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Des Moines County >> 1888 Index

Portrait and Biographical Album of Des Moines County, Iowa
Chicago: Acme Publishing, 1888.


William B. Kaster, a large stock-dealer residing on section 33, Benton Township, Des Moines Co., Iowa, was born Sept. 19, 1833, in Shelby County, Ind., and is a son of James T. and Cynthia (Johnson) Kaster.  They were natives of Ohio but settled in Indiana about the year 1820, owning a good farm in Shelby County.  In 1839 the farm was sold, the family coming to Des Moines County, where Mr. Kaster bought a claim of 320 acres on section 33, Benton Township, where his son W. B. now resides.  To James and Cynthia Kaster were born nine children, only four of whom are living--John W., of Olathe, Kan.; our subject; Thompson, a dealer in agricultural implements, of Shenandoah, Iowa; and Mary, wife of Joseph Penney, a farmer in Flint River Township.  As above stated, James Kaster became a resident of Des Moines County in 1839, where he was one of the prominent and leading men, always ready and willing to aid in any enterprise for the public good.  Although solicited many times to do so, he would never accept any public office.  He was a partner of E. D. Rand in the pork-packing business for several years, his wise judgment and good advice making him very desirable as a partner.  He was also an extensive land owner.  The death of Mr. Kaster occurred Oct. 8, 1868, his wife having preceded him to the home of the Redeemed.  They were both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Mrs. Kaster being an indefatigable worker in the same.  She died in 1857.

The boyhood days of our subject were spent upon the farm and in attending school.  He did not leave the paternal roof until the age of twenty-two, when he was united in marriage and made a home of his own, Miss Lydia U. Penney becoming his wife.  She was born in Westmoreland County, Pa., Oct. 16, 1835, and is a daughter of John and Rebecca (Weddle) Penney, both natives of Pennsylvania.  Seven children were born to them.  Mr. Penney departed this life Dec. 14, 1886, at the age of eighty-six years.  He and his wife were members of the Baptist Church. Mrs. Penney still survives him.

Seven children bless the union and bring joy and gladness to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Kaster.  John P., born Oct. 7, 1857, was united in marriage with Miss Ida Miller, of this county, and one child was born to them--Nellie M.  He is a young man of more than ordinary ability, a graduate of the Rush Medical College of Chicago, and is Surgeon and Assistant Manager of the Sante Fe Railroad Employees' Association, with headquarters at Albuquerque, N. M.  His jurisdiction extends over the lines of the western division of the Sante Fe in New Mexico and Arizona to the Needles, having charge of the Association's hospital at Albuquerque.  Cynthia R., the second child, born Dec. 4, 1859, is the wife of Charles B. Walker, a farmer in Benton Township, and to them were born two children--Cora and Chester; James T., born April 4, 1862; W. B., Jr., March 26, 1865; Rennick, May 4, 1868; and Thomas J., July 4, 1875.

In 1861 Mr. Kaster moved to Fairfield, Iowa, and engaged in the lumber business, continuing in the same for thirteen years, returning to the old home farm in 1873, having purchased it during his residence in Fairfield.  He has one of the best improved farms in the township, situated on sections 33 and 34, containing 380 acres.  Upon this farm will be found Devonshire and Short-horned cattle and all buildings necessary for the care of his stock.  Mr. Kaster has held various township offices with credit to himself and his constituents.  Socially he is a member of the I. O. O. F., while politically he is a Republican.  He and his wife are both members of the Baptist Church.  As an honorable and public spirited man none stands higher than does Mr. Kaster, and the respect due him is tendered alike by young and old, rich and poor.

George W. Kelley 

Among the early business men who settled in what is now the city of Burlington, in 1835, was the subject of this sketch, who was born in Concord, N. H., in July, 1809. His parents died when he was a lad of thirteen years, and he then became an inmate of the home of his brother, who had been a resident of Erie County, Pa., for some years.

