By O. F. Montgomery
This gentleman, perhaps as widely known throughout the county in which he lives as any other man, was born in Shelby County, Ind., March 23, 1827, of German and Irish descent.
His early experience and years were in a like channel and trend as most all other youths, digressing from the ordinary routine of school life to the work of learning his trade as brick mason.
At the age of seven years, he moved with his parents to
Indianapolis, where he resided until he became a resident of Fulton County in 1853.
It was during his residence in Indianapolis that he first began to use the
trowel as an assistant of his father. As before stated, he came with his parents to Fulton County in 1853, and located on what is known as the Keely farm, in the
western part of Rochester Township. Here he found
employment in tilling the soil and proscating the work of his trade. One the 4th day of October, 1860, at the age of twenty-four years, he was united in marriage to
Miss Maria Ernsperger, a native of Sandusky County, Ohio, born January 1, 1843, and at that time a resident of Fulton County. To these parents were born four children -- Helen V., born July 18, 1861;
Nettie, born November 14, 1862; Maggie, born November 27, 1869; and Harry S., born January 5. 1875. Two years after marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Keely became residents of Rochester, where he
immediately embarked in the dry goods business along with his interest as salesman of agricultural implements. In this business he continued up to the year 1870, when he was elected Clerk of the county by his party. He filled
this position for one term of four years, and in the election of 1874 was re-elected to the same office, serving in all eight years as a public official. Soon after his retirement from office, he, accompanied by his family, became
residents of Cambria, Wis., where he purchased a large flouring mill and began the manufacture of flour on an extensive scale. All went well for
several months, when on the 16th of June, 1880, a destructive fire swept his mill away.
He then returned to his old home in Rochester, where he now resides, and where he is taking an active part in various enterprises for the upbuilding of the county. His parents, James and Mary Keely, now living, are native of Ohio. James
is a brick mason by trade. He came to Indiana in 1822 and has until late years followed farming as a part of his life work. He is yet full of life and
energy, and can handle the trowel with considerable dexterity.
Christopher and Julia Ernsperger, the
parents of Mrs. Keely, were natives of Maryland, and came to Fulton County in 1858, where he purchased a large tract of land, and made a beautiful farm in the northwestern part of Rochester Township,
but left the farm and became residents of Rochester in 1872, where he deceased on May 10, 1878, and
his aged companion still lives among a large circle of friends.
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming