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.
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.
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.
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.
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
his father, Ethan’s, death, guardianship of Edward (18 years old) and his sister
Mary (16) was given to Marcus Chapin.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Charles’s daily journal, on September 5, 1893, he wrote:
“Went with milk
[a hired hand] went.
I went to Springfield with Pearl
and bought our
furniture is in 1893 bedroom. The bill-of-sale for that furniture is on the wall
and Charles had three children:
Marion Pearl 1896-1978
(Mira) Grace 1899-1988
Charles Edward 1902-1916
returned to Monson with her first husband, Charles Lovell, in 1941 to care for
her aging parents.
Charles died in 1947 and mother Pearl in 1950.
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