"K" Biographies

Nicholas Katt has a commendable standing among the sturdy, energetic and successful farmers of Lyon county, who so thoroughly understand the vocation they follow that they command good fortune. He is widely known as an upright and industrious farmer, and as a citizen his name is also respected far beyond the limits of Garfield township, where is found his present home.

Mr. Katt was born in the kingdom of Hanover, Germany, in 1854, where his father, Diedrich Katt, died when he was but a year and a half old. He was reared by his grandmother, and trained to farm work. His marriage occurred in Germany before his arrival in this country in 1882, when Miss Margarette Adami became his wife. They have a family of eight living children: Henry, Joh, Ida, Anna, Willie, Augusta, Mary and Walter. Henry and Anna are married, and Ernest, a child born after Augusta, is dead. The five youngest children were born in this country; the other four in Germany.

On his arrival in the United States, Mr. Katt's first location was in Cedar county, Iowa, where he found employment as a farm laborer for five years. In 1887 Mr. Katt came into Lyon county, and for a year did farm work, after which he settled on a farm of eighty acres in section 35, Garfield township, where he was engaged in the cultivation of the soil for the ensuing five years. When he entered here this was all wild land with absolutely no improvements, but Mr. Katt presently brought it out into fine condition. He began with a stable built of hay, and had a house 12 by 20 feet in dimension. Here he saw hard times and though he worked hard met with poor results. The first year his crop was so small he did not raise enough to feed his stock through the winter. In 1892 he received a good offer for his farm, and the following year, having disposed of his first place, located on the southwest quarter of section 4, Garfield township, and here he is still to be found, enjoying a large measure of success, and satisfied with the very substantial results that have come to years of toil. These are the dimensions of the very commodious and attractive farm home in which he and his family abide: 16 by 24, with 14-foot posts, 16 by 16, with 14-foot posts, and 14 by 14 with 9-foot posts. The barn is 32 by 40 feet, the granary, 24 by 24 feet, and corn cribs and other out buildings ample to every need. Four acres are given to a farm grove, and the entire place shows good farming and close attention.

James W. Keegan is one of the younger agriculturists of Lyon County, and that knowledge and skill which should characterize the modern farmer mark his management of the family estate in Doon Township. He gives the closest attention to his work, and is becoming widely known as one of the progressive and up-to-date tillers of the earth in this part of the state.

Mr. Keegan was born in 1868 on a farm in Clinton County, Iowa, where his father, James Keegan, of Irish birth, had long been established. The father who came to this country was an old settler in Lyon County, where he died in March 1895.

James W. Keegan was the youngest born in a family of four children, and grew to manhood in Clinton County, where he was inured to hard farm work and trained to steady labor. When his parents removed to Lyon County in 1886, he assisted them in their removal to what was then a frontier, and assisted his father in the development of the farm, being the southwest quarter of section 31, Doon Township. He remained with his father until the death of that gentleman in 1895. From 1893 he ran the farm as a family concern with his brother until 1895, when the property was divided. James W. Keegan now owns a place comprising one hundred and ninety acres, all cultivated, and provided with a most desirable set of farm buildings and a grove that was planted in 1888.

Mr. Keegan was married in 1897 to Miss Katie O'Meara, a daughter of John O'Meara and a native of Clinton County, Iowa. By this union Mr. Keegan has become the father of four children: Florence, Percy, Clarence and Irma. Both he and his wife are well thought of in the community, where they have many friends and well wishers, won at first by their open hearted kindliness, but retained by solid worth and genuine character.

Patrick Kelly, a familiar presence in the town of Alvord, where his genial countenance and friendly spirit have made him hosts of well-wishers, which his manly character and genuine worth have long retained, was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1856, whither his father, Francis, who was born in Ireland, had come about 1851. There the father married, and when young Patrick Kelly was some two years, removed with his wife and two children, both sons, to Indiana, where they made their home on a farm until 1869. That year they located in Benton county, Iowa, where they continued farming till 1881. In 1885, the entire family, excepting the father, who had passed to the life beyond in 1882, settled in Lyon county, Iowa, making their home on a farm in section 4, Doon township. This was then but a thinly settled community and still retained all its prairie characteristics. Rock Rapids was their nearest trading point, and the road to it was straight across the country without regard to section lines.

