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John E. Ketcham
Born February 29, 1824

John E. Ketcham, who passed away on the 28th of June, 1902, is still well remembered by many residents of Cass township as a progressive and successful farmer and a public-spirited citizen who for more than three decades was helpfully identified with the affairs of the community. Born in Morris county, New Jersey, on the 29th of February, 1824, he was a son of John and Johanna (Burnett) Ketcham, also natives of that state. He spent the period of his boyhood and youth in his parents' home and at the usual age was sent as a pupil to the common schools, which he attended at intervals until he was nineteen years of age. After laying aside his text-books he learned the blacksmith's trade in Delaware county, Ohio, to which place he removed about 1848. He followed that occupation for about twenty years and then in 1867 came to Iowa, locating in Cass township, Jones county, where the remainder of his life was spent. He purchased two hundred acres on section 17, which was raw prairie land when it came into his possession, and immediately set about its improvement and development. He later purchased one hundred and sixty acres on section 16, which had already been brought tinder cultivation and upon which the family now reside. As the years passed and he prospered he was able to add still more to his property holdings, until at the time of his death he was the owner of four hundred and forty acres of farm and prairie land and fifteen acres of timber land, most of which is now in the hands of his children. In addition to his general farming he dealt extensively in livestock and both branches of his business proved most gratifying sources of annual revenue.
It was in 1850 in Ohio that Mr. Ketcham was united in marriage to Miss Martha Wheaton, a native of Seneca county, New York, born on the 30th of July, 1824. She is a daughter of Squire and Mercy (Jacobus) Wheaton, both natives of Morris county, New Jersey, and went to Delaware county, Ohio, with her parents, where she was united in marriage to Mr. Ketcham. In their family were seven children, namely: William Lewis, who died in Cass township in 1906, at the age of fifty-six years, leaving a widow and four daughters; Emma, the widow of George W. Lake, of this township, by whom she has five children: Johanna Louisa, residing at home; Harriett Martha, also at home; James Harrison, who is also married and lives on the home farm; John Merritt, who passed away in infancy in Ohio; and Elmer, residing on a farm in Cass township, who is married and has two children. All of the members of the family were born in Delaware county, Ohio.
Mr. Ketcham was reared in the faith of the Presbyterian church, and was a member thereof for many years. At the time of his death, however, he held membership with the Cass Center Congregational church. He was a stalwart supporter of the republican party, and although not an office-seeker, did all in his power to further the interests of the party in the community. He was most public-spirited in his citizenship, the weight of his influence being thrown at all times upon the side of improvement, progress and reform. He passed away on the 28th of June, 1902, at which time Cass township lost one of its most valued and representative citizens. His wife still survives at the ripe old age of eighty-five years, and resides upon the old homestead. She has become widely known during her many years of residence in this township, and her many excellent traits of character have endeared her to a large number of warm friends.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 374.


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