History of Taylor County, Iowa: from the earliest historic times to 1910 by Frank E. Crosson. Chicago, The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910
(biographicals transcribed by Linda Kestner: email@example.com)
JOHN P. KEENAN
John P. Keenan is known as a progressive farmer, stock feeder and shipper and since 1895 he has made his home in Blockton, where he owns a nice residence, although he still retains possession of a valuable farm of three hundred acres, located within a mile and a quarter of Blockton. Mr. Keenan is a native of Greene county, Pennsylvania, born December 27, 1857, and came as a young man of eighteen years to the west, making a location first in Taylor county, Iowa. He was here engaged three years in herding cattle. Subsequently he purchased a farm in Ringgold county, this state, and removing thereto, was engaged in its operation for several years. He then returned to Taylor county and purchased his present farm in Jefferson township, his place embracing three hundred acres of fine farming land. For a long period Mr. Keenan gave his entire attention to cultivating his farm and after taking possession he built a new house, supplied with all conveniences, built a barn and other outbuildings, set out an orchard and shade trees and his place is now one of the valuable properties of Jefferson township and Taylor county. While still residing on the farm he also fed stock on quite an extensive scale, shipping annually about six carloads of cattle to the city markets. In 1895 Mr. Keenan left the farm and purchased a residence in Blockton, which he has since occupied. He is still engaged in buying and shipping stock. He makes his purchases both in Iowa and Missouri and his long experience in this line of business has made him an excellent judge of stock, so that he is able to carry on a very profitable business.
It was during his residence in Ringgold county that Mr. Keenan was married, the lady of his choice being Miss Minnie Norton, whom he wedded February 18, 1884. Mrs. Keenan was born in Brown county, Illinois, a daughter of M. K. Norton. The latter was born in Butler county, Pennsylvania, and was there reared and married to Miss Rebecca Nelson, a native of Indiana county, that state. While still residing in the east Mr. Norton engaged in farming but in an early day went to Brown county, Illinois, while in 1868 he continued his journey westward, then locating in Ringgold county, Iowa. He there engaged in farming and spent his remaining days, passing away in 1888. Mrs. Norton survived for several years but is now deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Keenan lost their only child, Hugh, who died when but eleven months old.
Mr. Keenan has been a life long democrat but would never consent to hold public office, preferring to give his attention to this private business affairs. He has always lived at peace with fellowmen. He has never incurred an indebtedness, nor has he ever sued any man. Mrs. Keenan is a member and an active worker in the Christian church. They are people of the highest respectability, and Mr. Keenan has a very wide acquaintance in Taylor and adjoining counties, his business transactions taking him to various sections of this state and Missouri. He has advanced year by year in the business world and today he stands as one of the most prominent stock buyers and feeders of this section of Iowa.
THOMAS BENTON KEPLINGER, M. D.
Dr. Thomas Benton Keplinger, a physician and surgeon of Conway, who is successfully practicing, his ability bringing to him ready recognition from those who need professional services of his character, has been a resident of Taylor county from his boyhood days. His life record is therefore as an open (page 688) book to the people of this community and it is one which merits for him the esteem in which he is uniformly held. Dr. Keplinger was born in Kosciusko county, Indiana, on the 26th of July, 1861. He came to Taylor county with his father in 1865 and supplemented his early educational privileges by study in Amity College and in the state university, having graduated from the latter institution with the class of 1881. He received the Bachelor of Arts degree in 1885 and that of Master of Arts in 1888. In the meantime he engaged in teaching in Nebraska for a few years, but in 1892, he returned to the Iowa university, matriculating in the medical department, from which he was graduated with the M.D. degree in 1895. He then located in Cedar county, where he engaged in the practice of medicine and surgery, continuing there until 1898. In that year he came to Conway, where he has since made his home and in the intervening eleven years he has built up a large practice. In the discharge of his professional duties he is quite successful, for he is very careful in the diagnosis of his cases, studies closely the conditions of his patients and is accurate in the application of his scientific knowledge of specific needs. Since coming to Conway he has taken a post-graduate course and is regarded as one of the best trained and most thoroughly equipped physicians of Taylor county.