The Kelly farm was raw prairie, and the mother and her sons addressed themselves at once to the work of improvement that they might have a desirable home out here on the frontier, as it seemed at that time. They built a home 16 by 22 feet with 12 foot posts, and made other improvements as rapidly as their opportunities permitted.

Patrick Kelly was married in 1884 to Miss Jane Barron. She was born in Freeport, Illinois, and her father was an old settler. He died in the fall of 1903, in Benton county. To this union have come eight children, the oldest of whom was born in Cherokee county, Iowa, all the others being natives of Lyon county; Charles, John, Joe, Clarence, Mary, Agnes, Florence and Lucile. Mr. Kelly now owns for himself 186 acres of land with complete equipment, good out-buildings, and all the machinery needed for the profitable and successful operation of the place. There is a fine grove which was planted in the spring of 1886.

Mr. Kelly is a Democrat in his political views, and is now town trustee. For a term he has served as assessor, and is regarded as one of the leading citizens of the day. When the village of Alvord was started he bought the first lot in the town. Now that it has all passed, it seems somewhat amusing to him that on one occasion in an early day he came very nearly being lost on his own farm, being out in the storm several hours before he succeeded in finding his way back to the house.


Henry Kelso, a noted farmer and stock breeder, whose home is on the southeast quarter of section 28, is noted as the oldest homesteader in Grant Township, Lyon County. Through years of adversity and prosperity he has held the handles of the plow, working out for himself a comfortable home and giving his energies to the upbuilding of the locality in which he resides.Henry Kelso was born in Licking County, Ohio, January 20, 1850, and was the second member of a family of five sons and one daughter born to John and Betsy (Piper) Kelso, both of whom descended from Scotch ancestors.

In 1853 the family came overland to the new state of Iowa, and spent a year in Johnson County, after which they made a permanent home in Hardin County. Here the father farmed and worked at his trade and here both father and mother were buried. In 1865, Henry Kelso, who had not been allowed to enlist in spite of repeated efforts, became restless and went to Nebraska City, where he hired out as a freighter across the plains. Here he found a boy's pleasure in exciting times; and as a matter of fact he found all the excitement he desired. He afterward worked on the Union Pacific Railroad and in 1869 returned to his old Iowa home. In the spring of 1871 he came to LeMars, whence he struck out afoot to Lyon County, where he found his homestead. He went back to LeMars, also afoot, and made his filings March 20, 1871. That same spring he brought out a team and broke some twenty-five acres for himself. He erected a sod house and established bachelor quarters for himself. The following winter he taught school in Grundy County, and was also married. In the spring he brought his bride to the sod house, and here the first happy months of their married life were passed. During the summer he built a frame house 16 by 20 feet.

Mr. Kelso had been breaking for others, and thus made a living for himself during the grasshopper years. He taught school, and thus helped himself through very hard times. Despite the trials and disappointments of these early days Mr. Kelso looks back to them as the happiest period of his life. A true frontiersman, he enjoyed the hospitality of the people and the genuine neighborliness that was the order of the day. He knew all the families for twenty-five miles around, and every "settler ran a hotel." He is a Republican, and a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He is well known in county politics and has served three years as a member of the county board.

Mr. Kelso was married in 1872 to Miss Lydia Nulton, a native of Ohio, who died November 19, 1901, having had three children: Edson, who is now living on the farm in Grant Township; Edith, a teacher in Lyon County; and Alva, also at home.
Mr. Kelso is giving much attention to blooded stock, and was the first to handle short-horn Durham cattle in this section of the county, having now a herd of twenty-five registered cattle. His Chester White hogs are also of fine grade and attract much attention.

