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Life of Old Settler Linked with Development of Urbana
Clipping from unknown newspaper, August 26, 1923.

An interview with Lucy Jane Storts Ketterman on her 81st birthday.
Closely interwoven with the history and development of the town of Urbana, Benton county, Iowa is the life of Lucy Jane Storts Ketterman. Her parents were John Harter Storts of Holland parentage and Hannah Ward Storts of English descent. Mrs. Ketterman was born near New Lexington, Ohio, August 26, 1842. At the age of eleven years she came with her parents to Iowa, driving by team to McConnellsville, Ohio where they embarked on board a river steamer and after a trip of about three weeks they were landed at Muscatine, Ia., on a bright May morning 1853.

From there the family and household goods were hauled to a settlement on Blue Creek in Benton county. She attended the district school until at the age of seventeen she passed the county examination and received her certificate. The family lived a while near Wilmington just west of Marysville which at that time consisted of one store operated by a man named Hunt, a carding machine, schoolhouse and a few dwellings. One was owned and occupied by the John Leibsch family. Mr. Leibsch has been dead for some years but his sons live near the vicinity of the old home. She was married September 23, 1860 to James S. Ketterman, son of Justice Ketterman, by John Burk, justice of the peace, father of the present John Burk of Urbana.

Mr. Ketterman had come with his parents from Indiana and settled on the crossroads, one mile east of Urbana. Here on this farm she lived for over 50 years and ten children were born to them. Two died in infancy and the eight remaining children are all living. They are Mrs. S.A. Doty and Mrs. O.T. Cumberland of Urbana; Mrs. H.P. Houser of Ft. Dodge; Mrs. R.I. Buckley of Rowley; Mrs. F.M. Drake and Effie Ketterman Schroeder of Cedar Rapids; Chas. S. Ketterman, Vicksburg, Mississippi and Ed. L. Ketterman of Lehigh, Ia.

The first church at Marysville was an unhewn log one -- which stood in what is now Urbana cemetery. The benches were made of slabs with sticks for legs. Later a church was built in Urbana on the spot where the present Christian church now stands. Mrs. Ketterman is the only charter member living today.

When Justice Ketterman moved into Marysville he bought a house built by Tom Dilbey and here conducted a tavern until his death. This old tavern still stands on a street in the west part of Urbana. Two of the early setters were A.V. Taylor, now of Center Point; also Mrs. Minnie Houser, now of Center Point. The Indians were frequent callers and deer and other wild animals roamed at large in the lofty forests. Mrs. Ketterman has seen many changes in Urbana and vicinity during her 81 years. One of the early families living at Marysville was Wm. Culver who had the postoffice.

Transcribed by Patricia A. Sheldon.



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