Young Kelley took up the study of law in the office of his brother, who was a practicing attorney, but later, believing himself better adapted to mercantile business, abandoned it. In 1835 he was married to Miss Margaret King, daughter of William B. and Nancy C. (Miller) King, of Martinsburg, Pa., and people highly respected in the community where they lived. Mr. and Mrs. King were the parents of six children: William W.; Mary, who became the wife of Gen. B. F. Kelley, a soldier of the late war; James K.; Margaret J.; Annie E., who married D. M. Ewing, an early settler of Burlington, Iowa, and now deceased; Margaret J., Mrs. Kelley, who is the only survivor of the family.

In 1835 Mr. Kelley came to Iowa with his young wife, and was the third man to establish in the business of general merchandising in the city. He first located in an unpretentious store on Front street, the site of which is now occupied by the gas works. Two years later he was burned out, saving but a small portion of his stock. He then disposed of the remainder, and abandoning mercantile pursuits, began dealing in real estate. In 1852 he went to California and located at Marysville, where he embarked in the nursery business, leaving his wife in Burlington to educate their children. He prosecuted the nursery business on the Pacific Slope until his death, which occurred in 1863. Mr. Kelley was an active and energetic business man, one who stood high in the estimation of the people. He was kind and indulgent as a father and faithful in the discharge of his duties toward his family. In early life he was an old Henry Clay Whig, but upon organization of the Republican party gave to it his cordial and intelligent support, and continued with it until his death. To Mr. Kelley and his estimable wife there were born six children: Mary J. became the wife of P. K. Wilson, an attorney-at-law, and died in 1857; George E. is a resident of Sioux City, Iowa; the two youngest living are Maggie E. and William B. Two children died in infancy. Mrs. Kelley is still a resident of Burlington, where she has lived for a period of over fifty-two years. Upon coming here there was not a brick house in the town, which then gave little evidence of its future importance, and Indians roamed plentifully over this part of the Territory of Iowa. Mrs. Kelley fulfilled admirably the duties of a pioneer wife and mother, and has been a consistent member of the Presbyterian Church for many years.

John L. Kelley, of J. L. Kelley & Co., wholesale and retail dealers in farm machinery, buggies, etc., is a native of Ohio, and was born near Steubenville, Jefferson County. His father, James Kelley, who was a farmer by occupation, was born in Eastern Pennsylvania of Scotch-Irish parentage, and removed to Ohio in early life. His mother, whose maiden name was Jane Kean, was born in the North of Ireland, emigrated to America in childhood, and married Mr. Kelley in Ohio.

Our subject came to Iowa with his parents in 1849, settling near Birmingham, Van Buren County, where he was reared on a farm, receiving an academic education at Jacksonville, Ill., and engaging in teaching in winter, farming in summer. The outbreak of the Civil War found him thus engaged, and, responding to the call of his country, he enlisted, in October, 1861, in Company M, 4th Iowa Cavalry, and served with credit to himself until the close of the war. He did gallant service, and was fortunate enough to escape either wounds or capture. He was promoted to Quartermaster Sergeant, and veteranized in 1864. He saw much service, being, in the early part of the war, under Gen. S. Curtis, and subsequently under Gen. A. J. Smith, in Missouri and Arkansas, engaged in skirmishing and scouting through that then dangerous region. Subsequently the regiment, and Mr. Kelley with it, was under Gen. Thomas in the Army of the Tennessee. They joined Grant's Army at Grand Gulf on the march to Vicksburg, participating in the arduous labors attending the reduction of the celebrated rebel stronghold. They remained in that region until February, 1864, when they took part in the Meridian, Miss., expedition, under Gen. Sherman. Later in the year they had a lively time with the rebel cavalry under Forrest, near Memphis, Tenn., engaging in many sharp fights, notably at Guntown, Tupelo, Holly Springs, etc. In January, 1865, the regiment was joined to Wilson's Cavalry Corps, and participated in the famous raid through Georgia. In all of these actions Mr. Kelley was engaged, and always did good service.