Dr. Keplinger was united in marriage in this county on the 6th of September, 1891, to Miss Fannie Alderson, who was born in Cook county, Illinois, and was reared in Taylor county, Iowa. She is a lady of superior educational and social attainments and presides with gracious hospitality over her pleasant home. Unto the doctor and his wife has been born a daughter, Hattie Frances. The parents are active members of the Conway Methodist Episcopal church and Dr. Keplinger belongs also to the Masonic lodge, while he and his wife are both connected with the Eastern Star, Mrs. Keplinger now serving as worthy matron of the chapter. The doctor commenced life for himself as a poor boy and has made his way upward from his youth, meeting the expenses of his different school and college courses with the fruits of his own labor. The elemental strength of his character, which he thus displayed in acquiring an education, has been manifest throughout his entire life, and a laudable ambition has prompted him to do the most efficient work possible for his patrons. He is widely known as a leading physician and a progressive and public-spirited citizen of Taylor county.
SAMUEL J. KEY
Samuel J. Key occupies a foremost place among the substantial, progressive and well-to-do citizens of Grove township, who, entirely through their own unaided efforts, have risen from a humble position to a place of prominence and affluence in business circles. A native of North Carolina, he was born in Surry county on the 17th of November, 1865, and is a son of A. S. and Ellen (Whittaker) Key. When but a child his parents moved to Indiana and later to Illinois, locating in Peoria county, where they resided for about two years, and then, in 1880, came to Taylor county, Iowa, the father here purchasing a place upon which a permanent home was established. On that farm the family was reared and there the parents continued to make their home until two years ago, but now live in Marshall township.
Samuel J. Key was a lad of fourteen years when he arrived in Taylor county with his parents, and his education which had been begun in the schools of Indiana and Illinois, was completed in the district schools near his father's home in this county. Upon the home farm he was reared to manhood and when not busy with his text-books assisted in the operation of the farm, continuing to give his father the benefit of his labors until attaining his majority. Then, being desirous of entering the business world for himself, he wisely chose as his life work the occupation to which he had been reared and became identified with agricultural pursuits on his own account as a renter, operating a farm in that capacity for one year. He was married on the 15th of March, 1888, to Miss Rose Gaudard, a native of Illinois, who was reared in Adams county, Iowa.
(Page 267) After his marriage Mr. Key again operated a rented farm for several years, at the end of which time, desiring that his efforts should more directly benefit himself, he purchased eighty acres of land, upon which he resided for one year. He then sold that property at a good advance over the purchase price, and invested in a larger farm, becoming the owner of one hundred and ten acres. The following year he purchased an adjoining tract of forty acres and two years later bought a farm of eighty acres in Holt township, which he leased. Subsequently he sold one of his farms and invested in the old Gordon farm of two hundred and twenty acres in Grove township, later adding forty acres adjoining. He continued in the cultivation of that property for about six years, and then sold out and purchased the farm of two hundred and forty acres upon which he now resides and to the further development of which he has since directed his efforts. It is located on section 27, Grove township, and under his wise and careful management has become one of the most highly improved properties in the township. In its midst stands a neat and attractive two-story residence, two good barns and substantial outbuildings, including a double crib, tool house and scales, all in first class condition. The place is equipped with all of the modern accessories and conveniences for facilitating labor, and nothing is lacking that goes to make up a model farm of the twentieth century. He also owns a tract of one hundred and fifteen acres near the old home farm, all blue grass pasture land, and another farm of two hundred and forty acres west of Lenox, likewise under a high state of cultivation. He is one of the extensive stock-raisers and feeders of the township, fattening a large amount of stock annually, and the ready sale and good prices which his product commands upon the market are a source of gratifying remuneration to him.
With the passing of the years the home of Mr. and Mrs. Key has been blessed with three children, Ethel, Leroy L. and Russell D., all still under the parental roof, the family being unbroken by the hand of death. The entire family are members of the Blue Grove Christian church, of which Mr. Key is serving as a deacon, while his wife and daughter are actively and helpfully interested in Sunday-school work. Public-spirited in his citizenship, he gives his political allegiance to the democratic party on all national issues, but in local affairs reserves the right of casting his ballot for the best man, regardless of party ties. He has served as a member of the town board for several years and has been identified with the schools for some time, serving first as director and later as president of the board, the cause of education ever finding in him a stanch champion. He is at present serving efficiently as township trustee, and in every office to which he has been elected has performed his public duties in a most thorough, faithful and entirely satisfactory manner, at all times manifesting in his official capacity the same thoroughness as characterized his business career. Thus he has been called to various positions of honor and trust, showing that he occupies a high place in public regard and enjoys in large measure the confidence of his fellowmen. He possesses good business ability, excellent judgment and keen discrimination, and although starting out in life as a poor young man, with no capital except brains, energy, integrity and good health, he has made continuous progress in the business world until today he is one of the extensive landowners and large stock-dealers in the township, possessing about six hundred acres of (page 268) valuable land in three different farms. He is truly a self-made man in the broadest sense of the term and the consensus of public opinion accords him a prominent place among the representative and valued citizens of Grove township.
