The Death of Amarilla’s Grandfather, John Keller

On 4 May, 1880 John Keller, Amarilla’s grandfather, passed away from stomach cancer.  John Keller was the father of Amarilla’s mother Elizabeth Keller Spracklin and the husband of Mary Anne Delano Keller.  How this death affected Amarilla is unknown and whether she even knew her grandfather is also unknown.  Amarilla was 21 years old at his death or about that age.

The grandparents had settled in South Bloomfield Twp., Morrow County, Ohio.  Morrow County, Ohio was a composite of several counties: Knox, Richland, Marion and Delaware Counties.  It was established in 1848.  Birth and death records were not recorded till 1867, marriage started 1848 by the county.   Apparently there was a great deal of protest about the formation of Morrow County at the time.

John and Mary Keller had eleven (11) children.  Elizabeth Keller was their oldest and first-born.

1. Elizabeth Keller born 4 Aug 1831, probably Sparta, Knox Co., Ohio married Daniel D. Spracklin (license issued 31 Dec, 1852) and marriage solemized on 1 January, 1853 in Sparta, Morrow Co., Ohio and died in Benson Co., Iowa near Blairstown/Marengo 1859.  Buried in Titler Cemetery northwest of Marengo. This is Amarilla’s mother.

2. Susan Keller born 3 Nov. 1832, Sparta, Knox Co., Ohio d. 20 June 1834, Sparta, Knox Co., Ohio, burial unknown.

3.  Peter Keller born 28 Nov. 1834, Sparta, Knox Co., Ohio married Eliza Ann Everts 6 July 1957 in Sparta, Morrow Co., Ohio.  Peter died 22 May 1869 in So. Bloomfield Twp., Morrow Co., Ohio and is buried with his parents in the Hedding M.E. Cemetery in that location.  His information is listed on the left side of the parents tombstone.   Peter and Eliza had 5 children.  It is possible she remarried to a Mr. Denzer.  Peter served in the Civil War and I believe he died because of his wounds.  I have not obtained his Civil War service or pension record at this time but might when I visit Washington D.C. in June 2011.

NOTE:  The History of Morrow County in various versions is online at Google Books.

4.  Lovinia Lavinia Keller was born 17 Feb 1837 in Sparta, Morrow Co., married William Golf Helt on 17 Feb 1855 in Morrow Co., Ohio and died 22 Dec 1837 in Sparta, Morrow Co., Ohio.  They had 8 children.  I believe William died before 1883.

5.  Amarilla Keller born 28 Mar 1839 in Sparta, Morrow Co., Ohio and married Harrison Barr on 12 Sep 1858 in Sparta, Morrow Co., Ohio.  They had about 9 children.  Amarilla died 12 May 1915 in Galion, Crawford Co., Ohio and Harrison was before 1910 in Polk, Crawford Co., Ohio.

6.  Caroline Keller born 28 Nov 1841 in Sparta, Knox Co., Ohio married Joseph Higgs Van Houten on 1 Dec 1857 in Morrow Co., Ohio.  They had 5 children.  Caroline died 2 Jun 1902 in Washington Twp. Hardin Co., Ohio and Joseph followed in 29 Jan 1903 in the same location.

7.  John Delano Keller Jr. was born 22 May 1844 in Sparta, Morrow Co., Ohio and he probably married Mary L. Carson about 6 Dec 1868 in Morrow Co., Ohio.  He died 4 Jun 1876 in Fredericktown, Knox Co., Ohio.

8.  Mary Ann Keller was born 16 Dec 1846 in Sparta, Morrow Co., Ohio and died sometime after 1900.  She married an Alexander Shaffer on 24 Jun 1866 in Morrow Co., Ohio.  They had about 9 children.   I have reason to believe they moved to Richland Co., Ohio to live.

9.  Henry Keller was born 29 Mar 1849 in Sparta, Morrow Co., Ohio and married Martha Kees (Keyes) 28 Oct 1871 in Morrow Co., Ohio.  Henry died after Aug 1909 in Morrow Co. and Martha followed in about 1927.  They had 2 children.

10.  Harriet Ellen Keller was born 15 Mar 1852 in Morrow Co., Ohio and married 3 Jan 1875 in Morrow Co. to John Lacy.  She died 22 Mar 1920 in Dresden, Muskingum Co., Ohio and he followed after 1930 in the same location.

11.  William Franklin Keller was born 15 Sep 1855 in Fredericktown, Knox Co., Ohio and married on 22 Dec 1880 in Galion, Crawford Co., Ohio to Ida Catherine Riblet.  They had 3 children.  He died 2 Feb 1911 in Morrow Co., Ohio and she followed on 16 Nov. 1930.

