Edwin W. Keightley

Brady-Handy Collection, Library of Congress. Circa 1877.

Edwin William Keightley (August 7, 1843 – May 4, 1926) was a politician from the U.S. state of Michigan.

Keightley was born on a farm near Scott in Lagrange County, Indiana. His parents, Peter L. and Elizabeth (Winter) Keightly, emigrated from Lincolnshire, England; the former in 1831, and the latter in 1828. They settled on the farm in Van Buren township in 1836, and soon after they were married. Keightley attended the local common schools, Lagrange Academy, and Valparaiso Collegiate Institute. He was graduated from the law department of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1865 and was admitted to the bar. He commenced practice at White Pigeon, Michigan, several miles northwest of his family home in Scott. While practicing law, he was also editor of the White Pigeon Republican, a staunch advocate of Republican Party views and policy.

In 1867, Keightley moved to Constantine, Michigan, and entered into a law partnership with Judge S. C. Coffinberry, which ended in 1869, on amicable terms. He was married on July 14, 1868, to Mary Mitchell, the daughter of Thomas Mitchell, a long-time resident of Constantine, and closely identified with its manufacturing and material interests.

Keightley's former residence (left), located in the Logan Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

In 1872, he was elected prosecuting attorney of St. Joseph County, serving until January 21, 1874 when he was appointed by Michigan Governor John J. Bagley to be judge of the 15th circuit court of Michigan, comprising the counties of St. Joseph and Branch County. He was elected to the position in the spring of 1875.

In 1876, he was elected as a Republican from Michigan's 4th congressional district to the 45th United States Congress, serving from March 4, 1877 to March 3, 1879.

Keightley was appointed by U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes as the Third Auditor of the United States Treasury Department and served from April 30, 1879 to April 30, 1885, when he resigned. He resumed the practice of his profession in Chicago, Illinois. He moved to Constantine, Michigan, in 1899 and engaged in agricultural pursuits until his death there. He was interred in Constantine Cemetery.


  • United States Congress. "Edwin W. Keightley (id: K000049)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  • The Political Graveyard
  • "Biographical Sketches". History of St. Joseph county, Michigan, with illustrations descriptive of its scenery, palatial residences, public buildings . . . Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Library. 2005 [1877]. p. 130. Retrieved 2007-02-10.

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U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Allen Potter
United States Representative for the 4th Congressional District of Michigan
1877 – 1879
Succeeded by
Julius C. Burrows