"There is no finer thing to say of a man than to say that the children of a city cherish his memory and call him their friend. Such an honor must be earned for the youthful mind has a clarity of vision, unembarrassed by any considerations of expediency. It is rare that an individual attains such distinction, one that has been given Brewer W. Key. Through his generosity it has been possible to provide adequate space for playgrounds in connection with the city schools, adding immeasurably to the well being of the children and affording means of recreation which circumstances had denied in former years.
"Mr. Key was born in September, 1859,* at Tuskegee, Alabama. He was educated in his native state and came to Texas, accompanied by his brother, Henry, in his early manhood. The two brothers first settled in Comanche, where Brewer Key met and married Julia seymore Vedder in 1881. Later, they moved to Kansas and then to Oklahoma, where the foundation of the great business enterprise with which he was identified throughout the balance of his life, was laid. This was the York-Key Lumber and Mercantile Co. In 1901 he moved to Galveston and located here permanently, their home being located on Broadway at 28th Street. Here he engaged in the lumber business, founding the Gulf Lumber Company, in 1914, a concern which prospered under his direction, and is now one of the leading business houses in the city.
"Mr. and Mrs. Key constructed one of the most beautiful homes in the city, on Broadway and 26th Street, in 1912, and there they made their home until the death of Mrs. Key in 1919. Mr. Key passed away on January 2, 1922.
"Prior to his death, Mr. Key purchased and remodeled the Kopperl home on Broadway at 24th Street, and gave it as a memorial to his wife, to the Young Women's Christian Association, to be used as a home for girls. He also bore the expense and directed the improvement of the Evergreen Cemetery in this city, and erected the Episcopal church edifice, in Woodward, Oklahoma. (my mother inserted "Also St. Mary's Nursing Home property")
"In his will, he directed that his entire estate, other than a few small legacies, be given to the city of Galveston for the use of the children of the city, in public school work. The new school erected on 31st Street was named the Brewer W. Key School in his memory. Through this means, the city has been enabled to acquire and provide playgrounds for the children, and to expand the school system in accordance with the most approved methods."
Further inserts by my mother:
"Brewer W. Key was married to Julia Vedder, sister of Kate Vedder. Mr. Key gave so much to the children of Galveston and no one even knows it. His beautiful school was torn down later."
History of Galveston, Texas:
Narrative and Biographical
by: S. C. Griffin
A. H. Cawston--Managing Editor and Publisher,
Galveston, Texas, 1931
THE SPIRIT OF GALVESTON
Which has triumphed over great adversity
Bill Betty Ballinger
Dr. Henry Cohen
Mrs. D. W. Kempner
E. G. Littlejohn
Frank C. Patten
Dr. Ed. Randall
Judge Mart H. Royston
Clark W. Thompson
J. M. Winterbotham
*1870 Census Tuskegee, Macon county, AL
Roll M593-26, page 51
Key, Augusta, age 37, keeping house, b. GA
Key, Anna, age 14, b. AL
Key, Brewer, age 12, b. AL
Key, Henry, age 9, b. AL
*1880 Census Comanche, Comanche, TX
Key, Brewer, age 22, single, b. AL
Henry KEY and Augusta BREWER married 21 Nov 1855, Macon, AL.
Brewer W. KEY and Julia S. VEDDER were married 30 Dec 1880, Comance County Marriage Records, Vol. B-2, page 20.