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Joseph Warren Keifer
J. Warren Keifer

34th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
In office
December 5, 1881 – March 4, 1883
President James A. Garfield
Chester A. Arthur
Preceded by Samuel J. Randall
Succeeded by John G. Carlisle

Member of U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 4th & 8th districts
In office
March 4, 1877 – March 3, 1879 (8th)
March 4, 1879 – March 3, 1881 (4th)
March 4, 1881 – March 3, 1885 (8th)
Preceded by William Lawrence
John A. McMahon
Ebenezer B. Finley
Succeeded by Ebenezer B. Finley
Emanuel Shultz
John Little

Born January 30, 1836
Bethel Township, Clark County, Ohio
Died April 22, 1932 (aged 96)
Springfield, Ohio
Political party Republican
Alma mater Antioch College
Profession Law

Joseph Warren Keifer (January 30, 1836 – April 22, 1932) was a brigadier general in the Union Army during the American Civil War and a prominent U.S. politician during the 1880s. He served in the United States House of Representatives as a Republican from Ohio from 1877 to 1885 and from 1905 to 1911. From 1881 to 1883, he was also Speaker of the House.

Early life[]

Keifer was born in Clark County, Ohio. He attended school at Antioch College then returned to his family's farm. While working as a farmer he devoted his spare time to studying law. He began his law practice in Springfield, Ohio, January 12, 1858.

Civil War[]

He enlisted in the 3rd Ohio Infantry, a three-months regiment, being appointed major. He served in western Virginia fighting in the battles of Rich Mountain and Cheat Mountain and afterward was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the regiment. When his term expired, he joined the 110th Ohio Infantry and became its colonel. He served in the Eastern Theater leading his regiment at the second battle of Winchester. While the Union army was soundly defeated and most of it surrendered, Keifer's regiment was able to avoid capture. Following the battle of Gettysburg Keifer was assigned to brigade command in the III Corps and fought at the battle of Wapping Heights. After Robert E. Lee's army had retreated to safety in Virginia, Keifer and his regiment were dispatched to New York City to help suppress the draft riots.

Keifer returned to the Army of the Potomac in time for the Overland Campaign. He was wounded in the arm at the battle of the Wilderness, putting him out of action for a time. When he did return to active duty he was placed in command of the 2nd Brigade in James B. Ricketts' 3rd Division of the VI Corps. He led his brigade at the battles of Winchester and Fisher's Hill. During the battle of Cedar Creek, VI Corps commander, Horatio G. Wright temporarily commanded the Army of the Shenandoah and Rickets temporarily in command of the corps. This put Keifer in command of the 3rd Division in Ricketts' absence. When Philip H. Sheridan heroically returned to command the army in the midst of the battle, returning Wright to corps command, Ricketts had already been wounded leaving Keifer in command of the division for the rest of the battle. For his service during the Shenandoah Valley campaign he was brevetted brigadier general of volunteers on October 19, 1864.

When the VI Corps returned to the Army of the Potomac General Truman Seymour was placed in command of the 3rd Division and Keifer returned to command the 2nd Brigade, taking part in the breakthrough at Petersburg and the Appomattox Campaign.

Political career[]

Following the war, Keifer returned to Springfield and resumed his law practice. From 1873 until his death, he served as a trustee of Antioch College. In 1876 he was a delegate to the Republican National Convention and the next year went to Congress. From 1881 to 1883, he was Speaker of the House. Later he was involved in the Spanish American War as a major general of volunteers. Late in his life, he served as the President of the Lagonda National Bank in Springfield.

Keifer is buried in the Ferncliff Cemetery in Springfield, Ohio.

See also[]

32x28px United States Army portal
32x28px American Civil War portal

Further reading[]

  • Pope, Thomas E. The Weary Boys: Colonel J. Warren Keifer and the 110th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Kent State University Press, 2002. ISBN 0873387295.

External links[]

Template:Start box |- ! colspan="3" style="background: #cccccc" | United States House of Representatives Template:USRepSuccessionBox Template:USRepSuccessionBox Template:USRepSuccessionBox |- style="text-align: center;" |- style="text-align:center;" |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"|Preceded by
Samuel J. Randall |width="40%" style="text-align: center;" rowspan="1"|Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
December 5, 1881 – March 4, 1883 |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"| Succeeded by
John G. Carlisle |- |} Template:SpeakerUSHouse

fi:Joseph Warren Keifer sv:J. Warren Keifer

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