Biography - Harm Keiser

HARM KEISER, who resides on section 7, Walshville Township, is one of the most prominent farmers of the community, and one of the county's valuable citizens. A native of Germany, he was born in Ostfriesland, Hanover, October 8, 1839, and is the eldest of five children whose parents were John and Gesehe Keiser. His grandfather, Harm Keiser, came to America in 1850, and located in Madison County, Ill., where he died September 23, 1869, at an advanced age. In 1854, the parents of our subject, with four sons and a daughter, came to America and sought a home on the wild prairies of the Mississippi Valley. The father purchased a tract of land in Macoupin County, but before he had paid for it, he died, in 1855, leaving his widow with a family to support and a heavy debt upon the home.
Harm, being the eldest child, set to work with his brothers and mother to clear the home of debt, and this was in due time accomplished. Mrs. Keiser lived to enjoy the home which was thus preserved to her by the loving care of her sons, and saw all of her children occupying comfortable homes and respectable positions in society before she at length passed away, in 1890, at a ripe old age. Her two sons, C. J. and Andrew, are the wealthy bankers, millers and merchants of Mt. Olive. John, the other brother, operates the old homestead. Annie is the wife of Frank Prange, of Walshville Township.
The eldest of the family, our subject, after the mother was provided for, purchased eighty acres of land for himself in 1862, which formed the nucleus of his present extensive possessions. Farming has been his chief occupation, and he now owns eight hundred acres of valuable land, which yield him a golden tribute. He has also been interested with his brothers in coal-mining, and for two years was Superintendent of the mines at Mt. Olive. Under his able management these became a great financial success. Mr. Keiser brings to all his business undertakings keen judgment, sagacity, enterprise and energy, qualities which are essential to a prosperous career, and which have won him his extended estate.
On the 11th of July, 1863, Mr. Keiser wedded Miss Mary Focken, a native of Germany, who came with her parents to America in 1855, and was reared in Madison County, Ill. Two sons and three daughters grace their union: Annie is now the wife of Frank Weidned, of Dorchester; Henry married Kathrina Walters, of Sedalia, Mo.; Hannah, Lydia and Albert are still under the parental roof. Henry was graduated from the Central Wesley College, of Warren ton, Mo., in 1890 and now aids his father in the management of his property.
In politics, Mr. Keiser is a stalwart Republican. In 1879-80, he served as a member of the County Board of Supervisors. He then refused re-election, but again, in 1887, was placed in that office, which he has filled continuously since with credit to himself and to the satisfaction of his constituents. His long-continued service indicates his great personal popularity as well as the efficient manner in which he discharges his public duties. His life has been a busy and useful one, and his honorable, upright career has won him universal confidence.

Extracted 10 Jan 2017 by Norma Hass from 1892 Portrait and Biographical Record of Montgomery and Bond Counties, Illinois, page 269.

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