Keyes, James W.

Born: 1805-11-01 Monroe County, West Virginia

Died: 1888-05-19 Springfield, Illinois

Flourished: Sangamon County, Illinois

Alternate name: Keys

Keyes received a common school education in his native state, and apprenticed as a tailor. In April 1831, he moved with his family to Springfield, Illinois, where he continued to work as a tailor for the next thirty years. In 1836, he purchased over 200 acres north of Springfield, which he converted into a farm. In 1855, he retired from the tailoring trade and moved to his farm. By 1860, he was a farmer and landowner, owning real estate valued at $6,000 and a personal estate of $1,000. A staunch Democrat, Keyes supported Andrew Jackson for president in 1828 and 1832, and served as postmaster under Martin Van Buren, 1837-41, and later James Buchanan, 1857-59. He also served as justice of the peace for many years. He was Presbyterian in religious affiliation and member of the Masonic Lodge No. 4. Before moving to Illinois, Keyes married Lydia Spikard, with whom he had nine children. In 1872, he suffered a stroke that left him as invalid for his remaining years.

Gravestone, Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, IL; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Springfield, Sangamon, IL, 229; History of Sangamon County, Illinois (Chicago: Inter-State, 1881), 1025; Daily Illinois State Register (Springfield), 20 May 1888, part 2, 1:5.