KEABLES, BENJAMIN F. was born in Elba, Genesee county, New York, November 30. 1828; he died at Pella, Iowa, May 8, 1911. He removed when a child with his parents to Michigan and then to Illinois, where he engaged in school teaching, and in his spare moments studying medicine. In 1850 he went to Keokuk to attend medical lectures and pursue his studies. He later graduated from the Rush Medical College in Chicago. In 1852 he removed to Pella and continued in the practice of medicine in that city until a short time prior to his death. In 1862 he enlisted as assistant surgeon in the Third Iowa Volunteer Infantry, was soon promoted to surgeon and held this position until the regiment was mustered out in 1864. He represented Marion county in the House of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth General Assemblies. He took a very deep interest in the upbuilding of his town, especially along educational lines, serving for many years as a member of the school board and of the board of trustees of Central University.

~ "Notable Deaths" Annals of Iowa. Vol. XI, No. 4. p. 238. Historical Society of Iowa. Des Moines. January, 1914.
~ Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, May of 2009

JOHN H. KEATLEY was born in Center County, Pennsylvania, December 1, 1838. He secured his early education by his own exertions, working on a farm to earn money to pursue his studies until able to teach school. While preparing for his chosen profession in the law, he earned his living by working on a farm during the summers and teaching winters.  He was admitted to the bar in 1862, Mr. Keatley enlisted in the One Hundred Twenty-fifth Pennsylvania Regiment which was soon after engaged in the second Battle of Bull Run, South Mountain, Anteitam, Chancellorsville, and in the Gettysburg campaign he was assistant Adjutant-General on the staff of General Higgins.  In 1864-5 he was actively engaged in the last battles under General Grant which resulted in the capture of General Lee and his army.  Before his return home Colonel Keatley was elected District Attorney of Blair County.  After the close of the war he was detailed by General Terry to take charge of the Freedman's Bureau for five counties in southeastern Virginia, and was a judge of the military court at Norfolk.  He served as District Attorney of Blair County until 1867, when he decided to remove to Iowa, locating at Cedar Falls.  In 1868 he went to Council Bluffs and soon after became editor of the Daily Nonpareil, serving until April, 1870, when he accepted the position of assistant assessor of Internal Revenue.  In 1872 he united with the Liberal Republicans and was made chairman of the State Central Committee, conducting the campaign on behalf of Horace Greeley for President against General Grant. In 1874 he was nominated for Attorney-General by the Antimonopoly party and the Democrats, but was defeated.  In 1876 he was elected mayor of Council Bluffs, and in 1878 he was the Democratic candidate for Congress in the Eighth District.


~ Source: History of Iowa, Volume IV, 1903

KELLER, ISAAC W. one of the oldest members of the Ringgold County bar, was born in Noble County, Ohio, September 29, 1838, a son of Levi and Elizabeth (SHAFER) KELLER, the father a native of Ohio, and the mother of Virginia, the father being a farmer and blacksmith by occupation. They were the parents of ten children - five sons and five daughters, our subject being the fifth child.

Isaac passed his youth on his father's farm, receiving his education in the district schools. He remained with his parents until reaching maturity, and at the age of twenty-one years began teaching school, which he followed for four years.

He was married at the age of twenty-two years, to Miss Rachel MORRIS, of Noble County, Ohio. To Mr. and Mrs. KELLER have been born seven children - Paroda A., John J., deceased, Clara B., Curtis, Louie, Florence J., and Edith O., the three youngest living at home.
Mr. KELLER left Noble County in 1855, when he came to Ringgold County, Iowa, locating in the north part of the county, near Eugene, where he improved a farm and followed agricultural pursuits for three years. He then moved to Mount Ayr, and soon after began reading law, and was admitted to the bar in 1860, when he opened a law office and practiced his profession for two years, when in 1862, he enlisted in Company G, Twenty-ninth Iowa Infantry and was sent South on the Mississippi River.

He was commission First Sergeant, and in June, 1864, was promoted to Second Lieutenant of his company, in which rank he served until May, 1865, when he was discharged on account of disability. He participated in a number of engagements, including the battles at Helena, Little Rock, Arkansas, Prairie De Ann, Jenkins' Ferry, Arkansas, and Mobile, Alabama.

After receiving his discharge he returned to Mount Ayr, and was associated with W. T. LAUGHLIN in his law practice for the next five years, when the partnership was dissolved by mutual consent. He then returned to his farm, where he remained three years, when he returned to Mount Ayr and embarked in the lumber trade, which he followed until 1879. In 1882 he resumed the practice of law, which he still follows with success.

