John F. Kepford
A hundred and sixty acre farm on section 17, Washington township, pays tribute to the well directed effort and capable supervision of John F. Kepford, who has been identified with the farming interests of Crawford county for a quarter of a century.
A native of this state, he was born in Washington township, Johnson county, on the rath of December, 1855, a son of Jacob and Martha (Shue) Kepford, of Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, in which state they were also married. There were thirteen children in the family but Sarah and Hattie, the ninth and tenth in order of birth, have passed away, while the first two died in infancy. Those surviving are: Mary, the wife of Antone Bast, of Washington township; Martha, who married Thomas Tranter, of Johnson county; Ellen, who became the wife of James Tranter, of Washington township; John F., our subject; Jacob, a farmer in Washington township; Joseph. who resides in Union township; David, living in Des Moines; Edward, residing in Union township; and Phila, the wife of Frank Jones, of Schleswig.
The parents migrated from Pennsylvania to Iowa in pioneer days, first locating in Johnson county, where they resided until 1888, at which time they removed to Crawford county and settled on a farm in Union township, where they continued to live until Mr. Kepford's demise in 1899. Ever since attaining manhood he had been engaged in agricultural pursuits with the exception of the three years he served at the front during the Civil war. Mrs. Kepford still survives and is living on the old homestead in Union township.
John F. Kepford obtained his education in the public schools of Johnson county, remaining a member of the paternal household until he was seventeen years of age, at which time he began working as a farm hand. He continued to follow that occupation for six years, during which period he acquired the means to begin farming for himself as a renter in his native county. He remained a resident of Johnson county until 1884, when he removed to Crawford county and purchased land in Union township, which he cultivated for nine years. At the end of that time he bought his present place in Washington township, where he has ever since engaged in general farming and stock-raising. His homestead is well improved and plentifully stocked, while the fields are given the care and supervision which results in excellent harvests, judged as to both quantity and quality; Mr. Kepford is also interested in real estate in Buck Grove.
On March 3, 1886, Mr. Kepford was united in marriage to Miss Harriet Ellen Tillett, of Belmont county, Ohio, a daughter of Henry E. and Mary (Brewer) Tillett. Her father was a native of Virginia and her mother of the Buckeye state. They removed to Iowa in 1858 and located in Cedar county, where they remained for twenty years, and then came to Crawford county, settling upon the place where Mr. Kepford now resides. The father passed away in 1887 but the mother survived until 189I. Mr. and Mrs. Tillett were the parents of the following children: Etheline E., a resident of Buck Grove; Anna Elizabeth, deceased; John Wesley, living in Denver, Colorado; Mary Caroline, deceased; Margaret L., the wife of john A. Horton, living near Sacramento, California; Henry A., a resident of Redfield, South Dakota; Harriet E., the wife of John F. Kepford; Ethelbert W., deceased ; Eutes C., living in Goodwin, South Dakota; and Newton B., Edward, Bertha and an infant, all of whom are deceased.
Mr. and Mrs. Kepford have·one daughter Martha Eura, who, after completing the common schools, attended the high school at Ames for three years. They also reared E. H. Polzien, who continues to make his home with them.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Kepford and their daughter hold membership in the Methodist Episcopal church. Ever since granted the right of franchise Mr. Kepford has given his support to the candidates of the republican party. He always takes an active interest in local governmental affairs, although he has never filled any public office save that of school director. He is a man whose influence can always be counted upon to advance any movement the adoption of which would improve local conditions and is esteemed accordingly in his community.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.