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Henry County >> 1906 Index

Biographical Review of Henry County, Iowa
Chicago: Hobart Publishing Company, 1906.


Biographies submitted by Polly Eckles.

Miss Hattie Ketcham

The name which forms the title of this article is well worthy of a place in the present volume as the representative of a family widely known in connection with the more important interests of Henry county-a family which in its history exemplifies in the most admirable manner the triumph of those qualities of enterprise, sound judgment and unwavering integrity which have caused men of the English race to win supremacy in all departments of the world's activities. The name of Ketcham has not only won honor and recognition in later years and in these western states, because of the business acumen of many who have borne the name, but also has won a lasting place on the pages of the history of this nation because of the service rendered to the country by members of the family during the different wars in which this nation has been engaged. In each of the three greatest wars that the United States has undergone-the Revolutionary war, the war of 1812 and the Civil war-there have been men from this loyal family who answered to the nation's call for troops.

Miss Hattie Ketcham is a native of Wappinger's Falls, New York, and was the daughter of Jesse and Eliza (Churchill) Ketcham. Her father was also a native of that state, being born near New York city on April 9, 1809, the son of Timothy Ketcham, a farmer and one of the Revolutionary heroes. It is told of Timothy Ketcham that his zeal for his country was so great that when the call for troops came to him he left his team standing in the field and did not even go to the house, but started immediately to war. He served under General Putnam, and was engaged in several of the more important battles, in one of them receiving a wound in the head. He lived to be over ninety-nine years of age. He son, Jesse Ketcham, father of the subject of this review, lived to be ninety-three years old, dying in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, on September 27, 1902, and being buried in Forest Home cemetery.

The mother, Eliza Churchill Ketcham, was also a native of New York, being born in that state in 1810. Her father was one of the martyrs of his country in the war of 1812, being killed in Canada during the progress of the war. Eliza Churchill was only nineteen years of age when she was married to Jesse Ketcham, he himself being only twenty years old. They spent a long, happy life together, encouraging each other through the hard years of pioneer life in the great middle west, enduring together the trials and hardships of the troublous earlier times, and finally traveling hand in hand the peaceful days of old age after the struggle was over and their efforts had brought their well earned rewards. They were companions for nearly seventy-one years at the time of the death of the mother on September 7, 1899. They were married in New York state, and were living in New York city at the time of the great fire.
In September, 1855, Mr. Ketcham and his two older sons came west, locating in Henry county, Iowa, on a farm of one hundred and sixty acres about five miles west of Mount Pleasant. The following spring the rest of the family came, and they made that their home for the next ten years. In 1865, they moved into Mount Pleasant, moving into their present home on Thanksgiving day of that year. Having been in the town during the important years of its growth, and especially as members of the family have done so much toward advancing the material and commercial interests of the community, the family is one of the best known in this part of Iowa.

To Mr. and Mrs. Ketcham were born eleven children, eight sons and three daughters, of whom the three daughters and four of the sons are still living, filling places of honor and usefulness in their several home communities. The oldest child, Juliana, who is still living at an age of over seventy years, was twice married. Her first husband was Joshua Loving, and after his death she was again married, this time to John Richard Armstrong, of an old Salem family. Oscar C. married Miss Maria Briar, and died in Kansas in 1901. William B. married Miss Harriet McDivitt, and now lives in Mendota, Missouri, where he is engaged in the coal mining business. Edward D., who died May 19, 1881, was never married. He was a soldier in the Civil war, serving for three years in the Fourth Cavalry, and afterward engaged in business in Ottumwa, Iowa. He was an invalid for a long time. Leander F. married Miss Ora Hutchinson, of New Hampshire, and he and his wife are both deceased. He was the great lumberman of the family. Besides assisting the other brothers in their lumber operations in Iowa, he also cleared off a large number of counties of timber land in Missouri.

Eliza is the widow of John Peterson, and makes her home in Kansas. Frank married Mary Jane McDivitt, and lives in Burlington, where he has one of the finest homes in the city. He has been exceptionally successful in his business operations, and owns a controlling interest in the mining property in Mendota, Missouri, which was mentioned above in connection with the work of his brother, William B. Winfield is unmarried and resides at home with his sister, our subject. He is engaged in the lumber business. He has decided business ability, and has won great success in his business, so that he is ranked among the well-to-do men of Mount Pleasant. Albert died March 20, 1868. Our subject, Miss Hattie, was the tenth child of the family in order of birth. Jesse has been twice married. His first wife was Miss Maude Hall, of Unionville, Missouri. His second marriage was to Miss Ethel Lindberg, and they now live on Jefferson Street, Mount Pleasant. He is also engaged in the lumber business with his brother Winfield.

The Ketcham brothers have been remarkably successful in the lumber business, ranking among the greatest lumbermen of the state. They cleared off the timber from most of Henry county, and also cutting the timber from the western part of this state and also from Putnam and Sullivan counties, Missouri, and for many years supplied almost all of the timber used in the construction of the Burlington Railroad through Iowa. They supplied ties, bridge timber, etc., and did an enormous business. He was intimate with leading railroad men of the day. In addition to their lumber interests, they were for a long time the proprietors of a large elevator and a flouring mill, but this business was closed out in 1905. Their business integrity and the qualities that have worked with that to bring them their well earned prosperity have also won them the universal respect and esteem of all with whom they have had any dealings.

Miss Hattie Ketcham, the immediate subject of this historical review, received her education in Mount Pleasant, being graduated from the Iowa Wesleyan University with the class of 1876. While she was a student in the University she identified herself with the sorority life of the institution by becoming a member of the institution by becoming a member of Pi Beta Phi in 1873, and she still keeps up her connection with the organization. She has always taken the deepest interest in the progress of education, especially as it affects the community in which she lives, and especially has she been solicitous of the welfare of her alma mater. She has served several times as secretary and treasurer of the Alumni Association of the university.

Being gifted with a large share of the executive ability and business sagacity that has been so noticeable in the different members of the family, Miss Ketcham has also taken an active part in the active work of the town. She has for twelve years conducted a store downtown, in which she makes a specialty of all those articles pertaining to decorative needlework. She carries a large stock of goods, and makes it her pride to have every article that can be desired for the making of the latest fancy in this fascinating work for women. She herself does this work, and conducts a class for the instruction of others. Her own work is artistic in the highest degree, and she is the acknowledged leader in this work in Mount Pleasant. She has genuine artistic sense, and a love for the work, as is evidenced by the fact that she herself never had a teacher in the work, but has learned it by herself.

In addition to her business pursuits, Miss Ketcham has found time to take part in the social, literary and philanthropic life of the neighborhood. She has served with distinction for sixteen years as secretary of the Ladies' Library Association, being also the secretary of the Ladies' Library Club for several years. She has been very active in church work, as has the entire family, particularly the parents. They were members of the Baptist church, and Miss Ketcham has been a faithful worker, never shirking what she conceived to be her duty, but rendering efficient aid in all the church work, accomplishing much in the church society and contributing generously to its charities. She has acted as clerk of the church for many years. She is also a student of the principles of Christian Science.

Miss Ketcham has filled a prominent place in the life of the town, whether considered from the standpoint of business, education, religion, philanthropy or society. Personally she is ever cheerful, courteous, considerate of others and unfailingly kind to all. She numbers her friends by the score, and is universally respected for those high qualities which have endeared her to those who know her best.

ALBERT WASHINGTON KINKEAD submitted by Linda Willuweit-Joy

Albert Washington Kinkead, who in the development of his native powers and latent energies has attained prominence at the bar of Mt. Pleasant [Iowa], where he is also successfully conducting an abstract business in addition to the general practice of law, was born in the town of Homer, Licking County, Ohio, on the 22nd of February, 1853 [sic], his parents being Robert Willis and Jerusha (Smith) Kinkead. The father was born in Muskingum County, Ohio, February 25, 1817, and was a son of Joseph Kinkead, a pioneer of the Buckeye State, who removed there from Virginia. He was a soldier of the War of 1812, and when a young man went from the Old Dominion to Ohio, casting in his lot with the pioneer settlers of Muskingum County, whence he afterward removed to Licking County. He engaged in the operation of a tannery in both counties and in 1852 he brought his land warrant -- received for service in the War of 1812 -- to Iowa, and located a claim three miles west of Morning Sun, where he developed a good farm upon which he and his wife spent their remaining days.