Oliver M. Kelso, whose efficient services as clerk of the county court marked him as one of the capable businessmen of Lyon County, and whose personal character and conceded abilities well qualify him for public position, was born in 1852, in Martinsville, Ohio. He remained at home until he was fourteen, when he removed to Jasper County, Iowa, where he learned the butcher trade of Ben Worden. For some four years he was in the employ of that gentleman, after which he made his home in Cass County, where he worked at his trade until 1881. That year he returned to Japer County to enter into business on his own account, being associated with his brother-in-law, a partnership that continued until 1888, when the business passed into the hands of Daniels & Gray, and Mr. Kelso became a resident of Rock Rapids. Here Mr. Kelso worked at his trade until 1893. That year he again went into business with his brother-in-law, A.W. Wright, as a partner, the firm being A.W. Wright & Co. In 1898 he was elected clerk of the county court, and consequently the firm was dissolved. Mr. Kelso was elected again in 1900, and served until January 1, 1903. He is a staunch Republican, and was elected as such. While he is a strong party man, he is a good citizen, and has done much to advance the interests of Lyon County.

Mr. Kelso is a member of Lodge No. 480, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and has taken much pleasure in its fraternal associations. His membership dates from 1884. For twenty years he has been a hard worker in the ranks of the order of the Knights of Pythias, having at different times filled its various official chairs, and having been elected as a delegate to the grand lodge. This he could not attend, as he could not get away from business.

The wedding ceremonies of Oliver M. Kelso and Mary Daniels were celebrated November 28, 1876. She is a daughter of C.M. Daniels, who was born in Kentucky. John Kelso, the father of our subject, was a carpenter through the summer season, and a schoolteacher in the winter. He met an accidental death. Mr. and Mrs. Kelso are the parents of six children: Roy E., Bessie M., Alta V., John W., Gladys and George W.

William Kelso, grandfather of Oliver M., was born in Scotland, and immigrating to this country about the time of the Revolution, finally settled in Kentucky, where he died at an advanced age. Amanda Milton, the mother of Oliver M. Kelso, was born in Pennsylvania, a daughter of Aaron Milton, a native of that state and a farmer, who lived to be ninety-six years old. His father came from Germany before the time of the Revolution.

In 1902 our subject was defeated for the office of clerk of county court by seventeen votes. Mrs. Kelso is a member of Rebekah Lodge, No. 49, of Rock Rapids, and has served in all the official chairs of the lodge; also a member of Women's Relief Corps, No. 55 of Rock Rapids, in which she has held every office except president, and is at present conductor. She is also a member of the Ladies' Aid Society of Rock Rapids.

William Knoblock holds an honored position among the brave and farsighted pioneers from the Old World whose industry and thrift have made the northwest blossom like a garden. From his lovely home on section 13, Logan Township, he looks out on the broad acres and well cultivated fields of his own farm, and feels that here he has wrought a good work, for he has made a home for his family and a place for himself.

Mr. Knoblock was born in Germany in 1853, and is a son of John D. Knoblock, of Wurtemburg, a well-known province of that empire. The father, who was a farmer, was born in 1823, and is still living in the Fatherland at an advanced age. William was his oldest born, in a family of three children; and he was reared to a life of honest industry, and was taught not to be afraid of hard work. When he reached the age of twenty-one years he reported for duty in the German army, and was in active service for two years, and a third year in the reserve. He received an honorable discharge and is justly proud of his record "with the colors" in his old home.

In 1879 occurred the wedding of William Knoblock and Miss Christine Fredrica Nester, daughter of Christopher Nester, a well-known and successful farmer. To this marriage have come the following children; Emelia, Paulina, Emma, Dietrich, Jacob, Ernst, Carolina, Gotlob, William, Marie, August, Jacob, Lydia and Amel. The first seven of these children were born in Germany, and the others in this country.

