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 public schools.