Keith, Fleury F.


Fleury F. Keith was born in Jefferson County, New York around 1822. He was named after his father, a farmer who served for two years in the New York State Assembly. According to a local history of Pamelia, New York, Fleury’s father “raised a large family of children [that] widely scattered” (Haddock).    

Fleury headed to the mines of California in 1850. It is likely that he had already married Elizabeth Collins, also a New York native, who was born around 1829. Fleury apparently did not stay long in California, but returned east and lived in Indiana for at least the next thirty years. He worked as a merchant, market operator, and, by 1880, as a grain dealer. His home in Terre Haute was at that time the grain center of Indiana.

It does not appear that Fleury and Elizabeth had any children. The available Indiana censuses of 1860 and 1880 only list Elizabeth’s brother, Elbridge, in the household.

Fleury moved to California in 1891 to retire, where he lived on a fruit farm in San Jose. His grandniece, Jean Bartholomew Innis, wrote that she attended the Keith’s Golden Wedding Anniversary in 1893. While Fleury and Elizabeth probably did celebrate such an anniversary, to do so in 1893 would have meant that Elizabeth was fourteen years old when they wed. There are no available records to verify or contradict Jean’s recollection.

Fleury died in 1896 at the age of seventy-four and was buried in a family plot at the old San Jose cemetery. Elizabeth does not appear in either the California or Indiana 1900 Censuses, suggesting that she too had died by this time.


1860 Indiana Census (Flurey F. Keith, Wabash, ParkeCounty, 460).

1880 Indiana Census (Fleury F. Keith, Terre Haute, VigoCounty, 351B).        

Haddock, John A. The Growth of a Century. Albany, N.Y.: Weed Parsons Print Company, 1895.

Keith, Fleury F. Two Argonauts on the Oregon Trail: A Journal of Crossing the Plains. Menlo Park, CA: Amargosa Memorial Library, 1961.