Keiser Family Crest


William Morgan Riley Keiser
(1888 - 1941)



Cedar Tree

Born Dec. 9, 1888.  No information is available about William M. R. until he married Susan Adeline nee Nace of Williams Township, Dauphin County, PA, May 9, 1908.  She was born Oct. 8, 1887 and is the daughter of Daniel C. Nace and Susanna nee Carl of Williamstown, Dauphin County, PA.

William Morgan Riley died Apr. 5, 1941.  His wife, Susan A. died Feb. 6, 1961.

William was quite a fisherman, and with the Wiconisco Creek (Black Creek, so named because of the coal dirt sediment) about two hundred yards across the field from the house, west of Williamstown, PA, going fishing was no problem. Catfish was the main catch in that section of the creek, but a Trout now and then was not out of the question.

William attended the United Evangelical Church of Dayton, PA.  Most Sundays after returning from church, he and his family would have dinner with his parents, Daniel and Rebecca, or occasionally with Susan's parents, on the farm at Williamstown, PA.

About 1914 he started working at the East Brookside Colliery in Tower City, PA.  In 1915 he was transferred to the West Brookside Colliery, and they moved to Sheridan, PA.

During a layoff at the mines, William went to work for the Reading Rail Road Co. as a car inspector, at the Rutherford Yards in Harrisburg, PA.  He stayed in a boarding house but would get back home to Sheridan about once a month to six weeks.

In December, 1917, William moved his family to 1229 South 12th Street, Harrisburg, PA, which had three and one half acres of tillable land.  He plowed and worked it, and raised vegetables of all kinds which he sold door to door.

Among jobs he would get during layoffs at the Rail Road Co., was one at the Power Plant for Harrisburg Railways.  He worked the night shift so he could work the Truck Farm during the day.

William had always dreamed of having his own business, so, saw opportunity in an add on how to become independent by making and selling candy.  After several trials, tantrums, and some embarrassment, he became a candy maker, including "Keiser's Soft Caramels". 

Now living at 1951 State Street, Harrisburg, PA, William operated the business selling candy, ice cream, cigarettes, chips, etc..

From working at the rail road job and making candy, his health went downhill from lack of rest.

After being laid off from the rail road, and losing the rental property due to inability to pay rent, he moved his family to his father-in-laws farm, where he would farm-hand in return for staying there.  His health had improved, though not what it should be, but he found it necessary to leave the farm.  He got a job at the mines, and moved to Water Street, Williamstown, PA.

William again became active in the church, he, and his son Daniel, singing in the choir.  The Congregational Evangelical Church is the former United Evangelical Church of Dayton, PA.

It was about this time, William, his brother Harry and sister Olive, attempted to start the candy business from the homestead in Dayton, PA.  William would make candy during his off hours at the mine. Since Harry made a better school teacher than a salesman, and William couldn't do it all, the business did not succeed.

In January, 1923, he was badly burned in a gas explosion at the mine and would have died if not for the care of the First Aid men, Horace Flynn and Joe Whittle.  He returned to work after his burns healed, but back problems forced him to quit the mine.

Being upset that he could not support the family, he again started making candy.  He borrowed $110.00 from Ray Brown to build a small shop in the back yard.  He got the stove, kettles, etc. from Harry, and at last he had his own business.  He wasn't making very much money, but he at least felt useful.

Always trying to make money, William leased a small piece of land with a small building on it, and converted it into an ice cream, candy, soda, etc. store.  He would use local talents as a crowd drawing feature.  The land owner wanted to run the business himself, so he did not renew the lease to William. The business then failed!

William maintained the candy business though until he died in 1941.

They were blessed with two children.


Nov. 9, 1908
Sep. 18, 1985
Grace P Bettinger
Ruth E Kauffman
Ethel Mae
Feb. 10, 1878
Mark Houtz
William Houtz