Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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KEELER, Ralph, journalist, born in Ohio in 1840; died at sea near Cuba, 16 December, 1873. On the death of his parents Ralph was sent, at eight years of age, to the care of an uncle in Buffalo, N.'Y., but ran away, was cabin-boy on a lake steamer, train-boy on a railroad, a member of several bands of strolling minstrels, and finally was connected with the "Floating Palace," a large steamboat fitted up for theatrical purposes. He studied at St. Vincent college in 1854-'6, and, after serving as a clerk in the Toledo, Ohio, post office, spent two years in Kenyon college. He visited Europe and studied in Germany, supporting himself by correspondence with English, Scotch, and American journals. He then spent three years in California, writing for the newspapers and occasionally lecturing. While there he published in the "Atlantic Monthly" "Three Years a Negro Minstrel," and "A Tour of Europe on $181." In 1870 he became art editor of "Every Saturday," a weekly published in New York, and in the following year he revisited Europe. In 1873 he became special correspondent of the "New York Tribune" in Cuba, and while engaged in this work mysteriously disappeared. It is supposed that he was murdered and thrown overboard from a steamer. He published, besides numerous magazine and newspaper articles, "Gloverson and his Silent Partner" (San Francisco, California, 1868); "Vagabond Adventures" (New York, 1871); a translation of George Sand's "Marquis de Villemer"(1873); and at the time of his death had in preparation a "Life of John Brown."
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