After his discharge Mr. Kelley returned to his former occupation of teaching, until 1868, and the following two years traveled through Northern Missouri selling farm machinery. In 1870 he came to Burlington, Iowa, forming a partnership with a Mr. Elliott, and engaging in the same line of business, at retail. Since entering into his present occupation, the business has been carried on very successfully. Several changes in partnership have occurred, and during the time Mr. Kelley has become the head of the house, and a wholesale department has been opened. A history of this firm is given on another page of this work. Mr. Kelley, by judicious management and close application to the details of his business, has extended his line of trade, until at this writing (1888) he is sole proprietor of one of the most extensive wholesale farm implement houses in the State.

Mr. Kelley is a prominent figure in the business and social circles of Burlington. He is a member of the Board of Trade and of the Commercial Club of Burlington, the latter an organization instituted for the purpose of furthering the commercial and manufacturing interests of the city and bringing its business men into closer social relations with each other. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and prominently identified with the Y. M. C. A., of which he is President. In politics he is a Republican, and in every relation of life bears the repute of an upright man and a good citizen.

Philor R. Kelley, passenger conductor of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railroad, was born in Schenevus, Otsego County, N. Y., July 11, 1853, and is a son of Lysander and Emily (Benedict) Kelley, both natives of New York. When eight years of age our subject emigrated with the family to La Porte, Ind., but after remaining there for only a short time they removed to Pekin, Ill., where Philor was educated in the city schools, later attending the Peoria High School. When fifteen years of age he began work in the machine shops of the Peoria, Pekin & Jacksonville Railroad, serving a term of two years, and then went to Belle Plaine, Iowa, where he was employed with C. Lamb & Son, lumber merchants of that city, with whom he remained for two years. At the expiration of that time Mr. Kelley entered the service of the Chicago & North-Western Railroad as a brakesman, and was given his first train in 1873. He ran as conductor for three years, and after leaving the North-Western spent a few months on the Union Pacific Railroad and in the Black Hills country. In 1876 Mr. Kelley began work on the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern as brakeman, a few months later was promoted to freight conductor, and in 1884 became passenger conductor, having served in that capacity for the past four years. When he began running on the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern, he made his home at Cedar Rapids, and continued to reside in that city until 1887, when he moved to Burlington, his present place of residence.

Mr. Kelley was married at Independence, Buchanan County, Iowa, in April, 1881, Miss Cora P. Marinus becoming his wife. She is a native of that city, and a daughter of T. J. Marinus. They have one child, an infant daughter, Gladys. Mr. Kelley is a member of the Order of Railroad Conductors, and is a Democrat in politics. 

Capt. W. W. Kinnear

It may be truly said of the United States that no country is more productive of so large a number of men whose native ability and untiring zeal have achieved for them positions of the highest distinction.  The best men of our Great West are of this character.  Iowa possesses no small share of this invaluable class, and with such rank Capt. W. W. Kinnear.  He was born in Franklin, Venango Co., Penn., July 2, 1836, and is a son of David and Nancy M. (DeWoody) Kinnear, the father a native of Pennsylvania, but of Scotch-Irish ancestry, and his mother a native of Venango Co., Penn., but of French descent.  In 1836, David Kinnear entered the State of Iowa, purchasing land seventeen miles west of Dubuque.  He removed his family in 1845 to the new home which he had in the meantime prepared for them.  There he lived for some years, though afterward selling, and purchasing a home in Delaware County.  Mr. and Mrs. Kinnear were the parents of the following children:  Sylvester, who was among those of "forty-nine" to visit California, is a resident of Brownsville, Cal.; Robert, also among the first to seek a fortune in California, is supposed to have been murdered for his money while crossing the Isthmus on his return; James, a soldier in the late Rebellion, enlisting in an Iowa regiment, died from the effect of wounds; Henry, a farmer near Albert Lea, Minn.; Mary J., wife of Charles Gaghan, residing near Albert Lea; Libbie, widow of William Elmer, residing at Albert Lea; Susan, wife of Eugene Davis, of Yankton, Dak.; and Emma, wife of E. D. Jones, also of Yankton.  In later years, Mr. Kinnear removed to Freeborn County, Minn., where he died in 1875, his wife surviving him until 1884.

