Attorney, Governor of Nebraska


Keith Neville was born in North Platte on February 25, 1884. He was the son of William Neville and Mary Ann (Keith) Neville. He attended St. Johns Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and St. Johns College in Annapolis, where he graduated with the BA in 1905. He married Mary Virginia Neill on October 21, 1908 at Charleston, West Virginia. There children are daughters Mary, Frances Elizabeth, Virginia and Irene. In 1906 he became manager of the family ranch and farm. From 1910 to 1931, he was director of the First National Bank, North Platte. Governor of Nebraska from 1916 to 1918, 1922 receiver for Skinner Packing Co, Omaha; 1931- president of the First National Bank, North Platte; 1933-39 director of the Platte Valley Pub Power & Irrigation District. He was a member of the North Platte School Board and city. As a Democrat, he served as Governor of Nebraska from 1917 through 1919. At the time of his nomination for Governor, he was a 32-year-old rancher and banker from North Platte. Under authorization from the legislature, in 1917, Governor Neville organized the State Council of Defense to "assist the Governor and the State Militia in doing all things necessary to bring about the highest effectiveness within in our state in the crisis now existing and to coordinate all efforts with those of the Federal government and with those of other states. On March 20, 1918, Governor Neville called the Nebraska legislature into special session to pass legislation, which he felt, was necessitated by World War I. His program called for a plan to allow soldiers to vote, protection of those in the military from debt collection, during the war, the definition of acts of sedition and sabotage with prescribed penalties, provision for a home guard militia, and submission of a constitutional amendment limiting the vote only to full citizens. Many Democrats thought the sedition law was entirely too severe. The large number of German voters in the state thought the Democrats swindled them, and it resulted in Governor Neville's defeat in the next election.

His father, William Neville, came to Omaha in May 1874, and practice law there until April 1877, when he moved to North Platte, and became a partner in the firm of Hinman & Neville. He served in the military during the Civil War, then after the war he studied of law under J. Perry Johnson, of Chester, Ill. His father, Harvey Neville, was a practicing lawyer, and William studied at home, taught school, and was admitted to the bar of practice. He was a Delegate to the Cincinnati National Convention in 1872. The same year he was elected to the Illinois Legislature, and, at the close of the session of 1874, came to Omaha. In the fall of 1876, he was elected to the Nebraska legislature. He took his seat in January, 1877, and at the close of session of April, 1877, came to North Platte.

His grandfather was Morrell Keith, cattle rancher, and the person that Keith County was named in honor of.

Sources:
History of Nebraska, Third Edition, James C. Olson and Ronald C. Naugle, University Nebraska Press, Lincoln. ISBN 0-8032-8065-8.
Nebraska Pioneer Reminiscences, Nebraska Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, 1916, The Torch Press, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Who's Who in Nebraska (1940), Published by the Nebraska Press Association, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1940, Printed by State Journal Printing Co., Lincoln, Nebraska.

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