HENRY M. KEPPEL. Many of the most enterprising and prosperous
citizens of Erie county were born across the sea, prominent among the
number being Henry M. Keppel, a thriving business man of Corry. A native
of Germany, he was born, November 13, 1837, in Hirschberg, Thuringia,
which was likewise the birthplace of his father, Karl Keppel. His
grandfather, Jacob Keppel, was a weaver by trade, and spent his entire
life of fifty-six years in Germany.
The only child of his parents, Karl Keppel early learned the weaver’s
trade, and followed it in the fatherland until 1853. Desirous then of
taking advantage of the opportunities offered a poor man in the New World,
he sailed with his wife and three children for America, embarking at
Bremen, and after a long and wearysome journey of forty-seven days landing
in New York City, September 9, 1853.
Proceeding by rail to Buffalo, he lived there a year, keeping busily
employed. Going then to Cattaraugus county, he bought a tract of timbered
land near Dayton, New York, and having cleared an opening erected a
two-room block house with a small ell. He improved the land, in the course
of time putting up substantial frame buildings, and was there successfully
engaged in farming until his death, at the age of eighty-six years. He
married Henrietta Vogel, a native, also, of Hirschberg, Germany, and she
still lives on the home farm, being now ninety-three years of age. Six
children were born of their union, namely: Henry M., of this sketch; Mary,
wife of John Dankerd, of Towanda, New York; Ernest, a resident of Corry;
Charles, of Fair Plains, New York; John, deceased; and Lizzie, wife of
Charles Rieter, of Fair Plains. The three younger children were born in
Having completed his early education while living in his native land,
Henry M. Keppel came to this country with his parents, and soon after
locating in Buffalo began learning the blacksmith’s trade, serving an
apprenticeship of three years. Taking then a partner, he ran a smithy for
five years in that city, after which he had a shop in Titusville,
Pennsylvania, for a time, afterwards being there employed in teaming, and
in oil refining. Turning his attention to agricultural pursuits, Mr.
Keppel, in 1867, bought a tract of timber in Columbus township, Warren
county, and there took up his residence. While clearing the land, getting
it ready to cultivate, he became interested in the manufacture of lumber,
and soon had a saw mill in full operation, being very successful in his
new industry. In 1893, with J. B. Moore he purchased pine lands in
Northern Wisconsin, erecting a large mill, which they operated until 1903; in 1898 they became owners of heavily timbered land in Randolph county,
West Virginia, and subsequently. having added to their original tract by
purchase of more timber, they put in a doublehand sawmill with a capacity
of one hundred thousand feet a day, and proceeded to build up a town and
establish a business. They built a spur railway track extending into their
land fifteen miles, erected thirty-three dwelling houses, and had granted
to the new colony a postoffice, which was called Ellamore. Removing with
his family to Corry in 1898, Mr. Keppel has since been identified with the
leading industries of the place, during the same year having been elected
president of the National Bank of Corry.
Mr. Keppel wedded Miss Martha Miller in 1893 and two children were born
to them, Henry Harrison, in school; and Marie, also in school and she is
receiving musical instruction. Mr. Keppel is a true-blue Republican and
during the year of 1908 he was alternate delegate to the Republican
National convention at Chicago. Both he and his wife are members of the
Lutheran Church at Corry and he is one of the strong factors in the
church. He is a member of the I. 0. 0. F. at Corry and also of the B. P.
0. E. of Corry.
A twentieth century history
of Erie County, Pennsylvania
: a narrative account
of its historical progress, its people and its principal interests,
Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1909, pages 449-450. More
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