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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company; Elwood Roberts, Editor.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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N. BYRON KEYSER, the well known miller of Lower Providence, is descended from one of the oldest settled families of Eastern Pennsylvania. He was born where he now lives on the old homestead, December 29, 1855. He was reared to farm and milling pursuits, and was educated in the common schools of the vicinity.

He is a son of Peter and Caroline G. (Croll) Keyser, she of Valley Forge, and he the son of John and Margaret (Spare) Keyser, both of Montgomery county, and also of German descent. N. Byron Keyser is the fifth generation of his family in Pennsylvania, which came during colonial days from Europe. Of the first family of settlers all were massacred by the Indians except Peter Keyser, from whom Mr. Keyser’s family are descended. John Keyser (grandfather) was a prominent farmer, who resided and died in Skippack township. He accumulated a considerable estate, king a member of the Dunkard church, and well known and highly respected in his neighborhood. His children: Peter (father); Henry, Catharine, John and Hannah.

Peter Keyser (father) was born and lived until his death in Montgomery county. He died in 1885. He was a man who believed that he should earn his bread by the sweat of his brow, and always practiced that belief. He was a millwright, and followed his trade for seventeen years. After his marriage he rented the mill where his son, N. Byron Keyser, now lives, known as the Croll mill, on the Skippack creek and the Germantown pike. After renting it for several years Mr. Keyser bought it and the farm. He replaced all the buildings, and also built a new mill and made the whole farm up-to-date. The farm has been a site for a mill since the earliest settling of the country, and is considered a landmark. Keyser’s Mill is well known to the present generation for many miles around. Peter Keyser was not a church member until he was baptized late in life by the Presbyterian minister, Rev. Rodenbach, and his last days were spent in peace in the knowledge of a well spent life. Early in life he attended the Philadelphia market. He was a Whig and a Republican. His wife died at the old home in 1896. She was a daughter of Joshua Croll, whose father was the original owner of the farm and mill now owned by Mr. Keyser. Joshua Croll was a gunsmith by trade, and worked for the government during the Civil war, and also managed the farm. After retiring from this farm he made two moves and died in the borough of Trappe. He belonged to the Reformed church and was a Republican. The children of Joshua Croll: Caroline G. (mother); Albert G., Calvin, Mary A. (Mrs. C. A. Rittenhouse), whose husband was a minister in the Reformed church, and Hannah (Mrs. John Steinbright).

The children of Peter and Caroline G. (Croll) Keyser: Henrietta (Mrs. W. O. Hunsberger); Lydia C. (Mrs. B. J. Bowman); Bosora (Mrs. J. K. Kulp); N. Byron, the subject of this sketch; Caroline, married Mr. Leisengang, and died soon afterwards; Amelia C., married E. C. Wambold; Charles R., a farmer; Sadie C. (Mrs. J. J. Thomas); Albert C., a merchant, and now in the United States mint at Philadelphia; Isadora, died at the age of nine months. Mrs. Keyser was baptized in infancy in the Reformed church.

N. Byron Keyser still continues in the business to which he was reared and which his father inaugurated. He does a general farming and grinding grain, flour, feed and cake meal business, and distributing ice during the season when it is needed. He obtained the farm and mill by will, and by buying the shares of the other heirs. He has erected additional buildings, and is carrying on the business with great energy. He supplies all the surrounding country with his work, and gives attention to feeding hogs and steers for market, also raising some. He was compelled to abandon the dairy business on account of lack of time. In politics he is a Republican, but always gives his support to the man that he thinks will best fill the office. He is a member of the Patriotic Order of Sons of America and of the Beneficial Society.

Mr. Keyser has been twice married. His first wife was Amanda U. Gurges, daughter of Anthony Gurges. She was married in January, 1884, and died in May of the same year. For his second wife Mr. Keyser married Miss Kate K. Hawk, who was born at Skippack village, and is the daughter of Emmanuel and Eva (Shull) Hawk, both of Montgomery county. Mr. Hawk was a farmer and later a carpenter and mill-wright. He still lives at Skippackville, where he holds the office of town clerk. He is a strong Republican. The children of Emmanuel and Eva (Shull) Hawk: Kate K. (Mrs. Keyser); Minerva (Mrs. T. J. Sibert); Lillia, still unmarried; Sallie (Mrs. Ulysses M. Godshall), and Abraham, died young.

Mr. and Mrs. Keyser have had one child, Rachael May, born in 1887, and died in July of the same year at the age of three months. They are members of the Reformed church of Skippackville.

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This family biography is one of more than 1,000 biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company.  For the complete description, click here: Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

View additional Montgomery County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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