ISAIAH KEELER, CONNECTICUT>SARATOGA>CANADA>MEXICO, NY
REVOLUTIONARY PATRIOT; WAR OF 1812 TRAITOR
Many thanks to Esther M. Rancier for all her hard work and time put into these biographies of Oswego County, NY families.   It is much appreciated.  There are many more coming online. 
      Ralph Keeler, born ca. 1613 in Lawford, Essex, England, came to America becoming a first settler of Hartfort, Connecticut. His name was placed on the Founders’ Monument. He was to become an ancestor of both Bush Presidents. He had two wives. His son John, born 9 February 1653/54 in Hartford, came from his second marriage to Sarah Howes, daughter of Robert Howes of London, England.

      John wed married twice. The second time was on 18 June 1678 to Mehitabel Rockwell from Stamford, CT, the daughter of John Rockwell and Elizabeth Weed. John became one of the original owners at Norwalk, CT. His name was often cited in town records. He made a will on 27 February 1718/19 which was proven on 3 May 1720. His property was divided equally between his three sons.

      Son Daniel Keeler, born ca. 1695 in Norwalk, married ca. 1730 Hannah Whitney, daughter of Joseph Whitney and Hannah Hoyt. She had eleven children. Daniel worked both as a shoemaker and a weaver. Reportedly he was the first settler of New Canaan, CT. Daniel left a will on 14 November 1764. The will was proved 13 January 1765.

      His son Isaiah, born 5 October 1735 at New Canaan, was also a weaver. On 6 March 1760 in Ridgefield, CT he wed Millicent Olmstead, born 21 March 1742/43, the daughter of Nathan Olmstead and Millicent Goodrich. On 26 June 1752 Isaiah announced his intentions of establishing a new settlement in upper New York State with a group of fellow citizens. They removed to Stillwater, Saratoga Co., NY where they were among the founders of the Stillwater Congregational Church which became known as the "Yellow Meeting House." The church was organized in New Canaan, but moved to Stillwater in 1762.

      The people in Connecticut precut pieces of the church building and took them to Stillwater on the bank of the Hudson River opposite Hoosick, NY. But the site proved to be on a well-worn Indian path, a very dangerous spot for meeting still hostile Indians of the area. The church was then moved two miles inland from the river where the building remained until it was demolished in 1935.

      Isaiah and Millicent lived a religious and good life, but in 1790 they were scolded for listening to a "criminal preacher, the Rev. Beriah Kelly", who founded the West (Baptist) Church and lured away many Congregationalists. There were other religious differences still on the records, creating stress between the Keelers and the church.

      The Keelers were American patriots. Their son Isaiah Jr. fought on the American side in the Revolutionary War. But after the war buying land along the Hudson Valley became nearly impossible. The huge landowners only wished to lease land and perhaps only for a year at as time. Since it took nearly a year to clear one acre, farmers were furious over the terms. Nobody was willing to struggle for a year to clear planting space only to be driven off, so the place could bring higher rent from another farmer. 

      The British government in Upper Canada under Governor Simcoe found that the American Loyalists who were flooding into Ontario were poorly suited as farmers. They were more interested in quick riches like the fur trade, gambling, land speculation and some were quite unruly causing civil unrest. Simcoe decided to get real farmers from landless Americans regardless of previous loyalty. He offered substantial land grants to Americans to settle along the edges of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. About 5,000 American families from the Hudson Valley area applied for these grants like the Keelers. 

      They settled at Elizabethtown, Leeds Co., Ontario. In the 1807 Canadian census the family was counted and identified living near their son Isaiah Jr. Millicent died 20 November 1837 in Brockville, Ont.

      Isaiah Jr. was born 1 January 1761 in Norwalk, CT. He went with his parents to Stillwater. On 20 May 1780 he enlisted for service in the Revolutionary War in the NY Levies. He joined Captain John Chipman’s Company, Col. Warren’s Regiment at Fort Edward, NY. He served in expeditions to Lake George, Crown Point and Ticonderoga, taking part in scouting parties around Lake George and Lake Champlain. There was likely little action as the hot war as this time was in the south.

      During October 1780 a British scouting party from Canada burned Schoharie, NY. According to Isaiah’s pension application, he was assigned to burn the British boats at Salt Point. The group was betrayed and surrounded. Six were killed and scalped. Two escaped but the rest were taken to Montreal/or Quebec as prisoners. In November 1782 he was released at Boston. He finally returned home 12 December 1782. Later in 1831 he began receiving a Revolutionary War pension of $80 per year. 