Capt. Kinnear, our subject, was reared and educated in Dubuque County, but when sixteen years old began work for himself, working on a farm, and accumulating enough to buy some calves, which he placed upon his father's farm, afterward selling them for $600, which seemed to him an immense sum of money.  He was afterward interested in a mail route between Garnavillo and Dubuque, but this did not pay, so he invested his money in a steamboat, losing it all.  Still he remained upon the river, working his way up until he became Captain of some of the best boats between St. Paul and St. Louis. In 1856, Capt. Kinnear was made Superintendent of the White Collar Line, and afterward of the Keokuk & Northern Line, with headquarters at St. Louis.  He came to Burlington in 1879, becoming a dealer in coal, wood, etc., while at the same time he is interested in the steamboat business.  Capt. Kinnear is one of the Directors of the Board of Trade, is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and also of the Knights of Pythias.

In 1857, Capt. Kinnear was united in marriage with Miss Sarah, a daughter of John McLaury, of McGregor, Iowa.  She was born in New York in 1839.  By this union there is one daughter, Mary A.

Jacob Kline, a farmer and stock-raiser, residing on section 15, Franklin Township, Des Moines Co., Iowa, was born in Montgomery County, Pa., in August, 1806, and is a son of Frederick and Susan (Huffman) Kline, the father a native of Lancaster County, and the mother of Montgomery County, Pa. To them were born eight children: Mary wedded Michael Prener, and both are now deceased, having left a family of five children; Catherine became the wife of John Spim, reared a family of nine children, and both are now deceased; Henry died at the age of fifty; John departed this life in Lehigh County, Pa.; Susan married John Belles, and four children were born to this couple, who are now deceased; Hettie was the wife of Samuel Hull, and both have been called to their final home; Samuel, who was one of its well-to-do farmers, died in Des Moines County at the age of fifty-six; Jacob, our subject, was the youngest and is the only one of the family now living. He went with his parents to Luzerne County, Pa., where they both died about the year 1843. Mr. Kline's occupation was that of a shoemaker, but owning a farm, he divided his attention between the two vocations. Religiously, he was a Presbyterian, and his wife was a member of the Lutheran Church. Jacob Kline was educated in the common schools, was reared upon his father's farm, and in 1845 emigrated to Des Moines County, Iowa, entering eighty acres of timber land, and purchasing 160 acres of prairie land, upon which he yet resides. Mr. Kline was united in marriage with Miss Mary Behee, who was born in Newport Township, Luzerne County, Pa., Jan. 15, 1816, and is a daughter of George and Elizabeth (Houpt) Behee, both of whom were natives of Pennsylvania, and passed their lives in Luzerne County, in that State. Ten children were born of their union, eight of whom grew to man and womanhood, and the following are yet living: Adam, residing in Luzerne County; Elizabeth became the wife of Timothy Ide, of Kentucky; Ellen, wife of James Butler, resides in Ironton, Ohio, and Mrs. Kline.

Nine children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Kline: Charles B., residing in Dodgeville; Susan, wife of James Whitaker, whose sketch appears elsewhere; Elizabeth, wife of William Deets, a farmer of Yellow Spring Township; Joseph, a farmer in Kansas, residing near Walton; Theodore is also engaged in farming near Walton; the next child died in infancy; Mary is the wife of John Bridges, a resident of Monona County, Iowa; John, a practicing physician of Lyon, Mo.; and Ella M. is the wife of William Mercer, of Burlington. In the early days of his residence in Des Moines County Mr. Kline was obliged to live in the true pioneer style, living in a covered wagon until a small log cabin could be erected. That has long since given way to a more comfortable home, and in 1870 a handsome two-story frame building was erected, where Mr. and Mrs. Kline are now passing the evening of their lives. The lady has been a life-long member of the Lutheran Church, while Mr. Kline belongs to the Presbyterian Church. Throughout his life he has been a member of the Democratic party and is one of the representative and respected pioneers and citizens of Des Moines County, Iowa.

