IIDAVID KEITH 1847-1918
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Orson Pratt Brown's relations through his Half-brother, James Fredrick (Cornue) Brown
Born 27 May 1847 in Mabou, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, David Keith was the thirteenth child of John Keith (1800-1861) and Margaret Ness Keith, Scottish immigrants [from the Isle of Arran, Bute, Scotland] to Canada. A Salt Lake Tribune editorial published on 17 April 1918, the day after his death, praised Keith as "one of that mighty company of daring men with vision who unlocked the treasures of the west and builded [sic] an empire unsurpassed even by the dreams of romance."
Keith began his mining career at the age of fourteen [when his parents died in 1861] in the gold mines of Nova Scotia. At the age of twenty, he left Nova Scotia, traveling to California by ship via Panama. He moved on to Virginia City, Nevada, where he worked as a miner, met his first wife, Ettie McLeod, and became proficient as a pump operator in the water-plagued mines of the Comstock Lode. His skill with mine pumps brought him to Park City in 1883 to help install the great Cornish pump; and he then continued as foreman in the Ontario mine. During the eight years he worked as foreman, the Ontario mine paid seven million dollars in dividends.
Solon Spiro was a German Jewish emigrant who came to Park City in 1894 to work in his uncle's mercantile store. After saving some money, Spiro invested in local mines but became best known for an ill-fated Spiro tunnel to drain water and facilitate the movement of ore out of the mines. It was only after Spiro sold the tunnel to the Silver King that the new owners, Thomas Kearns, David Keith, James Ivers, and A.B. Emery, discovered a silver lode there that eventually yielded three million dollars worth of high grade silver. The Silver King became the premier mine in this area, and the partners accumulated an enormous amount of wealth.
In Park City Keith became business partners and good friends with Thomas Kearns, and in 1892 they bought the Mayflower mine and organized the Silver King Mining Company with Keith serving as president and Kearns as vice-president. By 1907 the Silver King mine had paid more than ten million dollars in dividends. Keith and Kearns participated in other joint business ventures, including purchase of the Salt Lake Tribune [began as "The Mormon Tribune" founded by the Godbeites after 1870] in 1901 [to silence attacks on Kearns, Indiana newspaperman Perry S. Heath purchased the Tribune secretly on behalf of U.S. Senator Kearns and his partner David Keith]. The two men owned the newspaper until Keith's death.
David Keith was active in many other business enterprises including the Pioneer Roller Mills and Keith-O'Brien Company. He helped finance the construction of the David Keith Building, the Ness Building, and the Little Hotel. He was president of the First National Bank of Park City, vice-president of the National Copper Bank of Salt Lake City, and director of the Las Vegas and Tonopah Railroad as well as the Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad.
David Keith was married twice. His first wife, Henrietta "Ettie" McLeod was born 30 May 1858 in Canada to Malcolm McLeod and Annie Simpson. David and Ettie married on December 21, 1874 in Virginia City, Storey, Nevada, Ettie bore him four children--Charles Forman Keith [1876-1905], Etta Maude Aloysia Keith (md. David Stevens Eskridge in 1902) [1878-1941], Lillian Matilda Keith [1881-1931] (md. Albert C. Allen), and Margaret Keith [1884-1933].
In any event, the four children remained with their father, who married Mary Patrick Ferguson (1854-1919), age 39, in June 1894, Mary is a cousin of . A native of Salt Lake City, Mary had taught school in Park City and then had become manager of the local Mountain Bell Telephone company in Park City. A Salt Lake County docket indicates Mary was first married to and divorced from John E. Tyler. Mary and David had one child, David "Ferguson" Keith born March 11,1895, died 1948. One other child, David Summers Keith (namesake born c.1866), was adopted around 1975 at the age of 9 years, by Mary and David Keith from David's cousin Paul Keith and Manda Summers Keith.
["In the year of 1865, I, David Keith, and my cousin Paul Keith, were rivals for the hand of Manda Summers (sister of Julie Ann Summers). Paul, having won the race, compensated by naming his first son David, after me.
David was nine years old when Paul in failing health, and reduced circumstances, begged me to adopt his and Manda's son David (my namesake). Confessing on his deathbed, that he had tricked Manda into a loveless marriage with him (knowing her love was for me), was in a way recompensed when I made their son David my legal son and heir."
Passing years found me prosperous in mining industries, and David shared with my son and daughters the advantages a man of wealth could bestow on his children.
Until he reached manhood, David proved a loyal son - he then commited a dishonorable deed, from which my heart has known no forgiveness." David (Summers) Keith was then disowned and disinherited.
Between 1898 and 1900 the Keiths built this magnificent mansion, designed by Frederick A. Hale, at 529 East South Temple in Salt Lake City. [The front has a tall, two-story porch meant to look like an ancient Greek Temple. Inside is a splendid dome with stained glass made by America's most famous glass company - Louis Tiffany & Company. The mansion also has a ballroom and an ice box large enough to hold one ton of ice. The heart of the mansion is an octagonal foyer of polished mahogany crowned by beautiful chipped-glass dome two stories above. From here you can glimpse incredible woodwork, exquistie wall coverings, and elaborate stained glass. The Keith Mansion's carriage house is probably the biggest on South Temple. Inside the carriage house are a bowling alley and a shooting gallery.
