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KEYES, Hugh and Sarah Morrow Keyes

County Down, Ulster, Northern Ireland.

County Down, Ulster, Northern Ireland.

Hugh Keyes was born in  1791 in Ballykilbeg, County Down, Ireland. He died in  1873 in Drummond Twp., Lanark County, Canada – a world away. He and wife Sarah Morrow  (1796- 1858) immigrated with their four young children and came to settle in Lanark County, Upper Canada. The sea voyage would have occurred around 1827 because their fifth child, William, was born in Canada.

Their children were:

1. Joseph Keyes (1819 – 1900) was born in Belfast, County Down, Ireland, death 26 Oct. 1900 in Beachburg Union Cemetery, area B, Beachburg, Westmeath Twp, Renfrew County, Ontario. He married Elizabeth “Betsy” Boyd (1823 – 1908), daughter of Robert and Jane Boyd,  in 1843 in Perth, Bathurst District, Upper Canada. Joseph and Betsy came 135 kms. north-west to take up farmland in Westmeath Twp.

1861 Census Westmeath Township - Keyes Household. Joseph is 42 yrs. and Elizabeth is 38 yrs.

1861 Census Westmeath Township – Keyes Household. Joseph is 42 yrs. and Elizabeth is 38 yrs.

Joseph would serve as Pathmaster and in other capacities in the young township. See Westmeath Township Minute Books

Joseph Keyes -Westmeath Township Council 1887

Joseph and his two sons Robert and William are listed in the 1888 Directory for Renfrew County.

1888 Directory of Renfrew County.

Keyes Listing – 1888 Directory of Renfrew County.

Keyes' farms on Conc. 7, Westmeath Township.

Keyes’ farms on Conc. 7, Westmeath Township.

Keyes-Boyd stone, Beachburg Cemetery

Keyes-Boyd stone, Beachburg Cemetery

The children of Joseph and Betsy are:

i. Robert Keyes (1844 – 1925) m. Mary Hamilton (1846-1915) in Westmeath in 1871. She was the youngest child of James Hamilton (1805-1872) and Elizabeth McBride (1805-1871) of Stafford Township. Their children are:

I. Elizabeth Jane Keyes (1872 – 1889) – died at age 17 yrs.

II. Margaret Ann Keyes (1874 – 1952) m. William Anderson (1867-1921) and settled on the Dupuis Line.  Anderson-Margaret-Ann-Keyes.  William was the son of John O’Brien Anderson (1833 – 1921) and Margaret MacIntyre McLellan (1845 – 1924) and had grown up on the next concession, the Bromley Line. See ANDERSON entry. Their children are:

1) Gertrude Anderson (1904 – 1990)

2) Gladys Anderson (1905 – 1972)

3) Leonard Anderson (1908 – 1935)

4) Martha Anderson (1910 – 1984)

5) Joseph Melvin Anderson (1912 – 1997)

III. William J. Keyes (1876 – 1958) m. (1) Rachael Edith Ross (1886-1926); (2) Jemima Anne “Mina” Davidson, daughter of John Davidson and Catherine Dickson.  See ROSS and DAVIDSON entries.   William had farmed on the Lookout Road (6th Line) of Westmeath until 1919 when he went to Regina, Sask. area and farmed until 1935 – the dust bowl of the Dirty 30’s, – when he returned to Westmeath. Keyes, Wm & Jemina Davidson.

William and Rachael Ross’s son was:

Albert Cornelius Keyes (born Jan. 17, 1906 in Westmeath Twp. died April 28, 1997)  married  Olive Vera O’Brien (born July 25, 1912 died Aug. 12, 1999),  daughter of William-Henry “Black Bill” O’Brien and Annie Minerva Taylor. See O’BRIEN entry.  Their children:

a)  Clayton Keyes; born in 1935 in Kapuskasing, Ontario. He died on July 6, 2008 in Fort St. John, BC.

b)  Ray Keyes m. Joyce Caskey;

c)  Everett Keyes;

d)  William Keyes

e)  Sandra Anne Keyes (1951-2011)

IV. Sarah Isabella (Belle) Keyes (1878 – 1890) – died at age 12 yrs.

V. Teresa Emily Keyes (1883 – 1885) – died at age 2 yrs.

VI. Joseph A.  Keyes (1885 – 1912) – died at age 27 yrs.

ii. Sarah Keyes (1846 – 1866)

iii. Hugh Keyes (1847 – 1905) m. Ida Campbell

iv. John Keyes (1848 – 1881) m. Annie Graham (1850-   ), daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Graham.  1872-John-&-Annie-Marriage. See GRAHAM entry.

v. Baby Jane Keyes (1850 – 1851) – infant death

vi. blacksmithWilliam J Keyes (1852-1918) married  Sarah Davidson (1861- ), daughter of Robert and Catherine Davidson in July of 1881 in Westmeath. See DAVIDSON entry.  He is listed as a “tradesman” on the registration, 1881 William & Sarah Marriage. and the 1888 Directory shows he was a blacksmith at that time. The couple  first settled in Beachburg and later would move to Burrard, Vancouver, BC. Their children are:

Clayton Keyes

Clayton Keyes

I. Robert Keyes (1882-

II. Clayton Keyes (1893- ) was 22 when he joined the Canadian Over-seas Expeditionary Force, 11th Rifles,  to serve in WWI. 1915 Clayton Recruitment.

