Unknown Location - Possibly Fort Logan, Colorado, USA
Looking all the soldier in his 1902 pattern dress tunic, Private Robert Clarence Keefe was photographed towards the close of his military career. At the time he was serving in "F"
Company, 2nd United States Infantry. At the time the 2nd was stationed at Fort Logan, Colorado.
A Minnesotan, Robert Keefe was born in Ramsey County on May 18, 1878, the son of Rebery Henry Keefe and Ella Corbett Quinnell.
With the outbreak of hostilities with Spain in 1898, Keefe enlisted with "G" Company, 13th Minnesota Infantry in April. The 13th Minnesota embarked for the Philippine Islands in
May. The voyage on the City of Para was probably Keefe's first view of, let alone voyage on - the ocean. The 13th arrived in Manila on July 31. The 13th saw action against the Spanish
at the Battle of Manila. The war with Spain ended soon after.
Posted to garrison duty in Manila, the 13th was soon in action again, this time against Filipino insurgents. Keefe's "G" Company took part in Major General Lawton's expedition
through Luzon which lasted thirty-three days, and resulted in the capture almost thirty rebel held towns and the destruction of large quantities of enemy supplies. The 13th was sent
home for mustering out in August but Keefe remained behind. He immediately enlisted in "G" Company, 37th US Volunteer Infantry. By 1900 he had been promoted corporal. In the
1900 census for the Philippine Islands Keefe is enumerated along with the rest of "G" Company but interestingly his last name was entered as O'Keefe. This would seem to have been a
simple clerical error had his name not been spelled the same way in subsequent military documents.
I have found little documentation relating to the 37th Volunteer Infantry's in the Philippines but one might assume they also took part in suppressing the rebels.
He had returned to the U.S. by 1905 when he reenlisted, this time in "G" Company of the 2nd U.S. Infantry (Regular Army) at San Francisco on September 15, 1905. Stationed at Fort
Logan, Colorado, until his final discharge on January 23, 1906. In both his final enlistment and discharge his last name is given as O'Keefe.
In 1909 Keefe (or O'Keefe) would marry Miss Anne Bystrom at Minneapolis. The union would produce four sons and a daughter.
He found employment with the Northern Pacific Railroad as a watchman in November 1918. He was promoted roundsman in June 1919. He held the $140.00 a month position for about a
month when he resigned on July 9, 1919 as Seattle, Washington. The resignation must have been at the request of the railroad since the reason given was "Service unsatisfactory,
unreliable and untruthful.". This would seem to be a catch all phrase that could cover just about any reason the railroad might use for cause of dismissal.
Keefe dissapears from the records at this point. HIs army pension index card seems to indicate that his widow Anna applied for his pension sometime in 1932.