For ten years after his marriage Mr. Knoblock was engaged in farming in Germany, and in 1890 sought a home in this country, bringing with him his wife and seven children. They landed in the city of New York, but came directly west to Lyon County, where they lived for about ten years in Cleveland Township where he had bought a quarter section, and rented another, so that he had under operation some three hundred and twenty acres. This land was unimproved prairie at the time of his coming, but he soon brought it into a high state of cultivation, and in 1900 exchanged it for an improved farm in section 13, Logan Township. Since he has taken possession of this new farm he has greatly added to its desirability by extensive alterations and additions. The buildings on it now comprise principally a house, whose dimensions are 20 by 26 and 12 by 16, a barn 56 by 40, a granary 24 by 40, a cow barn 32 by 40, and a machine shed 16 by 40. There are other buildings, two wells and a windmill. The farm is provided with every requisite in the shape of modern and improved machinery for its successful operation and reflects great credit upon the business habits as well as the unremitting industry of its proprietor. It comprises 320 acres, and upon its successful operation Mr. Knoblock devotes all his time and thought. When he began in 1890 he had but a small start, and his small working capital might easily have been lost by a careless step. He has been careful, taken the best care of every dollar he has earned, and though he lost many hogs by the cholera, and at times his crops have not been the best, yet he has never lost heart, and has not been discouraged by trouble and misfortune. Holding on steadily, he has won out a good standing and enjoys among his friends and neighbors an enviable reputation.

Conrad Krahling, a noted stock raiser and general farmer of Lyon county, whose home is on section 15, Dale township, enjoys a well earned popularity among his own townsmen, which is shown in one thing by his election as a member of the board of supervisors for the county, a position in which he has manifested those same business characteristics and habits that have brought him success in his own affairs. He was born in Hesse, Germany, April 4, 1846, a son of Daniel and Gertrude (Krahling) Krahling, both of whom were Hessian born and bred. The father, who was a life-long farmer, died in his native land at the age of seventy-two years, where the mother passed away when she was sixty-nine. They were the parents of three sons and two daughters. The girls are both dead, but the boys have all found homes in Iowa. Peter is a farmer in Dale township, Lyon county; John, a retired farmer, has his home in Cedar Rapids, and Conrad, whose name introduces this article.

Conrad Krahling received the equivalent of our common school education while remaining under the old German roof, and then worked out by the month until he reached the age of eighteen years. In 1865 he came to the United States in company with an uncle, making the ocean voyage in a sailing vessel that required ten weeks for the trip. The uncle paid Conrad's fare, which was paid back as soon as the money was earned. They landed in Baltimore, and the young Krahling went to Washington, D.C., where for two years he was employed in a bakery. After the expiration of this period, he came west, stopping at Iowa City, Iowa, with the expectation of meeting a brother there, in which he was disappointed, and presently found himself out of money. From Iowa City he made his way into Benton county, where he remained until 1885. That year he settled in Lyon county, on the farm where he is found at the present time, and where he has reaped a large reward for his strenuous life and earnest endeavor. While in Benton county he worked out for six years, and then engaged in farming on his own account for several years. At the present time he owns a magnificent estate of four hundred and eighty acres, well improved, and provided with every requisite for advanced and up-to-date agriculture.

Mr. Krahling was married December 28, 1873, to Miss Christina Engel, daughter of George and Emma Engel, both of whom were German born and bred. Her parents were always farming people. They came to this country in 1854, settling in Benton county, Iowa, where they passed their remaining years in peace and comfort. Her father died in 1870, and her mother the following year. Their eight children, of whom Mrs. Krahling is the fifth in order of birth, are all living. To this union of Mr. Krahling and Miss Engel were born the following family: John W., now a farmer in Dale township; Annie E., the wife of Henry Wendel and a resident of Benton county; Louisa, the wife of Gustave Wendel, also of Benton county; Adam, a farmer in Grant township, Lyon county; Conrad, Jr., at home; August, deceased; Christina, Henry, Minnie, William and George, still at home under the parental eye and care.

