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Susan Catherine Smith Keith
Birth: Feb. 23, 1825
Smith Mills
Chautauqua County
New York, USA
Death: Sep. 23, 1877
East Omaha
Douglas County
Nebraska, USA

Obituary Notices:

Death of Mrs. Susan C. Keith.

The death of Mrs. Keith, the wife of Mr. C. Keith [Mr. M. C. Keith] of North Platte, occurred in this city last Saturday [Sunday] evening. The sad event terminated a long and painful illness, and the worldly sufferings of a lady who has been widely known in this part of the west for more than twenty years. Few wives and mothers ever lived or died among us who were so universally esteemed and beloved for those womanly virtues with which Mrs. Keith's character was so richly endowed. She was a remarkable woman in these respects, and also for that strength of character which impressed itself upon all with whom she came in contact. The writer of this meagre notice of her life first met Mrs. Keith twenty-three years ago, when Mr. Keith kept the hotel at Apple Grove, Iowa, on the old Western Stage route, and has known her well since. It was there that she won the regard of thousands to whose comfort she so greatly contributed on their weary journeying over that then comparatively wild and unsettled region. The coach-ridden passengers who travelled to and fro over Iowa always looked forward to meeting Mrs. Keith, and enjoying her hospitality, as about the only bright spot on the journey. As was said by one of the best of her friends yesterday, as Wife, Mother, Friend and Neighbor, and as a Christian woman whose life has been full of good deeds and influences, too much could not be said in praise of Mrs. Susan C. Keith.

Mr. [Mrs.] Keith was a native of Chatauqua [Chautauqua] county, New York, where she was born in 1825. She was married to Mr. M. C. Keith, in that State in 1847, and removed to Apple Grove, Iowa, in 1854. Residing there until 1857, they went to Topeka, Kansas, whence they removed to St. Joseph, living there until 1867, when they removed to North Platte, where they have since resided. Mrs. Keith's health began to fail about two years ago. She sought relief at Hot Springs, Arkansas, and failing to receive any benefit, she sought and found medical aid in Boston. She was so much improved under treatment there as to return home in June of this year, but was soon taken worse, coming to Omaha afterwards for treatment. She passed from the scenes of earth, surrounded by kindred and friends, whose hearts are crushed by an irreparable bereavement. Mrs. Keith leaves a husband and one child, a young lady of 10 years, to mourn her loss, while her death will be deeply regretted by a large circle of friends in this and other States.

The remains will be removed to North Platte to-day for temporary interment.
~ The Omaha Daily Herald: Tuesday Morning, September 25, 1877

[Headline missing]
The remains of this estimable lady arrived in this City Wednesday morning and the funeral took place from the Railroad Hotel Wednesday forenoon. The large dining hall was densely packed with sympathizing friends that loved and respected the deceased, the memory of whom will ever be cherished in North Platte. The beautiful services of the Episcopal Church was made doubly impressive by the broken voices of the Rector F. E. Bullard. Her favorite hymms, "Nearer My God to Thee" and "Rock of Ages" were sweetly rendered by the choir. The gentleman that acted as pall bearers were H. C. Lockwood, a brother-in-law; Henry De Wolfe, a nephew; Smith Clark; E. P. Kellom [sic Kellam] and Guy C. Barton, nephews by marriage; and Beach I. Hinman. The casket was drawn by her own horses led by Mr. Barton and Mr. Kellom [sic Kellam] to its resting place on the premises of KEITH & BARTON, where it seemed the entire population of the town formed into the procession to pay their last tribute of respect. At the conclusion of the service the loving hands of the children of the families strewed the casket with flowers. What more touching tribute could be given than that the same tender hands that had cared for her through her suffering laid her to rest. The tomb is near Mr. Barton's residence and thus will be under the immediate attention and loving care of those who most affectionately cherish the memory of the noble woman, for whom all that knew her deeply mourn.
- North Platte newspaper; probably THE ADVERTISER


