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Sarah Keyes (Hanley)

Also Known As: "Grandma Keyes"
Birthplace: Greenbrier County, Virginia, United States
Death: Died in Present Marshall County, Kansas, United States
Cause of death: Consumption while on the wagon train west
Place of Burial: Marshall County, Kansas, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of John Hanley and Mary Hanley
Wife of Humphrey Keyes
Mother of Margaret Wilson Reed; James Keyes; Gershom Keyes; Alexander Keyes; Robert Keyes and 1 other

Occupation: Member of the Donner Party, who died while on the Great Plains
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Sarah Keyes

Two reasons have been given as to why the ailing70 year old Mrs. Keyes decided to emigrate to California. According to diarists Edwin Bryant and George McKinstry, Mrs. Keyes was hoping to meet her youngest son, Robert Cadden, on the trail. Years later, however, Virginia Reed Murphy reported that her grandmother could not bear to be parted from her only daughter. For either or both of these reasons, Grandma Keyes rode in a bed in the comfortable wagon that Reed had built for his family. On May 20, Reed wrote his brother-in-law:

   I am affraid Your mother will not stand it many week[s] or indeed days, if there is not a quick change... I have been talking this moment with Your Mother[.] She says she feels very much like she was going to die one of her eyes pains her much and She is so blind that she cannot take her coffee or plate if it is set near her this morning[.] She cannot eat anything I am of [the] opinion a few days will end her mortal carear

Nine days later, while the company was stopped at the Big Blue River, Sarah Keyes died. Her death was a blow to Margret Reed. The funeral was conducted with as much ceremony as circumstances allowed.

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Sarah Keyes's Timeline

Greenbrier County, Virginia, United States
Age 28
Age 29
Age 35
Age 35
Age 39
Age 40
May 28, 1846
Age 70
Present Marshall County, Kansas, United States
May 29, 1846
Age 70
Marshall County, Kansas, United States