He was born on 12 May 1830 (31; 18 (32 in 1863), 25 [35? in 1860], 17 [50 in 1880], 29 [54 at death in 1884]). He was born in Dublin, Ireland (17, 29, 31).
He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin (31). After serving an apprenticeship in Apothecaries' Hall, London, he began studying medicine at McNeill College, in Liverpool (31).
He emigrated to the United States as physician in charge of a passenger ship (31). He left because he did not want to observe the British oppression of the Irish people (31). When his relatives offered to procure a commission in the British Army for him (during the US Civil War), he refused (31).
He first practiced medicine, briefly, at Port Richmond, Philadelphia (31). He then moved near Twelfth and Spruce (31). Finally, he practiced in West Philadelphia for the rest of his life (except during the war (31). He graduated from the Pennsylvania College of Medicine in 1856 (31).
In 1860, he may have been living in the 24th ward of Philadelphia (25). If so, he was a druggist, and owned $500 in personal property (25). He was living with Anna (presumably his wife), and Ame [Amy?], Anna, and Alex (presumably his children) (25). However, he is a different age than the other William Kier's I have found, and the children don't quite match. (His wife doesn't match either--but his wife in the 1870 census seems to be too young to be the mother of some of his children, and Anna seems to have died in 1862.)
On 20 March 1862, Anna Frances Keir (probably his first wife), died, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (36). She died at, or was buried from, Market Street below 36th Street, 24th ward, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (36). She was buried at Woodland Cemetery (36).
When he enlisted, he was living in Philadelphia (18).
He also served as Assistant Surgeon of the 135th Pennsylvania Infantry (3, 19, 31). He was mustered into service on 21 August 1862 (16, 31). He was mustered out with the regiment, when their nine-month term of service expired, on 24 May 1863 (16).
He was appointed an assistant surgeon on 26 May 1863 (1, 31, 41). He reported to the regiment on 12 June 1863 (10), but had not been mustered in as of 18 June 1863 (2). He enlisted and was mustered into service [sic] as assistant surgeon on 12 June 1863, at Gum Spring, Virginia (18, 38, 39). He was mustered in on * 17 June 1863 by Lieutenant Robinson, near Gum Spring, Virginia (41)
On 22 June 1863, the regiment received an order from Brigade Headquarters assigning him as recorder in the division hospital if an engagement occurred (14).
He was present at the Battle of Gettysburg, as Assistant Surgeon (5). Sinex assigned 2 men as regimental hospital attendants, to report to him immediately, on 3 July 1863. He testified at Morris Kayser's court martial, for the defense (15).
He was Assistant Surgeon in January 1864 (33).
On 5 February 1864, he certified that John Martin (E) was able to do a soldier's duties (42). On * 26 February 1864, he certified (at Philadelphia Pennsylvania) that John Lackey (A) was able to do a soldier's duties (43).
On 2 May 1864, he was the only physician associated with the regiment (7).
On 29 June 1864, he was on duty at the division hospital (21).
On 17 August 1864, he returned to duty with the regiment (24).
On 4 November 1864, he testified for the defense at the General Court Martial of Joseph Green (32). Unfortunately, he didn't remember treating Green, and the Judge Advocate had to remind him that they had discussed his treating Green at the Division Hospital (32).
At some point, he served as Division Surgeon, under General Pierson (31). (I do not know whether this refers to the temporary appointments listed above.)
He mustered out on 10 July 1865 with the regiment (1, 18). He was the regimental surgeon (38, 39). He had last been paid through 30 April 1865, by Major Gresson (41).
He declined a commission as Surgeon in the US Army (31).
On 10 November 1865, he married Ellen Blundin (28 [34 yrs in 1900], 31, 34 [10 Nov 65]). She was the daughter of James N Blunden and Ellen Logan, and was born on 3 November 1843, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (35). She was apparently his second wife. In 1900 and 1910, she reported having had ten children, six of whom were alive (26, 28, 31 [nine children, six alive at his death]).
Probably in December 1869, he testifed about John Buzby's illness, supporting his widow's pension application (40).
In 1870, he was living in the 24th ward of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (20). He was 40 years old, was a physician, and had $6,000 in real estate and $1,000 in personal property (20). He was living with these people:
In 1875, he joined the County Medical Society (31).
