Ernest L. Keys.
One of the oldest business men of
Wynnewood is Ernest L. Keys, who is now filling with admirable
ability the office of mayor of that city. Mr. Keys has for fifteen
years been identified with local business affairs at Wynnewood, has
been one of the chief cotton buyers in that section, and conducts a
large hardware business.
He was born in
Lawrence County, Alabama, September 3, 1872. His ancestors came
from England to America and located in the State of Mississippi at a
very early date. His grandfather, Jerry Keys, was born in Mississippi
in 1822, and died in Lawrence County, Alabama, in 1898, having gone
to the latter state when a young man. He combined the occupations of
farming, carpentry and cabinetmaking, and was a very substantial
citizen. He was a democrat and a member of the Baptist Church.
C. M. Keys, father
of Mayor Keys, was born in Lawrence County, Alabama, in 1850, was
reared there, and married Muss Mary McDaniel, who was born in Alabama
in 1856. Her ancestor was Scotch-Irish, and the McDaniels were early
settlers in that section of Virginia now known as West Virginia.
Mayor Keys’ maternal great-grandmother was Mary Warren, who died at
the age of ninety-six at the home of C. M. Keys. Her husband was Lee
Warren, who was a farmer in West Virginia. In 1879 C. M. Keys brought
his family to Johnson County, Texas, and for a number of years was
engaged in fanning and raising stock. In June, 1908, he moved to
Hollis, Oklahoma, where he now continues his farming and stock
raising interests. However, he is largely retired, and the management
of his farm of 160 acres North of Hollis is with his tenants. He is
an active member and has for a number of years been deacon of the
Baptist Church, and is a democrat in politics. He and his wife became
the parents of twelve children, namely: Crickett, wife of Rev. B. A.
Copass, who is a Baptist minister and is now assistant secretary of
the Baptist State Missionary Society, living at Dallas, Texas; Berta
K., is the widow of H. N. Spooner, a former hardware merchant, and
she now runs the business herself at Hollis, Oklahoma; Ernest L.; P.
M. and Wood W., both engaged in the hardware business at Hollis; J.
E., associated with Carl Cole in the drug business at Wynnewood; May,
wife of Rev. W. A. Knight, pastor of the First Baptist Church at
Frederick, Oklahoma; Yates, who is the wife of Jeff Pennington,
assistant cashier of the First State Bank at Hollis; Johnnie, wife of
Thomas Grissom, a druggist at Hollis;
Rob, wife of Elmer Sheppard, a cotton buyer at Brady, Texas; Sam, who
is in the automobile business at Hollis; and Mott, a freshman in the
state university at Norman.
Ernest L. Keys was
about seven years old when the family moved to Texas, and he acquired
his early education in the public schools of Johnson and Ellis
Counties, attending the high schools at Waxahachie and Alvarado. In
1895 he also took a business course in Sherman, Texas, under
Professor J. W. Mayham. In September of that year he began buying
cotton,.and now for twenty years has never been entirely out of that
line of business. The first year was spent at Midlothian, Texas, then
three years at Venus, Texas, and in 1898 he identified himself with
the new and growing town of Shawnee, Oklahoma. Since 1901 his home
has been at Wynnewood, and here he has prospered and built up a large
and flourishing enterprise as a hardware merchant and cotton buyer.
He has been quite active in local affairs, served as a member of the
city council four years, and in April, 1914, was elected mayor for a
term of two years. He is a democrat in politics, is a steward in the
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and is affiliated with Wynnewood
Lodge No. 40, Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons, the Valley of
Guthrie Consistory No. 1 in the fourteenth degree of Scottish Rite,
with Bethel Lodge No. 109, Knights of Pythias at Wynnewood, of which
he is past chancellor commander.
At Lawton, Oklahoma,
in 1903, Mr. Keys married Miss Junia F. Worley. Her father was the
late A. J. Worley, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church,
South, who was the first presiding elder appointed in the Oklahoma
Conference. To their marriage have been born two children: Helen,
born July 19, 1904, and Virginia, born May 9, 1909, both now in the