Biography of William F. Kean
North Central Ohio Biographies





William Francis Kean. One of the citizens of real worth in Wooster is William Francis Kean, who is a member of the law firm of Kean & Adair, with offices in the Peoples Savings & Loan Building. He was born on a farm in Plain Township, Wayne County, Feb. 9, 1855, the son of DeWitt C. and Mary (Brubaker) Kean.

DeWitt C. Kean was born on a farm in Wayne County, which was patented by his grandfather, in 1818. He was a teacher in early life and enjoyed the highest respect of the people of Wayne County, where he was so well known and where he did such effectual work. He was always regarded as a man of unshrinking integrity, strict, honest, and technical in his definitions of morality and unbending in his fidelity to them. He later became a farmer and owned one of the model farms of the county, where he lived for over 60 years. Mary E. (Brubaker) Kean was born and reared in Ashland County.

William Francis Kean enjoyed with other boys and girls of his day the advantage of fine rural schools in Plain Township, which were at that time under the supervision of Col. Benjamin Eason. This particular school, which Mr. Kean attended was in charge of Margaret McQuigg, who later married Mahion C. Rough, a very distinguished and very able lawyer of Wooster. At the age of 15 years Mr. Kean was placed in a private school at Shreve, which was conducted by Columbus D. Priest. He spent two years at Smithville Academy, and after two years as a teacher in the country schools, he entered the University of Wooster in 1881. In April, 1883, he entered the law office of McClure & Smyser, and was admitted to the Ohio bar June 6, 1886. He at once established his practice in Wooster and since 1908 has been associated with Robert L. Adair, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this history.

In September, 1898, Mr. Kean was appointed as referee in bankruptcy, which office he filled until September, 1914. It was during this period that much bankruptcy litigation was in progress and Mr. Kean had the hearing of many important cases. Since 1912 he has been attorney and a director of the Commercial Bank & Trust Company of Wooster, and has also served in the same capacity for the Peoples Savings & Loan Company since September, 1904. Since his association with the latter institution it has grown from a half million dollar loan company to a twelve million dollar institution. Among the most important events in the law practice of Mr. Kean may be mentioned his connection with the Yocum estate, which was settled in 1930. It had the distinction of being the largest estate ever settled in Wayne County, amounting to over one half million dollars.

On Oct. 24, 1883, Mr. Kean was united in marriage with Miss Alice A. Smith, the daughter of Daniel and Rosanna Smith, of Hayesville, Ohio. Both are deceased. Five children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Kean, three of whom died in infancy. The remaining two were: 1. Clara Estella, born Jan. 26, 1889, was a graduate of Wooster High School and Wooster College, married G. N. Coffey, and they had an adopted son, William Nelson Coffey. Mrs. Coffey died in 1926 and is buried in Wooster. 2. Frances G., a graduate of Wooster High School and Wooster College, lives at home.

Politically Mr. Kean is a Republican. For more than 40 years he has been prominently identified with the Methodist Episcopal Church of Wooster, and during that period has served as trustee and Sunday School superintendent. As a church member he has also been most liberal in his support, giving much time, thought, as well as money, to the furtherance of religion.

From:
History of North Central Ohio
Embracing Richland, Ashland, Wayne,
Medina, Lorin, Huron and Knox Counties
BY: William A. Duff
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianapolis 1931


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