Sources for these children have been the U.S. Federal Census 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910 etc for Knox and Morrow Co., visiting cemeteries and tombstones –  Book:  Cemetery Inscriptions for Morrow Co., Ohio Vols 1-6.  A book: The Genealogical History and Alliances of the American House of Delano 1621 to 1899, pg. 426. (This book gives Sparta as the birth place of many of the children), Deeds from Morrow Co., and Knox Co., Ohio., on-line family trees, message boards, marriages – Marriage Records, 1848-1951, Morrow Co., Ohio.  Repositories have been the Family History library, Morrow Co. Genealogical Society and more.  Death records for Hardin Co., Ohio. and Probate/Estate Records for Morrow, Knox and other counties.  These are the highlights of the sources I have consulted for this family. 

Note:  If you are particularly interested in one of these family lines please contact me for more specific source details and family links.   Place a message in the comments to me and I will respond.  I am still trying to learn more about each sibling so the reseach is ongoing. 

I plan to travel again to Ohio in August/September 2011 and hopefully I will learn more about Elizabeth Keller’s siblings, parents and Amarilla’s aunts and uncles.

The most important search will be to see if I cannot figure out the parentage of John Keller the grandfather and father of these children who have been listed.  He is said to have been born in Washington Co., Pennsylvania and his death record with Morrow Co. states the same but gives no parents names.  So far I have not been able to make a connection.  Washington County, PA was like a pass through to other parts of the country so they could have just stopped to have the baby and then moved on.  At least this is my theory and the real parentage of John Keller is somewhere in the records in Ohio in Knox, Morrow, or one of the nearby counties?  There were lots of Keller families living in Ohio.

John did have a will and estate that was probated in Morrow Co.  Usually the clerks are very careful but some of the documents from the clerk books for John’s estate are very difficult to read.  Amarilla is not mentioned in any of these estate documents.

Source:  Probate Records of Morrow Co., Ohio 1848-1926, and General Index 1848-1950 #388711, No. 1376, FHL#388711 for Index, Record of Wills FHL#288713 Vol 3, pg. 297, proof of will pg. 297.  page 298 not titled but probably Proving of the Will.  Pg. 445 FHL#388724 Affidavit (hard to read) probably filing of the will.  Note:  More needs to be done on this estate in the books and packets.

A search of the newspapers in the area did not reveal an obituary on John Keller but the announcement about the estate was found

Mt. Gilead – Morrow Co. Sentinel Newspaper 1/1/1879 to 4/28/1881 Thurs, June, 10, 1880 Under New Advertisements: Executor’s Notice – Notice is hereby given that the undersigned have been appointed Executors of the last Will and Testament of JOHN KELLER, late of Morrow County, Ohio dec’d. All person indebted to the estate are requested to make immediate settlement. MARY A. HENRY, WM. T. KELLER (Ex’rs. June 10, 1880 (40-3w).

NOTE:  I do not know who Mary A. Henry is?  Did Mary his wife remarry or do we have another error?

Back in 2007 the Federation of Genealogical Societies and Association of Professional Genealogists held their conferences and Ohio was not that far from Fort Wayne, Indiana.  So I visited the counties of Hardin, Knox, and Morrow in Ohio and spent some enjoyable time there.  I will return in 2011 and see if I cannot find more treasures.

I also found and visited the Hedding M.E. Cemetery in Morrow Co.

John Keller and Mary Ann Delano with Son Peter

As you can see the bush is trying to topple the arched stone and when I visit again I will make sure that things are okay.  The stone also has a lot of mold on it and Peter’s information is on the left side next to me but covered in this mold and hard to read.  The stone is near a big tree so it is shrouded in shade.  A cousin had sent me a copy of the tombstone years ago (a descendant of William Franklin Keller) and I thought it was huge but you can see that is about my size and rather unique.  Just click on the photo and you can enlarge it to read it and make a copy.  John is on the left and Mary is listed on the right front columns.

18 thoughts on “The Death of Amarilla’s Grandfather, John Keller

  1. Hi,
    I’m the cousin descended from Wm Franklin that originally sent you John and Mary’s tombstone photo. Glad to see that you were actually able to visit. My photo files were destroyed so am glad to see the tombstone again. Can still remember the goosebumps when I first saw it in person.

    By the way, the names you were questioning in the estate announcement are Mary A(nn), and son Henry (comma is missing) and Wm F(ranklin), not Wm T.

    Oh… and per a descendant, John Delano definitely married a Carson girl but I believe her name was Lovina.

    So I have some thoughts re: John’s father that you might want to check out during your trip so write back and I’ll share them. Who knows, maybe I can swing a trip during the same time frame.

