In my last post I described the travels of my McDaniel line from Maryland to Virginia and eventually on to Missouri. In this post I outline the migration of another line, the Keith families, who also moved west from Maryland. The two lines converged with the marriage of my grandparents in 1895 in Oklahoma.
The Keith family in North America originate from George Keith, who we label as George 1 as there were several direct line ancestors of that name and he was the first one in North America. He was my 8th great-grandfather. We believe George was born in Scotland although we have not confirmed the information. He arrived in Maryland around 1666 as part of a major migration of British people who established colonies in that region. His wife, Dorothy, is reputed to have been an indentured servant to Captain Luke Gardiner, a prominent citizen of the new settlement. After serving several years as a servant, Dorothy was apparently granted land in the area where she and George 1 raised a family. He died about 1737 in Charles County, Maryland. No further information has been found for Dorothy.
Map showing the major events and residence locations of members of the Keith family along with the route taken during moves to new locations
Their son, George 2, was born in 1667. He married another Maryland resident, Anne (surname unknown) and they had at least three children, all born in Maryland. George died in 1705 and his will was probated in Maryland, naming three children. Anne may have remarried.
George 3 was born in 1695 in Charles County. He married a Maryland woman named Elizabeth, (again her surname is not known) about 1715. Their five children all were born in Maryland. A George Keith is shown on land records to have sold property, in Charles County in 1755 which may have been George 3.
George Keith 4 was the first of the family to migrate westward. He married Monica Pidgeon in Prince George’s Parish, Frederick County, Maryland in 1751. They had ten children between 1754 and 1774, all born in Maryland. Land records show he sold Charles County property, probably in anticipation of their move to Kentucky. Monica apparently died in Bourbon County, Kentucky that same year which dates their move.
It is very likely that they took the Great Wagon Road and then the Wilderness Road to Kentucky. Some family researchers suggest they travelled to Fort Duchesne (Pittsburgh) and then down the Ohio River to Kentucky, however, the connecting road from Maryland, The National or Cumberland Road was only started in 1811 and did not become a major route for settlers until much later. The Wilderness Road led directly into Bourbon County and was open for wagon traffic y 1790.
Some of George and Monica’s children, including my 4th great-grandfather, Richard Keith, with his wife, Sarah (Mason) and five of their children, followed their parents to Kentucky around 1796. Richard and Sarah were married in Prince George’s Parish, Frederick County, Maryland in 1784. Four of their children were born in Maryland between 1786 and 1791; five children were born after they arrived in Kentucky, between1796 and 1809; another daughter was possibly born in Maryland in 1794. The birth dates fix their move to the middle of the 1790s. Richard and Sarah both died in Missouri, after they had moved again to be with some of their children there, making them the family with the greatest geographic range during their lifetime.
Samuel Adkins Keith, my 3rd great-grandfather was born in Maryland in 1786 to Richard and Sarah. He married Isabel Parks in Kentucky in 1811. They had four children there, moving to Indiana about 1820, where seven more children were born. Both Samuel and Isabel died in Indiana and are buried, with many other family members in the Keith Cemetery in Marion Township, Jennings County, Indiana.
Although my 2nd great-grandfather, James Blare Keith, lived, worked and died in Indiana, a few of his siblings took up the wanderlust and moved west again, to Illinois, Missouri and Kansas.
For this line, the Wilderness Road was once again a major route for migration and the spread of branches of my family across the United States
Wayne Shepheard is a volunteer with the Online Parish Clerk program in England, handling four parishes in Devon, England. He has published a number of articles about various aspects of genealogy and is a past Editor of Chinook, the quarterly journal of the Alberta Family Histories Society. Wayne also provides genealogical consulting services through his business, Family History Facilitated