Bio-Coast Counties

Among the most prosperous and progressive business men of San Jose is Thomas Keys, and extensive candy manufacturer and dealer, with factory at No. 133 South First street.  Possessing great energy and ambition, he has achieved success in his chosen occupation, ad has proved himself a useful and worthy citizen.  A son of Thomas Keys, Sr.., he was born July 13, 1868, in London, Ontario, of English ancestry.

A native of England, Thomas Keys, Sr., was born ad reared near Leeds, Yorkshire.  In early manhood he emigrated to America , settling in London, Ont., where he was engaged in business as a general contractor until his death, when but forty-five years old.  He married Christine Goodacre, who was born in Leeds, England, and died in San Jose, Cal., at the home of her son, Thomas, in 1890, at the age of fifty-nine years.  Four sons and four daughters were born of their union, and of these all of the sons, and one daughter, grew to years of maturity, namely: William, who located in San Jose as a contractor and builder in 1886, went to New York on a pleasure trip in 1902 and was killed at Yonkers in a street car accident: James, a wood and coal merchant came to California in 1891, and during the gold excitement went to Dawson, Alaska, where he died in 1898:  John died in Stockton, Cal.: Martha resides in San Jose with her brother: and Thomas, the special subject of this sketch.

The youngest child of the parental household, Thomas Keys was brought up in London, Ont., where he went through the primary and grammar grades, and took the first year's course in the high school.  At the age of fourteen years he entered the establishment of the D S Perrin Company, large manufactures and wholesale dealers of confectionery, and after serving a full apprenticeship at the trade of a candy maker continued with the firm until 1889.  In that year Mr. Keys came to San Jose, intending to engage in contracting and carpentering with his brother William, but after a month's trial decided that he was not fitted for that kind of work.  May 1, 1889, therefore, he began the manufacture of confectionery on a modest scale, building a small factory near his residence, at No. 315 West San Salvador street, and for three years made candy for the retail stores only.  By that time his business had so rapidly increased that he leased a building at No. 360 South First street, enlarged it, put in furnaces, and there continued in his occupation for another three years, when, needing still more room, he transferred his factory to the corner of San Carlos and First streets, where he remained four years.  In 1900, owing to the demands of his business, Mr. Keys located at No. 133 South First Street, and has since remedied and greatly improved his factory, putting candy making and pulling machinery of the  latest approved patterns, operating them with electric power.  Mr. Keys is an expert manufacturer of confectionery, making all kinds of candy, and is carrying o a extensive and lucrative wholesale trade, shipping his manufactures as far south as Los Angeles, and throughout the San Joaquin valley and along the coast into Alameda county. In his business he has the largest capital invested of any manufacturer of the kind in the county, in addition to his manufactory having a warehouse at No. 295 West San Salvador street, and employing twelve persons to assist him.  Mr. Keys also manufactures ice cream by his power plant, having a capacity of one hundred gallons a day, and at his store operates a soda fountain.

In religion Mr. Keys is an Episcopalian, and is a charter member of the Y. M.C.A.  In politics he is a stanch Republican.  He belongs to the Garden City Wheelmen's organization, to the Grand Fraternity, to the Merchants' Association of San Jose, and to the Knights of Pythias.

History of the State of California of Biographical Record of Coast Counties, California- Guinn, 1904, page  1144
transcribed by cdf