PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL ALBUM
pg 607, 608
Alexander O. KELLER has for several years actively identified himself with the business interests of Springfield, and as one of the leading insurance men of the city and one of its enterprising grocers he is not only achieving success for himself and advancing his financial statue, but he is doing his share in promoting the welfare of his adopted city materially, socially and religiously.
He was born in Baden, Germany, November 14, 1846, a son of Nicholas KELLER, and a grandson of John KELLER, who were also natives of that country, their birthplace being the same as his own. His grandfather was an engineer, and spent his entire life in Baden. The father of our subject was an architect of fine talent and great reputation, and was for many in government employ. He was a life-long resident of his native land. The mother of our subject, whose maiden name was Verena SCHMIDT, is still living there in the land of his birth, at the venerable age of eighty-four years. She is a woman of more than ordinary force of character and vigor of intellect, and, notwithstanding her advanced age, retains her mental faculties to a remarkable degree, and writes to her son, our subject every few weeks interesting letters, penned in a fine hand that betrays but little mark of the infirmities usual to a person whose head is frosted with the snows of more than four-score years.
Alexander KELLER is the only member of his parent’s family who ever came to the United States, his brother August and sister Johanna still residing in Baden. Our subject was given the advantages of a liberal education in the foremost schools of Europe. His primary education was conducted at Constance, and later he attended school at Carlsruhe, and was subsequently a student in the famous universities of Heidleburg and Munich. Thus well equipped for the duties of life, after leaving college he became an architect, and practiced his profession at Strasburg, at Cologne on the Rhine, and had the advantage of a year in Paris. He returned from that city to his native land to attend to his father’s business, and remained there until 1872. Ambitious to obtain a broader outlook on life, to see more of the world, and take advantage of the opportunities offered skilled men of his profession in this country, in that year he came to America. He stayed a few months in New York, and then went to Philadelphia, where he was employed to draw plans for the Centennial buildings in Fairmount Park. He remained there until 1877 and then returned to New York, where he invested in city property, but was unfortunate in his speculation, and lost all, and after that was sick in the Fifth Street Hospital for a year. In 1879, he determined to retrieve his fallen fortunes, he made his way to Cincinnati, and wisely taking any opportunity that offered to turn an honest penny till he could find employment more congenial to his tastes, he accepted work on a farm near the city, with wages of $5 per month. He continued thus engaged until the fall of the same year, and the went to Paris, Ky., but did not find things to his liking there, and after a month’s stay in that city, he came to Springfield in the month of December, 1879, and here first found employment with Frederick HOLFORD, and remained with him six years. At the expiration of that time he had acquired sufficient capital to establish himself in business on his own account, and he opened an insurance office, which he managed successfully, but for a man of his active temperament that was not sufficient to take up all of his time, and in 1887 he bought a grocery business with excellent financial results, more than ordinary good fortune following his ventures.
Mr. KELLER has not only been successful from a financial point of view, but he has established a happy home in our midst, and to her who has aided him in making it an attractive abiding place he was united in marriage in 1872 in Germany. One child, Annie Theresa completes their pleasant household circle. Mrs. KELLER’S maiden name was Gertrude MAJER, and she was born in Wittenburg, Germany.
Mr. KELLER carries his force of character and high principle into all his transactions, and both his public and private life are without blemish. A gentleman of his superior education and culture, capacity for business, and unswerving rectitude, is of inestimable value to our citizenship, and that his fellow-men appreciate his high qualities is shown by their calling him to aid in carrying on municipal affairs. In 1889 he was elected to the City Council, and so well did he serve the public interests he was re-elected to the same position in 1890 for a term of two years. In him the Democratic party finds one of its most intelligent supporters. He is a prominent member of St. Bernard’s Roman Catholic Church, and has served at Trustee of the church. He is conspicuously identified with the following societies as a most liberal and active member of each: he belongs to the Knights of St. George and to the St. Joseph Benevolent Society, to St. Aloysius Orphan Society, and is Secretary of the St. Bernard Building and Loan Association. Mr. KELLER is a fine linguist, having command of the German, French, Italian, Spanish, Greek and English languages, and when he has occasion to address an audience can do so with grace and fluency. He is open-handed and warm-hearted and the unfortunate and needy find in him a true friend.
Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio
Chapman Bros., Chicago. Copyright 1890.