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Keep Family Genealogy

Myra Keep Lovell Moulton

Myra Keep Lovell Moulton

 

 

John Keep settled in the Longe Meadow section of what was then called Springfield in 1660. On his way to church to have his youngest son baptized, Indians attacked and killed John, his wife Sarah and infant son, Jabez. Two daughters, Sarah and Hannah, and a son, Samuel, had been left at home. The Keep family DNA-Y project has found an apparent connection to Keeps in England.

Samuel grew up, married and fathered twelve children. John, the oldest male child, was born in 1698.

During the years of John's childhood, his father and others in Springfield were busily petitioning the General Court to grant a new town to the East. John Keep was one of those receiving a 100-acre grant. He married Abigail Munn in 1720 and settled on this tract of land in the new development called Brimfield in the area later split off to become Monson.

John Keep's son, Simeon, his grandson Simeon, Jr., and great-grandson Ethan all lived on the East Hill on adjacent farms and brought up large families.

Ethan died at an early age leaving minor children. His only son, Edward Purington Keep went to live with an aunt and uncle, Limira Keep Chapin and Marcus Chapin on the east hill in 1851.

The first Keep to live in the house on the west hill, now known as the Keep Homestead Museum was Lamira Keep with her husband, Marcus Chapin. They moved into the house when Marcus purchased it in 1854. She was sister to Ethan Keep the father of Edward Purington Keep.

Upon his father, Ethan’s, death, guardianship of Edward (18 years old) and his sister Mary (16) was given to Marcus Chapin.

Marcus and his wife, Lamira, lived in the house for several years, beginning in 1854. Marcus and Edward Purington Keep, son of Ethan Keep worked the farm together. It was a prosperous dairy farm with several small quarries, which provided additional income. In 1856, Marcus conveyed the property to Edward. 

Marcus and Lamira’s children had pre-deceased them. When Marcus died in 1887, he left his entire estate to Edward and Edward’s sister, Mary, to be equally divided between them. 

In 1858, Edward married Mary Grout. They had five children: Three daughters, Sarah Mary, Jennie Elizabeth and Marie Esther. One son, George Edward, died at three months; the other son was Myra’s father, Charles Chapin Keep. 

In 1900, upon Edward’s death, his son Charles took over the farm. The Monson Directory 1894-1895 lists Charles as a milk dealer. He was a graduate of Monson Academy and attended Phillips-Andover Academy; he also was a member of the Congregational Church where he served as deacon, member of the choir and superintendent of the Sunday School. He was Master of the Palmer Grange and of Springfield’s Pomona Grange. 

On September 13, 1893, Charles married Pearl Beckwith. Pearl was the youngest daughter of Wilson Beckwith and his third wife, Eunice Beebe. Pearl had been born in New York (Fisher’s Island) but the family moved to Monson when Pearl was seven. She attended East Hill School. She progressed rapidly in school and, upon passing the entrance exam, she entered Monson Academy at age ten. 

Upon her mother’s death, Pearl, then 14, went to work, first in a boarding house and then a local hat shop. When Mr. Heimann bought the shop in 1891 and put in power sewing machines, Pearl was selected to become the first operator. She traveled around New England teaching other girls to operate these machines.

After their wedding, Wednesday evening, September 13th, Pearl and Charles moved into the Keep Homestead on Ely Road, sharing half of the house with Charles’ parents. Some of the furnishings purchased by the young couple are presently on display. The bill-of-sale for the china can be seen, along with the complete set of Limoges china displayed in the dining room cupboard.

In Charles’s daily journal, on September 5, 1893, he wrote:

“Went with milk
Louis [a hired hand] went.
I went to Springfield with Pearl
and bought our furniture.”

That furniture is in 1893 bedroom. The bill-of-sale for that furniture is on the wall outside.

Pearl and Charles had three children:

Marion Pearl  1896-1978
Myra (Mira) Grace 1899-1988
Charles Edward 1902-1916

Myra returned to Monson with her first husband, Charles Lovell, in 1941 to care for her aging parents.

Father Charles died in 1947 and mother Pearl in 1950.

Myra and her sister inherited the property that, upon Marion’s death, became Myra’s. The Keep Homestead Museum was willed to the town of Monson when Myra died in 1988. The Town accepted it in 1990 and the first open house was held on October 7, 1990

 

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