Charles M. Keith, the subject of this sketch, was born November 28, 1903, at Rinard, Illinois. His father, Earl Keith, who is well known throughout this community as an extensive land owner and stock raiser naturally brought to Charles a knowledge of farming, along with his school education, which was completed at the Millikin University at Decatur, Illinois, 1922-1926, where he graduated in commerce and finance with B. S. degree, after he had graduated from the Flora high school with the class of 1922.
After his high school and university work was completed he accepted employment with the Sexton Manufacturing Company at Flora as manager of order department, remaining with the company about a year when he accepted a position with a chain store company as manager of one of their stores in Flora.
He had only served this company one year when he came to Clay City in June, 1929, and took charge, as manager, of the Clay City Lumber & Hardware Company, the business formerly owned by a number of stockholders and purchased by Earl Keith, in 1928. Mr.Keith, upon entering into the new line of business here, began at once to exercise his business ability and talent, with the assistance of his able clerk, Will Bradley, who had had previous experience in the line of merchandise handled by the company, in building up the business.
He began at once letting the people know that they had the goods, the price and would render the service—he believes in advertising. The store room was remodeled, brightened up with paint, stock rearranged and displayed and it seems that Mr. Keith (and Bill, for Bill is always found busy in adding to the appearance of the store and the displaying of light as well as heavy hardware in such a manner that it is really attractive) have been untiring in their efforts to render a service that their patrons would really appreciate and long remember.
Source: Pictures and Biographical Sketches of the Business Men of Clay City, Illinois 1930 Obituaries by the Clay County Advocate Press
Jay Kenner, merchant, Flora, Ill., is a son of Alvin R. Kenner and Mary (Willis) Kenner, and was born in Albion, Edwards Co.. Ill., April 1, 1844. He came to Flora, Clay County, with his father's family in 1858.
In the latter part of 1863, he enlisted as a private soldier in Company K, Forty-eighth Illinois Regiment, from which he was discharged at Springfield, September, 1865. He was mustered out with the com mission of First Lieutentaut of his company, having proven himself a good soldier and a competent and faithful officer. He participated in a great portion of the most earnest service of the war, was in the engagement at Chattanooga, siege of Atlanta and the Atlanta campaign, and was with Gen. Sherman on his memorable march to the sea.
He is a practical business man, having had an extensive experience in mercantile life. He now controls an extensive house on the corner of Main street and North avenue, carrying a $10,000 stock of general goods, including a complete stock of dry goods, clothing, boots and shoes. While Flora is favored with a number of deserving merchants, we believe none are more deserving than Mr. Jay Kenner, and a casual survey of his stock is all that is necessary to convince one that he possesses the business ability to anticipate and supply the wants of the public.
He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and of the Christian Church. Excerpt from "History of Wayne and Clay Counties, Illinois 1884 "
John Taylor Kermicle--Although his opportunities to procure the thorough education for which he so ardently yearned were limited the subject of this sketch has been exceptionally successful in the battle of life, and he is today known as one of the most substantial citizens of Preston township, Richland county, Illinois. The entire career of John Taylor Kermicle has been characterized by industry, and a determination to overcome all obstacles in his efforts to make his way in the world.
Mr. Kermicle is a product of the fair state of Kentucky, having been born in La Rue county, December 17, 1846. His parents were Samuel and Mary (Trainor) Kermicle. His father was born in Maryland, and his mother at Rock Bridge county, Virginia, January 30, 1800. Samuel Kermicle, father of the subject, moved to Kentucky with his parents when quite a small boy, and they settled on a small farm, where he died in November, 1855. Shortly after the death of his father, the subject and his mother moved to Richland county. They made the trip by wagon to Louisville, from there they crossed on the ferry to New Albany, Indiana, thence by rail by way of Greencastle to Vincennes, where they changed cars to the Ohio & Mississippi Railway, which is now the Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern. This road carried them to Olney, Illinois. Two older brothers of the subject had prior to that located in Richland county, and the newly arrived travelers made their home with them. Mr. Kermicle's mother died November, 1874, having attained the age of seventy-four years and ten months.
When eighteen years old, Mr. Kermicle, who was then living with a brother in Preston township, made arrangements with a neighbor to work land on shares, the agreement being that he should be furnished with all the necessary agricultural implements and receive one-third of the crop as his share, for his labor. This agreement lasted for two years, and during this period the subject plowed most of the ground upon which now stands the town of West Liberty. During the three years following the termination of this agreement, he worked on shares with an older brother. On September 28, 1869, Mr. Kermicle was married to Sarah C. Zerkel. Immediately after his marriage he rented a farm, known now as the Fred Schilt place, containing one hundred and sixty acres. He remained there three years when he purchased sixty acres in Preston township, disposing of the same, however, within twelve months. His next venture was the purchase of the land upon which he now lives, which consists of two hundred and ninety-six acres, of which eighty acres was the original amount first purchased, and for which the price paid was ten dollars per acre, and which now averages a value of fifty dollars per acre.
The subject is the youngest of nine children, only five growing to maturity. His wife was born October 12, 1847, in Clark county, Ohio. She is the daughter of Noah and Martha (Foltz) Zerkel, both of whom were natives of Virginia, but left there when mere children. They were married in Clark county in 1845, and remained there eighteen years, when they removed to Richland county, Illinois, making the trip in a wagon and encountering many difficulties on account of the bad condition of the roads. They purchased one hundred and eighty acres east of Dundas, Preston township, paying twenty-two dollars per acre for a well improved farm. They remained here for eight years, at the end of which time they purchased a farm in Clay county, where the husband remained until his death, which occurred July 14, 1889, when he was in the sixty-ninth year of his age. The mother survived him many years, she dying October 24, 1908, at the age of eighty-one. To Mr. Kermicle and his wife nine children have been born, one having died in its infancy. They are, Perry, Aden, Rosella, Warren, Delia, Levina, Edgar and Olive, all married except Edgar.
The subject of this sketch attended one term of three months of subscription school in Kentucky, and was a pupil in the free school at Dundas for a short time. Mr. Kermicle believes in the principles of the Democratic party, and has always been an active worker in that political organization. He has held the office of Township Clerk, Assessor, Supervisor and has been Highway Commissioner for fifteen years. He has held office in the township altogether about twenty-two years.
The subject is a member of the Baptist church, and is very faithful in his attendance upon services.
Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties Illinois--1909
Solomon Kumre, miller at the Excelsior Mills, Louisville, was born in Edwards County, Ill., September 6, 1851, and is a son of Jeremiah Kumre, a miller at Fairfield, Ill. Our subject was "raised in a mill," and attended the common schools. He came to Louisville in the fall of 1878, and ran the Snow Flake Mill (which was a small mill at this point then), until the present one was built. He was married in 1876 to Elizabeth Pendleton, daughter of Jonathan Pendleton. She is a native of Massac County, Ill. Excerpt from "History of Wayne and Clay Counties, Illinois 1884 "
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