Isabel S. "Wild Bill" (Smith) Keys

Isabel and LeRoy Keys celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary in 1949.
Isabel and LeRoy Keys celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary in 1949.

(June 15, 1875 - February 25, 1971)


The Lusk Herald
March 4, 1971


Isabel Keys, 95, Dies in Lusk Last Thursday

Isabel S. Keys, 95, died February 25 at the Niobrara County Memorial Hospital from a heart attack. Funeral services were held at the Mortuary in Lusk Saturday morning at 10:00, and burial was in the Newcastle cemetery at 1:30.

Mrs. A. F. DeCastro accompanied Mrs. Nellie Kratzer, Mrs. George Jugler, Lee Johnsonbaugh and Harry Lyon as they sang "In the Garden" and "Beautiful Isle of Somewhere."

Casket bearers were Del Alter, Roy Turnbull, Archie Huey, Bill Magoon, Clifford Cox and John Bourret.

Isabel S. Smith, one of six children, was born in Nodway, Iowa, June 15, 1875. During early childhood the family moved to Long Pine, Neb., where the remainder of her childhood was spent. During this period her wild tomboy antics earned her the affectionate nickname of Wild Bill, which she retained the rest of her life.

After high school graduation she taught school for a short period in Long Pine. She moved to Newcastle, Wyo., where she taught school at Skull Creek and later at Merino, Wyo., now the town of Upton.

During her six years of teaching, she met and fell in love with a brakeman on the Burlington railroad, LeRoy Keys. The couple were married June 28, 1899 at Newcastle. Shortly after the marriage Mr. Keys left the railroad and the couple settled on the M-K ranch. The ranch was located some 15 miles northeast of Newcastle. They were the parents of five children, Newell, Donald, Beulah, Kathleen and a child who died at birth. The children were all raised while the couple lived on Beaver Creek.

They sold their ranch in 1948 for health reasons and moved to Lusk. Since her husband's death, she continued to live in Lusk with her daughter, Mrs. Beulah Norris, and the family says she was like a second mother to the four Norris children.

During her lifetime she saw over half of our presidents hold office, saw five major American wars and saw the county move from the covered wagons moving past her home in Long Pine to men on the moon.

Her husband and three children died previously.

Survivors include her daughters, Mrs. Beulah Norris of Lusk and Mrs. Kathleen Turner of Long Beach, Calif.; eight grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

Out of town relatives attending the services were Mr. and Mrs. Ernie Norris, Los Angeles; Bob Norris, Las Cruces, N.M.; Mrs. Curtis Pueppki, Salem, S. D.; Jessie Brandt and Raymond McLain, Hot Springs, S.D., and Mrs. and Mrs. Tom Howe and family of Denver, and Jim Norris, Laramie.








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