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Isaac J. Ketman


Posted By: Karen AD (email)
Date: 10/24/2006 at 17:42:36

Isaac J. Ketman is prominently identified with the industrial expansion and growth of Winterset as one of the owners of the Scarless Remedy Company and of the Munson Manufacturing Company, both prosperous concerns. He was born in Humboldt county, Iowa, on the 12th of February, 1874, of the marriage of Henry J. and Frances (Deschmidt) Ketman, both natives of the Netherlands, the former born in 1831 and the latter in 1835. Upon emigrating to the United States in 1847 the father settled in Sheboygan county, Wisconsin. He became a farmer and resided there until 1867. In the meantime he had married and, several sons having been born to him and desiring to raise them where they would not come under the influence of saloons, he removed to Iowa in that year, becoming a resident of Humboldt county. He was active as a farmer and stockman there until 1885 and was well known as an extensive shipper of cattle. He was quite prominent in the German community in that county and his reputation for strict honesty and incorruptible integrity extended over a wide district. In 1885 he removed to Dakota City and was made president of the Humboldt County Bank. He was the owner of a large amount of land and was one of the substantial men of his locality. He never desired political office but was at one time appointed to fill a vacancy on the board of supervisors. His religious faith was that of the Baptist church, in which he served as deacon, and he spared neither time nor money in advancing the cause of Christianity. He passed away in 1909 at the age of seventy-eight years. His wife is still living and is residing in Palo Alto, California.

Isaac J. Ketman was the thirteenth in a family of fourteen children and received his education in Dakota City and in Central University at Pella, Iowa. When but sixteen years of age he began working as a farm hand and thus provided for his own support. His parents believed in the value of a good education, and he was given stock in two building corporations, the dividends on which he was to use in attending school. Although both companies went into bankruptcy it was not necessary for him to work his way through college. In 1896, when twenty-two years of age, he came to Winterset and engaged in the shoe business with H. D. Aikens. He retained his interest in that business until 1906, although in 1900 he organized the Scarless Remedy Company, which has since required a great deal of his time. He first manufactured only the Scarless Liniment, but as the trade name became more widely known and the volume of his business increased, he added other remedies until the company now makes fifteen stock and poultry preparations. He is president of the company and has had much to do with its growth and development. It now employs four traveling salesmen and the territory, in which the name Scarless is associated with high grade stock preparations is constantly increasing. In 1913 he organized the Munson Manufacturing Company, of which he is secretary and treasurer and which makes revolving cultivator shields and advertising novelties. Although it has been in existence but a short time, it has already proved a paying proposition and its products have gained a high reputation.

Mr. Ketman was married in 1897 to Miss Eleanor Aikens, who was born in Marion county, Iowa, a daughter of Henry D. and Ann Eliza (Weber) Aikens, born respectively in Pennsylvania in 1844 and in Indiana in 1845. The father came to this state in 1855, locating on a farm near Pella. In 1864 he enlisted in Company G, Thirty-third Iowa Volunteer Infantry, at Pella and served until the close of hostilities. As he was a splendid penman, he acted as secretary to his commanding officer. Upon his return to civil life he ran a mill at Pella and was also engaged in the general merchandise business there. In 1896 he came to Winterset and was a shoe dealer here until his death, which occurred in 1914. Both in Pella and in Winterset he was known as an active worker in the Baptist church, holding all of the official positions therein. His wife is still living in Winterset. Mrs. Ketman, who was the third in a family of four children, has become the mother of five children: Lillian, born April 9, 1899; Florence, whose birth occurred on the 26th of November, 1904; Henry, whose natal day was the 28th of April, 1908; Evelyn, born May 17, 1911; and Carol, born December 25, 1913.

Mr. Ketman exercises his right of franchise in support of the candidates of the republican party but has never desired office. He has, however, served as a member of the board of education and takes a great interest in everything relating to the welfare of the public schools. He is one of the active and influential members of the Baptist church, in which he is deacon, and is quite prominent in Sunday-school work. For three years he served as president of the Commercial Club and under his direction that body was able to accomplish much for the growth of Winterset. The two companies which he organized and which he largely controls are valuable additions to the industrial life of the city and he has proved himself a business man of aggressiveness and sound judgment. Fraternally he is identified with the Masonic order, belonging to Evening Star Lodge, No. 43, A. F. & A. M. He is one of the most widely known men of Winterset and also one of the most sincerely respected, as he has not only succeeded financially but has attained prosperity without having had recourse to questionable methods. It is well known that he observes the highest rules of business ethics and his success has never been at the expense of someone else's failure.

Taken from the book, “The History of Madison County, Iowa, 1915,” by Herman Mueller.

Transcribed for IAGenWeb by Judy Wight Branson.


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