Sunday, March 13, 2011


Dear friends and family: Good morning! I was going through my mother's genealogy files and found a Sketch of the Life of Eliza Jane Geary Keele who was my father's mother's mother, and I thought I should share it with you today. I found it very interesting, and amazing, and so here it is just as I found it. Have a wonderful day, and know that you are loved. Your friend and brother. Jim

By: Roxa and Effie Keele
Eliza Jane Geary was the 4th daughter of six children of John Thomas and Sophia Fryer Geary. She was born in Cedar City, Utah on the 6th day of April 1859.
The family moved to Toquerville, Utah where she spent her childhood. Her father was a school teacher and was a fine kind man. He died when Eliza was eight years old.
Eliza was the fifth child of six, two of whom died in infancy. Following are the names of her family: Sophia Ann, Thomas Fryer, Echo Workman, Leah Fryer, Eliza Jane and Annie.
After her mother divorced her father in 1866, he moved to Salt Lake City, where he died the fifth day of January 1867. Her mother then married Joshua Willis.
Willis was not very fond of his wife's first family. Eliza Jane had reddish gold hair and freckles and he always called her "Freckles". She resented this very much, and she would go up to the garden and sit on the ditch bank and cry by the hour. She really missed her father. She had very little schooling after that, yet it would be hard to find a better educated person. She had a half-sister Lola, and a half-brother Willis.
When she was fourteen years old, she left home and started to make her own way. First she worked for a family named Ash Nebekar. Then she came to Panaca to work for the C. P. Ronnow family. They were a Danish family with lots of boys. She liked the Ronnows very much, they were very kind to her, but the boys teased her and would not chop wood, so she quit and
went to work for Jim Wadsworth. His wife was Marintha. From there she worked for Electa Lee Edwards, (Grandmother of Roxa Keele), then at the Silver Reef mine which was 9 miles west of Pioche.
Eliza and David Keele were introduced by Liza Langford (Grandmother of Ruby Keele). Shortly after, they started keeping company and after three or four months they were married in the St. George Temple by David H. Cannon, on March 29, 1877. David Keele was twenty-four and Eliza Jane was eighteen.
Eliza Jane Geary Keele, called Eliza by her husband David, was a striking woman with wavy auburn-red tresses, ample bosomed and a trim waist line. Only age added to a more statuesque build. Her figure was typical of the stalwart pioneer woman, whose stamina and vigor raised large families, and provided well for their off-spring during the trying times of the pioneer days of Eastern Nevada.
Entertainment was a community affair, and Eliza was gifted with a voice reflection which she used to help make the music and rhythm for the youngsters as they danced the quadrilles at the church functions.
A religious background provided her foundation for her diligent work in the L. D. S. Ward at Panaca, where she was President of the Mutual, very active in the Relief Society and other affairs. Her parents were converts to the Mormon faith, coming from England in a sailing ship, the trip taking three months.
David and Eliza were parents of twelve children, six boys and six girls. Following is a list of the children: Elzada, Annie Eliza, Eathel, John David, Mary Pearl, Jessie William, Leah, George Quincy, Francis Marion, Howard Geary, Iretta, and Arville.
David built a log cabin on a lot in Panaca for he and his wife and they lived there for many years, adding rooms to it at different times. It is believed that all of the children were born there. It was just across the street from the Samuel Keele home.
In 1912, Eliza and David bought the old Turnbaugh home in the center of Panaca, (Across from Dotson's store). It was a large two story "T" constructed type home, which Eliza Keele opened to the public for room and board. Known as a compassionate woman, and overly generous with her tasty dishes, the Keele home prospered as a boarding house for transients. With the income from her business, she bought new wicker type furniture, rugs and other household items to make her family more comfortable.
The cellar of Eliza Keele would be an oddity in this modern day of deep-freezes, for crocks of sauerkraut, mincemeat, jams, pickles, dried fruits and jars of other foods were abundant, as her husband and boys kept a fine garden.
David had fine gardens at both places, and the earliest ones in town. Many a person walked by his garden because they knew he would always have a bunch of vegetables to give them. Eliza started canning and preserving all vegetables when they were young, sweet and in their prime. One of her best preserves was the potowatamy plum, and no one could prepare rhubarb like she could. They raised their beef, pork, and chickens and these were cured in a number of ways. Her pickles were outstandingly good: chow-chow, bread and butter, sweet and sour, dill and others put in salt brine to be soaked out later and put into sweet and spiced vinegar. There were not many salads, only when they had fresh vegetables and lettuce in the garden, and her dressing for cabbage slaw was super. Her baked beans were a must at church socials and she always had good homemade bread. Her big black wood cook stove always shone like a mirror.
Mother Keele said to Roxa, her daughter-in-law: "Roxa, Quincy is so much like my father in all of his ways, and also his build". And even after quincy and Roxa left Panaca, Mother Keele would always wait for Quince to return in the summer to do her house-cleaning for her. He always had many odd jobs and enjoyed working with his mother, and had helped her from childhood. They would take up the hand woven carpet and put new wild hay underneath, and it would smell so fresh and fragrant for quite some time.
When asked by one of her boys why she worried so much about her family, she answered: "That's a question that I cannot answer, I will only say that when you become a parent and your children get the age you are now, then you will know". Growing old in age, but not in spirit, she often was sentimental over incidents and objects of her children's pupilage period. Although she was not outwardly affectionate, she showed her love to her family by the many endowments of life she instilled in her children.
