications.

“I think that would be very nice,” he said. “The family has talked about it. My brother has been long gone, and he would have been interested also.”
- Cliff Christi  



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