The Families of Adam Keith

The Founders and Pioneers


Franklin Twp., Richland Co. OH

John Leedy [1779-1851]/Elizabeth Keith Leedy [1789-1870]


Ancestry: Adam Keith1>Adam Keith2>Lewis Keith3>Elizabeth [Keith] m. [John] Leedy4


LEEDY, JOHN (deceased). The progenitor of the Leedy family now in the United States came from Switzerland, and settled in Maryland; his name was Abraham Leedy, and there were five children in his family; one son, named Abraham, after his parent, is the father of the Leedys residing in Ohio. John, the subject of our sketch, was born in Maryland Sept. 10, 1770, 79, and, when a few years old, his father moved to Bedford Co., Penn., and settled in Morrison's Cove; he was brought up a farmer, but early learned the art of distilling. On March 4, 1806, he was married to Elisabeth Keith, who was born near Coffee Run, Penn., and she was then 17 years old; her father's name was Lewis Keath, and her mother's Mary Saltsman. remains of her husband near Ankneytown, Ohio.

In 1810, Mr. Leedy visited Richland Co., and, in 1811, moved, landing upon Sec. 35 June 6 : his wagon was used as a residence until a log cabin was erected ; in 1812, he set up a still and commenced the manufacture of spirits, which was the first one put in operation in the county. The excitement caused by the Zimmer tragedy prompted him to leave his habitation in 1812, and he removed to the block-house at Fredericktown, where he remained about nine days. The forest was rapidly cleared away around his dwelling, and the ground devoted to agriculture; the still, which he operated in connection, proved a valuable auxiliary, as the grain could be converted into liquor, which met with a ready sale to the Indians.

He remained upon the farm until 1836, when he left it and opened a hotel in Bellville, occupying the building is which the Exchange Bank is quartered; here he remained about six years, and then returned to his farm, and died Sept. 6, 1851. He owned 640 acres of land; was one of the first Trustees of Jefferson when it embraced three townships; bold and resolute, knowing no fear, and, in his years of age, weighed 360 pounds. His children are Lewis, Catharine, Susan, Mary, Abraham, Samuel, Margaret, Rosan, John, Sarah and David ; they all grew up and were married, except David; who died young ; the daughters all moved West after marriage, with the exception of Catharine, who married Samuel Garber, and died in Jefferson Township. Mother Leedy died in Indiana at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. Spayd, and was interred with the remains of her husband near Ankneytown.


John Leedy, was known as "Big John," weighing well over three hundred pounds. He was one of the earliest settlers of Richland County, Ohio.


The first election district, named Jefferson [Richland Co. OH], was organized August 9, 1814, and was twelve miles wide and eighteen miles long, embracing six Congressional townships. namely: Jefferson, Perry, Congress, North Blooming Grove, Troy and Washington. So rapidly this territory was settled, that a new election district seemed proper, and, September 5, 1814. the territory in question was divided. and the north half received the name of Troy. This left to Jefferson three townships the, present Jefferson, Perry and Congress ; and while it retained this boundary one election was held. Michael Shuey, Benjamin Potts and John Leedy were chosen Trustees, and William Spears, Clerk.


From the biography of Samuel Garber [son-in-law, married John/Elizabeth’s daughter Catherine]


Mrs. Garber's father, John Leedy, came into Richland County in 1810, and in June, 1811, located on Section 35. The bears, wolves, and Indians were their most frequent visitors, the latter the most friendly. Twelve children were reared by this pioneer, and some of them remember and narrate many thrilling incidents of the frontier times. When the Indians went away from here to their reservation westward they shook hands, and even shed tears at parting with this excellent family. In the war of 1812, Mr. Leedy, Sr., stayed at home, though against his will, for he was north of the boundary line, considered a frontiersman, and ordered to stay at home. He sent a rifle, though, to the blockhouse at Mansfield, and his teams to Fort Meigs with provisions.