PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL ALBUM
pg 575, 576, 577
EDMUND H. KEIFER. Even in a county where intelligence is the rule, there are some men who are regarded as superior in intellectual culture to the great mass of citizens and who therefore possess greater prominence and wield greater influence than others. When to this mental development are added pleasing manners, good social qualities and the energetic nature which makes a success of whatever employment the man enters upon, he is almost certain to be looked upon with great respect and to be known far and wide as an honor to the community. Such is the case with the subject of this biographical sketch, who, aside from his personal qualities, is respected on account of his family connections, several of whom are highly honored in the Nation. To those interested in public affairs the name of his cousin, J. Warren KEIFER, ex-Speaker of the House of Representatives, is familiar; while his father, Gen. John KEIFER, is remembered for his high official station in the Ohio Militia and as United States Marshal for this district.
In 1805, George and Margaret (HIVNER) KEIFER, left Maryland for the Buckeye State, settling on Mad River, about six miles west of Springfield. The farm which they occupied until death is now owned by Leander BAKER and forms a part of Bethel Township, Clark County. George KEIFER fought for his country in the second struggle for the relief from British tyranny. At the death of this most worthy couple the farm became the property of their son, John, who was born in Maryland in 1800, but reared in this section, amid the pioneer surroundings of the first quarter of the century. He not only filled the high station of which we have before spoken, but was an influential member of the society in this vicinity, honored as a man of natural ability, upright life and great usefulness. He took the United States census in this county in 1860.
Gen. KEIFER married Elizabeth, daughter of John DONNEL, one of the first pioneers in this section, who helped survey this and the adjoining counties, and owned the instruments with which Cincinnati was surveyed. These are now in the possession of Mrs. Thomas KEYSER, of Springfield. Mrs. KEIFER was born in Springfield Township, four miles west of the town of the same name, on a farm now owned by A. HOLCOMB. She bore her husband six children, two of whom are yet living—John D. and Edmund H. The former married Nancy CRANE, who was born and reared on Mad River, this county; their home is in Kansas and their family comprises nine children. Gen. KEIFER and his wife died within three weeks of each other, the husband breathing his last June 9, 1865, and his widow June 29.
The gentleman with whose name this sketch is introduced was born in Springfield Township, Februry 19, 1835, on the farm which had been his mother’s birthplace and early home. His parents thoroughly appreciated the advantages of a good education and after completing the course of study which could be pursued in the common schools, he was sent to Antioch College, Yellow Springs, where for two terms he was under the instruction of the noted educator, Horace MANN. The most stupid lad could scarcely fail under such circumstances to be inspired with grand ideas of the object and use of knowledge, and the manner in which one’s surroundings should ever be made helpful toward a higher development of the mental powers. The bright mind and early training of young KEIFER were a fertile soil for the growth of such ideas and they have born much fruit in his life.
Mr. KEIFER remained with his parents until after his marriage which took place January 11, 1859, when he settled for a year on the old homestead. He then removed to Mad River Township and remained there for two years, and in 1865, took possession of his present estate which is located on section 6, Green Township. There were no improvements on the place and a part of it was not yet cleared. His original acreage here has been added to, the estate now comprising three hundred and thirty-seven acres and bearing excellent improvements. The two family residences and two tenant houses, together with all the barns and other buildings were erected by the present owner, his own dwelling having been put up in the fall of 1871, at the cost of $2,500. Mr. KEIFER still superintends the estate, on which are to be found some excellent grades of horses, cattle and hogs. In addition to the fine estate here, he owns a livery barn in Springfield and considerable real estate in Washington, D. C.
The National Capital has been frequently visited by Mr. KEIFER and since he began investing there he makes about four trips yearly. On the last occasion he was in the wreck of the Baltimore & Ohio train near Newark, Ohio, on March 14, 1890, but fortunately escaped serious injury. During the Civil War he belonged to the Ohio National Guards and sent a substitute into the Union Army. His judgment concurs in the principles embodied in the Democratic platform, and his ballot is given to that party. He is an ardent temperance man, although not a supporter of the third party. For many years he acted as School Director of the district in which he lives and he also belonged to the Board of Education of the Township. He is not identified with any religious body, although his wife and children are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
It would be natural to suppose that this gentleman would choose as a life companion a lady of cultured intellect and manners, and such as one presides over his hospitable home. She was known in her girlhood as Miss Bethenia MILLER, was born in this county January 1, 1842, and received a part of her intellectual training in Springfield Seminary. She is the daughter of R. S. and Elizabeth (SHELLABARGER) MILLER. Her mother was a sister of Judge SHELLABARGER, of Washington, D. C., who was formerly a Congressman from this district and who is now a very prominent lawyer, practicing before the United States Supreme Court exclusively, and having as a partner, Judge WILSON. Mrs. MILLER died in September, 1879, leaving three children, two of whom yet survive. They are—Mrs. George HUMPHREYS, of Urbana, and Mrs. KEIFER, the wife of the subject of this sketch. Mr. MILLER is still living and is now seventy-seven years of age. Maggie, who married Dr. A. A. BAKER, was the oldest child, and departed this life in March, 1888.
Mr. and Mrs. KEIFER are the parents of three children, of whom we note the following: Anna M. married John T. STEWART, son of Perry STEWART, whose sketch will be found elsewhere in this book. Their home is in Greencastle, Ind., where Mr. STEWART owns an electric light plant. Lizzie D. is the wife of F. P. WHITEHEAD, to whom she had borne one child; their home is in Springfield, Ohio. Shella G., a young man now nineteen years old, is a student in Antioch College.
Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio
Chapman Bros., Chicago. Copyright 1890.