      After his return he wed Sarah Skidmore, born 3 June 1765 at Stillwater. Between 1788 and 1790 he moved to Elizabethtown, Ont. where he was a Methodist Episcopal minister. The M.E. church was a powerful force in Canada, far more than in the U.S. On 21 July 1804 he received a crown grant of 100 acres of land. When the War of 1812 broke out, his sons were about to be ordered into the British Army. He gathered them up and returned to the U.S. settling at Mexico, Oswego Co., NY. The Methodist community at Elizabethtown had not agreed to his flight. They branded him a traitor. After the war some of his land was confiscated, along with the land of other Americans who would not allow their sons to fight against the U.S. 

      Isaiah and Sarah were enumerated at Mexico in the 1820, 1830 and 1840 censuses. Three of their children had been born in Stillwater; nine others in Elizabethtown. Sons Daniel, Nathan O. and Darius Dunham Keeler settled in Oswego County also. 

      In 1840 son Nathan was enumerated in Mexico with four sons and two daughters. The 1840 census for East Oswego included son Darius D. Keeler with two sons and three daughters. 

      Darius, born 26 August 1795 in Elizabethtown, married 9 March 1818 Arethusa Power. The 1850 census showed the couple living in Ward 2, Oswego.

      Keeler, D -56-carpenter-CAN

      Keeler, A -52-wife-VT

      Keeler, Emma -19-daughter-NY

      Keeler, Alma -15-daughter-NY

      The family was also enumerated in the 1860 Oswego census. Darius then had a net worth of $300. The only young person left in the household was Alma, age 26. She was listed as Alma Hayes. Family records point out that she was an adopted child.

      By 1870 Darius’ wife had died. He had removed to St. Clair, MI. At age 74 he farmed with a net value of $200. He was taken care of by Mary A. Clark, age 33, also from Canada who lived in his household.

      The various censuses do not reveal all of Darius’ seven children. His son Mason Southworth Keeler kept a list of siblings in his family Bible. A copy of the list was filed at the National Daughters of the American Revolution Library in Washington, D.C.

      1. Elmina P. Keeler, b. 13 September 1819; m. 14 November 1840 R.H. Spencer. She worked as a nurse in the Civil War accompanying the 147th NY Volunteers from Oswego County becoming a famous county heroine. There is a photograph of her online at the Keeler website cited in the bibliography. 

      2. Seymour C. Keeler b. 23 October 1821; m. 13 September 1846 Sophia Gibbon. He died 20 November 1899 in Valdivia, Chile.

      3. Mason Southworth Keeler b. 28 December 1824; m. 23 December 1846 at Troy, NY Lydia A. Allen. This couple resided at Troy, Oswego County and in Ontario, Canada. They had five children. Three of whom were born in Ontario; two in Troy. Mason died 8 January 1854 at Hamilton, Ont.

      4. Aura F. Keeler b. 6 May 1827.

      5. Emma F. Keeler b. 25 September 1829.

      6. Mary A. Keeler b. 1 October 1840.

      7. Alma A. Hayes b. 25 November 1834, adopted.

      Isaiah’s son Daniel, born 30 May 1793 in Elizabethtown, settled at New Haven, Oswego Co., NY. Daniel wed Hannah M. who died in 1841. She was buried in the Arthur Cemetery in Mexico, NY. Then he remarried to Charlotte B. The elderly Isaiah and Sarah went to live with Daniel in the 1840's. They were included in the 1850 New Haven census enumeration.

      Keeler, Daniel -57-farmer-CAN

      Keeler, Charlotte -55-wife-NY

      Keeler, Hiram -17-son-NY

      Keeler, Manville -10-son-NY

      Keeler, Isaiah -89-father-CT

 Keeler, Sarah -85-mother-NY

      Three of Daniel and Hannah’s children died young and were buried in the Arthur Cemetery. They were Ellery H., died 1827, age 2; Ruth B., died 1830, age 5 months; and Martin, died 1844, age 12. 

