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Fayette County, Iowa
Portrait & Biographical Album of Fayette County Iowa
Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of
Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County
Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago
P. R. Ketchum, a farmer residing on section 6, Windsor Township, is numbered among the early settlers of the county, where he has made his home since 1858, almost a third of a century. He was born in Orange County, N. Y., April 6, 1838, and was the third in a family of seven children, whose parents were E. R. and Jane (Curry) Ketchum, both of whom were natives of the Empire State, the former born Dec. 31, 1812, and the latter in 1816. They were married in Orange County, where Mr. Ketchum had for many years followed farming, which had been his life occupation.
In 1838 the parents of our subject came West and settled in Hancock County, Ill., where they endured many hardships and privations incident to the early settlement of that county. In 1846 they removed to Cook County, Ill., where the mother died the following year. Of this union seven children were born: Mary R., now the wife of Robert Vial, a resident farmer of Cook County, Ill., Andrew J. is married and resides in Hancock County, Ill. He enlisted and served three years in the One Hundred and Nineteenth Illinois Infantry. He is now numbered among the foremost farmers of that county. P. R. is the next younger. Eugene is married and is a minister of the Gospel in the Methodist Episcopal Church, a member of the Upper Iowa Conference. Amos K. is married and engaged in farming in Wright County, Iowa; he served in Company C, Twelfth Iowa Infantry, from its organization until the close of the war. Was taken prisoner at Shiloh and for over six months was held in the noted prison of the South at that time. Stella B. is now Mrs. William Stewart of Maynard, this county; Ellen J. is the wife of the Hon. William Merten, of Guthrie, Oklahoma.
In 1848 Mr. Ketchum was again united in marriage with Mrs. Jane Winters, and of this union two daughters were born: Flora, now Mrs. F. S. Burting, whose husband is an attorney at Postville, Iowa; and Josephine, now Mrs. Moody, of Bassett, Neb. E. R. Ketchum is of Welsh origin and was established in America during the Colonial days. His father served in the War of 1812; was Ensign in a command of troops from his native state, New York. Mrs. Ketchum was of English origin. He and his second wife are still living and reside at Postville, Clayton County, Iowa.
Our subject was but an infant at the time of the removal of his family from New York to Illinois. His school days were spent in Hancock and Cook Counties, that State. At the age of sixteen years thinking he would prefer some trade to the occupation of farming, he learned the carpenter and joiner's trade, at Milwaukee, Wis., which he followed for sometime. When a young man of twenty years he came to this county where he has since resided having removed here in 1858. He carried on business here at his trade, as contractor and builder, until February, 1861, when he was married to Susan M. Slocum, eldest daughter of B. W. and Anna (Holbrook) Slocum, who were also natives of the Empire State. Her father was a farmer and in 1854 removed to Fayette County, Iowa, locating in Auburn Township.
In September, 1861, Mr. Ketchum enlisted in the service of his country in Company C, Twelfth Iowa Infantry, for three years or during the war. Early in October, 1861, he bade farewell to his new home and young bride and started for the South to aid his country in her struggles to maintain the Union. His regiment was assigned to the Army of the Tennessee. He participated in the battle and capture of Ft. Donelson, and the battle of Shiloh where he was severely wounded and taken prisoner with all of his regiment, was kept for a number of days at a rebel hospital near the battlefield, was taken from there to Corinth, Miss., thence to Columbus, that State, where he was paroled early in June and returned to the Union lines. In 1863 he participated in the battle of Jackson, Miss., and on May 13, of the same year, engaged in the siege and capture of Vicksburg, also the second battle of Jackson. In December, 1863, this regiment re-enlisted as veterans for three years or during the war. He took part in the battle of Tupelo, Miss. With the troops he followed after Gen. Price from Duval's Bluff, Ark., back to Big Blue in Northwestern Missouri. From there they went direct to Nashville, Tenn., taking part in the two days' fight at that place, defeating Gen. Hood and driving him back South. He also took part in the sieges of Spanish Fort and Mobile, the last battle of the war. He was discharged from the service January 20, 1866.
Mr. Ketchum at once returned to this county and resumed farming. In 1863, while in service, he had purchased a partially improved farm of eighty acres. To this he added from time to time until he now has an excellent farm of two hundred and twenty acres under a good state of cultivation. He is a practical yet progressive farmer, and an industrious and energetic man. He is quite extensively engaged in stock-raising, making a specialty of pure-bred stock, such as Devon cattle, Cotswold sheep and Poland-China hogs, and has been very successful in this business. For many years he has made a creditable exhibit at different fairs with his stock.
Mr. and Mrs. Ketchum have but one child, an adopted daughter, now the wife of A. D. Smith, a farmer of Windsor Township. Politically, Mr. Ketchum is a Republican and feels a warm interest in the upbuilding and success of the party. His first vote was cast for Abraham Lincoln in 1860. Socially, he is a member of West Union Lodge No. 69, A. F. & A. M., and of Abernethy Post, No. 48, G. A. R. He has been Postmaster at Windsor since 1881, and served four years as Township Clerk. Both Mr. and Mrs. Ketchum are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and are earnest workers in the church and Sabbath school. This worthy couple are widely known throughout the county, and have many warm friends among its best citizens.
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