In 1859 Mr. KELLER was appointed treasurer of Ringgold County, to complete an unexpired term. In the fall of 1859 he was elected county judge, and in the fall of 1861 was re-elected to the same office, which position he resigned in 1862 to enter the army. In the fall of 1865 he was again elected county judge for a term of two years. In the fall of 1867 he was nominated for county judge, and also for State Senator, but declined the former nomination, and was elected to the Senate by a handsome majority. In 1872 he was elected a member of the Board of Supervisors, serving one term of three years. In the fall of 1879 he was again elected State Senator, and after retiring from the Senate he resumed his law practice. He has also filled several city offices such as city attorney and others, always serving with credit to himself and to the best interests of his constituents, and by his honorable dealings had gained the confidence of all who know him.

From History of Noble County, Ohio, Levi KELLER, one of the few pioneers of Noble County [Ohio] who are still living, was born on Wheeling Creek, about ten miles from Wheeling, in 1795, on the 16th of September. At the age of five years he came to Ohio, his father, George KELLER, settling in Belmont County.

He learned the blacksmith's trade in that county, and in 1820 came to what is now Noble County and en-gaged in teaching school in Buffalo Township. In 1821 he erected a house on the Smoky Fork of Buffalo Creek, in Center Township. In 1827 he removed to the vicinity of Mount Ephraim, where he still lives. He has followed farming and blacksmithing. At the age of twenty he married, in Guernsey County, Elizabeth SHAFER, a native of Loudoun County, Va., who is still living. Mr. KELLER was the first clerk of Seneca Township, and has held other offices, including that of justice of the peace for six years. He reared a large family - Mary Ann (deceased), Dr. John KELLER, Jane (VORHIES) (dead), George, Isaac, William (died in the army at Cairo, Ill.), Margaret (KACKLEY), Caroline deceased), Elizabeth, Levi, Simon (deceased). Benjamin and John KELLER, brothers Levi, also settled in Noble County, the former in Seneca Township and the latter in Center. They removed to the West.

late in the fall, Mr. RICH tracked a bear into a hollow poplar tree, where the bear took up his quarters for the winter. Leaving the bear there till Christmas he went with. Levi KELLER and John RICH to secure him. They cut the tree, the bear sprang out unexpectedly, and in their excitement all three fired at him without injuring him. Abraham RICH reloaded and fired a shot which injured the bear's back, and after a considerable fight the animal was killed.

DIED -- July 17th, 1887, Mrs. Elizabeth Frances KELLER, aged 87 years, 4 months and 17 days. After a sickness of only nine days, the angel of death visited her in his mildest way, from the repose of sleep to the repose of death. The deceased was a daughter of Conrad SHAFER, and was born in London (sic, should be Loudoun) County, Virginia, March 1, 1800, and came to Ohio with her parents in the year 1813. She was united in marriage to Levi KELLER, who survives her, in the year 1820. No doubt this was the oldest couple living together in the county. But Grandma KELLER's death is only another example of the uncertainty of life, and few were ever better prepared to leave the world than she --- upright in her dealings, genial in her manners, and Christian in spirit, she has doubtless gone to a better sphere.


~ The Caldwell PRESS - Nobel County, Ohio, July 21, 1887

MOUNT EPHRAIM: DIED -- Monday morning [September 15, 1889] , at 4 o'clock, Levi KELLER of Mt. Ephraim, aged 93 years and 7 months. The deceased was born on Wheeling Creek, West Virginia, September 16, 1795, the son of George and Sarah Greenwood (HEDGES) KELLER. At 5 years of age, was taken into Belmont County [Ohio] where his father located and where he grew to manhood. He came to this [Nobel] Co., about 1820. In 1821 he erected a house on Smoky Fork of Buffalo Creek in now Center Township; in 1827 moved to the vicinity of Mt. Ephraim. At the age of twenty he married Elizabeth SHAFER, a native of London (sic, should be Loudoun) County, Virginia, in 1815, Guernesy County, Ohio. He reared a family of eleven children, five of whom are dead. The deceased was the first clerk of Seneca Township, and acted as Justice of the Peace six years. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church in former years.

