EDMUND RANDOLPH JENKINS, M.D., of the firm of Scofield & Jenkins, physicians and surgeons, Washington, was born in Genesee County, N.Y., June 18, 1848. His father, Amaziah Jenkins, is of Welsh descent, and was born in Connecticut. His mother, Emeline (Phelps) Jenkins, was also a native of the latter State. Amaziah Jenkins and Emeline Phelps were married in Lockporty, N.Y., but soon afterward settled in Genesee County. They were the parents of four children, three of whom are now living: Alpheus; Adlia, a widow of Ephraim Meeks, and the Doctor. Mr. Jenkins was a classmate at college with Millard Fillmore; he became a highly educated man, and followed teaching as a profession for many years. In politics, he was an Abolitionist, and was one of the prominent men in conducting the affairs of the "underground railroad," his home being a refuge for escaping slaves. On the organization of the Republican party he became identified with it, and continued to advocate its principles until his death, which occurred in 1875. Mrs. Jenkins died in 1856. She was a member of the Old-School Presbyterian Church.
The subject of this sketch was but eight years of age when his mother died, and two years later he went with his father to Oberlin, Ohio, where he attended the public schools until 1861. He then
went to Lockport, N.Y., where he attended school until he was sixteen years of age, and in the fall of 1864 went to Adams County, Wis. In 1870 he went to Keokuk, Iowa, entered he office of Dr. H. T. Cleaver, and subsequently became a student at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and graduated from that institution on the 16th of June, 1874. He soon afterward commenced the practice of medicine at West Chester, this county, where he followed his profession until July, 1885, when he formed his present partnership with Dr. Scofield. In September, 1883, he attended lectures at Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York City, receiving his diploma March 12, 1884. The Doctor is a member of the County, District and State Medical Associations, and in 1885 and 1886 was President of the County Association.
Dr. Jenkins was married in Keokuk, Iowa, May 9, 1876, to Miss Agnes Fletcher, a daughter of William and Jane Fletcher. By this union there is one child, Ada L. Dr. and Mrs. Jenkins are members of the Baptist Church. As a physician, Dr. Jenkins has been very successful, and has secured a practice second to no other physician in this section. In his profession he is well read and is not satisfied with the experience of those in the remote past, but is willing to adopt any principle or theory that commends itself to his better judgment.
JOHN M. RITTER, M.D., of Richmond, was born in Pleasant Valley Township, Johnson co., Iowa, July 5, 1855. He is the son of Benjamin and Mary (Stover) Ritter. His parents were among the very earliest pioneers of Johnson County, having settled there in 1838. His father was born in Montgomery County, Ohio, in 1815. He learned the carpenter trade in his youth, but has devoted most of his life to farming. He and his partner made the first corn-planter used in Johnson County. These planters were used extensively n that and adjoining counties. His mother was born in Wayne County, Ind., and came to Iowa with her parents in 1838. Mr. and Mrs. Ritter were married in Johnson County, Iowa, and were the first couple married in that county. They are still hale and hearty and are looking forward to celebrating their golden wedding in the near future. Mr. Ritter has held the office of Justice of the Peace for thirty years, he is a republican in politics. He and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Dr. J. M. Ritter, the subject of this sketch, received his medical education at the State University at Iowa City. Beginning his studies in 1878, he began practice in the winter of 1880-81, in Iowa City, while studying with Dr. Moon, of that place. He came to Richmond in the spring of 1882, and has been in practice here continually since. Dr. Ritter was married at Lone Tree, Johnson Co., Iowa, Nov. 5, 1880, to Miss Mollie C. Janney, a daughter of Hiram and Ellen (West) Janney. Mrs. Ritter was born in Carroll County, Ind., Jan. 15,1856. They have one child, a son, Llewellyn B., born at Richmond, Oct. 6, 1884. Mrs. Ritter is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Politically, Mr. Ritter follows the faith of his father.
ANDREW KENDALL, a resident of Washington, though not numbered among the first in Washington County, is yet a pioneer of the State, and of the neighboring county of Louisa, locating in that county in 1839. He is a native of that portion of Bedford County, Pa., now comprising the county of Fulton, and was born Nov. 18, 1814. He is the son of Francis and Jane (Gibson) Kendall, who were also natives of the same State and county. Francis Kendall served as a soldier in the War of 1812, with the rank of Captain. In early life he learned the trade of a cooper, which occupation he followed in connection with farming. In politics, he was a Whig, a great admirer of Henry Clay and Daniel Webster. For eighteen years he held the office of Justice of the Peace in his native county. Francis and Jan Kendall were the parents of twelve children, only two of whom are now livingFrancis G., of Keokuk County, Iowa, and the subject of this sketch. Sarah McKee, formerly of Washington, died July 16, 1887. The ancestors of Mr. Kendall were among the first to settle in Big Cove Valley,
Bedford Co., Pa. He was a member of the Associate Church, of which body his wife was also a member. Both died in their native county, after having lived in wedlock over fifty years.
