The Keyser Family

The information on this page was originally part of the Genealogical Society of Page County (GSPC) website. GSPC was dissolved in 2005. Permission has been granted for use by Teresa Kelley


The following article is taken from the microfilm files of the Page News and Courier April 29, 1897
it is not known whether all documented information is correct and it is being reproduced as written by columnist "JUMBO."


The Keyser family whose ancestors were among the first white settlers of this Valley. Charles Keyser, from whom all the Keysers in the Valley of Virginia descended, came from Germany as a soldier in the service of Great Britain, to fight against the French and Indians. He participated in a battle near Pittsburg July 9th, 1755. He afterwards served in the Quartermaster's department of Braddock's army. He married a Miss Shelley in Philadelphia, and came to what is now the Page Valley, and settled on Mill Creek. He subsequently bought property near the mouth of the Hawksbill, on the opposite side of the River, where he in 1765 built the old house on the farm now owned by Mrs. Dolly Brubaker, and occupied by W.W. Wood, Esq., where he died in 1777, aged about 70 years. He raised three sons, Charles, Andrew, and John.

Charles lived and died on the old homestead. His two only sons, David and John went West, and settled in Ohio.

Andrew entered the American army under General Green as a private in February, 1781, and for gallantry on the fields of Guilford Court House and Eutaw Springs was promoted to Major. After the war of the Revolution he married Sarah Rinehart, who died in 1820. His children were: Noah, who married Anna Roads; George married Esther Hershberger; Peter's wife was Mary Ortz, of Shenandoah County, and his second wife Nancy Fray, of Madison County, Andrew married as his first wife Polly Brubaker, his second wife was Julia Cox; Charles married Amanda Haun, who is still living, though now past her four score years. Andrew Keyser died in Nov. 1833, aged 75 years. A few years before his death he was baptized into the fellowship of the Big Spring Church (five miles northwest of Luray) and lived an exemplary Christian life. In politics, Mr. Keyser was a Democrat of the old Jeffersonian school. Of his children Noah was the oldest, and married Anna Roads; of his seven sons, Jacob went west and settled; Joseph, better known to our people as "Captain Joe," died on his farm near Hope Mills (three miles north of Luray), a few years ago; he was unmarried. John also died having never married. Andrew married Miss Lucy Roads, who with her son, Rev. William H. Keyser of Luray, survive him, he having died in 1891, on his fine farm at Hope Mills. William married Mary Shenk; he owned the old homestead at Sandy Hook, near Hope Mills. He was the father of Mrs. R.T. Brumback and Edward T. Keyser, Esq., of this county. He died some years ago, leaving a very interesting family. Edward married a Miss Williams, and lives in Rappahannock. His son Hubert, is at present deputy sheriff of that county. George's family consisted of two sons and two daughters. John H. Keyser, the oldest of the boys owned a fine farm near Compton, where he died in April 1871. Isaac A. Keyser owned a good farm on the River west of Rileyville. The farm is now owned by his son, George W. Keyser, Esq., with whom Mr. Keyser now makes his home. Rachael married Wesley Bell, an account of whose tragic death appeared in the columns of The Courier not long since. Anna married Isaac Koontz, Sr.; she with her husband died at their home near Newport, in the upper end of the county. Colonel Andrew Keyser, who was named for his father, inherited a portion of the old home place, where he died in 1876.

Andrew H. Keyser was twice married; his first wife was Polly Brubaker a sister of the later Peter Brubaker, of Massanutton, and Jacob Brubaker, of the Hawksbill section, also long since deceased. She was the mother of six children--four sons and two daughters. Of the sons, John W., better known as John Will, is a prominent merchant in Missouri. He was for some years a member of the wholesale dry goods firm of J.H. Ware and Co., St. Louis. Thomas J. lives in California. At the beginning of the late war he was a member of Co. D, 7th Regiment, VA Cavalry. He subsequently made up a company and was Captain of Co. G., 3rd Battalion, Va. Cavalry, (of which Co. your scribe was a member). Joseph (Rola Joe) was a gallant Confederate soldier, a member of Co. K, 10th Regiment, Va. Infantry. He was a jolly, good fellow. He married a Miss Williams after the war and emigrated to Missouri, where he died several years ago from consumption. Peter B. went to California during the gold excitement of 1849. Peter B. Keyser returned to Virginia after the war, remained a few years and went to Texas, where he married and now resides. Of the girls, Bettie married R.T. Brumback, Esq., of this community, and died in May, 1886. She was a most estimable woman, and of precious memory to many yet living. Pamily A. married a Mr. Huddle and settled in Texas. Of the children by the second wife Sallie married Mr. Joseph Nalle, a wealthy lumberman of Austin, Texas. Euphemia married a Mr. Richardson, also of Texas. Emma married a Mr. Thompson, and lives in Effingham, Illinois. Henry the youngest child, lives in Texas. Charles Keyser, the younger son of Major Andrew Keyser, as stated elsewhere in this letter, married Amanda Haun. Their only child, Miss Belle, married Dr. J.C. Brubaker, and now occupies a part of the old homestead. Mr. Keyser died in October, 1891, aged 82 years, in the house built by his grandfather in the year 1765--now one hundred and thirty two years ago!

