Clay County

Biography - L. B. Keith

It is not every man who succeeds in giving his name to a town, but this distinction fell to Peter Keith, who emigrated from Pennsylvania during the first half of the last century and found his way to Noble county, Ohio. He there entered a section of land from the government and by hard work eventually whipped it into the condition of a fairly productive farm. Gradual increase of population in the neighborhood led to the demand for a town, which was eventually established on Peter Keith's land and named in his honor. He continued to reside there until his death in 1865. He left a son, P. C. Keith, who was born on the Noble county homestead, became a merchant later in life and still resides the town which bears his family name. He married Susan Coffey, whose parents emigrated from Scotland to America in 1826 and settled near Caldwell. Ohio, where they spent the remainder of their days, the father dying in 1872, and his wife in 1876. Mr. and Mrs. P. C. Keith had ten children, whose births are thus recorded: Clara Frances, deceased; L. W., deceased; L. B. subject of this sketch; Mary Eliza Groves, of Caldwell, Ohio; Charles, of Keith, Ohio; Asa, of Waterford, Ohio; Edward, of Greeley, Iowa; O. W., a merchant at Waterford, Ohio; W. O., of Detroit, Michigan; Raymond C., of Phoenix, Arizona.

L. B. Keith, who is number three in the above list, was born in Noble county, Ohio, October 12, 1862. He attended school at Keith, and in 1888 he removed to Illinois, locating at Reinard in the county of Wayne. He engaged at once in the mercantile business, which he prosecuted diligently until his removal to Flora in 1900. At this point he resumed in the same line and so continued for two years. Being appointed City Marshal, he devoted two years of his time to the duties of this office and then accepted the position of lieutenant of police in the service of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. This he held for one year and in 1904 engaged in the seed and implement business under the firm name of Borders & Keith. In politics he is a red hot Democrat and always at the front when a campaign is in progress. His fraternal relations are with the Odd Fellows, Rebekahs, Red Men, Modern Woodmen and Maccabees.

In 1892 Mr. Keith married Miss Julia A. Neff, a native of Reinard, and they have three children; Harry, born in 1893, Marie born in 1896, and Eddie Fay, born in 1898. Mrs. Keith departed this life January 9, 1907, and was mourned as a good wife and mother.

Extracted 27 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay & Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 285-286.

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