    Where are you living these days? I’m still in California.


  2. Hello Jan: I am so happy you stopped by. This is so great! I was surprised no one had found this yet and expected more hits and comments. Yes, I have to get to planning that trip. I am leaving about the 17th of Aug and back on the 7 of Sept. We will see. Anyway I have a condo in Howard and I need a roommate? It is later in the month of August. I am north of Seattle. I will be in Carmel in June!
    We need to talk and meet. The estate announcement is odd. We need to figure out who is parents are! I do remember your photo and I can resend it back to you. Funny thing was I thought it was going to be a huge tombstone. I hope the tree hasn’t knocked it over? Bonnie

  3. I am researching the Keller family. John and Mary are my husband’s great great great grandparents. I have followed the Delano family back but as you unable to come up with John’s father. My husband is also named John. We live in Crawford County which is north of Morrow County and there are lots of Kellers here but I am not able to connect with our family. I really enjoyed your research and am glad to know where the ancestors are. My husband John’s great great grandfather is Peter and great grandfather is Andrew Jay Keller who is buried in Blooming Grove Cemetery just southeast of Galion, Ohio. Did you find out anymore on your visit in 2011? Linda

    • Linda: Welcome! I am happy to meet you. I have a John S. Keller who is a son of Andrew Jay and Carry (spelling?) am I getting warm? I suggest that you go to my other blog: Solomon Goss of Fearing Township in Ohio You can also find this other blog on this blog on the right under Blogs I Like. Once at the Solomon Goss Blog scroll down to Categories on the right and scroll some more to SURNAMES and find the Keller topics and check them out. I did visit quite a few cemeteries in Morrow and Knox trying to locate as many Kellers in the area where our John Keller lived so I could start eliminating them but I have not had time. I will post about my findings eventually on the Solomon Goss Blog because the Kellers did live in Ohio. I am not surprised that there would be Keller’s in Crawford. Amarilla Keller (sister to Peter Keller) married Harrison Barr and they migrated and died in Galion, Crawford Co. The cemetery Volumes for Crawford Co. had them listed. I did not visit in Crawford County. While in Ohio last August/September 2011 I learned while studying deeds and tax records and more that settlers would buy land in one area or several (a little speculating), live in another and that is why it is so hard to find the connections. Not to mention that records are spotty and difficult to find. Amasa Delano who is in some way connected to Stephen Delano (Mary’s father) had land in Franklin Co. but he lived in Fairfield (I need to doublecheck the county). I tried newspapers to see if I could get obituaries on some of the children of John and Mary but the newspapers are spotty with their runs, leaving big gaps. I could not find anything on either Mary or John in the papers other than a reference to John’s estate. It was very frustrating. The genealogical society in Morrow county had newspapers not microfilmed and I did find a couple of obituaries but nothing to point the way to John Keller. I had hoped one of the children of John and Mary would give a clue. I collected a lot of information that I have yet to process and present on the Solomon Goss blog. One area I would like to dig into more is the Tax records of Ohio. I did some of that at the Ohio Historical Society regarding Knox County emphasizing the Delanos, Kellers and Spracklins in the mid 1830’s. I found the tax records at OHS to be very difficult to understand. I had to go back and reviewn the films the next day to make sure I understood what I found. So in summary what I have are pieces of a big puzzle regarding Kellers, Delanos and more. John’s parents are yet to be found! Let’s keep in touch Linda.

  4. Hi, Linda
    To echo Bonnie – good to meet you. Having you in Ohio – feet on the street so to speak – will be a great help as we all collaborate going forward. A couple of tantalizing thoughts… my dad told me that growing up the Keller Family Reunion was held every year in Galion at one of the “big” parks. I’m wondering if that’s a lead? Do you think there might be something in the local paper’s social pages? Think 1940s and 50s. Also, with the 1940 census available in just over a month, we might be able to id other Galion/Crawford Co. Kellers that are probables. Years ago I corresponded with an elderly descendent of an early Peter Keller and while she was very hopeful of finding a connection, we pretty much eliminated them as a possibility. By the way, I descend from Wm Franklin “Frank” Keller, son of John and Mary Delano Keller.

