Major James H. Keough & Captain George W. Chesley

  • Major James H. Keough & Captain George W. Chesley
  • Keough, James H., 1864-1946
  • Chesley, George W. 1873-1923
  • "Two Wakefield men attained international prominence during their lifetimes as two of the most famous rifle shots in the world. Major James H. Keough and Captain George W. Chesley both won countless trophies and achieved world records for their proficiency with rifles. Major James H. Keough was born in Southbridge in 1864 and later moved to Wakefield. In 1888 he joined the Richardson Light Guard, Wakeield's military company and served through the Spanish-American War as a quartermaster and musician. He was later commissioned as a captain and was recalled to active duty in World War I. During this time he served as an instructor in rifle practice at Camp Perry. His achievements in rifle shooting span a period of over 40 years. Some of his most distinguished accomplishments include high man of the US team which won the international rifle match in England in 1903 high man of the US team which won a similar match in 1912 in Canada member, captain and coach of the Massachusetts state rifle team from the mid 1890s to 1912 holder of many world records including two at a New Jersey rifle range in 1908 and 1910 which gave the national championship to the Sixth Massachusetts Infantry of which Old Company A of Wakefield was a member a world record of 499 out of a possible 500 at 600 yards in England in 1910 in a match among American, English and Australian teams. At the age of 74 he made a perfect score at 200 yards enabling his team to win a Spanish War Veteran's championship of New England. Major Keough won hundreds of trophies over the years, several of which were donated to the Lucius Beebe Memorial Library. He also donated $2500 to the library for the purchase of books and magazines pertaining to rifles and rifle shooting. He was the owner and operator of the Crescent House prior to his death in 1946. Born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1873, George W. Chesley and his family moved to Wakefield in 1874. Captain Chesley joined the Richardson Light Guard and served during the Spanish-American War and World War I. During the World War he was captain in the ordnance department and an instructor in rifle camps throughout the country. He was highly regarded by his comrades in the Richardson Light Guard for his disposition as well as his rifle skills. He won numerous trophies in state, New England and national tournaments as a member of the Massachusetts Militia and the Connecticut National Guard. He, along with Major Keough, had the distinction of winning more trophies and breaking more records than any other men who served in the Massachusetts Militia. Captain Chesley's countless achievements include breaking the world's record at 1200 yards; making 45 of 50 bullseyes in 1909; making 25 consecutive bullseyes at 1000 yards in the New England shoot in 1909; scoring 224 of a possible 225 at 800 yards in 1913 as a member of the Winchester Arms Company of Connecticut; and a consistent winner in the New England Military Rifle Association tournament in which the best shots in New England competed, winning more than a half dozen of the individual matches each year. He passed away in 1923 at his 637 Main Street home." -- Text from calendar by Jayne M. D'Onofrio.
  • Image from the Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department annual calendar, 1990
  • Keough photo courtesy of the Wakefield Daily Item, Chesley photo courtesy of the Chesley family, Main Street photo courtesy of the Wakefield Historical Society.
  • Wakefield, Mass. : Wakefield Municipal Gas & Light Department


Keough, James H., 1864-1946 and Chesley, George W. 1873-1923, “Major James H. Keough & Captain George W. Chesley,” NOBLE Digital Heritage, accessed September 29, 2020,


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