Biography - John Keltner

JOHN M. KELTNER, a merchant of New Burnside since 1879, was born in Giles County, Tenn., in July, 1854. His father was Lewis B. Keltner, of the same county, where he was engaged in farming, as was his father before him. This grandfather of John M. Keltner was of German ancestry, and, it is believed, was born in Germany. The wife of Lewis B. Keltner was Mary Farris, of the same part of Tennessee, who with her husband came to southern Illinois with a small family but within about one year they returned to Tennessee, subsequently coming to Johnson County in 1857, where they settled on one hundred and sixty acres of land in Simpson Township, which Mr. Keltner had purchased on his first visit to the State. They commenced life in moderate circumstances, but by industry and frugality soon had a comfortable home and a competency, and the farm upon which they settled is still owned in the family. Lewis B. Keltner died on this farm in 1884, aged fifty-seven years, and his widow, now sixty-eight years old, is in excellent health and still lives on the farm. She has four sons and one daughter living: Stephen F., a farmer near the old home, who has a wife, one son and two daughters; Edward, a farmer of Pope County, who has a wife and one daughter; and John M. and W. L., the two latter being in partnership in New Burnside, in the hardware and furniture business. W. L. has a wife, two sons and two daughters. The youngest of the family, Alice, is the wife of Thomas B. Murrie, and has two sons and one daughter living. They reside on a farm near the old homestead. Lewis B. Keltner was fairly successful in life and left a small estate.
The youth of John M. Keltner was spent on the farm, consequently he received a somewhat limited education, and when nineteen years old he married Martha E. Moore, who was seventeen years of age. She was the daughter of Green B. Moore, of Tennessee, who died about 1867, having been preceded to his final rest a few years by his wife. She has two brothers: James M. Moore, of Simpson Township, and George, a farmer on Horse Prairie. Her sister, Indiana, is the wife of Thomas Simpson, a farmer on Horse Prairie, in Jefferson County.
Mr. Keltner and wife began domestic life on her father's farm, where they lived one year, and then bought a farm of eighty-seven acres adjoining his father's farm, for which he paid $800. Here he lived from 1875 to 1879, when he sold the farm and removed to New Burnside, buying the drug business and store of F. M. Jones, and remaining in that business until 1889, when he sold his store and bought a farm of eighty acres, upon which he lived the next winter. In the spring of 1890 he sold it and again removed to the village, where he began business as a hardware and furniture dealer, buying out the business of a Mr. Grey. This business he conducted alone until September, 1891, when he took in his brother, W. L., as partner. They were among the many losers by the great fire of December of that year, but being partially insured they soon rebuilt and commenced business in their new store in April, 1892. In February, 1892, Mr. Keltner opened the store by the side of the track with a stock of clothing, etc., in company with Mr. Graham, under the firm name of Graham & Co., this business being managed by an employe named W. I. Hampton.
Mr. Keltner and his brother each devote a part of their time to the hardware and furniture business. The former rented a dwelling until October, 1891, when he bought his present fine home, which is the elegant new house erected by John DuPont, on thirteen and one-half acres of land, with fine ornamental shade and fruit trees. He has lost one daughter, Nora A., who died at the age of eight years, in April, 1892. One son, Lewis O., a young man of eighteen, is living at home and attending school. Mr. Keltner is not an office-seeker nor active in politics, but he votes the Democratic ticket, and has been School Trustee for some three years. He is a Royal Arch Mason, and was an Odd Fellow, but withdrew from the order. Both he and wife are members of the United Baptist Church.

Extracted 16 Dec 2016 by Norma Hass from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 480-481.

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