KEYS Cj2(Sa^

NEW HISTORICAL ATUS OF WARREN COUNTY, OHIO: 1875 !». H. Everts
(Compiled, Drawn and Published from Personal Examinations and Sur
veys) Printed by Hunter Printing, Phiadelphia, Penn.
This gentleman is the present Probate Judge of Warren County. He was
born in Milford, Bucks County, Pa., on the 28th of August, 181^. His
father was of Irish and Scotch extraction, and was bom and raised in
Philadelphia, and his mother was of German origin, and was a native of
Salem County, N. J. In 1819 his father, a tanner and currier by trade,
emigrated to Ohio, and located in Waynesville, arriving there in October.
This was his residence until the time of his death, which occurred in
1830. This event left the family, comprising his wife and seven children,
- five sons and two daughters - with no pecuniary resources whatever. The
oldest child - the subject of this sketch - was then only fifteen years
of age. But Mrs. Keys was a woman of rare executive ability, and proved
herself aimply equal to the situation and emergency in which most women
would have failed. She rallied her children around her, and inspired
them with the same self-reliance, courage, and hope that dwelt in her
own breast, secured for them such positions of honorable employment as
they were able to fill, thus early initiating them into the stern reali
ties of life, and developing in their character the elements of a sub
stantial manhood and womanhood. That this noble mother has lived to
see all her children useful and respected members of society is a matter
of special congratulation. She still resides in Waynesville, at the f
green old age of eighty-six, at which place are also located three of
her sons, John W., Joseph G. and IsaacE., and her two surviving daugh
ters, Mrs. Israel Brown and Sarah A. Keys. It is a fact quite noticeable
that the descendants of this family are connected by intermarriage with
a large number of the families of this community. That after the death
of Mr. Keys there was no death in the family for a period of some thirty-
four years, is aLso a circumstance of rare occurrence.
The second son, William Keys, served in the War of the Rebellion,
and died at Chattanooga, Tenn., in January, 1864, leaving a wife guid
seven children. The third son, Thomas J. Keys, is a resident of Cali
fornia, and has been a member of both branches of the Legislature, be-
JUDGE JOHN W. KEYS
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- 2 - ~ KEYS —
sides filling other positions of importance and honor.
The first sixteen years of the life of the subject of this sketch
were passed upon a farm. He then came to Lebanon, where he served a
three years* apprenticeship to a cabinet—maker, and subsequently worked
for the same length of time as a journeyman.
In December, I836, he opened a cabinet and undertaker's shop in
Waynesville, which business he has carried on ever since; and in his
services therein he has attended about two thousand burials.
In February, 1842, Judge Keys was married to Miss Sarah B. French,
a native of New Jersey. This union has been honored with a family of
six children, three sons and three daughters, of whom two daughters
and one son survive.
Judge Key's facilities for acquiring an education were very limi
ted, the circumstances of the family after the death of his father pre
venting him from attending school, with the exception of a brief space
of fourteen days, but by a faithful improvement of occasional periods
of leisure, he acquired quite an extensive fund of general information,
which fitted him for various positions of honor and influence which he
has since filled.
In 1839 he was honored with the office of Mayor of Waynesville.
In 1842 he was elected Justice of the Peace of Wayne Township, which
position he held, with the exception of one term, for thirty consecu
tive years; and within the same period he also acted as Notary Public
for about fifteen years. One thing especially characterized his ad
ministration as Justice of the Peace, and exemplified to a great degree
his natural kindness of heart and his magnaminity of nature. In num
erous instances where complaints were laid before him, arising from petty
differences between neighbors, he exerted his influence to have them
quietly and amicably settled without a resort to litigation, amd thus
many a wrangling lawsuit was prevented by his timely counsel. Unlike
many others in a similar position, he evinced less desire to pocket
his fee than to secure and preserve the peace of the community. This
manly, noble course, continued through a justiceship of upwards of a
quarter of a century, won for him a host of friends.
In the fall of 1872 he was elected Probate Judge of Waxren County,
which position he now occupies, and therein he has rendered himself
very acceptable to the people, by the efficiency, promptness, and fidel
ity with which he has discharged the duties of his office.
_ 3 - KEYS
He is a man of more than ordinary natural ability and possessed
of a very discriminating judgment, a remarkable memory, and of per
ceptive faculties of unusual acuteness and activity; hence his conclu
sions, though quickly reached, are safe and sound. The Judge is a genial
gentleman, bold and fearless in the expression of them upon proper occas-
sions, he never intrudes them upon others.
He carries a heart big with benevolence and liberality, and is very
warm in his attachments to the neighborhood in which he has so long re
sided. He began life without position or fortune, but, by industry,
frugality, and a strict integrity, has accumulated a comfortable com
petence, and now enjoys the fruits of his toil, together with the es
teem of his fellow citizens.

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