      On 26 October 1852 Isaiah died. He was buried in the Arthur Cemetery. His grave was marked as a Revolutionary soldier. There is a photograph of Isaiah’s grave online at the aforementioned Keeler website. Isaiah died intestate. Daniel administered his estate which meant all Isaiah’s surviving children had to be named for the Surrogate Court. They were Mary Kilty, Nathan O. Keeler, Darius D. Keeler, James Keeler, Millicent Dodge, Sarah June and Rebecca Slocum. The list was dated 9 March 1853. This document is available online at the aforementioned Keeler website. His wife’s grave is unmarked.

      Daniel’s brother Isaiah Whitney Keeler died 14 April 1850 in Lockport, PA. Sister Abigail died young in 1804 as did Priscilla in 1811. Sister Elizabeth, born in Elizabethtown remained unknown.

      Of his living siblings Mary S. Keeler, born 4 July 1786 at Ballston, NY, married first Isaac Patterson and second Henry J. Kilty. She died two months after Daniel named her in May 1853. Sister Millicent O. Keeler, born 4 June 1788 at Ballston, wed Daniel Patterson, then _____ Dodge. Sarah A. Keeler, born 26 March 1798 in Elizabethtown, wed Peter June. She died after 1880 living at Alexandria, NY. She had issue with presumed living heirs. Rebecca Keeler, born 16 August 1805, married 14 September 1826 Elisha Slocum. She died 24 February 1875 in Beaver Township, MI. She had nine children.

      In the 1860 New Haven census only son Manville, age 20, remained in Daniel’s household. Manville worked as a farm laborer. Daniel’s wife Charlotte died in 1861. She was buried in the Arthur Cemetery. Daniel in 1869, age 76. He was buried with his two wives. 

      With the advent of the Civil War Daniel’s son Hiram enlisted as a private on 30 August 1862 in the 21st NY Vols. He was discharged on 9 September 1865.

      By the 1870 New Haven census Hiram had wed Catharine, age 31. He worked as a carpenter. They lived with the James Goodin family from England. Yet by the 1880 New Haven census Hiram, age 47, was a widower. On 5 May 1879 Hiram had been awarded a Civil War pension #555063 due to rheumatism. 

      Hiram in 1900 lived in Mexico with his cousins Jamie and Julie Steward. The census said he was born July 1821, a far different age than the ca. 1833 date used when he was younger.

      Hiram’s brother Manville remained in New Haven. Manville wed Eliza Eleanor Sneden. The 1870 census showed the following including the fact that they were boarding the local school teacher.

      Keeler, Manville -29-farmer-NY-$5500

      Keeler, Eliza -21-wife-NY

      Keeler, Clara -7-daughter-NY

      Preston, May -19-teaching school-NY

      Manville and Eliza stayed in New Haven for the 1880 census.

      Keeler, Manvill [sic] -39-farmer-NY

      Keeler, Lizzie -38-wife-VT

      Keeler, Lottie -8-daughter-NY

      Keeler, Bertie -5-son-NY

      Lottie married on 21 September 1892 Frank Rowe. She died 15 March 1924 according to the IGI.

      Son Bertie was enumerated in the 1910 New Haven census with his wife Pearl. They had been married for eight years, living on Sweet Road.

      Keeler, Burton J -34-farmer-NY

      Keeler, Pearl -32-wife-NY

      In 1920 the New Haven census showed the following:

      Keeler, Burton J -42-farmer-NY

      Keeler, Pearl -42-wife-NY

      Keeler, Charlotte -6-NY

      Brighton, Edward -3-adopted son-NY

      Daniel and Darius’ brother Nathan Olmstead Keeler, born 17 September 1790 at Elizabethtown, lived in Mexico and was enumersted for ther 1840 and the 1850 census. His first wife Sarah died in 1829, age 32. His second wife Mary, age 35, perished in 1832. They were both buried in the Arthur Cemetery. His third wife was Elizabeth Henderson, born 1812 at Little Nine Partners, Dutchess Co., NY. She was the daughter of Benjamin Henderson of Salem, MA. 

      Keeler, Nathan O -59-farmer-CAN -$1000

      Keeler, Betsy -38–wife-NY

      Keeler, Elijah -17-son-NY

      Keeler, Sarah -16-daughter–NY

      Keeler, William -13-son-NY

      Keeler, Hellen [sic] -11-daughter-NY

      Keeler, Charlotte -8-daughter-NY

      Henderson, Benjamin -86-father-in-law-MA

      In the 1860 Oswego census for Ward 3 brother and sister William M., age 23, and Helen M., age 20, lived with the Henry Copp family. William worked as a grocer. Helen was a servant.

