Obituary – Francis Root Keating (1862 – 1901)

FRANCIS ROOT KEATING, who died on the 7th of January, 1901, was one of the most beloved and respected of Buffalo’s younger citizens. Mr. Keating was in his thirty-ninth year at the time of his decease. In his brief career he had accomplished much and had one an honorable place among the business men of Buffalo. He was a man of marked intellectual gifts, great practical capability and an uprightness of word, deed and motive which commanded universal esteem.

Francis Root Keating

Mr. Keating was born in Buffalo on the 25th of April, 1862, and was the son of Robert Keating, a well-known business man of that city. Young Keating received his elementary education in the Buffalo grammar-schools, and later entered the Central High School, from which he graduated. After leaving school, Mr. Keating became connected with the leather business, entering the employ of Root & Keating, a firm composed of his father, Robert Keating, and his grandfather, the late Francis H. Root. The concern, whose headquarters were in Wells street, Buffalo, carried on an extensive business, operating tanneries at Olean, N. Y. His zeal and efficiency soon caused Mr. Keating to be entrusted with important executive duties in the firm, and shortly afterward he was admitted to partnership.

He remained with the house ten years, being a leading factor in its prosperity and building up for himself an excellent business reputation. At the end of a decade Mr. Keating retired from the firm and became associated as stockholder and trustee with the Buffalo Pitts Company, one of the country’s leading industries in the manufacture of farm machinery and agricultural tools. He was appointed Manager of the Implement Department of the company, took a prominent part in its general management and was one of its most active and valued officers. His connection with the Pitts concern lasted, until the time of his death.

For fifteen years Mr. Keating was a member of the National Guard of the State of New York, belonging to the Signal Corps and serving on the staff of Gen. Black. Throughout his military service he was characterized by thoroughness, competence and conscientious fidelity to duty and was held in high estimation by the officers and men of his command.

Mr. Keating was a leading clubman, being a member of the Buffalo, Saturn, Wanaka, Country and Liberal clubs. His refined tastes, bright intellect and kindly, winning nature admirably fitted him to shine in social circles, and his death was an irreparable loss to the various organizations with which he was identified.

In 1893 Mr. Keating married Grace Brayley, daughter of the late James Brayley, one of the founders of the Pitts Agricultural Company. The wedded life of Mr. Keating was singularly happy and congenial. He was a devoted husband and father, a lover of home, and a man who, notwithstanding his activities in business and his many social relationships and duties, found his chief joy in the domestic circle. Mr. Keating is survived by his wife and three children, Alice, Mary Caroline and Francis Ruth Keating.

The mournful reflection arising from the thought that a career so useful and so abounding in brilliant prospects was cut short ere its prime are tempered by the knowledge that the meaning and lessons of a life like that of Francis R. Keating are permanent and can never be lost. His was a character high in its aims and consistent in all its aspects, and by the many who knew and loved him his memory is treasured as that of a true-hearted, upright and truly noble man.

Source: Memorial and Family History of Erie County, New York: Volume II: Biographical and Genealogical, Illustrated, published 1908 by Genealogical Publishing Company, Buffalo, New York, pp. 371-373. Available via

See also the biography of Francis’s father, Robert Keating.

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