In 1880, he was living at 28 North 38th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (17). He was living with his wife Ellen, his children William, Rosanna, Angel, Joseph, and Mary, his mother-in-law, and a servant (17). He was a physician (17).
He applied successfully from Pennsylvania for a pension on 7 March 1884 (3, 19).
He died of paralysis on 11 September 1884, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (3, 29, 31). He had an attack of paralysis seven months earlier, but continued to work until he died (31). He died at, or was buried from, 28 North 38th Street (29). He was then a medical doctor (29). He was married (29). He was Director of the Public Schools (31). He was a member of the Philadelphia County Medical Mutual Aid Society (31). He was buried on 15 September 1884, at Cathedral Cemetery (29).
His widow, Ellen M Keir, applied successfully from New Jersey for a pension on 5 March 1885 (3, 19).
In 1890, his widow, Ellen Keir, was living in Atlantic City, Atlantic County, New Jersey (22).
In 1900, his widow Ellen was living in Atlantic City, Atlantic County, New Jersey (28).
In 1910, his widow, Ellen Keir, was living at 801 Atlantic Avenue, Atlantic City, Atlantic County, New Jersey (26). She was living with three daughters (26). She had had ten children, six of whom were alive (26).
On 29 September 1910, his widow, Ellen M Keir, died, at Atlantic City, Atlantic County, New Jersey (35). On 3 October 1910, she was buried, at Woodland Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (35).
1 Bates, Samuel Penniman. History of Pennsylvania volunteers, 1861-5. Harrisburg: B. Singerly, state printer, 1869-71. 5 volumes. 'Ninety-first regiment', volume 3, pages 186-233. (In the roster)
3 pension index by regiment (William G Keir)
5 Pennsylvania Memorial, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
6 special order 41, HQ 91st PA, 3 July 1864
7 letter, Sinex to Vincent, 2 May 1864
8 letter, Sellers to Tayman, 15 October 1864 (W G Keir)
9 charge and specification against Thomas Walter, 4 January 1865 (Wm G Keir)
10 regimental descriptive book (William G Keir)
11 special order 207, HQ Army of the Potomac, 3 August 1864
12 undated officers' furlough list, in regimental letter, order, guard, and furlough book (William G Keir)
14 special orders received, #2, received 22 June 1863 (Asst Surg W G Kier)
15 court-martial record, Morris Kayser
16 Official Army Register, volume 2, page 973 (135th PA Infantry) (William G. Keir)
17 1880 US census, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, supervisor's district 1, enumeration district 492, microfilm series T9, film 1183, page 132 D = 8 handwritten (Wm G Keir)
18 Civil War Veterans' Card File, available at the Pennsylvania State Archives, searched 18 May 2004 (William G Kier)
19 pension index, by name, searched 21 May 04 on Ancestry (William G Keir)
20 1870 US census, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, ward 24, district 77 (precinct 3), page 110, lines 11-20 (William Keir)
21 consolidated morning report, 91st Pennsylvania, 26 April 1864 (Asst Surg Kier)
22 1890 US census, veterans' schedule, New Jersey, Atlantic County, Atlantic City, supervisor's district 3, enumeration district 3, page 1 (?) (William Keir [sic])
23 consolidated morning report, 91st Pennsylvania, 7 August 1864 (Surg Kier)
24 consolidated morning report, 91st Pennsylvania, 17 August 1864 (Wm G Kier)
25 1860 US census, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 24th ward 7th precinct, microfilm series M653, film 1175, page 908 = 124 [?] handwritten (William G Kier)
26 1910 US census, New Jersey, Atlantic County, Atlantic City, ward 1, supervisor's district 7, enumeration district 7, microfilm series T624, film 867, page 101 (Ellen Keir)
27 consolidated morning report, 91st Pennsylvania, 14 November 1864 (Surgeon Kier)
28 1900 US census, New Jersey, Atlantic County, Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic City, supervisor's district 6, enumeration district 11, microfilm series T623, film 953, page 180 B = sheet [illegible] handwritten (Ellen M Kier)
29 death certificate, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 11 September 1884 (Wm Geo Keir)
30 death certificate, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 16 December 1863 (W G Keir)
31 'William G. Keir, M.D.' In Transactions of the Medical Society of the State of Pennsylvania at its Thirty-Seventh Annual Session, held at Williamsport, PA., June 2, 3, 4, 1886. Volume 18. Philadelphia: Published by the Society, 1886. Pages 261-262 (William G. Keir)
