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The Keister Family History


From Pennsylvania to Virginia

Frederick Keister arrived in Philadelphia in 1737 on the Virginia Dare, then moved to Lancaster, PA. His son and grandson, Philip and Peter were in Rockingham Co., VA in the 1780s and 1790s before moving to Montgomery Co., VA in 1800. Before the Europeans arrived, this Shenandoah Valley trail, followed by so many immigrants, was the Great Indian Warpath.  With the arrival of the Europeans, the trail became known as the Great Wagon Road.  Today, interstate 81 through Virginia roughly follows this route.








A Family Clock


This clock has been passed down through the Keister family for generations.  Family tradition is that it was brought with the family as they traveled down the Shenandoah Valley from Pennsylvania to Montgomery County, VA in the latter half of the eighteenth century. 


The presumed line the clock has passed through (since it ended up with my grandmother) is Philip Keister (c. 1730-c. 1814), Peter Keister, Sr. (c. 1765-1839), Peter Keister, Jr. (1802-aft. 1870),  David P. Keister (1830-bef. 1910), Walter Henderson Keister (1869-1938), Harry Price Keister (1902-1954) and finally Harry Keister’s wife, Margaret  Howell Keister (1908-1992).  In Peter Keister’s will of  1839, a clock is mentioned among his possessions which may be this same clock. 


This was a working clock for perhaps 200 years.  As late as the 1980s it was on the mantle at my grandmother’s house and the last thing she did before going to bed each night was to wind this clock.


The clock shows two soldiers sitting on tree stumps around what appears to be a drum.  The one on the left has just rolled dice on the drum.  The metal has “U. S. A.” stamped on the inside of the base while the clock face has “Liberty” (a brand name or maybe a sentiment) and “Wurtemberg” written on it.




Records Relating to the Keister Family


24 September 1787      Rockingham County, VA

            Deed of B & S ... Ack'd to Phillip Kester ...


22 October 1787         Rockingham County, VA                                                                                                         

Deed of B & S to Pet. Kester, was Ack'd ...


24 Nov'r 1788             Rockingham County, VA

A grand jury for the body of this County, to wit: ... Phillip Kester...


Dec 1789                     Rockingham County, VA

            Deed of B & S ... to Peter Kester


Rockingham County Marriages, VA

            Peter Kester and Elizabeth Schreyer- ----1798 con. Lewis wit. Susan?


Rockingham County, VA

            81-Kester, Peter          Eliz. Schreyer; (German)Lewis, (German)cn.    Sus. Schrever, wt.


1792 Dec 24    Philip Kester as bondsman


24 Dec 1792    Rockingham County, VA

            Peter Kester app’d to appraise the estate of the s’d Deceased in Currant money & Make report                                   thereof to the Court.


28 Jan 1793     Rockingham County, VA

            ... Peter Kester ... being first sworn be appointed to view the same and make a report of the                              conveniences and inconvienences


25 Feb 1794

Peter Kester & John Tutwiler wit's Sum'd for WOOLF vs. WASS fined Nise for their non att’ce.


From Early Adventurers on the Western Waters-Kegley

1800    PHILIP KEISTER from John McCall and Margaret, 65 acres on small branch of Tom's Creek


1800    PHILIP KEISTER from John Preston and Francis Preston, executors of William Preston deceased, and executor of James Patton, deceased, 111 acres on a small branch of Tom's Creek


1800    PETER KEISTER from Jacob Scilar (Sailar) and his wife, Mary, 173 acres on Tom's Creek


1804 Sept 6     PHILIP BUMGARDNER and BETSEY KESTER, sur. Philip Bariger, consent of father Philip Chester (his mark) for daughter Betsey


1809 June 12   ALEXANDER PRICE, JUNR. and ELISABETH KESTER, sur Michael Price and Peter Kester (German script)


1814 Nov 4     JOHN KEESTER and SALLY MARTIN, sur. Philip Keester and Barbara Martin


1815 Dec 2      FREDERICK BARGER and SALLY KEESTER, daughter of Peter Keester, sur. Peter Keester; James P. Preston certified Frederick for whom he was appointed guardian "is now to the best of my belief of age or above 21 years old. He has made a title to land to his mother who knows his age from accurate recollection."


1819 Dec 22    PHILIP BARGER and POLLY KEISTER, sur. Peter Keister (signed in German)


1825 Aug 25 ISAAC HENDERLITER and SUSAN KESTER, sur. George Kester; consent of (father?)                                  Philip Kester





Later Marriages from Montgomery County, VA Marriage Registry

   Date                   County                          Husband/Wife                                  Age            Status        

Dec 23,1875    Montgomery     Harvey G. Harless/Fannie Keister      W     18/21     Single/Single

POB                Residence                     Parents                                     Occ.                Ceremony

Montgomery     Montgomery     H & F? Harless/DP & LL Keister         Farmer             S.R. Smith


Jan.2, 1879      Montgomery     Miles Barker/Eliza C. Keister           W   23/20    Single/Single

Henry/Mont.     Montgomery     GL & V Barker/DP & LL Keister        Farmer             GH Thompson


Sep.3, 1902     Montgomery     Shelton Keister/Annetta Burk           W   28/23     Single

Montgomery      Montgomery   David & Lou Keister/Jos.& Emaline Burk                     Farmer


Jan.6, 1904      Montgomery     Charles E. Keister/Fannie Howard      W            27/22     Single

Montgomery     Montgomery     DP & Emma Keister/Jno. W. & Viola Howard             RR Employee              




The Keister Family History

Excerpts-Keister Family

Keister VA Census Records