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 Henry Keep

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Henry Keep

Birth
Adams, Jefferson County, New York, USA
Death
31 Jul 1869 (aged 51)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial
Watertown, Jefferson County, New York, USA
Plot
Section I, Lot 5, Mausoleum
Memorial ID
75698523 View Source

Henry Keep is the classic case of a poor boy who made good. He was born in Jefferson County in 1818. His childhood was one of abject poverty and much of it was spent as an orphan in the Jefferson County poorhouse. As a teenager he made his way to Honeoye Falls, near Rochester NY, where he got work as a teamster. He was frugal, and managed to scrape together a small amount of savings, which he then used in 1837 to by depreciated currency during a financial crisis. When the crisis ended, he amassed a substantial profit as the currency returned to its normal value. He followed the same approach with Canadian currency. He purchased Canadian notes at reduced values from people who had come to the frontiers of the US. He then cashed in the note in Canada at full face value.

These activities provided Henry with the funding needed to start a bank at Watertown NY, and then several other banks in that are.

As he became more successful, he relocated to New York City, where he became associated with the booming railroad industry of the 1860's. He was for a time, president of the New York Central Railroad, and at the time of his death in 1869 he was president of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, as well as the Cleveland and Toledo Railroad.

When he died in New York City on July 31, 1869, he left an estate valued at over $4,000,000. Prior to his death, he asked Roswell Flower, whose wife was the sister of his own wife, to manage the estate for his widow. Together, Flower and Keep's wife, Emma Keep-Schley, used the estate for a number of philanthropic causes, including the Henry Keep Home for the elderly (still active today as the Samaritan Keep Home). Many other sites in Watertown also bear his name.

He was buried in a mausoleum in Brookside Cemetery in Watertown NY.

Henry Keep is the classic case of a poor boy who made good. He was born in Jefferson County in 1818. His childhood was one of abject poverty and much of it was spent as an orphan in the Jefferson County poorhouse. As a teenager he made his way to Honeoye Falls, near Rochester NY, where he got work as a teamster. He was frugal, and managed to scrape together a small amount of savings, which he then used in 1837 to by depreciated currency during a financial crisis. When the crisis ended, he amassed a substantial profit as the currency returned to its normal value. He followed the same approach with Canadian currency. He purchased Canadian notes at reduced values from people who had come to the frontiers of the US. He then cashed in the note in Canada at full face value.

These activities provided Henry with the funding needed to start a bank at Watertown NY, and then several other banks in that are.

As he became more successful, he relocated to New York City, where he became associated with the booming railroad industry of the 1860's. He was for a time, president of the New York Central Railroad, and at the time of his death in 1869 he was president of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, as well as the Cleveland and Toledo Railroad.

When he died in New York City on July 31, 1869, he left an estate valued at over $4,000,000. Prior to his death, he asked Roswell Flower, whose wife was the sister of his own wife, to manage the estate for his widow. Together, Flower and Keep's wife, Emma Keep-Schley, used the estate for a number of philanthropic causes, including the Henry Keep Home for the elderly (still active today as the Samaritan Keep Home). Many other sites in Watertown also bear his name.

He was buried in a mausoleum in Brookside Cemetery in Watertown NY.


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  • Maintained by: Jim Kirchberger Relative Great-niece/nephew
  • Originally Created by: Anne Cady
  • Added: 30 Aug 2011
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 75698523
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/75698523/henry-keep: accessed ), memorial page for Henry Keep (22 Jun 1818–31 Jul 1869), Find a Grave Memorial ID 75698523, citing Brookside Cemetery, Watertown, Jefferson County, New York, USA; Maintained by Jim Kirchberger (contributor 50318853).