32 court martial record, Joseph Green, National Archives and Records Administration, RG 153, file #LL-2715 (William G Keir)
33 'Arrival of the 91st regiment Pennsylvania volunteers' (Philadelphia Press 9 January 1864, page 2) (W G Keir)
34 [marriage notice], Medical and surgical reporter, volume 13 number 22 (25 November 1865) page 358 (W G Keir)
35 Philadelphia death certificate, extract on LDS pilot site (accessed 4 October 2010)] (Ellen M Keir)
36 Philadelphia death certificate, extract on LDS pilot site (accessed 5 October 2010)] (Anna Frances Keir) [identification is uncertain, and is based primarily on her name and date of death]
37 abstract of dependent's pension certificate file, WC 134972, Andrew Brown, father of Andrew Brown (Surgeon Kier)
38 index to compiled service records of volunteer Union soldiers who served in organizations from the state of Pennsylvania (William G Keir)
39 index to compiled service records of volunteer Union soldiers who served in organizations from the state of Pennsylvania (William G Kier)
40 testimony, undated (but probably December 1869), about John Buzby's illness in service, in his widow's pension certificate file, WC 142,391 (W G Keir)
41 muster-out roll, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, record group 19, series 19.11, records of the Department of Military and Veterans' Affairs (William G Kier)
42 compiled service record, E 91 PA, John Martin (William G Keir)
43 compiled service record, A 91 PA, John Leckey (W G Keir)
|Name||Wm G Keir||Anna F [?]||Ame||Anna F||Alex|
|Value of real estate owned|
|Value of personal estate||500|
|Place of birth||Eng||Ire [?]||Penn||"||"|
|Married within year|
|Attended school within year|
|Cannot read & write|
|Deaf, dumb, blind, etc.|
|street name||North 38th Street|
|dwelling visit #||56|
|family visit #||59|
|name||Keir Wm G||- Ellen||- Wm G Jr||- Rosana||- Angel H||- Joseph L||- Mary||Blundin Ellen||Kelley Mary|
|month born if born in year|
|relationship||Wife||Son||Daughter||Daughter||Son||Daughter||Mother in Law||Servant|
|[both 'married' and 'widowed' have a '1' on Ellen Blundin's line]|
|married during year|
|occupation||Physician||Keeping House||At School||At School||At School||Servant|
|school this year||1||1||1|
|name||Keir Ellen M|
|birth date||Nov 1847|
|# years married||34 [?]|
|mother of how many children?||10|
|# of children living||6|
|# years in USA|
|# months not employed|
|# months in school|
|free or mortgaged|
|# of farm schedule|
|name||Keir Ellen M||- Rose V||- Angela H||- Agnes A|
|#years present marriage|
|mother of # children||10|
|mother of # living children||6|
|father's birthplace||Ire English||Ire English||Ire English||Ire English|
|nature of industry etc.|
|out of work 15 Apr 1910?|
|# weeks out of work 1909|
|school since 1 Sep 09|
|owned free or mortagaged|
|nr on farm schedule|
|civil war vet|
|deaf & dumb|
|NUMBER OF EACH GRADE.||1|
|NAMES. PRESENT AND ABSENT.||William G Kier|
|JOINED FOR SERVICE AND ENROLLED AT GENERAL RENDEZVOUS--COMMENCEMENT OF FIRST PAYMENT BY TIME.||WHEN.||June 12 /63|
|WHERE.||near Gum Spring Va|
|BY WHOM.||Lt Robinson|
|MUSTERED INTO SERVICE.||WHEN.||June 17 /63|
|WHERE.||near Gum Spring Va|
|BY WHOM.||Lt Robinson|
|LAST PAID.||BY PAYMASTER.||Maj Gresson|
|TO WHAT TIME.||Apr 30 /65|
|TRAVELING.||To place of rendezvous, No. of miles.|
|From place of discharge home, No. of miles.|
|Clothing Act||Due U.S|
|AMOUNT for clothing in kind, or in money advanced.|
|VALUE OF equipments, arms &c., received from the United States, to be paid for if lost or destroyed.|
|Mustered as Surgeon April 21st /64 vice Knight Discharged|
KEIR-BLUNDEN.--On the 10th inst., by the Rev. Mr. Martin, W. G. Keir, M.D., late Surgeon Ninety-first Pennsylvania Volunteers and Miss Nellie Blunden, daughter of Mr. James Blunden, both of West Philadelphia.'William G. Keir, M.D.' In Transactions of the Medical Society of the State of Pennsylvania at its Thirty-Seventh Annual Session, held at Williamsport, PA., June 2, 3, 4, 1886. Volume 18. Philadelphia: Published by the Society, 1886. Pages 261-262
Dr. Keir was born at Dublin, Ireland, on May 12th, 1830. His father, a physician, was born in Scotland, and inherited a large estate near Londonderry, Ireland, on which estate his son was raised. His mother was a Reed, a descendant of one of the founders of Liverpool, England, and was born in that city.
