For a period of twenty-five years closely and successfully identified with the great live-stock industry of West Texas, the career of Rufus W. O’Keefe presents individual form all these personal elements of power and many of the incidental circumstances which have proved the foundation of present-day prosperity in the great Panhandle country. This history is largely a biographical record of those men who have pushed forward the bulwarks of civilization and human industry from the east into the undeveloped portions of the west and northwest, and with that wave of the range-cattle industry which swept in that direction preceding the building of the railroads went, as a rising and enterprising cowman, Mr. O’Keefe. Success came to him, and ever abreast of an active participant in those developments which gradually modernized the range cattle business into the present era of splendid stock ranches with high-grade stock and up-to-date methods, he is now one of the leading representatives of the live-stock business in the Panhandle and has recently entered the field of finance as president of the Canyon National Bank, at Canyon City, where is his home. Mr. O’Keefe was born in Randolph county, Alabama, January 19, 1857, a son of Thomas P. and Sarah E. (West) O’Keefe. The father was a farmer, and died when Rufus was an infant. After receiving his education in the public schools of his native state, he remained at home and engaged in tilling the farm until he was twenty-one years old. Coming to Texas in 1878, for the following three years he was an Ellis county farmer. But alive to the possibilities of the great western country, where no railroads of the great western country, where no railroads as yet had penetrated and where the range-cattle industry was in its palmy days, in 1881 he went out to West Texas and threw himself with all the vigor and ambition of young manhood into the picturesque pursuits of the range. With definite prospects for the future he continued until he had enough money to begin for himself, which became possible in 1889. He bought both land and cattle in that year, and has since been increasingly prosperous in the business, being at the present time owner of eighteen thousand acres of the Panhandle country. When the Canyon National bank was incorporated he was elected its president, and has directed its affairs since the institution was opened for business on November 1, 1905.
Mr. O’Keefe was married, January 14, 1890, to Miss Elizabeth Kiser, whose nativity was in Missouri. They have one daughter, May. Mr. O’Keefe is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and of the Knights of Pythias fraternity.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas, Vol. II (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), pp. 305- 306.