Continued with Issue 13 May 1897

We omitted to state in our last that Col. Andrew Keyser represented Page County in the Legislature two sessions--1859 and 1861.

Peter Keyser, son of Maj. Andrew Keyser, was born on the farm now owned by G.T. Long, Esq., April 12, 1793, and died near Rileyville on 7 November 1870, in the 78th year of his age. The writer knew him intimately, and had the honor of being one of the pall bearers at his funeral. He was an excellent citizen and by industry and economy he amassed quite a fortune for those days. He was twice married: by his first wife he had two sons--B.F. Keyser, who died in September 1884, on his farm, at Rileyville. Mr. Keyser at the time of his death and for several years prior thereto was a Justice of the Peace for this (Springfield) District. He married Lydia Keyser, daughter of Alexander Keyser. Their only daughter, Miss Mary, married Mr. V.S. Finnell, and they now reside on the Old Homestead.

Henry Keyser, second son of Peter Keyser, was for several years Constable for the Springfield district prior to the late war. He went to California, where he married; he visited Virginia in 1886, and died soon after returning home. By his second wife Mr. Keyser raised eight children--five sons and three daughters. Ephraim married Miss Caroline Shenk. He was an excellent citizen. He raised a large family of children, and has been making his home with them since the death of his wife, which occurred several years ago. He inherited a portion of his father's large estate which he sold to Mr. A.B. Fleming, several years since.

Charles Madison, the second son, married Miss Martha Carpenter, of Madison County. He owns a fine farm near Compton. He has been a Justice of the Peace for Springfield District for fourteen years, and is one among our oldest and best citizens. He has a large and interesting family.

John W., the third son, entered the Confederate army at the beginning of the war as a member of the Dixie Artillery (Capt. John K. Booton's Company) and fell in defense of the Lost Cause in June, 1862, during the seven days' fight around Richmond. He was a most excellent young man. His remains were removed from the battlefield a few years after his death and interred in the family graveyard.

Joseph W., the fourth son, well known through Page County, inherited a portion of the old homestead, where he spent his entire life. His sad and sudden death, which took place April 30, 1896, a full account of which appeared in the columns of The Courier at that time, is well remembered by our people. He married Miss Sallie, daughter of Alexander Keyser, who still survives him.

Peter J., the fifth and youngest son, owns the mansion house of his father. He is basking n the sunshine of single blessedness, and is one of our best citizens. During the latter years of "the late unpleasantness" he was 2nd Lieutenant of Co. G., 3rd Battalion, Va. Cavalry.

Of the daughters, Miss Martha married A.B. Fleming, Esq., who owns a fine farm near Rileyville, a portion of the original Peter Keyser homestead. Miss Sallie married Mr. George Strother, of Faquier county, where she now resides. Miss Hester Ann married Capt. Jacob Carvell, a brother of Governor Carvell, of Prince Edwards' Island. They also own and reside on a portion of the old Keyser homestead.

Of Major Andrew Keyser's daughters--Miss Sallie and Mary, (Polly) married brothers--Henry and John Cullers. Polly was the mother of our countryman, Harvey Cullers, Esq., of Sandy Hook, this county, and grandmother of Mr. R.M. Cullers of Big Spring.

John Keyser, son of Charles Keyser, and brother of Major Andrew Keyser of Revolutionary War, was known as "Country Line John," he having lived near the line between Rockingham and Shenandoah counties before the formation of Page County. Two of his sons--Christopher and Alexander--lived and died in the upper end of Page County. Christopher was a minister of the Old School Baptist Church and father of Dr. H.M. Keyser, of Honeyville, this county, who is so well and favorably known to the people throughout the county. He has for many years become a leading physician in his section of the county, and has represented Page in the State Legislature several times. He was for some years the efficient Superintendent of public schools for the county, but owing to declining health he has been compelled to retire from active business life.

Alexander Keyser, at one time a prominent farmer of the county, lived and died on his farm near Honeyville. Of his sons, John and Daniel went West John locating in Hancock County, Illinois, and Daniel settling in Johnson County, Missouri. Harvey lives near the old home place in this county. Hamilton owns the old homestead. He is at present a member of the county Board of Supervisors from Shenandoah Iron Works district. William, the youngest son, was a Confederate soldier, and received a wound from which he died several years after the close of the war.

Of the girls, Miss Lydia married B.F. Keyser, Esq., as before stated, She died a few years since at her home near Rileyville. Miss Sallie married Mr. Joseph W. Keyser, now deceased. She still survives him on her farm west of the River, near Rileyville.