WILLIAM HENRY KEYS
(Grandson of Oliver Hayden and Eliza Funk) 2001,Our Grandfather
Grandson of Oliver Hayden-Keys
Submitted by Tom Keys
Items in italics are mine, Tom Keys, 2001
Haven Hubbell Keys writes in ca. 1931/34.
WILLIAM HENRY KEYS The eldest son and child of George Washington Keys and Elizabeth Lambert (Waller) Keys was born Nov 19, 1846 at Ashland (Pollard), Boyd County, Kentucky, died March 18, 1933, age 87,in Ashland, Ky.
His parents, George Washington Keys, lived there (Ashland) only a few months, moving to Coal Grove, Ohio, almost directly across the Ohio River: and later they bought a small tract of land out in the country about 10 miles away. This was virgin forest, and there, father (William Henry) did his first work, helping to clear this land and till the soil when he was about 9 years of age. He attended school, about 2 miles distant, five months out of the year, which was the average school year then. His father (G. W. K.) sold the home and land (I remember it, as my father, (William Henry Keys) later owned it himself, built a new home there, and we used the old home of his father George W., a hewed log house, as a barn). a few years later, and bought a village grain-mill on Big Ice Creek. Grandfather, G.W. K named the village that grew up around this mill “Rock Camp” With his sons they operated the mill, the boys mining the coal used for steam power from a mine immediately adjacent to the mill property. This continued for a number of years, the sons going to school about half time of the five months’ period, working the other half and the remaining 7 months. Later on, father (William Henry) owned and ran this same mill, at some period of my early life.
Father, (William Henry) had said to me, (Uncle Haven Hubbell Keys) “Up until I was fifteen years old there were church services held at the school houses about twice or three times a year and we had Sabbath school during the summer seasons at these same school houses, conducted by the Methodist and United Brethren denominations. About the winter of 1862 or 63 at a little schoolhouse, Rev John W. Dillon held a meeting and organized a Methodist Class. I came into the church at that time and have been a member ever since; not as faithful as I should have been, but they kept my name on the list, and I am glad today that they nursed me along until I could live the Christian life.”
When the Civil War was on, father, (William Henry) was not old enough to enter the service. In his 17th year, however, August 18, 1864, he did enlist in the armies of the North (Union Army). Herewith we record a copy of his honorable discharge at the close of the war.”
(See 2001 photostat enclosed. I have given the original document to Timothy and Gregory Keys.)
TO ALL WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
KNOW YE, That William H. Keys a private of Captain John W. Funson’s Company, (A), 173d Regiment Of Ohio Infantry VOLUNTEERS who was enrolled on the eighteenth day of August one thousand eight hundred and sixty four to serve one year or during the war, is hereby DISCHARGED from the service of the United States this Twenty-sixth day of June, 1865 at Nashville, Tenn., by reason of his being mustered out in accordance with instructions from the War Department May 29, 1865. No objection to his being re-enlisted is known to exist.
Said William Keys was born in Boyd County in the state of Kentucky, is eighteen years of age, five feet six inches high, dark complexion, black eyes, black hair, and by occupation, when enrolled, a miller.
Given at Nashville, Tenn., this twenty-sixth day of June 1865.
J. W. Cluer, Capt.88”Ill Inf.
John W. Funson, Capt. A.C.M.2d Div.4” A.C.
Co. A. 173d O.V.I.
Paid to July 5, 1865, Cooles Kinnen, Paymaster
Stamped on backside in seal form: “……..& X.R.R., July 1865, Camp Dennison Office.”
“William H. Keys, State of Ohio, Lawrence County S. S.: Recorders Office. Recorded August 7th, 1865 Vol. 1, Page 115,’Ssoldiers Record.’ James B. Bartram, Recorder.”
Stamped on back in seal from: Bounty rejected, Dec.15, 1869. Ckd Auditor’s Office.
“Index___Oath of Identity” (on back) not used.
“ He was a musician, having learned to play the fife, and often regaled us children afterwards with the old army tunes, but would make no public demonstrations of his accomplishments on Grand Army celebration days. His army service was in and around Nashville, Tenn., under General Thomas. He voted for Abraham Lincoln (second election) to be President, although not of age, as his officers gave him permission to do so.