Susan Catherine Smith Keith was the daughter of Henry Smith and Bulah Blodgett of Smith Mills, Hanover, Chautauqua, New York, and sister of Mary Smith Lockwood author and Pen founder of the Daughters of the American Revolution. In 1847 she married Morell Case Keith of Silver Creek, New York. Keith was inducted into the Great Westerners Hall of Fame posthumously in 1962 for his contribution to the development of the West. Keith County, Nebraska was formalized in July 1873, and named in his honor. In 1854 Susan and Morell Keith moved to Apple Grove, Iowa, where they ran a hotel. Apple Grove, which no longer exists today, was located on the Western Stage Route, at a crossing of the Des Moines River near the present city of Mitchellville on the eastern side of Polk County, Iowa. In 1857, they moved to Topeka, Kansas, where he continued in the same business for a few years before moving on to St. Joseph, Missouri where he obtained freight contracts from the government. For a number of years, he freighted between St. Joseph and Leavenworth, and also between Leavenworth and Denver. Travel could be quite hazardous at that time due to hostilities between the the settlers and the Indians. In 1867 he moved with his wife and daughter to North Platte, Nebraska where Susan Keith founded the Episcopal Church of Our Savior in North Platte. By that time, M.C. Keith had acquired some wealth, and soon associated himself with the cattle business. He went into partnership with Guy C. Barton, and the firm of Keith and Barton soon earned him a state wide reputation as one of the most powerful cattleman in western Nebraska. When more people began moving west, homesteaders gradually encroached into the cattle ranges. By that time several cattlemen who foresaw the changing tide retired, and Keith and Barton were among that number. After leaving the cattle business, Keith did contract grading on the Union Pacific railroad, and in partnership with Mr. Barton, conducted the Union Pacific hotel. Susan C. Keith organized and founded the Episcopal Church of Our Savior, in North Platte, Nebraska, and remained active in church affairs all of her life. Daughter Mollie Keith married the Hon. William Neville, who became US Congressman for Nebraska. After a short married life, Mollie died March 1, 1884, of child bed fever, leaving a baby boy. Her son, Morell Keith Neville, inherited the Keith estate, and became Governor of Nebraska in 1917.

For more information on Keith County:

1. North Platte And Its Associations, by Archibald R. Adamson
2. Neville Family records
3. Susan C. Keith, Omaha Herald and North Platte Obituary
4. Lincoln County NEGenWeb page 
Family links: 
  Henry Benjamin Smith (1792 - 1864)
  Bulah Blodgett Smith (1799 - 1838)
  Morell Case Keith (1824 - 1899)*
  Mary Ann Keith Neville (1858 - 1884)*
  Sally Adelia Smith DeWolf (1818 - 1854)*
  Susan Catherine Smith Keith (1825 - 1877)
  Rodney B Smith (1827 - 1902)*
  Mary Lucinda Smith Lockwood (1831 - 1922)*
*Calculated relationship

KEITH (in large letters on front)

CASSIE (on front of stone)
AUG 18, 1854
FEB 3, 1884

CASSIE (on back of stone)

MORELL C. (on front of stone)
NOV 21, 1824
SEPT 29, 1899

MORELL C. (on back of stone)

SUSAN C. (on front of stone)
FEB 23, 1824
SEPT 23, 1877

SUSAN C. (on back of stone)
North Platte Cemetery
North Platte
Lincoln County
Nebraska, USA
Plot: Lot 68, space 3
Created by: Shari Hanson Frey
Record added: Apr 21, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 36128598
Susan Catherine <i>Smith</i> Keith
Added by: Shari Hanson Frey
Susan Catherine <i>Smith</i> Keith
Added by: Shari Hanson Frey
Susan Catherine <i>Smith</i> Keith
Added by: Shari Hanson Frey
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- Shari Hanson Frey
 Added: May. 3, 2013
with respect
- Goddess
 Added: Jan. 30, 2010

- Shari Hanson Frey
 Added: Jul. 1, 2009
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