Elisha Burns Keyes was born November 28, 1849, son of Elisha Barrus
born March 28, 1806 and Joanna Case Worden, born February 17, 1822. he was one of a
family of seven: Celia Annette, Mary Martha, Sarah Ann, Elisha Burns, Hyrum Henry and
Joanna Isabell. His parents lived in the most adverse conditions, having been driven
across the Mississippi River with the Saints. Living as best they could, part of the time
without shelter and not enough to eat. Here they lived for five years. It was under
adverse circumstances that Elisha Burns was born. He came to Utah when he was four
years old with his parents in the Eli B. Kelsey Company. They arrived in Salt Lake City
on October 17, 1852.
His father Elisha Barrus was gored by an ox en route to Utah and never fully
recovered. He (Elisha Burns) lived in Salt Lake City with his parents, his father working
of the Salt Lake Temple, during this time they had very little to eat and it told on the
They moved to Provo in the spring of 1855 where his father died September 27,
1855. The family then moved to Ogden and after a time he went to live with Bishop
Valentine, his mother having married again and apparently his step father was quite
disagreeable to him.
When the railroad was being constructed he worked on it, first as a water boy and
then as a regular laborer. He was at Promontory Point (1869) at the time of the driving of
the golden spike. On the true picture you see him standing on one of the engines leaning
against the smoke stack. In the meantime, his mother had moved with her family to
Parowan. After he quit work on the railroad, he returned to Ogden Valley for a time,
where he owned some property.
Soon after that he went to Parowan to visit his mother where he courted and
married Lillis Louisa Barney, who was working for Brother Dunn, who was president of
the Parowan Stake. President Dunn performed the marriage ceremony on January 30,
1871. Later they went with a team and wagon to Salt Lake City and were endowed and
sealed. This occurred on Feb. 27, 1871. They went to Ogden and disposed of his
property, then moved to Pine Valley. He worked there during the summer of 1871 as a
carpenter. It was in Pine Valley that their first don Edson Elisha was born on November
25, 1875. During this time Elisha Burns Keyes worked awhile at mines in Pioche, Nevada
whenever he was near Pine Valley.
He moved to Vermillion, Utah in 1877, here Hyrum Barrus was born on April 2,
1878. He died in January 1879. Then Lawrence Eugene was born on January 17, 1880
and died on September 8, 1880. While Elisha Burns lived there, he worked at farming and
took quite an interest in church work, being in the Mutual Presidency and in other offices.
It was then that Junius Wilford was born on February 5, 1882. It was during the summer
of 1882 that Elisha Burns worked on the Manti Temple. Later Celia May was born on
May 21, 1884.
He moved to Annabella, Utah in the summer of 1884. He was engaged in sheep
raising and farming until the depression of 1895, when he disposed of the sheep. Then in
connection with farming he freighted from Juab to Marysvale and to Pioche. During the
time here, Peter LeRoy was born on February 26, 1888. He died on November 9, 1918
from wounds received in the battle of the Argonne Forest. Later came Louisa Pearl, born
on November 14, 1891. Then came Grant Zenas, born on February 14, 1895.
After the railroad entered the Sevier Valley, he worked in the timber, getting out
ties. He also worked in the construction of the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake
railroad. He was a High Priest in the Annabella Ward where for years he took an active
part in church affairs. He died in Annabella on April 11, 1911.
He was a true example of his forefathers, who according to history (Encyclopedia
of Heraldry, by Burke) were of religious tendencies and were noted for their
understanding, integrity, ambition, piety, energy, moral and physical strength, will power,
kindness, courageousness and leadership. According to the Officers of the Continental
Army, by Heitman, those who were in the War of the Revolution were Captain Benjamin
Keyes of Mass., Adjutant John Keyes of Conn. and Capt. William Keyes of New
Hampshire. One of the first pilgrims here was Robert Keyes, who landed in Mass. in