Jared Morgan Keith
This retired farmer, respected citizen of Fairland, was born in Lewis county, Virginia, March 22, 1837, and is a son of William and Nancy Keith, natives of West Virginia and Virginia, respectively.
James Keith, the subject's grandfather, a Virginian by birth, came to Shelby county, Indiana, about 1827. In 1843 the subject's parents came to Shelby county and settled in sugar Creek township, where they remained one year, removing at the end of that time to the township of Brandywine, and locating on eighty acres of land, which he purchased and improved and on which he lived to the end of his days. He was a man of sterling honesty, a pronounced Democrat until the party split in 1860; he then joined the ranks of the Republican Party, and for many years a zealous member of the Methodist Protestant church. When young man the subject's grandfather Keith married Mary Alkire, who bore him children as follows: Mrs. Nancy Collins; James, Mrs. Christina Sleeth, John, William, Mrs. Margaret Hacker, Mrs. Catharine Hacker, David, Jonathan and Mrs. Sarah Phillip.
William Keith, the third of the above children, and father of the subject of this sketch, came to Indiana in 1843 and spent the remainder of his life in Shelby county, dying on his farm in Brandywine Township in 1862. He married, in his native state, Nancy Wilson, and reared a family of nine children, as follows: Mrs. Mary Ann Keith, Jane, Mrs. Sarah Hughes, James, David, Mrs. Margaret Ray, Jared M., of this review; William G. and Mrs. Nancy C. Burch, all deceased except Jared and Mrs. Ray, who lives in Brandywine township. Mrs. Nancy Keith, mother of the above children, was the daughter of Samuel and Jennie (Kazie) Wilson, natives of Ireland, who emigrated to the United States many years ago and settled in Virginia, where their respective deaths occurred. The Wilson family was well know in the above named state and highly esteemed, but the descendants are now scattered over the various parts of the land, the subject and his sisters with their respective children representing the family in Shelby county.
Jared Morgan Keith was about six years of age when his parents moved to Shelby county, but he retains vivid recollections of the journey and of the early experiences on the farm where he was put to work as soon as old enough to be of service. He attended, in winter months, the country schools, and remained at assisting his father until the latter's death, after which he took charge of the farm and looked after his mother's interests and comfort until 1867, when she, too passed into the great beyond. On November 5, 1863 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Keith with Margaret Rhorer, whose birth occurred in Sugar Creek township, February 21, 1843, being a daughter of Simon and Margaret Daniels (Rhorer), the father born in Ohio, the mother in Kentucky.
During the three years following his marriage, Mr. Keith farmed the home place, but at the expiration of that time sold out and moved to Illinois, where he followed agricultural pursuits until 1898, residing the meanwhile in the counties of Clark, Edgar, and Coles. Disposing of his interest in that state in the year indicated, he returned to Shelby county, and has since lived and retired life in Fairland, where he has a beautiful and attractive home, and is in comfortable circumstances, being well situated to enjoy the many material blessings with which his labors have been rewarded. In his political relations Mr. Keith is a Republican, earnest in the support of its principles, and believing implicitly in the great mission of his party. Though not an office seeker, his counsel and advice always command the attention and respect of his political associates. Like all intelligent and thinking men, he has devoted considerable attention to revealed religion, and the result that his confidence in his Heavenly Father never wavers. Many years ago he united with the Methodist Episcopal church, and he has always been a devout member and influential worker in the society at Fairland, being a liberal supporter to the various lines of effort for the general good of his fellow men.
In 1861 Mr. Keith tendered his services to the government to assist in putting down the great rebellion, but on account of ill health failed to pass the examination pre-requisite for enlistment. Three years later, however, he again made the attempt with better success, having been accepted as a member of Company G., Thirty-eighth Indiana Infantry, which formed a part of the Army of the Cumberland. After serving with an honorable record until the close of the war taking part in the Grand Review at Washington, he received his discharge and returned home to resume the peaceful pursuits of civil live, which he continued until retiring from active duty a few years ago. He formerly belonged to the Grand Army of the Republic in Illinois, and is now the recipient of a liberal pension from the government.
Mr. Keith experienced many of the vicissitudes of the early times in Shelby county, labored hard to clear and develop the farm on which his father settled, and bore his share in promoting the material interests of Brandywine township and making it what it is today.
Mr. and Mrs. Keith have no children of their own, but their house has ever been at the disposition of young people, in whom they have always taken a lively interests. Indeed, their doors have ever been open to their friends, irrespective of age and all who cross the threshold are profuse in their praise of the host and hostess whose kindly welcome and generous hospitality have endeared them to the large circle of acquaintances who are accustomed to gather beneath the hospitable roof.
Simon Rhorer, grandfather of Mrs. Keith, was a native of Germany, but with his wife came to America many years ago and settled in Ohio, where his death subsequently occurred. Later his widow and children moved to Shelby county, Indiana, and located in Sugar Creek township, where she spent the remainder of her life and was laid to rest in the old cemetery at Boggstown. They had a family of six children, namely: Simeon, Samuel, John, Mrs. Saloma Pettyjohn, Mrs. Mary Ramsey and Simon, father of Mrs., Keith, all of whom have been gathered to their fathers.
Margaret Daniels, wife of Simon Rhorer, mother of Mrs. Keith, was a daughter of John M. and Nancy (Bogges) Daniels, and the oldest of a family of four children, the name of her brothers and sisters being as follows: William, Mrs. Henrietta Crosby, and Catherine, who married Martin Tristler. The Daniels family settled in Sugar Creek Township in an early day, but later moved to Clark County, Illinois, where the father and mother died and are buried.
Simon Rhorer and wife spent their lives in the township of Sugar Creek, and were among the highly respected people of the community in which they resided, both being member of the Presbyterian Church, and noted for their religious zeal and many kindly deeds. Mr. Rhorer was a farmer by occupation, and a most estimable citizen. Mrs. Keith's mother died March 1, 1843, her husband surviving her a number of years, departing this life in 1878.
Simon Rhorer, father of Mrs. Keith, was a soldier in the Mexican war, having enlisted from Indiana at the beginning of the war and remaining until the close of the same. He was never wounded, but became broken in health while in the service. Mrs. Keith's great-grandfather was a soldier in the Revolutionary war.
History of Shelby County, Indiana, by Edward H. Chadwick, B.A., assisted by well known local talent, 1909, pages 911-913.
Copied by Gloria Collins Jackson