The Krahling family are associated with the Lutheran church, in which they are much esteemed for their high character and Christian spirit. In politics he is a Democrat, and has served on the town board one term. At present, as already noted, he is a member of the county board.

Mr. Krahling makes a specialty of Hereford cattle, of which he owns one of the finest herds to be found in the county.

Mr. Kramer, who is still a young man, has deservedly won a high place among the successful farmers of Logan township, Lyon county, where his farm of a half section is located, which shows at every point the touch of a master hand. Experienced alike in the theory and practice of agriculture, he has joined with his theory industry and practical good sense, and as a result while barely over thirty he has become prosperous. A portrait of Mr. Kramer is presented on another page of the volume.

George W. Kramer

Mr. Kramer was born in Dubuque county, Iowa, in 1873, his birthplace being on a farm, where his entire life has been spent. Jacob Kramer, his father, was born in Germany, and came to this country in 1854, when he had barely turned the age of ten years. He became a pioneer in Iowa, and by industry and economy grew to be wealthy. George W., his son, is the second oldest living member of a family that comprised nine children, and as a boy he had his full share of the farm work, and early learned to bear a hand at every labor the cultivation of the paternal acres demanded. In 1888 the family removed to Lyon county, and made their home in section 10, Doon township. There George W. Kramer attained his manhood, and in 1897 came to his present estate, which his father had bought in 1892, when it was held by the state as school land. At the time of his advent it was raw prairie without a sign of improvement, and the young proprietor found his work fully marked out for him.

A shelter for himself and help was to be erected, as well as another for his stock, the ground was to be broken, and put into condition for cultivation, the crops were to be fenced and cared for--vast is the labor to make read a prairie farm even under the most favorable circumstances. All this however was well and faithfully done, and good buildings as well as a handsome grove now adorn the place. Here he owns three hundred and twenty acres, which he has brought into a most productive state by unremitting push and energy, and may well be proud of his finely appointed rural home.

The marriage of Mr. Kramer and Miss Theresa Wagner occurred in 1898. She was born in Delaware county, where her father, Mathias Wagner, has long been engaged in farming. To this union have come two children, a son and a daughter, William and Lizzie. The future of the Kramer family is bright, and a wide circle of friends will be glad to read the story of their honorable and useful lives.


Charles T. Krueger, the agent for the Minnesota and Western Grain Company, was born August 7, 1865, on a farm in Jones county, Iowa. He remained at home with his parents until January 4, 1899, when he struck out into the wide world to wrestle for his own support, and coming to Lyon county, stopped at Doon, where he soon became manager of the "Bonnie Doon" hotel, which he held till March 1, 1904.

Mr. Krueger has always been noted as a lover of a fine horse, and has purchased a horse called General Bufort, registered 20110, with a pedigree of royal blood dating back to the seventeenth century. It was originally Morgan stock, and then became the Hambletonian, which has brought a line of trotters up to the present time, many of them being noted alike for their speed and swift progeny, and comparing with the best in the land. Gen. Bufort was sired by Gambetta Wilkes, No. 4658, and Mary Bufort, his mother, Gambetta was never tracked but can and did trot an exhibition mile in 2.18. Mr. Krueger also owns a Clydesdale, Ringleader, No. 8897, which he purchased when a colt. It was born May 9, 1898, and its parents were imported. Its pedigree runs back into royal blood in 1815. Mr. Krueger takes a justifiable pride in showing the strong points of these famous horses to strangers.

Mr. Krueger was married July 22, 1900, to Helen M. Zorn, a daughter of William Zorn, who came from Prussia and settled in Rock Valley. To this union was born one child, Vera Beatrice.

Ernest Krueger, the father of Charles T. Krueger, was born in Prussia, and coming to Iowa in 1856, was numbered among the pioneer settlers of this state. He died in 1885. His widow, the mother of Charles T. Krueger (Elizabeth Twomley in her maidenhood), is still alive. She is a native of Ireland, and is over eighty-five years of age.


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