George Keith Obituary

The Creators of the Keith boot mills obituary. Life and Death of a North Adams Icon.

 George Eldon Keith was the founder of the George 
Keith Boot Mills Co. He helped many people in the
North Adams area get jobs to support themselves. Of 
course it was a factory and he was a business man, so 
there were hard conditions and long hours. Keith made
North Adams a prosporous place and helped the city 
stay prosporous for many years to come.

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"(VIII) GEORGE ELDON KEITH, son of the late Franklin and Betsey (Bailey)
Keith, was born Feb. 8, 1850, in North Bridgewater, now Brockton. He had the 
advantages of
 the common schools of his native town and of the high school, in acquiring his
 early educational training, being a member of the first class at the opening of the
 high school in North Bridgewater in 1864. His father being engaged in the boot and 
shoe business, it was but natural that the son, as he grew up, imbibed a knowledge 
of the business, and while yet a student at school his mornings and evenings were 
spent at the bench, where he early acquired a thorough knowledge of the making of 
shoes. After leaving school he continued working at the bench, making boots and 
shoes, until July, 1874, on the 1st of which month, associated with the late William
 S. Green, he began business on his own account, manufacturing boots and shoes, 
under the firm style of Green & Keith; they established themselves in the factory 
formerly occupied by Mr. Keith's father. This partnership continued until 1880, at 
which time Mr. Keith sold his interests, in the business to his partner. But this 
was not to
discontinue the industry for which his talents and tact had proved him adapted and
 fit, he having already made a success of the business; it was for the purpose of
 giving his genius and ambition fuller play. He at once erected a large factory 
building on Perkins avenue, in which he continued in the manufacture of shoes on a
 much larger scale. This factory was the nucleus of his present extensive and 
eminently prosperous business, and from this small beginning, his first six months' 
sales amounting to a little over $7,000, the business has grown steadily and rapidly
until to-day the George E. Keith Company, incorporated, of which he is the 
president, is the foremost and most extensive shoe manufacturing concern in the State
if not in the world, the sales in 
1910 amounting to $12,000,000/ and the payroll reaching $3,000,000. As his business 
has increased and expanded, requiring more factory room, Mr. Keith has been obliged 
to make numerous additions to his original plant, which is located at Campello, in 
which part of the city he was born and where he has always resided, until today his 
immense plant occupies several acres of ground, and instead of the one factory, as 
originally, he now occupies seven distinct buildings, as well as having four 
additional factories in other parts of the State, one at Middleboro, one at 
North Adams, one at East Weymouth, and another at Boston, the latter two being used 
for the manufacture of ladies' shoes. In 1898 the business was incorporated under 
the laws of Massachusetts as the George E. Keith Company, with a capital stock of 
$1,000,000, Mr. Keith becoming president of the corporation, in which capacity he 
has since continued."