sidebar menu icon


KEYS CREEK. Keys Creek rises two miles northeast of Jacksonville in north central Cherokee County (at 31°58' N, 95°16' W) and runs southeast for twelve miles to its mouth on Mud Creek (at 31°55' N, 95°09' W). The low-rolling to flat, locally dissected terrain is surfaced by sandy and clay loams that support mixed hardwoods and pines. Until the 1950s row crops of cotton, corn, and ribbon cane were raised in the narrow basin drained by Keys Creek. In the 1980s the exhausted fields, converted to pastures, supported herds of cattle. Since the early 1930s the creek has been damned in its middle reaches to form Pine Crest Lake. The elevation of the recreational lake's spillway is 337 feet above sea level; its surface area is approximately 60 acres. Keys Creek was named for a half-Cherokee Indian called Key, who lived nearby in the 1830s. Key was a headman in Chief Bowl's Texas Cherokee Indian band that arrived in Texas in 1830. Key was with Chief Bowl when the Cherokees were driven from the territory at the battle of the Neches, fought in Van Zandt County on July 16, 1839.

Mary Whatley Clarke, Chief Bowles and the Texas Cherokees (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1971). Bennett Lay, The Lives of Ellis P. Bean (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1960).
Bernard Mayfield

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Bernard Mayfield, "Keys Creek," accessed October 20, 2017,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.