Judge Isaac W. enlisted as a 1st Sergeant on August 9, 1862, Mount Ayr, Iowa, when he was thirty-four-years-old. He was assigned to Company G of the 29th Iowa Infantry. On December 3, 1864, Isaac was promoted to Full 2nd Lieutenant. He resigned from service May 30, 1865 at Mobile, Alabama.

Isaac W. KELLER died April 3, 1923, while visiting his daughter in Omaha, Nebraska. Rachel (MORRIS) KELLER was born November 8, 1833, and died September 4, 1916. Isaac and Rachel were interred at Rose Hill Cemetery, Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa.


~ The Caldwell PRESS - Nobel County, Ohio, April 18, 1889

Biography & Historical Record of Ringgold County, Iowa, Pp. 306-07, 1887.
History of Noble County, Ohio, p. 470, 1887.
American Civil War Soldiers,
~ Transcription and note by Sharon R. Becker, January of 2009

RACINE D. KELLOGG was born in Fayetteville, Onondaga County, New York, on the 9th of March, 1828.  He removed to Iowa in 1854, locating at Garden Grove in Decatur County, where he engaged in farming and dealing in real estate.  He was a Democrat in politics and an eloquent public speaker.  In 1859 he was elected to the House of the Eighth General Assembly of which he was one of the youngest members.  He soon formed an intimate friendship with Ex-Governor N. B. Baker who was a member from Clinton County.  Mr. Kellogg acted with the Democratic party during the regular session but when the Rebellion began and his party divided upon the question of sustaining the National administration in crushing armed resistance to the enforcement of the laws, he did not hesitate to stand by the administration.  At the extra session called by Governor Kirkwood in May, 1861, to organize the military forces of the State, Mr. Kellogg became one of the leaders of the ";War Democrats" and with Governor Baker, Senator Bussey and others, declared for the preservation of the Union at all hazards.  At the opening of the session he introduced resolutions (found in another place) pledging unqualified support to the Government, State and National, in suppressing the Rebellion.  Governor Kirkwood recognized his patriotism by appointing him major of the Thirty-fourth Iowa Volunteers where he rendered good service in the Union army.  He became a Republican during the war when his party passed under control of men not in sympathy with the war for the Union and has often been urged to become a candidate for some of the highest offices in the State but was unwilling to resort to modern methods to secure a nomination.  He has long been an honored member of the Pioneer Lawmakers' Association, before which he has delivered several interesting addresses.

KELLY, CHARLEY W. owns and operated eighty acres of good land in Grand River township [Decatur County, Iowa], which he operates in addition to the Emma SHEWMAKER farm, adjoing his own holdings. He was born in Van Buren county, Iowa, April 9, 1870, of the marriage of Richard and Sarah Jane (NICHOLSON) KELLY. His father was born in Virginia [1838] but when sixteen years of age removed to Iowa, and about 1875 settled in Decatur county, where he remained for a number of years. He owned different tracts of land and was quite successful financially. Later he was for two years a resident of Oklahoma, after which he took up his abode in Ringgold county, Iowa, where he ws living at the time of his death in August, 1907 (sic, should be 1908), when he had reached the age of seventy-two years. During the Civil War he served [as a Private] in the Twenty-fifth Iowa Volunteer Infantry [enlisting August 22, 1862 from Burlington, Iowa], remaining at the front for almost four years [mustered out of service on June 6, 1865, Washington, D. C.]. His political belief was that of the republican party and he gave his religious allegiance to the United Brethren church. Through his membership in the Grand Army of the Republic he kept in touch with others who had served the country in her hour of need. His wife was born in Indiana [1842] but when a child accompanied her parents to Van Buren county, Iowa, whence the family subsequently removed to Ringgold county, where both of her parents died. She passed to her reward in October, 1910, when sixty-eight years of age. [Richard and Sarah Jane (NICHOLSON) KELLY were interred at Marshalltown Cemetery located near Benton, Ringgold County, Iowa.] Her religious faith was that of the Methodist church. Eight of the ten children born to Richard and Sarah Jane KELLY survive, namely: Drue and Guy, residents of Decatur township [Decatur County]; Charley W.; Mrs. Ella FERGUSON, of Aprispe [Union County], Iowa; Mrs. Mary AVERY, residing in Los Angeles, California; Mrs. Jessie HEMBRY, whose home is in Decatur township, this [Decatur] county; Mrs. Gussie LOWDER, of Fort Dodge, Iowa; and Mrs. Prudence GOODMAN, of Clearfield [Taylor County], this state [Iowa]. [Winton KELLY was born in 1874, and died in 1900, with interment at Marshalltown Cemetery near Benton, Ringgold County, Iowa.]