The Doctor received a fine education at Trinity College, Dublin. He then served an apprenticeship in Apothecaries' Hall, London. He then went to the McNeill College, Liverpool, where he commenced the study of medicine. After studying there, he embarked on a passenger vessel as physician in charge. Upon landing in America he practiced medicine for a short time at Port Richmond, Philadelphia; then removed to the neighborhood of Twelfth and Spruce streets; he subsequently located at West Philadelphia, where he remained in active practice until his decease, saving the years he gave to his adopted country during the period of the late war.
He was a graduate of the class of 1856 of the Pennsylvania College of Medicine.
In 1862 he entered the 135th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, as Assistant Surgeon. On the mustering out of that regiment, he was appointed Assistant Surgeon of the 91st Pennsylvania Volunteers; subsequently became Surgeon of that regiment, and finally served as Division Surgeon on General Pierson's staff. At the close of the war he received a commission as Surgeon in the U.S. Army, which he declined, preferring to return to civil life.
He was married to Miss Nellie Blunden, of West Philadelphia, and had a family of nine children, of whom six survive.
Dr. Keir was a worthy, unassuming, hard-working physician. He had a large field of medical practice, which he freely relinquished to serve our country in its recent trial, when she called for help. Upon her deliverance, he buckled on his harness and worked manfully at his profession in West Philadelphia, where he died, regretted as universally as he was known. He rebuilt a large and lucrative practice, and by his devotion to his duties, and his kindly sympathy, endeared himself to his patients not only as physician, but as friend. Indeed, his days were shortened in no slight degree by the sacrifices he made for his patients. He seemed to care more for the needs of others than of self, and persisted in attending to his work when, worn with suffering, he needed attention, care and rest.
He did not completely recover from a first attack of paralysis, seven months preceding his death (which occurred September 11th, 1884), and yet he was daily on his visits. With pallor on his brow and inward suffering, he thought only of others, and with cheering words and assuring ways carried hope and confidence to the afflicted.[page 262]
He was also a public-spirited citizen. He took great interest in the subject of education, having been honored by his fellow-citizens with the office of Director of the Public Schools. He was well fitted for this work by his experience and ripe scholarship.
He entered our County Medical Society in 1875, and was a constant visitor at the meetings. He was also a member of the Philadelphia County Medical Mutual Aid Society for the relief and protection of the widows and orphans of physicians, and always felt a deep interest in its welfare.
His reasons for renouncing England and becoming an American show what manner of man he was. He was hereditarily of the landlord class in Ireland. Had he remained there his worldly career would not have been so uphill and toilsome. But he was impued with the spirit of freedom, and left his own kith and kin rather than remain a witness to the sufferings of those born on the same soil with him, the victims of unjust and oppressive laws. He frequently said that his spirit groaned within him at the sight of so much preventable distress and misery, and he desired no part or lot with the oppressors. During the term of his service in the U.S. Army his relatives offered to procure him a commission in the British service, an offer he positively refused.
As physician and citizen he well performed his duties. He leaves behind him the memory of many virtues and the example of a well-spent life.
From the moment of his first attack he felt his health to be broken; he recognized the summons, and faced the future with an humble but serene acquiescence, feeling that he had so worked in life as to be worthily entitled to an assured "rest in peace."M. O'HARA.