On The Porch


Mandan, N.D., March 13.—'It's beyond me, I never saw anything like it. Heavens! but that must be healthy dirt." Willard Brown, orderly at the Mandan hospital, heaved a great sigh and dropped into a chair to rest. He had just finished giving Mike Keating, aged 101 years, the first bath he had had in nearly twenty years.

Keating came to North Dakota in 1875, and in the cowboy days managed to scrape together a comfortable fortune. He erected the first brick hotel building west of the Missouri river in the early 'eighties. He put every cent he had into the business and for a time rolled in affluence—before he rolled in dirt. The hotel burned down with no insurance carried and he was broke.

Then 64 years old he worked as a farm hand, but his nerve was gone. He strolled back to town and followed the white lights until prohibition laws were enforced and saloons were closed. With no one to care for him, he took the long slide.

Ten years ago he filed on a government homestead and three years ago he made final proof, establishing a record. He was 98 years old, the oldest person to every make final proof.

Since then he has been living in a little shack back of the "Big Four," the building which used to house his favorite saloon. He had enough money to buy what food he needed, and for three years has scored aid of neighbors. Today he appeared on the streets for the first time in two years.

Unshaved, with dirt clinging to his whiskers, he was a repulsive looking animal. County Commissioner John Ellinson happened to see him, took him in charge and deemed a bath necessary. KEating was taken to the hospital, where it was found necessary to give him a soaking, soak him again, dain the tub, scrub him with "Dutch Cleanser," and then—give him a bath.

Keating stood for it all—grumbling a little—then admitted that he felt better. He will be cared for by the county.

Ward County Independent, 3/18/1915

Mandan, North Dakota - The dangers attendant upon taking a bath were illustrated here last week when Mike Keating, who had not "sustained" a bath for twenty years, was given one and died.

Physicians had advised against the bath, it is claimed.

Hansboro News, 5/7/1915

Fight Over Woman

Posted 03/16/2015