John Keith>UIS Collection K-M>UIS Collection K-M, Segment 1


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Born in 1894 on farm in Montgomery County in Grisham Township. Was 5th of 7 children. Had three older sisters and two brothers, and one older sister who died young. Helped father farm since he was 5 years old. Played near the field and would help cool his father with water if he passed out due to heart condition. Father would plow with two horses until they were tired, then hook up two other horses and keep going. Father would pass out for between 10-30 minutes, anywhere in the field, at unpredictable times, but father would sometimes feel an attack starting and he would stop plowing and sit down. Father would keep plowing after an attack.
Started school year after corn was shucked and ended when farming started in spring. Never had a full term of school. Did not learn much in school, but feels the effects of it still. Thinks he would have been a better speller. Did not understand grammar. Younger brothers went to school full years because Mr. Keith would farm with father. Believes he was closer to his father than the other children. Sisters went through school and two sisters taught at rural schools after passing an 8th grade test.
Kept a few cattle and hogs. Milked cows, separated milk by putting it in crocks and keeping it in the basement. Mother churned every day. Usually had older people in the home and grandmother cared for by parents. Three people aged 90+ died in their home. Mother died at 60. Father remarried and that wife died 3-4 years afterwards.