Charley W. KELLY was five years of age when brought to this county and here grew to maturity. Through assisting his father with the work of the home farm he gained knowledge which proved of great value to him when he started out farming on his own account. He now operates one hundred and fifty acres, eighty of which he owns, the remainder comprising the Emma SHEWMAKER farm, which adjoines his place. he carries on general farming and and stock-raising and derives a good income annually from the sale of his grain and stock.

Mr. KELLY was married, at Benton [Ringgold County], Iowa, on the 1st of February, 1897, to Miss Minnie M. BROOKS, who was born at Fort Dodge on the 8th of December, 1877. Her parents, Philander and Susan (MIDDLETON) BROOKS, who were natives respectively of Illinois and of Ohio, came to Iowa in the early '70s and took up their residence near Fort Dodge. In 1886 they removed to Kansas and after residing in Sumner and Cowley counties, that state, the removed to Major county, Oklahoma, where they are now living, he at the age of fifty-nine years and she at the age of fifty-six years. He is by occupation a gardner. Eight of the nine children born to them survive, namely: Mrs. KELLY; Mrs. Kate MONROE; Mrs. Lucy CURTRIGHT, of Grand River township, this [Decatur] county; Joseph, residing in Arkansas; Ernest, of Coffeyville, Kansas; Mrs. Rose BUSHNELL; Jessie, who married Claire MARTIN, a farmer of Major county, Oklahoma; and Mrs. Goldie GARRETT, whose husband is engaged in farming near Mingo, Oklahoma. Mrs. KELLY spent the greater part of her girlhood in Kansas and attended the public schools in the acquirement of an education. Mr. and Mrs. KELLY have and adopted son, Harland H. KELLY, who is fourteen years of age.

Mr. KELLY is a republican and has served as trustee of Grand River township. Fraternally he belongs to the Modern Woodman of America of Grand River. He is highly respected by his fellow citizens and there are many who hold him in warm regard.

NOTE: Minnie M. (BROOKS) KELLY died in 1924. Charles W. KELLY died in 1959, and was interred at Grand River Cemetery, Grand River, Decatur County, Iowa, beside his wife Minnie.

HOWELL, J. M. & CONOMAN, Heman. History of Decatur County, Iowa, and Its People Vol. II. Pp. 50-51. S.J. Clarke Pub. Co. Chicago. 1915.

American Civil War Soldiers,
WPA Graves Survey

~ Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, February of 2009

DANIEL KERR was born at Ayrshire, Scotland, June 18, 1836.  He graduated at McKendree College in 1858, and came to America with his father's family in 1841, locating in Madison County, Illinois.  In 1860 he was a teacher in a high school.  He read law with Governor A. C. French and was admitted to the bar in 1862.  When the War of the Rebellion began he enlisted as a private in Company G, of the One Hundred Seventeenth Illinois Volunteers, serving through the war and winning promotion to first lieutenant.  He was in the battles of Pleasant Hill, Nashville and Fort Blakely.  After the war he again taught in the schools of Alton.  In 1868 he was elected to the Illinois Legislature, serving until 1870.  At the close of his term he removed to Iowa, becoming a resident of Grundy Center where he engaged in farming and the practice of law.  In 1883 he was elected Representative to the House of the Twentieth General Assembly.  In 1886 he was elected a Representative in Congress from the Fifth District, serving two terms.
WILLIAM H. KINSMAN was a native of Nova Scotia where he was born in 1832.  He was a sailor in early life and later entered the Columbia, New York, Academy.  After attending law school in Cleveland,, Ohio, in 1858 he went to Council Bluffs where he entered the law office of Clinton & Baldwin.  He was admitted to the bar of Pottawattamie County and was employed on one of the city papers.  When the Civil War began he assisted in raising the first military company organized in that county and was chosen second lieutenant.  The company was assigned to the Fourth Iowa Infantry and became Company B.  Kinsman was soon promoted to captain of the company which he led in the Battle of Pea Ridge.  In July, 1863, he was placed on the staff of General Dodge and in August was promoted to lieutenant-colonel of the Twenty-third Iowa Volunteers.  In December he was promoted to colonel and commanded the regiment in the early battles of Grant's Vicksburg campaign.  While gallantly leading a charge at the Battle of Black River Bridge he fell mortally wounded and died upon the field.