      The 1865 New York State census for Parish, Oswego County showed the following household: Charlotte C.; Elijah; Elizabeth; Hellen M.; Sarah E. and William M. This document is the last to reflect Charlotte C. alive. She died later in Syracuse, NY. 

      By the 1870 census Nathan resided in New Haven with his daughter Sarah who had married Andrew Prescott from England.

      Prescott, Andrew -37-farmer-ENG-$5200

      Prescott, Sarah -35-wife-NY

      Prescott, Nathan -19-son-NY

      Prescott, William -2-son-NY

      Keeler, Nathan -80-father-in-law-CAN

      Keeler, Elizabeth -57-mother-in-law-NY

      Andrew and Sarah’s family removed to Sunfield, Eaton Co., MI where she died 8 June 1902, according to the IGI.

      Nathan O. died on 15 January 1877. His son William Marvin Keeler, born 6 March 1837 in New Haven, wed Franjeskia Coan, born 21 August 1842. They were enumerated in the 1880 Parish, Oswego Co., NY census.

      Keeler, William -43-tannery worker-NY

      Keeler, Franjeskia -37-wife-NY

      Keeler, Nathan A -17-son-NY

      Nathan A. worked as a cigar maker. His sister Nellie May Keeler, born 25 August 1863 in Parish, married on 27 May 1880 Jacob William Schumacher. They had one daughter. William M. died 13 October 1903 in Parish. 

      William’s sister Helen M., born 15 May 1839, wed Isaac Hamilton. They lived in Granby, Oswego Co., NY. They were counted in the 1880 Granby census.

      Hamilton, Isaac -41-farmer-NY

      Hamilton, Hellen [sic] M -34-wife-NY

      Keeler, Elizabeth -77-mother-in-law-NY

      Helen M. died 28 March 1882 according to the IGI. 

      William M. and Franjeskia’s son Nathan A. Keeler in 1910 resided at Denver, Idaho. He had been married for 23 years to Katherine ____. Before they settled in Denver, they had lived in Gann Valley, SD.

      Keeler, Nathan A -47-farmer-NY

      Keeler, Katherine [sic] -40-OH

      Keeler, Frank F -20-son-SD

      Keeler, Nellie M -18-daughter-SD

      Keeler, Delvin -15-son-SD

      Keeler, Paul A -10-SD

      Keeler, Floyd C -7-son-SD

      Keeler, Jessie V -5-daughter-SD

      Keeler, Gerald G -4-SD

      Katherine’s parents were German Swiss born. She stated she had borne ten children, but only seven survived. Nellie on 8 July 1914 wed Cave Baker in Grangeville, ID.

      Between 1910 and 1917 the family removed to Grangeville, ID. When World War I began three sons went to register for the draft. On 5 June 1917 Frank Frederick Keeler, born 28 February 1890 at Gann Vally, SD stated he was a farm hand, single, tall, medium build, gray eyes, light brown hair.

      Paul Avery Keeler of RFD #3, Grangeville, ID, age 19, born 19 July 1899, indicated he was a farmer wworking for his father Nathan A. He was single, medium height, blue eyes and light hair. Dated 12 September 1918 Paul’s signature looks like a first grader. The taker of the registration wrote, "This boy cannot talk."

      Later Delvin Keeler, born 17 April 1897 at Gann Valley, SD, single, working for a fruit company in California had to register in Idaho. He was medium height, light blue eyes, light brown hair, not bald.

      In the 1930 Denver, ID census both Nathan A., age 68, a farmer, and Katherine, age 63, were living together without children.

      Son Delvin married Sadie Velma Schmadeka on 4 April 1926 at Grangeville, ID. They were listed in the 1930 Mount Idaho, ID census.

      Keeler, Dell -32-farmer-SD

      Keeler, Sadie V -26-wife-ID

      Keeler, Laverne -2-son-ID

      Frank F. Keeler died 1 January 1931. In 1936 Paul A. Keeler, the mute, died 6 October 1936. He died in Nampa, ID with death certificate #100438. His father Nathan A. died 22 December 1939 in Orofino, ID with death certificate #116978. They were all buried in Prairie View Cemetery within block E, lot 13. Katherine Keeler died in 1953. All these burials were in Grangeville, ID.