A. E. KING, M. D.
He whose name introduces this record has gained recognition as one of the best known and ablest physicians of Taylor county, and by his labors, his high professional attainments and his sterling characteristics has justified the respect and confidence in which he is held by the medical fraternity and general public.
Dr. A. E. King was born in Coffey county, Kansas, May 31, 1858, a son of Thomas and Louise J. (Moore) King. The former, who was born in Ohio in 1836, came with his father, Isaac King, to Iowa in 1839, when three years of age, a settlement being made in Lee county, this state. Later he removed to Appanoose county and still later to Taylor county, locating in Jefferson township. It was while residing in this county that he was married to Miss Louise J. Moore, who was born and reared within its borders. In early life he had been a teacher and taught the first term of school in Platteville, Jefferson township. In 1856 he removed to Kansas, where he became identified with agricultural interests, operating a farm there for a few years. Subsequently he spent a winter in Clay county, Missouri, but in the spring of 1860, returning to Taylor county, Iowa, and engaging in business as a merchant in Platteville. Later he removed to Hawleyville, then to Platteville and in March, 1867, to Mormontown, now called Blockton, where he became known as the pioneer merchant, conducting the first store in that place. Here he spent his remaining years, passing away in 1904, having long survived his wife, whose death occurred October 18, 1862, in Platteville.
Dr. A. E. King arrived in Taylor county in 1860, when but two years of age, and passed the years of his boyhood and youth in Jefferson township, acquiring his early education in the common schools of that locality. Later he decided to make the medical profession his life work and consequently pursued a course of study in a medical college at Keokuk, Iowa, from which he was graduated with the class of 1881. He immediately opened an office for practice in Redding, Ringgold county, where he remained until 1894, in which year he came to Blockton, where he has since been engaged in the general practice of medicine, with the exception of a few years spent in further study. He attended the Hospital College of Medicine at Louisville, Kentucky, from which he was graduated in 1894, while he also pursued a post-graduate course at the Chicago Polyclinic in 1908. He is thus well equipped for the practice of his profession and is ranked among (page 503) the able physicians of Taylor county, being well known as one of the oldest practitioners of Blockton and that locality, his circle of acquaintances, friends and patrons extending for a radius of fifty miles. He has built up a very large practice, his extensive patronage coming to him as an expression of the trust and confidence reposed in him by the general public. He is constantly broadening his knowledge by study and research, recognizing fully the obligations that fall upon the physician, and he keeps abreast of the progress being made in the medical world through his membership in the State Medical Association, the Missouri Valley Medical Association and the Taylor County Medical Society. He is often called upon to prepare articles to be read before these assemblies. He conducted a drug store in Blockton and was very successful in this undertaking, but after five or six years was compelled to withdraw from that business to devote his entire time and energies to his constantly growing private practice.
Dr. King has been twice married. In 1878 he wedded Miss Ida May Castor, a native of Missouri, where she was reared. She passed away February 4, 1891, leaving, besides her husband to mourn her loss, one son, Dr. T. W. King, a practicing physician of Meloy, Iowa. They also lost one son, Joseph D., who died at the age of three years. In November, 1893, Dr. King was united in marriage to Lydia J. Shuff, a resident of Worth county, Missouri, and unto them were born three children, but the eldest, Alberta Belle, died at the age of two years. The others are Cecil Valentine and Ruth Madeline. The family reside in a beautiful home in Blockton, which has just been completed by Dr. King and is one of the fine, modern residences of this city.
