James Keeney and Karam Hughes had seven awesome children, one who was extremely intelligent and did so much for our community (Jere) as editor of one of the favorite publications ever, The Crawfordsville Star. He worked for and owned other newspapers as well. James Madison Keeney was a painter with his sons and a newspaper editor as well. Elizabeth married Absalom Harrison and seem to have disappeared. Henry Keeney was a veteran of the Indian Wars and lived in Linden, being one of their physicians. Mary Keeney married a Brown and had two children but unknown what happened to that family, either. Susan Keeney married Norman Rominger then William Perry McCoy and her sister Jane married Norman’s brother, Jacob, sons of Jacob Rominger. It is Jane’s son, William “Alvin” who is our soldier today.
The Rominger men seemed to have died quite young, our soldier being the oldest in quite a string, passing away the young age of 50. Gpa’ Jacob was 35 years old as was his son, Jacob, the father to our soldier and one other son, James Madison, whom we wrote-up in July 2018 and was just 40. His father’s brother, Norman above, died in his 20s.
William Alvin, most often called Al by friends and family, was born in Montgomery County on a cold January day in 1837 (8th) and passed away on the 22nd of October 50 years later. He joined up early for service in the Civil War on September 16th in 1861, in Company I, 33rd Indiana. The unit was in several battles, including a couple of big ones, Resaca and Kennesaw Mountain. At one point in early March 1863, the whole group was captured then exchanged in May. A total of 298 men were lost with 116 of those killed in action of died from results of battle. Crazy but many more (182) died from diseases. He did not come home until July 21, 1865.
Many men immediately filed for pension but he did not do so until he got sick in August of 1887. In fact, it isn’t for certain he was okayed and received any, because he got better and was going about his work, then was sick again for a short time, dying of congestion of the bowels on the 22nd of that year. His wife, Eva died of the same thing four days later with complications of heart disease. When the announcement was in the paper of his death, it noted that he was “bright and cheerful and no one suspected those results.” Then, her short notation of death followed just a few days later. Theirs must have been an interesting love affair as she was from Indianapolis, married, lived here with Al, but divorced him at the end of February in 1882. They remarried on April Fool’s Day the next year.
Al became Sgt. in his unit and was highly respected, as he was in civilian life. His funeral was at the home on Market Street, then the band led city officials and old comrades to the Masonic Cemetery (now Oak Hill Grant Avenue) where Al was laid to rest near his mother and brother. “People of all conditions and classes” attended the funeral as it was said that he was one of the most generous men ever to walk the streets of Crawfordsville. Eva was then buried there, too.
Upon his return to civilian life, he immediately married and set-up a delivery business in Crawfordsville, purchasing Huff and Brothers livery stable. His advertisement noted: “Those wanting to engage elegant turnouts should give the business a call!” Several newspaper entries noted the beautiful buggies, horses and rigs. Real estate is something else he delved into selling one double-lot in the city to H.S. Braden for an unbelievable amount for the time of $3,100.
Having good business sense, he and at least one of his friends, and possible partner withdrew a major amount of money from the failing 2nd National Bank. It folded immediately thereafter. He was a city councilman when he died. Another councilmen moved to a different ward, thus there were two openings. They weren’t expected to be filled too quickly because “no one wanted the job,” why Rominger was so well appreciated.
So, William Alvin Rominger was the 51st soldier that Kim Hancock and Suzi Petrey sent in to the government for a new stone, and now, Al can RIP “etched in stone!”
Over the coming weeks and months I will write these columns highlighting each new stone. Karen Zach is the editor of Montgomery Memories, our monthly magazine all about Montgomery County. And she writes Around the County, which appears each Thursday in The Paper of Montgomery County. One by One: Etched in Stone is her latest offering and will appear periodically on Mondays in The Paper.