LEVI KEITH, a worthy octogenarian of Madison County, far from being super-annuated at eighty-four, was born September 7, 1809, in the town of Nelson, his
present place of residence, and the home of his family for two preceding generations. He was a son of Lincoln and Submit (Doolittle) Keith. His father was born in Massachusetts, his mother in Connecticut. His paternal grandfather, Luther Keith, originally from New England, was one of the first settlers in
the town of Nelson, and died there at an advanced age. The maternal grandfather, Doolittle, was also among the first settlers in Madison County. After several years' residence in the town of Nelson he moved to Illinois, where he spent his last years. He had a large family of children.
Lincoln Keith, son of Luther and father of Levi, was one of the early farmers of the town of Nelson, having gone to that place when it was sparsely settled and very little of the land had been cleared. He took an active part in the construction of the Erie Canal, the great watercourse which has so materially promoted the prosperity of the Empire State. His family consisted of seven children, of whom four are now living: Levi, the eldest; Mrs. Bennett, of Ontario County; Mrs. Church, of Cazenovia; Watson, of Cazenovia Village.
Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln Keith were members of the Baptist church. They died at about the same age, nearly sixty years. Levi Keith grew up and was educated in his native town of Nelson, the father paying for the tuition of each of his children at the district school.
He early turned his attention to farming, assisting until his twenty-fifth year. He bought his first piece of land when he was but twenty-four years of age. It was situated in the town of Nelson, and consisted of one hundred and twenty-one acres. He sold this farm, and in 1853 moved to the one of one hundred and ninety-five acres which he now resides on. He has been one of the leading farmers of his town, and a considerable dealer in live stock. His farm is one of the finest in the vicinity, yielding well-paying crops of grain and hay. He owns also other land in the town, besides large tracts in Kansas.
On June 22, 1834, Mr. Levi Keith married Miss Persis Payne, of Richland, Oswego
County, N. Y., fourth daughter of James and Mercy (Goddard) Payne. She was born in Eaton, Madison County, April 20, 1810, and died December 6, 1890. They had one daughter, Jennie, who was born August 3, 1846, was married to D. W. Jones October 10, 1876, and died November 22, 1886, leaving one son, Keith Walton, born October 25, 1886. Mr. Keith married again September 15, 1891, shortly after passing the eighty-second anniversary of his birth. His bride was Mary A. Scarth, who was born July 29, 1838, a daughter of John and Mary Scarth, both natives of England. Mr. Scarth was one of the early settlers in the town of Fenner. He died at the age of eighty-one years. Mr. and Mrs. Scarth had two sons and one daughter, Mrs. Keith being now the only surviving one of the family.
Mr. Keith has been Assessor for a number of years, and has also held other minor offices in the town. He is liberal and independent in his religious views, and in politics is a sturdy Republican. He lives in a pleasant home, and is extremely fortunate in possessing a good wife, who cares for him with true
womanly devotion, and assists him in the management of his affairs. With her husband she displays a parental affection for his only grandchild, who resides with them, a lovely, promising boy of seven years. Being one of the oldest and most enterprising residents of Nelson, our subject has done much toward the
prosperity of the town. He has witnessed many changes during his long life, none
greater than the transition of a thinly populated tract of forest and field into the seat of thriving towns and villages.
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