Andrew Kendall was reared upon a farm, and as free schools were unknown in his day, and the country subscription schools were not of the best, his education was limited as far as schools were concerned. In 1838 he left his native county and came West, stopping for one year in Illinois, and then crossing the Mississippi River, located in Louisa County, Iowa, where he remained until 1850, when he came to Washington. In 1843,he was married in Louisa County to Miss Nancy Jones, a native of Barren County, Ky., born in 1824, and daughter of John Jones. Five children were born to themSarah E., Martha A., Ella; Ada, wife of Robert W. Gibson, of Chicago, and Gertie.
On coming to Washington, Mr. Kendall engaged in the furniture trade, in which he continued for eight years, since which time he has followed various vocations, and in 1880 was elected Recorder of the county; was re-elected in 1883, and served four years. He was also a member of the City Council for six years. In politics, he is a Republican, having voted with that party since its organization. Religiously, he has for many years been connected with the United Presbyterian Church, and for thirty years was one of the Ruling Elders of the church in this city. On account of failing health he was compelled to resign the position.
Andrew Kendall is a man well known to the citizens of Washington County, and no one stands higher in the esteem of all. An honest man and a conscientious Christian, he passes along life's pathway, living out in his life the blessed teachings of the Son of Man.
JOSEPH KECK Among the solid business men of Washington County none deserve more notice in this work than the subject of the present sketch, who is numbered among the pioneers of 1842, and who has not only witnessed the remarkable growth of town and country, but who has contributed to its development as much as any other man within its borders. Joseph Keck was born Nov. 29, 1819, in Huntingdon County, Pa. In 1838, his parents moved to Delaware County, Ohio, where they remained some years, and then moved to White County, Ind., where they resided till their death a few years ago. They were the parents of ten children, five sons and five daughters, and religiously, were connected with the German Baptists, better known as Dunkards. They lived simple Christian lives, such as are peculiar to the religious body with which they were identified, and died in the faith.
The educational advantages of the subject of this sketch were limited indeed, confined principally to the old log school-house, with its well-known puncheon floor, slab seats and writing-desks, with fireplace occupying almost one entire side of the house, and the birch rod just above the master's desk. A description of the old log school-house often affords amusement to those educated in the more modern buildings, but from just such educational institutions have graduated many of the most noted men of the Union, such as Abraham Lincoln and others. The little knowledge acquired therein often served but as the basis for more extended readings, culminating in the well-read common-sense lawyer, minister, physician or business man. As in the case of many others, so it has been in that of Mr. Keck; he has made proper use of all the helps placed in his way, until he possesses a practical knowledge of men and events far better than any mere theory could be.
On the removal of the family to Ohio, Joseph was apprenticed to a cabinet-maker for two years, that he might learn the trade. For his services he received with board $20 for the first year, and $30 for the second. Out of this amount he had to purchase his clothing, leaving him but a small sum at the end of the time with which to begin life. But he had what was still better, strong arms, a firm will, and a determination to make something of himself. At this time he had a brother living in Western Illinois, who advised him to come West, as the opportunities were much greater for acquiring a competency in that State or in Iowa than in Ohio. Accordingly, in 1842, he started upon a
prospecting tour, and after visiting several places finally decided to locate in Washington, the county seat of Washington County. Here he started the first cabinet-shop, and with that energy and push that have since distinguished him, soon succeeded in establishing a large and lucrative trade. In this business he continued for eight years, when he sold out and engaged in buying and selling real estate. The same success that attended him in the cabinet trade followed him in this latter business, notwithstanding the hard times of 1857 and the years that followed it. In 1859 a branch of the State Bank was established here and Mr. Keck became one of its largest stockholders and a Director. In 1861, he was elected President, which position he held until the bank was merged into the First National Bank, in 1864. On the organization of the latter institution, he was elected President, and with the exception of a year or two has since held that office.
On the 26th of March, 1844, Mr. Keck was united in marriage with Elizabeth Jackson, a native of Pennsylvania, and daughter of John and Jane Jackson, who were also numbered among the pioneers of Washington County. Five children were born to them: Irving N., now in Florida; Mary C., now the wife of Wayne G. Simmons, of Santa Fe, N.M.; Viola I., now the wife of Albert Phelps, of Washington; Luella C., now the wife of Eugene Crandall, of Red Willow County, Neb.; Charles H., Assistant Cashier of the First National Bank, Washington, Iowa. Mrs. Keck was a lady highly esteemed for her social qualities, a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Washington, and died in February, 1879, mourned alike by family and friends. Mr. Keck was the second time united in marriage, July 30, 1882, to Fannie Hale, of Washington County, and daughter of John and Amanda P. Hale. With his wife, he resides in a beautiful home three blocks west of the square.
As remarked in the beginning of this sketch, no man in Washington County is more worthy a record in this volume than Joseph Keck. He is a man of superior judgment, a close observer and a gentleman in every respect. In the building up of city and county, he has contributed liberally of his means and deserves that which he has, the good opinion and respect of every citizen of the county. An excellent portrait of Mr. Keck will be seen upon an accompanying page.