Robert W[illis] Kinkead was reared in the state of his nativity, where he learned the trade of a shoemaker, after having first become familiar with the tanner's trade. In the town of Homer, Licking County, he conducted an extensive business in the manufacture of shoes, employing seven men. This was before the period of the extensive shoe factories of the country, when most of the work was done by hand. Later he removed to a farm, thinking it would be better to rear his sons there and at that time his eldest son [Wallace Henry Kinkead] was a soldier in the Civil War. The family resided upon the farm until1865, when they took up their abode near Cincinnati, in Hamilton county, there remaining until 1869, when the father came to Iowa, accompanied by his wife and children, with the exception of Albert W. and his next older brother. The family home was established near Chariton, Lucas County, where Mr. Kinkead was identified with farming interests for a long period, making his home there until his death, in December, 1898. He had been married near Granville, Ohio, at a settlement called the Welch Hills, to Miss Jerusha Smith, a daughter of Jesse Smith, who came from Wales in early life. In the year 1857 Mrs. Kinkead was called to her final rest, leaving four children who reached mature years, Albert of this review being the youngest. Both parents were members of the Presbyterian Church.

In the common schools of his native town Albert W. Kinkead acquired his early education, which was supplemented by study in other Ohio schools and later in Howe's Academy, at Mt. Pleasant, where he pursued a full course. At that time this institution was a very strong school, the founder, Samuel L. Howe, being the principal. Mr. Kinkead engaged in teaching for a time both before and after pursuing his academic course, and subsequently he entered the law office of H. & R. Ambler, at Mt. Pleasant, who directed his reading, after which he was admitted to the bar by examination before the circuit court of Henry County on the 13th of August, 1877. Immediately afterward he entered into partnership with C. B. Whitford, a relation that was maintained for three years, after which Mr. Kinkead was elected city solicitor in 1879, serving for two years. In 1886 he was chosen, by popular suffrage, to the office of County Attorney of Henry County, and for four years filled that office, having been re-elected in 1888. It was at the former date that the office of district attorney was abolished and the position of County Attorney was created. Upon his retirement from office on the 1st of January, 1891, Mr. Kinkead resumed the general practice of law, in which he has met with gratifying success. A liberal clientage is accorded him which indicates the consensus of public opinion regarding his legal talents and capability as well as his devotion to the interests of those whom he serves. He has also prepared a set of abstract books that are unsurpassed anywhere and has a fine business in that line as well. He has developed and improved his system and the abstracts that have been furnished have numbered over twenty seven hundred and fifty since the completion of his set of books. He began the work in 1882 and now has a fine set of verbatim copies such as is to be found nowhere else in the west.

Fraternally Mr. Kinkead has gained considerable distinction by reason of his hearty sympathy with the principles of the different organizations with which he is allied and his exemplification of every principle in his daily life. He was made a Mason in Mount Pleasant Lodge, No. 8, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, was for four years worshipful master and has likewise been representative to the grand lodge. He also belongs to Henry Chapter, No. 8, Royal Arch Masons, in which he has been high priest six times and in the grand chapter has been principal sojourner and delegate to the grand chapter in Ohio. He also took the degrees of the council but there is no organization of the council in Mount Pleasant at the present time. He has attained to the order of high priesthood, however, and has been trustee of the Masonic bodies. He belongs to Mystic Lodge No. 55, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, but has avoided office in that organization although he is chairman of the trustees. His political support is given to the Republican Party and he has taken an active interest in its work, attending the various county, state and congressional conventions, while at this writing in 1906, he is chairman of the judicial convention.

On the 2nd of May, 1888, Mr. Kinkead was married to Miss Lorena Lois Wallar [sic], of New London, Iowa, a daughter of W. D. and Peninah Wallar. She was born and reared at New London and, by her marriage , became the mother of one daughter, Leah, who graduated from the Mount Pleasant High School with the class of 1906, [who] is now at home. The wife and mother died February 16, 1892. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. Kinkead has a pleasant home at No. 206 North Harrison Street, where warm-hearted hospitality is freely extended to his many friends. Without special pecuniary or family advantages to aid him at the outset of his career, Mr. Kinkead has made steady progress toward his objective point, his professional career being characterized by unremitting industry, laudable ambition and successful accomplishment. Moreover the salient principles of his manhood have been such as to command respect and confidence and Mount Pleasant numbers him among its representative citizens who are worthy of the trust and good will of their fellow men.