Genealogical and Family History
STATE OF MAINE
Compiled under the editorial supervision of George Thomas Little, A. M., Litt. D.
LEWIS HISTORICAL PUBLISHING COMPANY
[Please see Index page for full citation.]
[Transcribed by Coralynn Brown]
[Many families included in these genealogical records had their beginnings in Massachusetts.]
The Keyes family of this sketch is descended from the earliest settler of the name known in New England. The men of this lineage have possessed the military spirit and won honor in various wars from early times. The name is spelled in many ways on the Massachusetts Revolutionary Rolls, where about fifty enlistments under the name Keyes and about the same number under Keys are recorded.
(I) Robert Keyes settled in Watertown, Mass., in the year 1633, or before. There is no record of him beforfe that time. The earliest written mention of him is in the record of the birth of his eldest daughter. He appears from the records to have been in Watertown in 1663, if not earlier; to have remoed to Newbury between 1643 and 1645, and to Sudbury during the latter year, and died in 1647. His death is recorded in Watertown, Newbury, Plymouth and Sudbury. The Watertown records recites:
"Robert removed to Sudbury, Mass. June 16, 1645, where he died 1647."
Another record makes his death occur July 16, 1647. His widow, Sarah, was married to John Gage in 1658, or, according to the Plymouth record, Nov. 1664.
Children of Robt. & Sarah Keyes:
Sarah, Peter, Rebecca, Phebe, Mary, Elias and Mary.
(II) Elias, sixth child and second son of Robert and Sarah Keyes, was born May 20, 1643, and resided in Sudbury. He married Sept. 11, 1665, Sarah, daughter of John Blanford or Blanchard.
Children, all b. in Sudbury:
Elias, John, James, Sarah and Thomas.
(III) Deacon Thomas, fifth and youngest child of Elias and Sarah (Blanford or Blanchard) Keyes, born Sudbury Feb. 8, 1674, died Marlboro, Aug. 25, 1742, aged sixty-eight. After his marriage he settled on a new farm in the eastern part of Marlboro, where he and his wife spent the remaineder of their lives. He was a man of influence in public affairs and a deacon in the church.
He married, in 1695, Elizabeth, daughter of John Howe, and granddaughter of John and Mary Howe, the first white settlers of the town of Marlboro. She was the sister of Mrs. Peter Josslyn, of Lancaster, and in 1692, when a young girl, while visiting her sister, was taken captive by Indians and carried to Canada. She remained there four years, when she was redeemed by government, returned home, and married Thomas Keyes, to whom she was engaged before her captivity. It was sixteen years earlier that the town was attacked by fifteen hundred Indians and destroyed, and numbers carried into captivity. But Lancaster was for many years a frontier town, and it was probably during some raid of less historical moment that her capture occurred.
She died Aug. 18, 1764.
David, Jonathan, Cypron, Dinah and Thomas.
(IV) Deacon Jonathan, second son of Deacon Thomas and Elizabeth (Howe) Keyes, was born in Marlboro, Nov. 19, 1702. He settled in Shrewsbury, and was a prominent citizen and deacon in the North parish. He died suddenly at Shrewsbury of apoplexy, June 25, 1778, aged seventy-six.
He married, in 1727, Patience Morse, of Marlboro.
Jonathan, Miriam (died young), Dinah (died young), Timothy, Miriam, Thomas, Benjamin, Asa, Catherine (died young) and Dinah (twins), and Catherine.
