"A polished scholar, a brave and gallant officer"

The Life and Death of Captain Edwin Keyes by Elias Stewart, Graduate Student


Despite being a lesser-known engagement, the Battle of Lynchburg acts as a unique tapestry in which an array of notable people from across the East Coast convened in a seemingly insignificant town to fight for their cause. Many of these individuals went on to do prominent work after the war while others left a lasting impact before their deaths on the battlefield. It is in this spirit of reflection that we are excited to announce the start of a new blog series this fall.

Through the following weeks, we will be spotlighting soldiers of the Union who interacted with Sandusky by outlining their biographies and contributions to history. This post will look at an Ohio soldier, Captain Edwin Keyes.


Born in Windsor Township of Morgan County, Ohio on July 21, 1828, Edwin Keyes was a “child of poor but upright Christian parents” as the Marietta College, in the War of Secession would describe. It goes on to state that “at an early age he showed a studious disposition, and while young became a school teacher in the neighborhood of his birth. “Seeking better opportunities for himself than his hometown could offer, Edwin entered himself in a prep school of Marietta College in 1848 and enrolled there as a freshman in 1850. He dropped out of school during his junior year due to “adverse circumstances.” On April 13, 1854, Edwin married Sybil Sargent and they had a son named Charles.


The new family then relocated to Tuppers Plains, Ohio where Keyes established a seminary in 1859 (equivalent to a present day grade school) and served as its first principal. The Tuppers Plains Seminary, as it was called, enrolled both young men and women of the region and had a “specific aim… to train its pupils for teaching, and prepare young men for college.”