Ludwig Koch, a farmer and blacksmith residing on section 11, Benton Township, Des Moines County, Iowa, is a native of Prussia, Germany, born in 1841.  His parents, Ludwig and Elizabeth (Wulfanger) Koch, were also natives of Prussia.  The father was a blacksmith, and before leaving Germany our subject learned that trade.  On the 9th of May, 1865, bidding good-bye to friends, home and native land, he sailed from Hamburg, crossed the broad Atlantic and landed in Quebec, Canada, after a voyage of forty-two days.  Immediately taking the train for Des Moines County, he reached Burlington on the 3d day of July, and there made his home with his aunt, Mrs. Wendt, of Benton Township, for two years.  At the expiration of that time, March 20, 1867, his marriage with Mrs. Benedict Lam was celebrated.  Her maiden name was Johanna Burgus and she is a daughter of Frederick Burgus.  The young couple began their domestic life upon a farm of forty acres on section 11, Benton Township, which Mr. Koch and purchased, and which continued to be their home.  As the years have passed he has been able to add more land, until now 120 broad acres yield him a bountiful harvest.

One daughter, Minnie, graces the union of Mr. and Mrs. Koch. Politically, our subject is a Democrat, and is now serving his second term as Trustee of Benton Township.  He and his wife are members of the German Methodist Episcopal Church, and take great interest in the work of the organization.  In connection with general farming Mr. Koch carries on blacksmithing, and is very skillful in that business.  He is one of the respected farmers of Benton Township, and as such we are pleased to present his sketch.

Mr. Koch has one brother, residing in this country, William, a cabinet-maker of Burlington, and also three sisters in this country, namely:  Elizabeth, wife of Fred Busse, a resident of Burlington, Iowa; Mary, who wedded H. Bothe, of Wapello, Iowa; Dorothea E., wife of William Schachel, whose home is in Burlington, Iowa.  Mr. Koch has also one brother, August, and two sisters, Caroline and Minnie, living in Germany.

George Kriechbaum, manufacturer of and dealer in stoves, galvanized iron cornice, iron and tinware, at 320 North Main and 117 Washington streets, Burlington, Iowa, established business in this city in 1861. Mr. Kriechbaum was born in St. Clair County, Ill., March 1, 1837, and is the son of George P. and Catherine (Macker) Kriechbaum. In the fall of 1843 he came to Burlington with his parents and has made this his home ever since. His education was received in the common schools, and he then served a regular apprenticeship to the cabinet-maker's trade, but instead of following that occupation, learned the tinner's trade, and in 1861 opened a shop in that line. Handling a full line of stoves and stove furniture, also manufacturing tinware and galvanized iron cornice, Mr. Kriechbaum has built up a large trade and has now been in business twenty-seven years. On the 12th of December, 1861, in Burlington, Iowa, the marriage of George Kriechbaum and Miss Fredericka Kostfeld was celebrated. She was born in Westphalia, Prussia, and emigrated from that country to America with her parents when five years of age. Four children were born of their union, three sons and a daughter: George H., married Miss Carrie Johnson, and resides in Chicago; Charles Philip is an employe in the Burlington Postoffice; Arthur and Clara Elizabeth are the younger members of the family, and all were born in Burlington. Mr. Kriechbaum is a Democrat in politics, and has taken a more of less active part in local politics. He has represented his ward in the City Council eight or nine years, and in 1881 was elected Sheriff of Des Moines County, re-elected, and held the office for six years, or until Jnauary, 1888. He is a member of Lodge, No. 3, Order of Druids, and of Phoenix Lodge No. 135, A. O. U. W., Mr. Kriechbaum and his family are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of this city. For nearly a half-century he has made Burlington his home, has watched its growth from a small and insignificant village to a rich and prosperous city, and has been identified with its growth and development since his arrival at man's estate. He has taken an active part in the management of its municipal affairs for many years, and has been honored by the citizens of the county with one of the most important offices in their gift, that of Sheriff, to which he was three times elected. As he is a practical business man, more than a politician, this expression of good will and of confidence in his ability and integrity, is but a just tribute to his worth and high standing in the community, where nearly his whole life has been spent.  

