Alexander Gaston Keisling Home


This week's featured home is located at 217 East Cedar Street, Livingston. The home was purchased in 1970 by Clay Parsons and his late wife, Eldrith. History of the home indicates it was believed to have been built in 1895 or 1896 by Alexander Gaston Keisling, better known as Gas Keisling. Mr. Keisling was a well known and highly respected citizen of Overton County. According to information contained in Overton County, An Informal History, by Millard Vaughn Oakley, Mr. Keisling once served as Mayor of the Town of Livingston (exact dates he served unknown).

Information provided by Mrs. Joyce Ramsey, a great-granddaughter of Alexander Gaston Keisling, indicates he was a very versatile businessman. He bought and sold a sizable number of tracts of property in Overton County. He was also involved in the publication of a weekly newspaper, operated roller mills and sawmills, was a contractor and builder. In 1925, he owned the first Dodge dealership in Livingston. He served as State Representative for Overton County from 1919 to 1920.

An obituary for Mr. Keisling dated December of 1932 contains this information:

Alexander Gaston Keisling, 71, died at his home in Livingston after a short illness. He had been previously exceptionally strong and enjoyed excellent health. He completed his education in 1881 in the Alpine School under the tutorship of the last Wm. T. "Buddie" Davis. He was twice married, first to Eliza Ann Farley, a student and school mate of Alpine Academy. To this union were born six children. His second wife was Alta M. Owen, to whom he was married August 19, 1931. He is survived by his second wife, his brother, Hardy Keisling, and sister, Mrs. John M. Smith. Burial was in Good Hope Cemetery.

The names of the six children of Alexander Gaston Keisling and Eliza Ann Farley Keisling were:

Eula Belle Keisling Ledbetter; Robert Leon Keisling; Mary Ethel Keisling Qualls; Shirley D. Keisling; John Horace Keisling; Doris Lenora Keisling Hodges.

One of the daughters of Mr. Keisling, Eula Belle Keisling Ledbetter, was named the Executrix of his Estate. Records in the Register of Deeds office indicate that in August of 1935, the home and adjacent lots were conveyed to Mrs. G.W. Lea, mother of Miss Conway Lea. A second deed was made in March of 1937 from Eula Belle Keisling Ledbetter to Mrs. G.W. Lea for an additional one and three-fourths acres adjoining the home tract. Miss Conway Lea inherited all the property from her mother.

Miss Conway was engaged to Leon Keisling, son of Alexander Gaston Keisling and wife Eliza Ann. Tragically, Leon died from pneumonia just short of his 20th birthday and near to the date he and Miss Conway were to be married. A wedding dress and trousseau had been bought by Miss Conway, but sadly, was never worn. Miss Conway's life was never quite the same following the death of her fiancee. At her death, the home and property was left by way of her Last Will and Testament to her close friend, Mrs. Flora Lea Brown Collins. Clay and Eldrith Parsons bought the property when Miss Conway's estate was settled. With their purchase of the property, they became the third family to have owned it.