KEPLINGER, HARDIN G. - The first settlers in a new country or city, independently of any intrinsic qualities which they possess, are objects of peculiar interest to succeeding generations; and to have the honor of pioneer parentage is to suggest in a man the possession of qualities of understanding and will, of enterprise and perseverance, of foresight and sagacity, characteristic of region and race from which he sprang. Hardin G. Keplinger was thus blest by a pioneer ancestry, his birthplace being on his father's farm, located a mile northwest of Franklin, and his birthday November 25, 1839. His parents were Samuel and Permelia (Green) Keplinger, both of whom were descended from early settlers of Illinois, John Green coming to Morgan County in 1822, and Samuel Keplinger following him in 1829. Samuel Keplinger was born in Washington County, Tenn., June 2, 1809. Although reared in the South, Samuel Keplinger soon accustomed himself to Northern methods of agriculture, accumulated a large estate, became known for his successes along that line of labor, and died June 20, 1886. He was the father of twelve children, of whom Hardin G. was the fourth born. The surviving members of this large family are: Clarissa, wife of General J. I. Rinaker of Carlinville, Ill.; Hardin G.; Lewis W.; M. L.; Alice, widow of William Smith; and Ella, wife of J. W. Smith.
After leaving the public schools Hardin G. Keplinger entered Illinois College at Jacksonville, and had reached his senior year when the Civil War broke out. Not pausing long enough to procure the desired diploma (which was afterward granted), in April, 1861, the youth enlisted in the "Hardin Light Guards," which was later attached to the Tenth Illinois Infantry as Company B. He served in this company for ninety days and subsequently was assigned successively to the Thirty-second Regiment Illinois Infantry and the One Hundred Twenty-second Regiment, serving as Adjutant of the latter until the close of the war. He had the honor to participate in such glorious engagements as the battles of Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, Nashville, Mobile and Fort Blakeley, and the misfortune to be wounded at the battle of Shiloh, and during the siege of Corinth. At the close of the war he settled on a farm of his own near the old homestead and for a time engaged in agriculture. Although other interests have since claimed his attention, he still retains 380 acres of land.
On October 3, 1867, Mr. Keplinger was married to Mattie, daughter of Jeremiah Bell, a prominent citizen and early settler of Jersey County, Ill., and of this union three children were reared to maturity: Maurice Bell; Lulu, wife of William T. Dodsworth, a farmer living near Franklin; and Ada, wife of J. M. Shepherd, a merchant at San Francisco, Cal.
Seeking some avenue through which to enter a business career, in 1886 Mr. Keplinger decided to organize and establish a bank, which, in association with Mr. W. H. Wright, he proceeded to do; but the death of his partner, in 1891, caused him to purchase Mr. Wright's interest and take into the business his own son, Maurice B. The institution has paid-up capital of $20,000, and is well patronized. In his political connections Mr. Keplinger is a stanch Republican, and at the present time is a member of the Town Board. He belongs to the Masonic order, and before its disbandment on account of depleted ranks by death and removals, was Commander of the G.A.R. Post.