Cerro Gordo County Iowa
Part of the IaGenWeb Project



1836 - 1906

Worthy of a high tribute of honor as one of the sterling pioneers, successful business men and efficient public officials of Cerro Gordo county is Henry Keerl, who died at his home in Mason City on the 27th of December, 1906. He maintained his home in this state for nearly half a century, and honored it by his services as a leal and loyal soldier of the Union in the Civil war as well as by his worthy endeavors as a citizen of prominence and influence. He was incumbent of the office of postmaster of Mason City for a period of seven years and he also served one term as county recorder. He made his life count for good in all its relations and no citizen was held in higher confidence and esteem in the community than he.

Henry Keerl was born in Franklin county, Pennsylvania, on the 14th of December, 1836, and two years later his parents moved to Charleston, West Virginia, which state was then an integral portion of Virginia. At Charleston he was afforded the advantages of the public schools and there was reared to years of maturity. In 1858 Mr. Keerl came to Cerro Gordo county, Iowa, where he became associated in the operation of a saw mill conducted by his uncle, Samuel Douglas, and Elisha Randall. He continued to be actively identified with local interests until August, 1862, when he enlisted as a private in Company B, Thirty-second Iowa Volunteer Infantry, with which he continued in service until the close of the war. For the first eighteen months his service was mostly that in connection with garrison duty, and after having served six months he was granted a furlough on account of impaired health. Within this period his marriage was solemnized. He finally rejoined his regiment at Fort Pillow, Tennessee, and in November, 1863, his young wife, in company with Mrs. Ella "Lurena" Huntley, visited the regiment at Columbus, Kentucky, where they remained until the following February, when the regiment proceeded down the river. The Thirty-second Iowa saw much arduous service and endured to the full the hardships incidental to a vigorous campaign. The command traveled a distance of nine thousand miles and covered five thousand miles on foot. Mr. Keerl participated in nine important battles besides several skirmishes and other minor engagements. He advanced to the office of first lieutenant and after the battle of Pleasant Hill, Louisiana, he was the only officer of his company left to respond to the roll, his life having been saved by his water canteen, which deflected a bullet. He received his honorable discharge at the close of the war, after having made a record for gallant and faithful service as a soldier of the Republic. Upon his return to Cerro Gordo county he turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, with which he was actively identified until his election to the office of county recorder, when he established his home in Mason City, where he passed the residue of his life. He held the office mentioned for one term and thereafter conducted a successful enterprise for several years as buyer and shipper of grain. Later he served two terms as postmaster of Mason City, three years under the administration of President Arthur and four years under that of President Harrison. He was a stanch supporter of the policies and principles of the Republican party, was affiliated with the Grand Army of the Republic and as a citizen he wielded much influence in public affairs of a local order. In the matter of religious faith he was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.

On the 28th of May, 1863, Mr. Keerl was united in marriage to Miss Luxena Randall of Mason City, the third daughter of Elisha Randall, a review of whose life follows this. Mrs. Keerl was born January 17, 1847. She was reared in Edmeson, in the state of New York, and was about eight years of age at the time of the family removal to Iowa. This worthy lady is still living, hale and hearty, and is a member of the Methodist church. To Mr. and Mrs. Keerl were born three children. Irving is represented on other pages of this work. Letty Ellen is a graduate of the State Normal School of Iowa, and she was formerly an instructor of music in the National Memorial University of Mason City, Iowa. She had just finished a special course in the American Institute of Normal Methods of Music and Voice Culture in the Northwestern University of Chicago and she has supervision of work in the public schools of Twin Falls, Idaho. Harry Douglas is a civil engineer, his home being in Clear Lake. He was educated at Madison Wisconsin, and married Miss Maude Dicken of Shell Rock, Iowa. He is a self educated man and very successful in his line.

NOTE: Lurena Keerl was born on January 17, 1847, and died on February 7, 1918. Lurena and Henry were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City.

SOURCE: Wheeler, J. H. History of Cerro Gordo County, Iowa. Vol. II. Pp. 384-91 Lewis Pub. Co. Chicago. 1910.

Transcription and note by Sharon R. Becker, November of 2013



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