He lived with his parents (GWK), after the war, until he was married. I quote from THE REGISTER, Ironton, Ohio weekly newspaper published at that time: MARRIAGES; Keys-Brown. On Thursday, January 25th. 1872, by Rev. James Mitchell, Mr. W. H. Keys and Josephene Brown.” The Rev. James Mitchell was then Pastor of Spencer Church, and the marriage ceremony was performed in the home of the Rev. William Gardner.
Please see separate biography enclosed on Josephine Aurelia Brown Keys
At this time, father had a mail route from Ironton to Gallipolis, Ohio, a distance of forty-three miles; he made this round-trip weekly in winter, on horseback and twice a week in summer, with horses and buggy.
Sometime during the year 1877, he (William Henry) purchased a general store at a little village one mile west of Rock Camp, –Johnstown, then in 1879 or 1880 he bought the Rock Camp property (from GWK), where he lived and ran a good general-store business for ten years; then to Ashland, Ky., where he conducted one of the best grocery stores in that city. We sons then scattered, all his help, and as he still had the Rock Camp store, he sold out in Ashland and returned to the country village. In all he was twenty-one years in the mercantile trade. After a flood came and almost ruined his home and store at Rock Camp, he moved to Ironton, where he remained until March, 1913, when he moved, with this writer’s family (Haven Hubbell Keys), to Hyatts, Delaware County, Ohio. Where he remained for two years or more; then he purchased a beautiful little home and two acres opposite the entrance to Greenwood Lake and Park, just outside the city limits of Delaware, Ohio, where they lived for ten or twelve years, and until just before our mother passed on, for they had moved over into the city of Delaware for mother’s sake, church conveniences and the like, but retained the old home, however.”
After mother’s death, August 3, 1927, father has made his home mostly with that splendid daughter of his, and sister of mine, Mrs. Frank B. Wilson (our Aunt Lyda Euans Keys Wilson) in Ashland Kentucky where he is as I write this (1931).
He made a trip west, to Emerson, Nebraska, and Denver Colorado to visit two daughters in 1930, and spent one winter and part of another, with this son (Haven Hubbell Keys) in St. Petersburg, Florida when he said, “I am glad for the privilege of being with him, also for my visits to the Sunshine City.”
I have told of father’s life work mostly, but I would not forget that he was an ardent advocate of prohibition, since I can remember most, and voted consistently the National Prohibition ticket until the 18th Amendment became a law of the United States. A large group picture of the early national leaders, including John G. Wolley, Neal Dow, Frances, Willard, J. A. Van Fleet and many others, hung over our fireplace in the parental home for probably forty years, and father was a total abstainer from intoxicating drink after the war, where he admits that he drank some.
Father and mother were the parents of ten children, six sons and four daughters. In these last years of his life, he is lonely, and has said, “Before my dear wife passed away I thought my sympathy went out to those bereaved of wife or husband, but my own experience in the loss of my wife and helpmate gives me a different view-point from what I had ever felt or seen before, and I find it a lonely road to travel.” And I can add that I do not question his perfect sincerity, for our mother was a wonderful woman and one of the best friends father ever had on earth, a loving wife, help-mate and mother, “true as steel,” guiding her flock and the communities in which she lived and labored to the best in them in action, word and deed.”
Later: “1137 Walnut Avenue. Ashland, Ky., March 18, 1933. Dear Uncle Hal: (to Haven Hubbell Keys) Grandfather passed away (William Henry Keys) at 2:05 this morning. He had been practically helpless for the lesser part of a week. Yesterday afternoon about four o’clock, he lost the use of his whole right side and went totally blind at the same time. Aunt Nanny Bazell was with us at the time. She came in the morning and is with us yet…I know that you will be sorry to hear of his ‘going west’ but it’s truly a great blessing. Hoping you are all well, I am your nephew JACK.” Excerpts from a letter written by Jack Wilson to Haven Hubbell Keys
Published note from cousin, probably, Jack Wilson ” Uncle (Hal) Haven Hubbell Keys died on August 19, 1941, standing on his feet working on the finals of this “set up” for the genealogy press run at the Keys owned Artcraft Press in California. “He’d been blessed with a quick summons.” ..End…
Above is a page copy from a history book of persons then residing in Lawrence County, Ohio.