(V) Jonathan (2), eldest child of Deacon Jonathan (1) and Patience (Morse) Keyes, born Shrewsbury, Mass., Jan. 21, 1728, died Rumford, Maine, Nov. 9, 1786. That Jonathan Keyes was the first white man to make his home in Rumford and move his family there has never been disputed. Hunters may have camped there previously, but they came not to make a home. He purchased land in Sudbury, Canada, now Bethel, Maine, in 1772, and again in 1774. He spent some years in Bethel before he settled in Rumford, but just how many the records do not show. A deed recorded in the Cumberland records recites that March 14, 1777, Jonathan Keyes, of Sudbury-Canada, sold to Samuel Ingalls, of Fryeburg, four hundred acres, or four lots of land, situated and being on the south side of Androscoggin river, in a place called Sudbury-Canada. The deed further states that upon one of the lots Mr. Keyes had made considerable improvement, had built a house, a barn for grain, and another for English hay. Jan. 3 preceding, Mr. Keyes had purchased of Dr. Ebenezer Harnden Goss two full rights in the township of New Pennacook. That Mr. Keyes removed his family to Bethel is not probable. Two of his sons, Ebenezer and Francis, were there with him, and it is stated on good authority that Mr. Keyes returned to Shrewsbury one fall and left his two sons in care of his camp, and that, for some reason not mentioned, he did not return until spring. Ebenezer was about fourteen years old and Francis nine, and they remained in this then remote region all through the long and inclement winter with no companionship save that of the Indians. A paper in the handwriting of the late Francis Keyes, of Rumford, states, among other things:
"In 1777 my father, Jonathan Keyes, of Shrewsbury, purchased four rights of land in this town, and on the tenth of March ,1777, set out with myself and my mother and came to New Gloucester. From there my father and I came to this town in the August following, and began a settlement where I now live, the first settlement made in this town. After bringing the farm forward so far as to support a small family, my father moved my mother, the 29th day of October, 1779. In 1781 three other persons began making settlements in this town, and on the third of August of that year a small scouting-party of Indians from Canada, with one who before that time lived in these parts, commenced plundering on Sunday River Plantation and Sudbury-Canada and took some prisoners and killed two men in Peabody's Patent. Not considering it safe to continue here, we moved off on the sixth of the same month, and did not return until the spring of 1783, and began our settlement anew."
While the family was left in the border settlement, Mr. Keyes was preparing a home for them in the wilderness, and in 1783 he returned to his clearing, and his was doubtless the only family that up to that time had ever lived within the limits of the town. In the "History of Rumford," by William B. Lapham, is found the following:
"When Jonathan Keyes first came to Rumford the place was sometimes visited by roving Indians, and as they came from Canada and the war for independence was in progress, they sometimes appeared in war-paint, though they never made any very hostile demonstrations toward his family. One time, when Jonathan Keyes was absent from home, his son Francis saw several painted Indians approaching the house, and ran and told his mother. Mrs. Keyes was a very large woman, and as fearless as ths ewas large. She told Francis to step into the house and stay there. She then went out and confronted the head Indian, one Tomhegan, with whom she was acquainted, and asked him whether they were for peace. 'Then,' said she, 'hand me your guns.' They obeyed; and, having received them, she gave them bread and maple-sugar to eat. After they had eaten they took their guns and passed along. Keyes came home at night, and, not liking the aspect of things, took his family and started for New Gloucester, where they arrived in safety. This was about the time of the Indian raid into Behel. These Indians had been to Livermore to attack the settlement there, but finding it too strong, they left without making any demonstration."
Jonathan Keye's farm was the best in the town, was situated below Rumford Corner, and is now known as the Timothy Walker farm. Jonathan Keyes died in Rumford Nov. 9, 1786; his death was perhaps the first in the plantation. There is no record of a previous one. He and his wife were buried on his farm, where no monument marks his last resting-place.
He married, Jan. 23, 1752, Sarah Taylor, daughter of Ebenezer Taylor.
Solomon, Dinah, Sarah, Thomas, Ebenezer, Salma and Francis.
(VI) Francis, seventh and youngest child of Jonathan (2) and Sarah (Taylor) Keyes, born Shrewsbury, Mass., Oct. 13, 1765, died Rumford, Maine, Aug. 16, 1832. He went with his father to Sudbury-Canada, now Bethel, when he was nine years old. As stated above, he and his brother Ebenezer spent one winter in Bethel alone among the Indians. He lived on the homestead of his father in Rumford, whither they removed when Francis was twelve years old. His means of education were limited, but he improved them to the best advantage, and when the town was incorporated he was chosen to be clerk, as he had been of the plantation. He was surveyor, a justice of the peace and conveyancer. Many of the early deeds of Rumford lands were written by him. He also held the minor office of fence-viewer, field-driver, surveyor of highways, member of the school committee, and "In 1806," says the record, "Francis Keyes was again elected chairman of the board of selectmen, but declined to serve. He was reelected clerk." "At the meeting in 1807 Francis Keyes was again electec clerk and chairman of the selectmen."
In 1811 he was again chosen clerk. In 1798 Francis Keyes paid a direct tax to the general government on thirteen hundred acres of land, valued at 1,450 pounds.
He married Dolly Bean, born Bethel, May 14, 1773, died Feb., 1834. She was the eldest child of Josiah and Molly (Crocker) Bean.
Sally, Polly, Jonathan, Josiah, Lydia, Winthrop S., Dolly B., Francis and Hannah.
(VII) Dolly B., seventh child and fourth daughter of Francis and Dolly (Bean) Keyes, born Nov. 10, 1806, died Aug. 15, 1840. She married Otis C. Bolster.