ELBERT C. KEITH
History of Idaho, Volume 2, by Hiram T. French, M.S.
The Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago and New York 1914, Page 774-775
In the business circles of Payette, Idaho, and of Canyon county, Elbert C. Keith is of high standing and is well known as the head of the firm of E. C. Keith and Son, which conducts the only establishment of Payette devoted exclusively to handling clothing and gents' furnishings and has one of the finest concerns of its kind in Canyon county. Mr. Keith came to Payette in 1902 and in the decade that has passed since then has enjoyed marked prosperity; he feels that Idaho meets the right kind of men half way, and even more, with opportunity.
By paternal descent Mr. Keith comes of Scotch ancestors that upon immigrating to this country settled in Massachusetts. Born July 12, 1853, in Marquette county, Wisconsin, he is a son of Sumner M. Keith, who was a native of Ohio, born in 1828, and came to Wisconsin, about 1850, being one of the pioneer settlers in his section of that state. The latter was a farmer and was moderately successful there, but in 1860 continued westward to Blue Earth county, Minnesota, and remained in that vicinity until his death in Blue Earth county of that state in 1906. In Wisconsin Sumner M. Keith, the father, married Mary Brierly, who was a native of that state and was of English lineage. She died in Marquette county, Wisconsin, in 1856, leaving Elbert C. as her only child. His early life was spent on a farm and his education was received in the rural schools of Blue Earth county, Minnesota.
On attaining his majority Mr. Keith removed to South Dakota and located in Lake county, where for a time he followed farming and where he served one term as county clerk and two terms as county auditor. Later he engaged in newspaper work for a short time in Madison, Lake county, as editor and proprietor of the Madison Independent, and it was upon severing this connection that he removed with his family to Payette, Idaho, locating there on October 1, 1902. Shortly afterward he established his present business and for ten years had been most prosperous. His store is modern in its every appointment, well fitted out with tasteful and convenient fixtures such as cases, fitting parlors, etc., and is an establishment that would be a credit to a city many, many times the size of Payette. This is in accord, however, with the western way of doing things and is the spirit that has made the term Westerner synonymous with that of progressiveness.
Mr. Keith is a member of the Payette Commercial Club and earnestly supports every project that means the upbuilding of Payette and of Idaho. He feels that there are no terms too strong to express the great opportunities of this section of the state, both commercially and industrially, and that any one interested in horticulture can easily make a living from a ten-acre tract and at the same time be developing an orchard on the greater part of it. It takes ability, courage and a large capacity for work, however, for any man to succeed anywhere, and these are the qualities by which Mr. Keith, starting in life with no resources but a good mind and willing hands, has forged steadily ahead toward his present substantial standing. Such men are the strength of Idaho. Mr. Keith is a Democrat in political views but takes no active part in political affairs and has declined all overtures to become a candidate for official preferment.
On November, 28, 1898, at Mankato, Minnesota, Mr. Keith was happily married to Miss Alice Perry, a daughter of Samuel S. Perry and a native of Minnesota. Mr. and Mrs. Keith have seven children, namely: Walter S., who is conducting a similar business in Emmett, Idaho, known as E. C. Keith & Sons; Robert M., a keen and alert young business man associated with his father in conducting the business of E. C. Keith and Son; Eugene G.; Ray G.; Zadie; Nellie and Wayne. The family affiliate with the Baptist church at Payette.