JOHN J. KEISER, who resides on the old family homestead in Mount Olive township, is the owner of three farms besides other valuable property and is prominently known as a farmer and capitalist of Macoupin county. He has gained his present responsible position mainly through his own exertions, having exercised from the beginning of his business career rare enterprise, energy and sound judgment.
He was born in Hanover, Germany, August 28, 1849, a son of John J. and Geske (Heien) Keiser, who were reared and married in the old country. In 1854 the father came to America with his family, landing at New Orleans, from which point passage was taken to Alton, Illinois, on one of the river steamers. In the spring of 1855 he settled on section 14, Mount Olive township, Macoupin county, and established his home on one hundred and twenty acres of government land, in one of the most productive spots of the county. He died December 6, 1855, but his widow survived for many years, passing away at the home of her daughter Anna in 1889. She was an active and consistent member of the Evangelical Lutheran church, as was also her husband, and they were worthy representatives of the pioneer settlers of Illinois.
Mr. Keiser, whose name introduces this sketch, was the youngest son in his father's family and has resided in Macoupin county since he was five years of age. He attended the Mount Olive schools and continued upon the home farm of which he assumed charge as he grew to manhood, being the only son left with the mother. At the time of the division of the estate he acquired the old homestead, which he has ever since retained. Early in life he was imbued with a laudable ambition to win a reputable place among his fellow men and through keen discernment and unfaltering application he has succeeded even beyond the brightest expectations of his youth. In addition to the home farm, which comprises one hundred and twenty acres, he owns forty acres of timber land in Mount Olive township and two farms of one hundred and eighty-six and two hundred and seventeen acres respectively in Madison county. His farms are provided with excellent houses, barns and other buildings and supplied with modern facilities for carrying forward the work according to the most approved methods. In addition to producing general crops he takes great interest in stock raising and has for years shipped regularly to the markets at St. Louis and Chicago. His memory carries him back to the time when the first house was built in Mount Olive and he has plowed over almost every foot of ground upon which the town now stands. He was actively identified with the organization of the Mount Olive Coal Company and has been one of the leading factors in the development of the coal industry in Mount Olive. His history is, therefore, inseparably associated with that of the community in which he has spent almost his entire life.
On the 13th of March, 1877, Mr. Keiser was married to Miss Charlotte Monke, a native of Westphalia, Germany. She came to America when she was four or five years of age with her parents, Henry and Katharine (Papplewerth) Monke. The father settled in Macoupin county, but later removed to Montgomery county. Twelve children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Keiser, nine of whom survive, namely: Catherine, who is the wife of John Grosenheider, of Madison county, Illinois; Minnie, who married August Hermann, of Madison county; Emma, who is the wife of Tase Heyen, a merchant of Mount Olive; William, who is engaged at the carpenter's trade in Plymouth county, Iowa; Henry, also of Plymouth county; Frank, George and Mary, all of whom are al home; and Louis, who lives in Plymouth county, Iowa.
Mr. Keiser is in hearty sympathy with the principles of the republican party and gives to its candidates his earnest support. He and his family are identified with the Evangelical Lutheran church, with which he has been connected ever since his earliest recollection. He is essentially a man of business. He recognizes the value of labor and of persistent application in the accomplishment of any worthy object. A capable and thorough farmer, he is a consistent advocate of progress along all lines seeking to advance the general welfare. He is regarded with great respect by those who have known him longest - and that is an indisputable evidence of personal worth.