Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Daryl Keck Interview
Narrator: Daryl Keck
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Hammett, Idaho
Date: May 24, 2005
Densho ID: denshovh-kdaryl-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: Today is Tuesday, May 24, 2005, and we are in the... town of Hammett?

DK: Yes.

TI: Hammett, Idaho, and today we're interviewing Mr. Daryl Keck. And I'm interviewing, my name is Tom Ikeda, and on camera we have John Pai. And just to let people know, in the room we have three observers. We have Darrell Heider -- I'm sorry, it's John...

Male voice: Steve.

TI: Steve. And...

Female voice: Jeanette.

TI: Jeanette. So, and they're all sitting and listening. But Mr. Keck -- or would you rather be called Mr. Keck or Daryl?

DK: Daryl.

TI: Okay, so Daryl, we're just going to start and talk a little bit about your life. And so why don't we go to the very beginning, and why don't you tell me first where and when you were born?

DK: I was born in Kansas, in a little town called Oketo, on a farm. And it was December the 5th, 1921.

TI: Okay, and what was, what was your given name when you were born?

DK: Daryl.

TI: And, like, what middle name? Did you have a --

DK: Max, Daryl Max Keck.

TI: Tell me a little bit about your parents. What were their names?

DK: My mother was Ida Weber Keck, and my father was Casper Emmett Keck. And his father was from Tennessee, and he was a farmer in Marshall County, Kansas. And so my dad followed his footsteps and was farming in Kansas when I was born, and I'm from a family of eight. I have four brothers and three sisters.

TI: Okay, before we go there, so your grandfather was Tennessee, your father was Kansas and that was where you were born. Before your grandfather, like your great-grandfather, was he also born in the United States, or where did he come from?

DK: No, I think he come from Germany, and they come and my great-great-grandfather and all come on a boat, third boat that come after Combass, and landed in Pennsylvania and settled there. So I think all the Kecks that are all over United States now are related from those seven brothers that come from Germany.

TI: That's amazing. Do you know what year that would have been?

DK: Sixteen hundred and something, but I don't know what year it is.

TI: Wow. So in terms of your family's roots, I mean, they're probably one of the earliest Americans. When you go around the United States and talk to people, have you ever found very many people whose roots go back farther than yours?

DK: Not a lot. I remember when I first went to California, there was only one Keck in the Los Angeles phone book, so there weren't very many around then.

TI: Well, I'm thinking even other families. So like when you talk to them and they trace their roots back. Like my, I could trace back my grandparents coming to the United States in 1910, but compared to you, you're like 1600s. I mean, that's, that's pretty amazing.

DK: No, I haven't really talked to anybody that's, it's been quite a process of running the family tree down, but there has been people working on that.

TI: How about your, your mother's side?

DK: She was born in Illinois, and her grandparents had come from Germany. And they moved out to Kansas and, western Kansas, and lived in a sod house. And she was raised there, and she remembers for fuel there wasn't very many trees in the area, and so they gathered buffalo chips to heat their sod house and do their cooking.

TI: Now, do you know the story of how your mother and father met?

DK: Not real good. I know her parents were going to go back to Illinois. The harsh life in western Kansas was too hard for 'em, and my mother had already met Dad and she didn't want to go back with 'em so she, they got married quite, she was quite young, I think. Sixteen, and my dad was twenty-something.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2005 Densho. All Rights Reserved.