Memorable Manitobans: Josef Albert “Joseph” Keilbach (1854-1942)
Businessman, municipal official.
Born in Ketsch, Germany on 22 September 1854, he attended boarding school and underwent compulsory military training. He emigrated to Canada in 1881 from the Dutchy of Baden and arrived at Sprucedale in the Parry Sound district of Ontario where, on 13 September 1881, he married Mary Pearl Geisler (1858-1940). They subsequently had twelve children, amongst were: Edward Albert Keilbach (1884-?), Carl Keilbach (1885-c1931), Henry S. Keilbach (1887-1952), Albert Keilbach (1891-?), Joseph Patrick Keilbach (1892-?), Louis Keilbach (1895-?), Ellen Keilbach (1896-?, wife of Stanley Brown), Frank Keilbach (1899-?), Mary Eva Keilbach (1902-?, wife of Harry Montford), John Keilbach (1904-1934), and Michael James Keilbach (1904-?).
The family lived and worked in Sprucedale for 15 years while Joseph travelled to the United States and on to Winnipeg, finding work in the fields around Portage la Prairie and Brandon. He saved up money, and purchased 160 acres in the Cromwell School District in the Fall of 1886. In 1897, he left Ontario with his three eldest sons and cattle to begin farming in Manitoba, building a home and sending funds to his wife to have the rest of the family join them the following year. He bought 400 acres in the Green Bay School District and the family relocated there in 1900. Two years later, he purchased one and a half sections at Beausejour and the family moved there 1905.
In June 1906, he established a glass works at Beausejour. He was a Councillor of the first Beausejour Council (1909) and was Mayor of Beausejour (1921). He also served as Councillor of the Rural Municipality of Brokenhead.
He died at Beausejour on 18 December 1942 and was buried in St. Mary Roman Catholic Parish Cemetery.
Birth, marriage, and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1901 Canada census, Library and Archives Canada.
1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
“Beausejour and its glass factory,” Manitoba Free Press, 16 February 1907, page 29.
FindAGrave, Saint Mary Roman Catholic Parish Cemetery.
They Stopped at a Good Place: A History of the Beausejour, Brokenhead, Garson and Tyndall Area of Manitoba - 1875-1981 by the Beausejour-Brokenhead Historical Committee, 1982.
The Manitoba Glass Works by Sharon Reilly, Manitoba Museum
Page revised: 7 June 2014
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