MRS. MARY KEYS. John Keys (deceased) was one of the most respected citizens and prominent business men of Smith township. He was a son of James and a grandson of James Keys, who was born and reared in Cumberland county, Penn., and was there married to a native of the same county, who bore him one son James. Soon after the birth of this son, the father died (about 1777), and his widow was then married to Robert Watson. Her son James lived with them, and in 1794 accompanied the family to Washington county, where they located on Chartiers creek.
In 1800 James Keys was united in marriage with Jane McClelland, who was born in 1779, a daughter of James McClelland, a native of Ireland, who, in an early day settled in the locality of Miller's, Run. To the union of James and Jane Keys children were born as follows: Martha (married to William McBride, of Robinson township, this county), Jane (wife of John McBurney, of Mt. Pleasant township), John, James (a retired farmer of Steubenville, Ohio), William (a farmer of Kansas, deceased), Joseph (residing in Smith township) and Ezra (a grocer of Leavenworth, Kans). After his marriage to Jane McClelland, James Keys moved to Trumbull county, Ohio (then a vast wilderness), remaining there but a short time, and then coming to Smith township, this county, located on a farm in Cherry Valley. In 1822 he represented Washington county in the Legislature, serving five years, and then returned to his farm. He was a brilliant and intellectual man, a leader in every undertaking for the public good. He was a Whig in politics, and in religious connection he and his wife were members of the Seceder Church, in which he was an elder. His wife died in 1838, and, after a useful and successful life, he was laid by her side in 1854.
John Keys was born June 18, 1808, in Smith township, this county, his boyhood being passed on his father's farm. The children of those days had but limited educational advantages, but John Keys eagerly availed himself of such as were within his reach. In 1832 he was united in marriage with Ann May, who was born in 1808, daughter of John May, of Cecil township, this county. To this union were born the following children: Jane, James M. (a farmer who lives in Jefferson county, Ohio), and Phebe (wife of Matthew Galbraith) and Annie B. (wife of John McCalmont), both deceased. The mother died in 1846, and January 23, 1849, he was married to Mary Shillito, who was born January 6, 1822, in Harrison county, Ohio, daughter of John Shillito, the latter a native of Beaver County, Penn. He was married to Jane Biggert, afterward moved to Harrison county, Ohio, and finally located in Washington county, Penn. John and Mary Keys had the following children: Agnes E., Maggie M., Albert M. (an energetic young farmer of Smith township), and Clara (widow of T. P. Weaver) and John (deceased at the age of nineteen years) (twins). Mr. and Mrs. Keys began wedded life on a place in Smith township, and in 1869 settled on the farm where his widow is now living, situated about one mile south of Raccoon Station. In politics Mr. Keys was originally an Old-line Whig, and afterward became a Republican. He was connected with the U. P. Church, being an elder therein for several years, and contributing liberally to its support. He died in May, 1883. His widow is also a member of the U. P. Church, and enjoys the respect of all who know her. She is living on the farm, which is managed by her son, A. M.
Text taken from page 821 of:
Beers, J. H. and Co., Commemorative Biographical Record of Washington County, Pennsylvania (Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1893).
Transcribed March 1997 by Neil and Marilyn Morton of Oswego, IL as part of the Beers Project.
Published March 1997 on the Washington County, PA USGenWeb pages at http://www.chartiers.com/.
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