Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 208] The subject of this narration, whose name appears above, holds a prominent position among the citizens of Lawrence County, and is especially popular and well thought of in his own township of Wayne, and in the place of his present residence and the scene of many of his labors, Ellwood City. He was born Sept. 30, 1835, in Spruce Creek township, Blair Co., Pa., and he is a son of Michael and Susan (Young) Keith, and a grandson of Michael Keith, Sr., who was a German by birth, and a citizen of the United States by adoption; so far as is known he followed agricultural pursuits both in the old country and in America. Michael Keith, the son, was born in Huntingdon Co., Pa., where he learned and followed the trade of a tanner a few years; he afterwards worked at charcoal making until he settled down to farming on a piece of property he purchased in Blair County, About 1850, he bought a new piece of land near Wilmington, Lawrence County, where he lived in pioneer fashion in a log-house constructed by his own hands. He worked hard and with indefatigable industry to clear his land, and lived there until a few years before his death in the full enjoyment of a well-earned repose after labor. He then sold this property, and retired to Sharpsville, where he died at the age of sixty-three. Mr. Keith was a believer in Republican theories of government and held a number of the minor township offices. He married a daughter of John Young, Susan by name, and she bore him these children: John; Elizabeth; Jacob, who was slain while fighting on the Union side in the Second Battle of Bull Run; Benjamin; Susan; Margaret and Mary, twins; Eva; Rebecca; and Michael. The mother of these children died at the age of eighty-six.

In early manhood, Benjamin Keith engaged in tilling the soil, settling in Sharpsville, where he built a home, and worked at teaming and heavy contracting until 1892. In that year Mr. Keith removed to Ellwood City, and assisted in the work of laying out and founding the city. The next year he became watchman at the tube works, and since then has been engaged in mechanical work. In 1893, Mr. Keith built a handsome house at No. 515 Glen Avenue, which he disposed of in 1897. He is the owner of a tenement house on Seventh Street, and Vane Avenue, and a house in Hazel Dell.

Mr. Keith married Mrs. Mary Young, the widow of the late David Young. David Young was born in 1834, and served in the Civil War in Co. E, 63d Reg. Pa. Vol. Inf.; while risking his life to a thousand dangers for the sake of his country, he contracted a severe cold, which caused his death in 1862. Besides his widow he had left one son, William Austin, who was born Jan. 28, 1858, and died March 24, 1880, being paralyzed in the lower limbs for three years before his death. For these three years he was a patient and cheerful invalid, endearing himself more and more to a wide circle of friends, as he was a general favorite with young and old. His daily register shows 5,502 visits of friends during his first year's illness. Our subject's wife's parents were born in Westmoreland Co., Pa. Her father was a carpenter by trade, but became a pioneer farmer of Mercer County, where he bought an uncultivated plot of ground near New Wilmington, where he lived the rest of his years, and became a very popular citizen and friend. He died at the age of sixty-two, followed soon after by his wife at the age of sixty-four, leaving this family: Elizabeth, Samuel, Margaret, Jane, James A., Robert, Sarah A., Ebenezer, Mary and Harriet, all of whom grew to be men and women.

Of the family of Benjamin Keith, his son Michael was born May 4, 1868. He attended the Sharpsville High School, graduated, and continued his studies in the higher institution of Wilmington College, where he finished his course in 1891. A year before his graduation from the Theological Seminary at Allegheny, which he attended after leaving Wilmington College, he was ordained a minister of the Presbyterian Church; he now has charge of the pastorate of that denomination in Princeton, Slippery Rock township, this county, and is doing a grand work for Christ and the Church. Rev. Mr. Keith married Miss Laura Palmer, a most accomplished and refined young lady, who has bent her energies to the work, and is assisting her husband in the performance of his duties, and in being all that a minister's wife should be. To return to the other children of our subject: Susan, the next in order of birth died when seven years old; Jennie E., born Nov. 3, 1871, was united in marriage with Henry T. Hall, an artistic designer and frescoer of Ellwood City, and they have four children: Carrie L., born April 4, 1891; Clifford and Keith died in infancy; and Eben D., born May 6, 1896.

Mr. Keith adheres to Republican views politically, and votes to uphold the principles of that party with the convictions of a man who believes he is right, and dares maintain it. He is a man well known and highly esteemed throughout his township and county for the many sterling qualities which shine as an example to the rising generation. In all his dealings he has been honest, upright, industrious, frugal and temperate, and enjoys the esteem and respect, which are so justly his due. With his family he holds a membership in the Presbyterian Church, where they are all efficient and valued workers.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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