Mrs. King is a member of the Christian church, while the Doctor holds membership in the blue lodge of Masons, at Blockton, and also belongs to the Knights of Pythias lodge. He gives his political allegiance to the republican party but has never sought nor desired public office. He is not, however, unmindful of his duties as a citizen, but gives earnest support to all measures which have for their object the substantial growth and development of the community. His ability and skill have been demonstrated in the successful handling of a number of complex medical problems and he is highly esteemed not only as a professional man but also as a citizen and friend of humanity, who lives for the good he can do his fellowmen.
W. E. KING
W. E. King, actively and busily engaged in general farming, his attention and energies being directed to the further development and improvement of two hundred acres of land on section 23, Jefferson township, has lived in Iowa since 1883, at which time he took up his abode in Taylor county. He is a western man by birth and training, having first opened his eyes to the light of day in Schuyler county, Missouri, February 20, 1857. His father, William King, was a native of Wilkes county, North Carolina, where he was reared and there married Miss Ann Janette Call, also a native of the same county. He followed farming in the Old North State until 1859 when he resolved to seek his fortune in Missouri and established his home in Schuyler county, where he entered land from the government and opened up a farm. His tract originally comprised eighty acres but additional purchases from time to time had made him the owner of two hundred (page 289) and forty acres constituting a well-improved and valuable farm. Eventually, however, he sold that property and removed to Worth county, Missouri, where he opened up a new farm on which he spent his last years. There he died September 25, 1898, and thus was closed a life of continuous usefulness and activity. His wife passed away on the 13th of August, 1909. To her was accorded a premium at the Old Settlers Association at Blockton on two or three occasions as being the oldest person in this part of Iowa or Missouri.
W. E. King was reared on the old home place in Worth county and from early youth assisted his father in tilling the fields and caring for the crops After his father's death he and his brother took charge of and carried on the place for a few years, displaying in its able management the business ability and spirit of enterprise which have since made him one of the leading and representative agriculturists of Taylor county.
While living in Worth county, W. E. King was married on the 27th of February, 1881, to Miss Louisa Weese. After their marriage they lived in Missouri for two or three years, Mr. King carrying on farming in Worth county and on the expiration of that period they came to Iowa where he made investment in one hundred and twenty acres of land comprising a part of the farm upon which he now resides. It was undeveloped and unimproved land but he broke the sod, fenced the fields, erected the necessary buildings and opened up the farm. Day by day added something to the work he accomplished in transforming the place into productive fields. After cultivating his land for some years Mr. King then rented the place and removed to Worth county where he farmed his mother's land for five years. He then returned to his old home and has since erected a good residence and two good barns and outbuildings. He has also set out an orchard and grove and the trees add much to the beauty of the place. There was not a switch or stick upon the place when he took possession and now there are various fruit trees together with fine shade and ornamental trees. Mr. King has also added eighty acres to his original tract and with the production of grain he also raises and feeds cattle, horses and hogs. He likewise owns one hundred and sixty acres in the panhandle of Texas, on which his son is now located and his wife owns eighty acres of land in Worth county.
In 1899 Mr. King was called upon to mourn the loss of his first wife who died on the 4th of June, of that year, leaving four sons and four daughters, all of whom are yet living. These are: Charles E., now of Texas; Zenis P., living in Blockton; Alvin N., and William D., who are aiding in carrying on the home farm; Mina, Etta N., Jennie M. and Bessie, all yet under the parental roof. In Taylor county Mr. King was again married, his second union being with Mrs. Melvina Ethridge, a widow who only lived for about two years after their marriage. In Worth county, Missouri, on the 20th of May, 1906, Mr. King wedded Catherine Drummins, also a widow and a native of Ohio. She was reared, however, in Iowa and Missouri and was married in Worth county of the latter state to James Thomas Drummins, a farmer of that locality. By her former marriage she had one son, Ulysses S. Drummins, now of Worth county.
In his political views Mr. King has been a lifelong democrat, casting his first presidential vote for Grover Cleveland and his last for William Jennings Bryan. He has never sought nor desired office for himself but has served as a member (page 290) of the school board. Both he and his wife are members of the Christian church of Blockton and are both active workers in the church and Sunday-school, doing all in their power to promote the growth and extend the influence of the church in its efforts for the moral redemption of the race. Mr. King is well known in this section of the country where he has long resided and where his labors have been so directed that intelligent and unremitting effort has brought to him a gratifying competence.