David Keith I was a quiet man. The Keith family did not have as many big parties as Thomas and Jennie Kearns. Mary May Ferguson Keith, however, invited her lady friends to tea once a week. The Keith's had a large fancy wedding for their daughter Etta Keith and Richard S. Eskridge at their home.]
The Keith's lived in the mansion until 1916 when they moved to the Hotel Utah. David Keith I died there of pneumonia on 16 April 1918, and his wife Mary May Ferguson Keith, died thirteen months later of a heart ailment on May 17, 1919.
Charles Forman Keith, son of David Keith I and Ettie, died in Yakima, Washington around 1905 at the age of 28 years, he left no heirs.
David "Ferguson" Keith II lived between 1895-1948, his wife Geneva Savage Keith, lived between 1892-1928.
David Keith III lived between 1917-1996, his wife, Mary Ordonez, born in Bonaca, Honduras Oct. 1,1919, passed away June 16,1993 in Tucson, Az
PAF - Archer files = Captain James Brown + (8) Cecelia Henrietta Cornue > James Frederick "Wollerton" Brown + Esther Amelia Marriott > Mary Edna Brown + Harold Tranter Allen < Thomas Lonsdale Allen + Alice Jane Tranter < Robert Blain Allen + Jane Ferguson < < James Ferguson + Jane Robinson > Mary Ferguson + David Keith.
Many thanks to David Keith's great-granddaughter, Geneva Keith Ulm for filling in the dates and names I could not have found without her assistance. Geneva has now donated the pictures she shared with this website to the Park City Historical Society in the name of her father, David Keith III Memorial Collection (9/3/2012 email).
"Diggings & Doings in Park City" by Raye C. Ringholz, 1983. Pages 57-58
"Biographical Record of Salt Lake City and Vicinity - Containing Biographies of Well Known Citizens of the Past and Present", National Historical Record Co., Chicago, Illinois, 1902. Pages 586-587.
An extensive article regarding his life and death can be found at the Utah Digital Newspapers: Salt Lake Mining Review 30 Apr 1918 [http://udn.lib.utah.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/slmr/id/35559]
The Mystery Millionairess of Hollywood
It is told that Margaret Keith hid her face behind veils for nearly 40 years. Beginning in her teenage years it is said that she lived mostly a life of seclusion.
David Keith, it is reported wrote the following: "In the home of Alfred Milton Wilson and Julie Ann Wilson of Des Moines, Iowa, on the 10th of April, 1893, a baby girl was born to my youngest daughter, Margaret Keith. As a timid unsophisticated girl of sixteen years, she fell a victim to David (Summers) Keith's (my adopted son) illicit love.
[Margaret Keith was born on April 6, 1884, the birth date of her daughter is reported here on April 10, 1893, that would make Margaret only nine years old.]
In protecting the family name, Margaret believing her baby dead, tried to bury her shame with it. A veil of darkness has shut out all rays of sunlight for her forever.
Sworn to keep the secret of David's and Margaret's unfortunate affair, Alfred Milton Wilson and Julie Ann Wilson were appointed guardians of the illegitimate Keith baby girl, who later became known as Myrtle Mae Wilson.
The above statement concludes by disowning David and detailing trust agreements and final settlements."
"In later years, Margaret, herself, explained her behavior in a note to Charles V. Hatter, a detective she employed. She wrote: "I'm just about as mysterious as an onion. I'm not even a man hater. I like to talk to men because they have brains, but I think the Amazons had the right idea. They made all of the men stay out in the shed with the cattle."
At exactly four o'clock one afternoon, Margaret's gardener followed a special letter of instruction and placed a call to Dr. J. S. Wood, in Hollywood, and asked him to come to the estate. When the physician arrived, the gardener gave him another letter requesting him to enter the house alone.
Decaying grandeur of the mansion was shadowed by blanketed windows and there was a musty odor. When Dr. Wood entered Miss Keith's darkened bedroom, it reeked with chloroform. He saw a "figure in a black, shroud-like garment lying on a divan, with a great bouquet of flowers at its head and a basket of blossoms at its feet. Over the face was a towel, wrapped in the shape of an ether cone and an empty bottle lay on the floor." Two black cats stirred. Symphonic music swelled from a radio.
A suicide note requested fresh flowers and an orchestra to play classical compositions as the only burial ceremony. The undertaker was instructed, "Please have your lady attendant care for my body. I want to be quite sure that I am dead. Please inject an extra amount of formaldehyde into my body. Cover my hands with flowers. When I was alive I always wanted plenty of room, so I do not want to be put in a niche." Miss Keith was cremated and her mysterious secret was never revealed."
"Diggings & Doings in Park City" pages 58-59.]