Rev. Cleon Keyes
By M. B. Adams
(The following tribute appeared in the "Western Recorder," soon after the death of Mr. Keyes. The writer is a grandson of Judge Holden, who was a warm friend of and a true yoke-fellow with Mr. Keyes during his pastorate in Clarksburg [WV]. Dr. Adams also had intimate and pleasant relations, as friend and pastor, with this aged man of God during the last eighteen years of his life.)
"On Thursday, April 27, 1911, Rev. Cleon Keyes, of Maysville, Ky., was buried in the burial ground of the Lewisburg Baptist Church, Mason Co., Ky.
"The writer took part in the funeral service by request of the family. An able sermon in memory of Bro. Keyes was preached by Rev. A. N. White, of Pewee Valley, Ky., and the writer made a brief address offering an appreciation of his life and services. Rev. J. M. Haymore, of Maysville, offered the prayer, Rev. N. F. Jones, of North Fork, read the Scriptures and Rev. L. N. Thompson, of Mayslick, pronounced the benediction.
"Cleon Keyes came to Kentucky about 1858 and settled at Lewisburg, Mason Co., and became pastor
of the Lewisburg church, over which he successfully presided for thirty-two years. He was the pastor of the writer's grandfather, at Clarksburg, W. Va., before coming to Kentucky. Among the traditions of my boyhood. were memories of the able pastorate of Bro. Keyes, at Clarksburg. He helped my grandfather cut the timbers which were used in the construction of the first Clarksburg church. The church now one of the most prominent amd fruitful in West Virginia; and those who have known its history readily ascribe to the solid and enduring work of Cleon Keyes much of the credit for the subsequent success and prosperity of the church.
"In writing the history of Bracken Association since 1858, much of the largest portion of the record would be devoted to the faithful labors of this man of God. He was intensely loyal not only to the interests of the various churches of which he was pastor, but to the interests of Bracken Association and the larger interests of the Baptist cause in Kentucky.
"When the writer became pastor of Lewisburg church in 1893, he found Bro. Keyes living near the church and active and useful as a member there. During the four and one-half years of that pastorate, the youthful and inexperienced preacher found in him a most tender, helpful and loyal friend and brother. He was as compasionable as a young man would have been and all preachers, yonng or old, found this true of him. He was at all times the preacher's friend. In social hours, his hearty laugh would ring
out, revealing the springs of inward joy and happiness, for through all his afflictions and trials and he had many, he was a happy and trustful man. It could, with a large measure of truth, be said of him as it was said of his Saviour that he was made perfect through sufferings, for he had certainly attained a high degree of saintly character by the time God called him home.
"He was an able preacher of the Gospel of Christ. He possessed a mind of uncommon clearness, and strength. He had no vague ideas about anything, but held all opinions and convictions with positiveness and clearness. He was an intense Baptist and oould tell why and never lost a suitable opportunity to do it. His fidelity to New Testament religion and the Baptist faith ihe impressed upon the Baptists over a large area of Northern Kentucky.
"Too much cannot be said in praise of his lovely amd pure Christian character. Here was the citadel of his strength. His strength was as the strength of because his heart was pure. No one oould be long in his company without saying, 'Truly this man is a child of God.' He wrought well and has earned his reward. The writer asks the honor to bear this simple teetimony to his worth and helpfulness.
"May God bless and care for the loved ones he leaves. His daughter, Mrs. Clara Allen and her husband and another daughter, Miss Sallie, faithfully
ministered to him in his years of weakness. They too will receive their reward, for they ministered to God's prophet and God never forgets.
Frankfort, Ky. M. B. Adams."
[From Rev. Cleon Keyes, An Appreciation, a booklet by A. N. White; this is the introduction. Published under the auspices of the Kentucky Baptist Historical Society; via archives of SBTS, Adam Winters, Archivist. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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