      Delvin Keeler died in Cottonwood, ID on 4 January 1945. He had death certificate #142316. His wife Sadie Velma, born 6 December 1903, died 13 February 1991. They were both laid to rest in block 12, lot 8 Prairie View Cemetery, Grangeville, ID.

      Delvin’s brother Floyd Chester Keeler, born 27 April 1902, joined the U.S. Navy. His last known address was 1300 Sneath Lane, San Bruno, CA 94066. He died 2 September 1961 and was buried with military honors at the Golden Gate Cemetery, section 2e, site 4647. 

      Many thanks to Mark Wentling <mwentling@ngs.org> for his excellent website filled with useful Keeler research. It is so wonderful when people share.

      Researchers need to be mindful that as this Keeler family settled in Oswego County, Keelers from Ireland escaping hard times and the Potato Famine also were establishing homes in the county. The families were not related. 
 

SOURCES:

      Arthur Cemetery, Mexico, Oswego Co., New York. Available [online]  [14 May 2005].

      Ancestral File.  Available [online] http://familysearch.org [19 July 2006].

      Boughton, James. A Genealogy of the Families of John Rockwell of Stamford, Conn., 1641, and Ralph Keeler of Hartford, Conn., 1639. New York: Jones, 1903.

      Civil War Pension Index. Available [online] http://ancestry.com [15 May 2005].

      Daughters of the American Revolution. Bible, Family and Miscellaneous Records from New York State, v.44. (LDS microfilm #0862775).

      Hatcher, Patricia Law. Abstract of Graves of Revolutionary Patriots. Dallas: Pioneer, 1987.

      Idaho Death Index, 1911-51. Available [online] http://ancestry.com [19 July 2006].

      Idaho Marriages, 1842-1996. Available [online] http://ancestry.com [20 July 2006].

      International Genealogical Index. Available [online] http://familysearch.org [14 May 2005].

      Keeler, Wesley B. Keeler Family: Ralph Keeler of Norwalk, Conn. And Some of His Descendants. Baltimore: Gateway, 2000.

      Keeler, Wesley B. Ralph Keeler of Norwalk, Conn. And his Descendants. Albany: Keeler, 1980.

      Keeler of Fairfield Co., CT., Saratoga Co., NY, Elizabethtown, Ontario and Oswego County. Available [online] http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~legends/keeler.html [13 May 2005].

      Livingston, Mildred Ruth. The 1807 Census of Elizabethtown Township, Leeds County, Ontario. Prescott: Livingston, 1985.

      N.Y. State Census of Parish, Oswego Co., NY 1865. (#0857439).

      New York Pensioners, 1835. Available [online] http://ancestry.com [14 May 2005].

      Prairie View Cemetery Inscriptions , Grangeville, Idaho. Available [online] http:// ancestry.com [20 July]. 

      Records of the First Congregational Church of Stillwater ... and the First Presbyterian Church of Stillwater... Typescript. (LDS microfilm #0533505 item 2).

      Trumbull, Hammond. Memorial History of Hartfort, Connecticut, 1633-1884. Boston: Osgood, 1886. (LDS microfilm #1000148 items 3-4). 

      U.S. Census Denver, Idaho Co., ID 1900,1910, 1920 & 1930.

      U.S. Census Mount Idaho, Idaho Co., ID 1930. 

      U.S. Census St. Clair, St. Clair Co., MI 1870.

      U.S. Census East Oswego, Oswego Co., NY 1840.

      U.S. Census Granby, Oswego Co., NY 1880.

      U.S. Census Mexico, Oswego Co., NY 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850 & 1900.

      U.S. Census New Haven, Oswego Co., NY 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1910 & 1920.

      U.S. Census Oswego, Oswego Co., NY 1850 & 1860.

      U.S. Census Parish, Oswego Co., NY 1870, 1880 & 1900.

      U.S. Census 1890 Veteran’s Schedules. Mexico, NY. Available [online] http://ancestry.com [15 May 2005].

      U.S. Veteran’s Cemeteries, ca. 1800-2004 Record. Available [online] http://ancestry.com [20 July 2006].

      World War I Draft Registration Card. Available [online] http://ancestry.com [19 July 2006].

      WorldConnect Project. Available [online] http://worldconnect.genealogy.rootsweb.com [13 May 2005]. 

 

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