Collection ID: LMC 2842
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Collection context


Keesling, Arthur L., 1899-1973
The Keesling, Arthur L. mss., 1834-1969, consists of material relating to the Keesling and Patton families of Anderson, Indiana, particularly Arthur L. Keesling, 1899-1973, and Elizabeth Emily Patton, 1866-1954.
12.35 Linear Feet (5 boxes, 3 oversize, 1 folio)
Materials are in English .
Preferred citation:

[Item], Keesling, Arthur L mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.


Scope and Content:

The collection contains correspondence, news clippings, a silk textile souvenir, photographs, postcards, deeds, government documents from the Civil War and related to later pension funds, contracts, and information from the family Bible. The bulk of the collection relates to Carol Gonzalez's step grandfather, (Matthew) Arthur Longfellow (Al) Keesling, and his mother, Elizabeth Emily Patton (Bessie).

The photos series includes the broad collection of family photos and portraits of the Keesling and Patton families, as well the various branches. Correspondence includes all the letters, postcards, and forms sent to and from members of the family. The Documents series includes other items including birth/death certificates, announcements, clippings, list of family members names, etcetera. Miscellaneous includes other items including a handkerchief and some notes/journals.

Biographical / Historical:

Elizabeth Emily "Bessie" (Patton) Morris, 1866-1954, was a housewife and a member of the Patton and Keesling families. She was born on March 11, 1866 to Matthew Lober Patton, 1835-1908, and Julia (Gulielleria, Guliellma, Gulia) Augusta Rawlings, 1841-1912. Her father M.L. Patton was a Civil War veteran, serving with Company K of the 10th Regiment, Maryland Infantry from July 25, 1863 to January 29, 1864. The family moved to Indiana in 1867. Bessie married Levi Lincoln Keesling, 1859-1900, on March 27, 1898. Their son Matthew Arthur Longfellow "Al" Keesling was born on February 27, 1899 in Anderson, Indiana. After Levi Keesling died of tuberculosis on October 17, 1900, Bessie met Albert Lawrance Morris, 1849-1928, a homesteader with a small ranch in Ricardo, New Mexico. They were married on November 2, 1908. Albert Morris died on December 28, 1928. Bessie lived on the ranch in Ricardo, NM until her death on June 1, 1954. She is buried in Ricardo with her parents; the ranch was sold with the stipulation that the new owners would maintain the graves.

Matthew Arthur Longfellow "Al" Keesling, 1899-1973, was a railroad worker and a member of the Patton and Keesling families. He eventually left the family ranch in New Mexico to find work as a railroad telegraph operator. He married Cora Pearl Hiatt, 1880-1968, usually known as "Pearl," on March 8, 1928. They moved to El Paso, Texas where Al worked with the Southern Pacific Railroad. Al Keesling died on January 21, 1973.

Acquisition information:
Gift: 2010

This collection is arranged into the following series: I. Photos, II. Correspondence, III. Documents, and IV. Miscellaneous.



This collection is open for research.


[Item], Keesling, Arthur L mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Indiana University Bloomington
1200 East Seventh Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405-5500, USA
Indiana University Bloomington
(812) 855-2452