She was as ready to help a neighbor in need as to care for her own. Her beds were always perfectly made with the big feather mattresses which to us would be so hard to make look nice, and no one ever sat on her beds. She was a good nurse, a good seamstress, made many quilts, and dyed and sewed rags for rugs, and carpets; crocheted lace and knitted, mostly socks and mittens. Everything she did was done right. After the sheep would go through town and leave a bunch of wool on the barbed wire fences, she would have the children gather it, then she would wash and cord it, and put it in quilts and comforts.
Her son Marion helped with the washing many times which usually took two days. He would rub so hard that he rubbed the skin off his fingers. Mother Keele would not take care of her grandchildren. She said she had raised her large family and she was just too tired to baby sit anymore.
Eliza and David celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary on March 29, 1927 at the family home in Panaca, with all the family in attendance. The three tiered cake was made by Iretta (Rita) and Vern Fitzgerald, a daughter and son-in-law of the Keeles.
Although some of her children had passed on during the years, by accidents and illnesses, Mother Keele was still the proud figure she had been at the time of her marriage to David. She had added with the years, some slight poundage and her beautiful natural wavy, auburn hair was flecked with silver, changing her hair color to flaxen blond. Upon her death, her tresses straightened and lost their wave.
Leah's husband, Melvin Lee, died November 18, 1914 and Leah, and son Lorin age 4 years went to live with her mother and dad. On January 30, 1915, Leah had a baby girl named Fawn. On June 7, 1924, Leah married Jack Ellison and they with the two children went to Caliente to live.
In January 1931, Eliza went to Cedar City and was operated on, came home and was apparently doing very well. Her granddaughter, Fawn Lee, was with her as well as Father Keele. The morning of January 8th, she asked for water. As Fawn gave it to her, a blood clot struck her heart and she was gone. She died at 4:30 AM in the morning, January 8, 1931.
Father Keele then went to live with Leah in Caliente and the old home was sold.
Rita Fitzgerald, the youngest daughter, has the cradle that most of the Keele babies used. It is a beautiful piece of furniture, and was always made up for the grandchildren when visiting there. (Quince says that he spent many an hour rocking it when he thought he should have been out playing. (He would rock it so hard it would almost tip over.)
Howard Keele, son of Marrion, has the old organ which he inherited when Marion died. Jean Keele Long has an antique wall pocket brought from England and across the plains in a handcart by Eliza Keele's mother. It must have been a very treasured piece to come such a long way.
Stella Eddards (maybe Edwards) in Cedar City, Utah, daughter of Annie Keele, has the old kerosene pull lamp that hung over the big dining table. Quince has some of his Grandfather Geary's records, and copy of his shorthand.
Eliza Jane Geary Keele
6 April 1859 - 8 January 1931
Eliza Jane Geary Keele, a hearty pioneer,
Was my father's mother's mother,
Who to his heart was dear.
Her father died when she was eight, and left her sad and blue,
Although she had three sisters,
And brothers, there were two.
Her step-dad wasn't nice to her, and often made her cry,
So she left home at age 14,
Her needs to satisfy.
Though she had little schooling, she was smart as she could be,
And lived with several families,
With whom she did agree.
She met and married David Keele in 1877,
In the St. George Temple,
So they could go to heaven.
And through this happy union, twelve children came to be,
Six boys and six girls
Made up their family.
She served in many callings, and lived the gospel, too,
And taught her children gospel truths,
Each day her whole life through.
They lived in Panaca, Nevada, in a log cabin there,
Built by her dear husband,
With lots of love to share.
And then they bought another home and rented out some rooms,
To transients and to boarders,
Who made their business bloom.
And from their honest labors, two gardens did produce
Lots of fruit and vegetables,
Which they put to good use.
Their cellar was unusual, and filled with food to eat,
Providing food in Winter,
Which always was a treat.
Her children and grandchildren were taught frugality,
To waste not, and to want not,
Whatever there may be.
Through the years she mellowed, but had a busy life,
and kept her two hands busy,
As David's loving wife,
Serving friends and family, and doing what she could
To cheer and bless and gladden
Her home and neighborhood.
She never wasted anything, and used the things she had
To bless the lives of others,
And make their hearts feel glad.
Her children were her treasure, and she was glad to be
A faithful grandmother
To James Horald Lee,
The son of her dear daughter, Annie Eliza Keele,
Who married John Raymond Lee,
And knew their love was real.
And from this blessed union, my father came to be,
Who married Jennie May Woodbury,
And their posterity
Includes eleven children, and numerous grandchildren, too,
And many great-grandchildren who
Are striving to be true.
Yes, Eliza Jane Geary Keele was faithful as could be,
A noble faithful pioneer,
Who loved her family,
And passed on to her children, and her grandchildren, too,
Her legacy of faith and hope,
And love, both tried and true,
To all of her posterity, in hopes that we would be
The children of our Father,
Of true nobility.
She died in 1931, a blood clot claimed her life,
And now lives with her husband,
As his eternal wife,
And mother to her children, and her posterity,
Which numbers in the thousands,
Including you and me.
God help us to remember her loving legacy,
And pioneer heritage
That's our eternally.
And may we share her legacy with our own children here,
So we may be together
In heaven's atmosphere,
I humbly pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen
James Horald Lee Jr.
son of
James Horald Lee and Jennie May Woodbury Lee

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