by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
The completion of the Chicago & Alton Railroad to Kansas City brought many “temporary” residents Grain Valley. By 1881, the business directory of the town included three doctors; G.U. Keener, James H. Daniels and J. W. Starnes.
Others on the directory included J. H. Cannon, Justice of the Peace; owner of a general store and Postmaster J. A. Porter; Notary Public John Graves; general store owner Frank Gregg; general store owner William Morrow; depot agent J. A. Spindle; blacksmith George Kreigel; shoe repair shop owner H. A. Hamilton; painter Joseph Wright; carpenter and Joseph Keshlear; as well as a livery stable.
Dr. George U. Keener and his wife Lucretia had 10 children, the youngest born in 1876 in Richmond, Missouri. So, I’m thinking that like many of the town’s early residents, he sought an opportunity for success near the railroad. Dr. Keener was listed four times on the directory as follows: Physician, Minister, Drug Store, and Hotel. I learned that in 1872 he had been appointed as a bishop for the Methodist Episcopal Church for the Boonville District. The family did not remain in Grain Valley for a very long time. From research on Ancestry I learned he was gored by a bull and died in Allenton, St Louis County, Missouri on October 4, 1889.
Killed by a Mad Bull
Last Friday evening George W. Schweich received a telegram from Allenton, St. Louis county, informing him that his father-in-law, Rev. Dr. G. U. Keener, had been fatally injured, and to come at once. Himself and wife left on the first train that evening arriving in Allenton that next morning at 9:15 o’clock, not however, in time to see the doctor alive, death having approached at 8:30 o’clock the same morning. Dr. Keener went to a sale Friday for the purpose of purchasing a bull, and before going, and after arriving at the sale, was warned and advised not to purchase the bull, as it was a vicious and dangerous animal, he finally concluded to make the purchase and take the chances, thinking that by kind treatment he could tame the animal. After the sale he took the bull home, and turned him loose in the lot, and afterwards went out to catch him. He had taken hold of the rope that was hanging loose from the bull’s head, and was trying to get hold of a stick fastened to the nose for the purpose of holding him off, but before he could get hold of it the bull made a lunge at him and threw him over his head. At that moment a negro man who was working in the field near by, discovered what was going on and ran to relieve the doctor, at the same time giving the alarm. Mrs. Keener heard him and ran to the lot to drive the bull away, and after he had plunged his horns into the doctor inflicting a mortal wound he turned upon Mrs. Keener and would have killed her had it not been for the negro man and a faithful dog, the first having a shot gun and the latter holding the bull by the head with its teeth. A shot from the gun ran the bull away, but he made a second attack and was again driven away. The doctor was then picked up out of a gully into which he had been thrown, and taken to the house. Upon arriving at the house his wounds were examined and it was found that the bull’s horn had entered and terribly lacerated his left lung, and seriously effected the nerves of his heart, and that his injuries were necessarily fatal. The deceased was a practicing physician and a local preacher of the M. E. church, and owned a splendid farm near Allenton, upon which he lived, and was highly respected by the community.