George Philip Kriechbaum, a pioneer of Burlington of 1843, was born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, Dec. 25, 1808, and emigrated to America with his parents in 1832, spending one year in Carlisle, Pa., and then removing to St. Clair County, Ill., making the journey by team and canal.  In that county he wedded Miss Catherine Macker, and was engaged in farming and coopering until 1843, when he removed to Burlington, Iowa, and established himself in the grocery business.  His parents also came to Burlington and here spent the closing years of their lives. Six children have graced the union of Mr. and Mrs. George P. Kriechbaum, five sons and one daughter: George, the eldest, married Miss Fredricka Kostfield, and is a hardware merchant of Burlington; John Philip resides in Nebraska; Louis wedded Mrs. Tillie Gnahn, and is also engaged in the hardware business in Burlington; Henry, a baker and confectioner, of this city, became the husband of Ida Ziock; a son and a daughter died in infancy.  Mr. Kriechbaum continued in the grocery trade until 1858.  His death occurred Feb. 14, 1863, his good wife surviving him seventeen years, her death occurring July 6, 1880.  Both were conistent members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.  Mr. Kriechbaum was a worthy citizen, and for twenty years was well known as a prominent business man.  He was chosen several times as a member of the Common Council and received the highest respect of all who knew him.

August H. Kuhlmeier, United States Revenue Collector for the 4th District of Iowa, was born in the principality of Lippe-Detmold, Germany, Dec. 10, 1846, and is a son of Frederick and Sophia (Kloepping) Kuhlemeier.  He emigrated to America with his parents in 1853, they settling in Freeport, Ill., yet making that their home.  August H. received his primary education in the city schools of Freeport, and later attended private school.  He began his business career as a clerk for a dry-goods house in Freeport, continuing in that vocation for six years, and then traveled as agent for the German Insurance Company of Freeport for four years.  At the expiration of that time he was made general agent for the company for the territory embraced within Iowa, Nebraska and Dakota.  Mr. Kuhlemeier proved himself a most competent manager, and succeeded in building up an extensive and permanent business for the company.  On being appointed to the western agency, he removed to Burlington in 1870, making that his home continuously since. Until the 15th of June, 1885, Mr. Kuhlemeier continued his connection with the German Insurance Company, when he was appointed to his present office office by President Cleveland.  He has been a Democrat since the Liberal movement in 1872, when so many Republicans left the old party. Mr. Kuhlemeier has served in various official positions prior to being appointed Revenue Collector; once he represented the district in the Iowa Legislature, and has served several times in the Burlington City Council.  Before his appointment as Collector, he was chairman of the Democratic County Committee, and has always taken an active interest in political matters.

At Charles City, Iowa, June 13, 1872, Mr. Kuhlemeier was united in marriage with Miss Lena Cramer, daughter of R. H. Cramer, Esq.  She was born in Hanover, Germany, and emigrated to America with her parents in childhood.  Three sons were born of their union: Frederick J., born in 1873; August R., born in 1876; and Henry F., born in 1883.  Mr. and Mrs. Kuhlemeier were reared in the German Lutheran Church, and attend its services.  He is a member of Harmonia Lodge, No. 209, I. O. O. F. of Burlington; also a member of Phoenix Lodge, No. 142, A. O. U. W.