John Keene

John Keene was an average working class Irish immigrant born about 1826 who moved to Maine before coming to San Francisco in the 1850's and he might be the John Keene listed as a cooper in the 1856 and 1859 San Francisco city directories. He was arrested, charged and convicted in San Francisco of an "unnameable crime" in March of 1859. He was sentenced to San Quentin for a term of five years and is found there, under the charge of a "crime against nature" in the 1860 federal census. He was released from San Quentin on March 27, 1864. He may be the John Keene of Ireland living with James Keene (age 76) and George B. Keene (age 25) in the 2nd Ward of San Francisco in the 1870 census. James and John are both listed as carpenters. Unfortunately the name Keene is a common one in Ireland and the occupation of "laborer" is vague, making it nearly impossible to positively identify him with any specific individual outside of San Quentin.


Newspaper Articles

Sacramento Daily Union (Sacramento, California) - March 17, 1859

John Keene, convicted of an attempt to commit an unnameable crime, was sentenced to the State Prison for five years.

Daily Alta California (San Francisco, California) - Feb 14, 1864

Criminals To Be Added to Society - The following list of criminals to be turned loose from San Quentin, during the months of February and March, 1864, to swell the ranks of the desperadoes now already too numerous in our city, is from the criminal record kept by Officer Blitz, furnished us at the request of Chief Burke. The name, nativity, crime for which each was convicted, county from which he was sent, term of imprisonment and its expiration, are given in rotation:

[included in the list]:
John Keene, Maine, crime against nature, San Francisco, 5 years, March 27th

Census Records

1860 Federal Census - San Quentin State Prison, Corte Madera, San Rafael post, Marin, California - July 23, 1860

Name Age Race Occupation State Born Crime
John Keene 34 white laborer Ireland crime against nature
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