III. Gladys Keyes (1895-

IV. Phyllis Keyes (1897-

vii. Jane Keyes (1854 – 1931) m. Thomas McDonald  on 30 Oct. 1873 in Westmeath.

viii. Rachael Keyes (1856 – 1885) m. Francis McInnerny, died at age 29 and  she is buried with their infant daughter.

Keyes-McInnerny stone, Beachburg Cemetery

Keyes-McInnerny stone, Beachburg Cemetery

ix. Elizabeth Keyes (1858 – 1886) m. J.W. Carmichael, died at age 28.

Keyes-Carmichael stone, Beachburg Cemetery

Keyes-Carmichael stone, Beachburg Cemetery

x. Margaret Keyes (1860 – 1890) m. Hugh P. Robertson; she died at age 30.

Keyes-Robertson stone, Beachburg Cemetery

Keyes-Robertson stone, Beachburg Cemetery

xi. Maryann Keyes (1862 – 1894)

xii. Baby Joseph Keyes (1864 – 1865)- infant death

xiii. Joseph B. Keyes (1866 – 1927) m. Mary Wright (1870-1961) Keyes, Mary Wright

I. Marian Jessie Keyes (1897 – ) m. Walter Kidd

II. Hugh Hillis Keyes (1900 –

III. Margaret Elizabeth Keyes (1903 – 2001) m. George  Glass

IV. Reginald Allan Keyes (1905 – 1981)

2. Margaret “Jane” Keyes (1820 – 1892) m. John Ross (1816-1894); he had also immigrated from County Down, Ireland and they married in 1843 in St. Andrew’s Church, Perth, Ont. 1843 John & Jane Marriage.

Keyes-Ross stone, Beachburg Cemetery

Keyes-Ross stone, Beachburg Cemetery

  Their children are:

i. Mary Anne Ross (1846 –

ii. Sarah Jane Ross (1848 –

iii. William Ross (1850 –

iv. Agnes Ross (1852 – ) m. Lachlan Cameron (1841- ) 1876 Agnes Ross & Lochlan Cameron Marriage

v. Robert Ross (1855

vi. Hugh Ross (1858 –

vii. Joseph Ross (1861

3. Agnes Keyes (1825 – 1899) m. James Hillis and settled in Drummond Township, Leeds County.

4. Anne Keyes (1826 –

5. William Keyes (1828 – )

6. Hugh Keyes (1834 – 1885) was the second son born in Canada in Drummond Township of Lanark Township. He married Mary Armstrong (1837-1924) at Perth in  April 1858. She was the daughter of David Armstrong and Mary Gray  also of Drummond Township.  Later they would  move out to Saskatchewan and homestead at Fairfield, Assiniboia West, Saskatchewan. They raised 11 children who spread across the west of Canada.

We catch up with this branch of the family on the 1861 Census for Drummond Township. The household has Hugh Keyes Senior, a widower, (Sarah Morrow Keyes died in 1858), his  son Hugh and wife Mary Armstrong and their two young children and two other children of Hugh Sr. On the same page of the 1861 Census lists the neighouring Armstrong family – also Irish immigrants.

1861 Census, Drummond Township, Lanark County, Keyes Houseold

1861 Census, Drummond Township, Lanark County, Keyes Household

Hugh Keyes

Hugh Keyes

Hugh Keyes and a couple of Armstrong men are listed in the 1874 Volunteer Militia records of the 41st Regiment, Brockville Rifles. 1874 July, 41st Regiment Brockville Rifles Pay List. They each made $7.20 for 12 days of service. It was common for farmers and others to give militia service in the colony because the British Crown wanted to supplement its standing army with loyal colonists. The Fenian Raids had occurred just a few years earlier.  The Brockville Rifles are still  an important part of the modern army reserves. (Thank you to contributors.)

Hugh was serving  in the militia when he was killed 24 May 1885 in transport duty. That spring a number of battles had been waged in the North-West Rebellion, including the decisive Battle of Batoche  which pitted the Canadian authorities against a force of insurrectionist Métis.

Keys-Armstrong stone, Cottonwood Cemetery, Pense, Saskatchewan.

Keys-Armstrong stone, Cottonwood Cemetery, Pense, Saskatchewan. Photo from

7. Sarah Ann Keys (1838 – 1910) m. in 1870 to William Ebbs (1840-1897) also from Drummond Township and settled  there. Their children:

i. John Charles Ebbs (1872 – 1917)

ii. Sarah Margaret Ebbs (1874 – 1948)

iii. Joseph Ebbs (1877 –

iv. Annie Elizabeth Ebbs (1881 – 1948)