Wednesday, September 30, 2009

C. C. Keech

Christopher Columbus Keech was born in New York, but by the 1850’s he had moved to Sandusky, where he had a business selling caps, hats and furs. Helen Hansen wrote in her book AT HOME IN EARLY SANDUSKY that C. C. Keech helped care for the sick and bury the dead during the cholera epidemics of 1849 and 1852.

“Oak Grove Villa” was the name of the stone house built by C. C. Keech in 1854, located on South Hayes Avenue. Eventually the Keech home became part of Sandusky’s Providence Hospital, which was later acquired by Firelands Regional Medical Center.

Mr. Keech married Louisa M. Carr in 1849. After her death, he married Mattie Scheidel. During his life, C. C. Keech was a generous man, donating money to area churches and hospitals. Mrs. Hansen wrote, “When C. C. Keech died it was said his gifts to charity probably surpassed those of any citizen before or during his lifetime.”

The July 1888 issue of the “Firelands Pioneer” states that C. C. Keech was among the “earliest and earnest friends” of the Underground Railroad of the Firelands. The Underground Railroad was a network of individuals who aided slaves from the Southern states make their way to freedom in Canada. Many fugitive slaves passed through Sandusky until they could secure passage across Lake Erie to Canada. Many leading citizens of Erie County were involved in this activity, including lawyers, ship captains, and business men. C. C. Keech died on May 31, 1891. He is buried in Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery.

Mr. Keech ran this ad in the 1855 Sandusky City Directory.

Below is the inscription on the Keech monument which honors Louisa Keech.


JamaGenie said...

I wasn't aware slaves went all the way to Canada on the Undergound Railroad.

Dorene from Ohio said...

It was a really big operation here in Northern Ohio!