Albert Lee Keys was born at Rockdale, Texas, on November 23, 1900. His parents, Jerry Lewis Keys (1857-1928) and Rebecca Hamilton Keys (1864-1953) had come to Texas from Kentucky. Albert is the youngest in a family with seven other children: Minnie May Keys (1884-1962), Lizzie Bell Keys White (1887-1962), Joe David Keys (1889—1973), Kate Keys Curry (1891-1978), John Keys (1892-1968), Archie Wallace Keys (1894-1984), and Annie Jane Keys (1899-1899).
In the fall of 1907, the Keys family moved to Tom Green County and the Mullens School community. Around 1911, they moved to Wall and rented land from A.W. Howard. After buying one place in 1916, in 1920 they bought the current Keys farm, 196 acres 12 miles from San Angelo and 1.5 miles east of Wall.
Albert attended Wall School until 1918. He went to Arizona in 1920 to play basketball but returned after six months to farm. After his father died he provided a home for his mother and two oldest sisters. During over fifty years of active farming, Albert expanded the acreage in cultivation (from about eighty acres originally, getting some help clearing mesquite from the W.P.A. in the 1930s) and bought out his siblings' shares in the property. He remembers Highway 87 in front of the house first being blacktopped in 1928.In 1935, Albert met Frances Mulkey (born June 17, 1911), the daughter of Homer Temple Mulkey (1884-1916) and Ellla Cochran Mulkey (1883-1962). Frances had just graduated from the University of Texas and accepted a teaching position at Wall. Although she returned to her hometown, Coleman, Texas, after two years to teach there, he continued to court her. They were married in Coleman on August 30, 1945 and made their home at the farm in the house build by the Keys in 1930 and remodeled in 1962.
Albert and Frances have one daughter, Kay Elaine Keys (born December 9, 1947). Kay holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Texas; she lives in Austin and works with computer systems for the State.
Seven years into marriage, Frances returned to teaching at Wall School, working with seventh, fifth, and third graders. In all, she taught almost thirty years.
Albert and Frances have been very active in Wall and San Angelo community life. They are longtime members of the First Methodist Church in San Angelo. Albert became a Rotarian on February 9, 1943, and has received such awards as Rotarian of the Year (1965-1966). Frances has participated in groups ranging form the Las Hermanas Club to the Daughters of the American Revolution to the Retired Teachers' Association. Among their friends is Aune Paarma of Imatra, Finland, with whom Frances has corresponded and exchanged first day covers for many years; they visited Finland in 1978. Albert long served as Democratic precinct chairman in Wall and manages the Wall Cemetery Association.
As published in:
Tom Green County Historical Preservation League, Inc., Tom Green County: Chronicles of Our Heritage; Volume Two: Family Histories (Abilene, TX: H. V. Chapman & Sons, 2003), "Keys, Albert", pp. 241-242.
On a personal note:
The Texas Sesquicentennial Committee was established by Executive Order of the Governor of the State of Texas in order to celebrate Texas' annexation to the United States on December 29, 1845; various events for this 150th bithday of Texas were held in 1986, and in 1987 the Tom Green County Historical Preservation League started assembling content for a publication. As it happened, on the morning of July 4, 1987, I was at home in Wall typing up a draft of the article above prior to driving to San Angelo to visit my mother in the hospital. She passed into death that morning with my father at her side.
Return to Albert & Frances Keys
See also Albert Lee Keys and Frances Mulkey Keys.