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