Few men in a lifetime make their activities and influences affect a wider range of important interests than has Francis V. Keesling, a San Francisco attorney with offices in the Chronicle Building. Mr. Keesling has practiced law for a quarter of a century, is prominent in insurance circles, was formerly active in the republican party of city and state. 

Mr. Keesling is a native son, born at San Jose, February 7, 1877. His father, Francis M. Keesling, was born in Indiana, and came to California in 1870, engaging in the merchandise business, and is now a resident of San Jose. He is of Dutch ancestry and of American Revolutionary stock. Francis M. Keesling married Maria Nunez, a native of old Mexico and representative of one of the old Spanish families of that country. 

Francis V. Keesling was reared in San Jose, attended public schools there, graduated from Stanford University with the class of 1898, and was admitted to practice in December of that year. He was associated with the law firm of Pierson & Mitchell, Crothers & Crothers, and for a few years was in partnership in the firm of Keesling and Mackenzie, since which time he has practiced alone. The field of work in which he has specialized has been civil and corporation law. For several years he has been vice president and counsel for West Coast Life Insurance Company. Mr. Keesling is a member of the Legal Section of the American Life Convention, serving as chairman of that section in 1916, and for several years has been vice president for California. 

No small part of his work as an attorney has been vested with some larger public interests. He participated actively in securing the constitutional amendment correcting certain defects in the founding grant of Stanford University, and permitting tax exemption. Mr. Keesling practically rewrote the military law of California in 1903. From 1905 to 1907 he served as a major of the First Battalion of Coast Artillery, National Guard of California, and was on duty during the great fire in San Francisco, and following that was major and inspector of the Second Brigade, National Guard of California. 

He has been identified with the program of civic undertakings in San Francisco throughout the years of his residence there. During the World war he made the Liberty Loan, Red Cross and Young Menís Christian Association the special object of his activity. He is a member of the Committee on Discipline and Grievance of the San Francisco Bar Association, is prominent in Masonry, being a member of the various York and Scottish Rite bodies in San Francisco and is a past master of California Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, and a past grand master of California. He belongs to Islam Temple of the Mystic Shrine. His other social connections are with the Commonwealth Club, Pacific Union Club, San Francisco Golf and Country Club, and the Menlo Golf and Country Club. 

Mr. Keesling served as chairman of the Republican State Central Committee in 1914-16, and is now a member of the state committee of the party. He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1916 which nominated Hughes, and was himself a candidate for the nominations for lieutenant-governor in 1910 and for governor in 1914. In 1907 he was attorney for the auditor of San Francisco. 

Mr. Keesling married, November 19, 1903, Miss Haidee Grau, of Sacramento. She was born in Buffalo, New York, a daughter of the late Herman H. Grau, a well-known California capitalist. Mrs. Keesling is a member of the Country Club. The four children born to their marriage are: Jacqueline, a student in Mills College; Francis V., Jr., a student at Phillips Academy at Andover, Massachusetts; William H., a student of the Madison Grammar School; and Jeanne, also attending grammar school. 

Transcribed by Donna L. Becker 

Source: "The San Francisco Bay Region," by Bailey Millard, Vol. 3, page 397-398, The American Historical Society, Inc., 1924.


© 2004 Donna L. Becker.


California Biography Project


San Francisco County


California Statewide


Golden Nugget Library