    Best regards

    • Jan: So glad you saw this comment! One of my goals is to bring together Keller descendants of Mary and John Keller and hopefully we can collaborate. Good suggestions regarding the Keller reunion and the 1940 census. Good to hear from you! Bonnie

  5. I have been in touch with a Marty Keller who is connected with the Crawford County Genealogical Society and has done a lot of research. She was unable to connect John and Mary Keller with the large family of Kellers here in Crawford County. I also have a Keller on my side of the family that married my great aunt and he is from Marion. We haven’t been able to connect him either. My John’s father is Gerald “Jerry” Leroy, grandfather, – James “Paul” — great grandfather – Andrews Jay “Andy” who married several times. My John’s great grandmother is Mary Loveland who then married an Oscar Cronenwett. Great Great grandfather is Peter and then back to John and Mary. There are lots of Keller’s around Crestline and Bucyrus but so far am unable to connect them. My best source was this Marty Keller and she was unable to help. I hope this summer to go to the Ohio Genealogical Society and to Knox County to see if I can get some leads there. If we could just find where he came from would give us a big lead. I know several Kellers so will keep checking with them. LINDA

    • According to his death record from Morrow County, Ohio and various census John Keller came from Washington Co., Pennsylvania and was born there 18 November 1810. I have tried to find evidence of his birth and more in Washington Co., PA. by looking at census, estate records, deeds, histories and more. It was frequently a stopping place for people moving west. There are Keller’s there in Washington Co., PA. I have yet to connect him to them. Thank you for the information on your family. I have been to the Ohio Historical Society, Ohio Genealogical Society and the Knox County Genealogical Society in September of 2011 and I wrote about my visits in my other blog – Solomon Goss. I was unable to find anything but the bits and pieces I mentioned. Before you go, I would be happy to give you a list of what I looked at. Bonnie

  6. In the 1881 Crawford County History I have Kellers coming from Franklin County and Northampton County, Pennsylvania. I was wondering if John might be connected to them. It is worth looking into that area also as I don’t know where those counties are to Washington County. I will try and connect with some Kellers that I know but it will take some time. I will let you know what I find out from them. There is no other family member in this area that is connected to us that I can check with. Hopefully the ones I am thinking of will be on another branch to connect us up. LINDA

    • On trips to Pennsylvania and to the Family History Library I have tried to look at family histories and records and other counties in Pennsylvania but I have not yet found a connection to any of the Pennsyvlania families but that is still a wide open area. So I do not know if he did come from Franklin or Northampton but I am aware there were Kellers there. Franklin is in the south of PA, Northampton is to the west of Luzerne sort of in the middle. I have Goss family in the area so I do have some small knowledge of Northampton. Watch out for the history of the county and keep in mind many of them born out of others just like Ohio. Thanks so much for your interest and help. Keep in touch. Bonnie

  7. I am Anna Penhorwood Hackman. My grandma Keller Slack was a sister of Jay
    Keller. My hubby and I went to a reunion at Candlewood Lakes near Mt. Gilead
    sometime since 2000. I believe the person’s name was Cotton descended from Lavinia. I don’t know much of what you’re looking for. I wish I could help.

    • Welcome Anna Penhorwood Hackman, I am so happy to meet you. As far as I know Jay had one sister Floy May? A reunion would be great and if you ever hear of one please let me know. Lavina May Helt married a Franklin White Cotton 1 Oct. 1876 in Cardington, Morrow Co., Ohio as far as I know. One of the cousins would have more information about this family. The fact that you stopped by and found this blog is a start. Spread the news with your family and let them know. We are trying to figure out John Keller’s parentage. Keep in touch. Bonnie

      • Hi, Bonnie
        Jay had two sister – Flora “Floy” May Keller Slack and Ora Ella Keller Butler. There are definitely Mt. Gilead connections, but also Crawford Co., OH family. If you know who has been organizing the family reunions over the years, perhaps we can beg info from then!


    • Hi, Anna
      Jay Keller was my great grandfather; I decend from Jay’s eldest son Chester (one of 5 children). Are you in contact with any of the other cousins? I met all of Jay’s children but only have vague memories of them (except for Dorothy). Do you know any of the cousins from sister Ora Keller Butler?
      Jan Daniel

  8. I recently received my Grandmother mogene Smith Rowland, daughter of Lawrence Smith &Emma Helt FAMILY ALBUM. I can locate where pictures go, like Barr, Dinzer. Will work on this &keep in touch.

    • Hello: Welcome and I am so happy you stopped by. I do have an Emma Helt but I have her marrying a J.F. Williams so this is very interesting. What a precious album you have there. I am very happy for you.

  9. Hello,
    Our Great Grandmother was Emma Amarilla Helt – the daughter of William Goff Helt and Lovina Lavinia Keller Helt. She married John Franklin Williams and had 6 children. They lived in Crawford County most all their lives and are buried in Fairview Cemetery in Galion. I’m not sure about the Emma Helt mentioned above that married a Lawrence Smith, but I do know that some of our Emma’s sisters were married to Barr and Cotton. Still trying to understand how this all fits in!

    • Constance: Welcome. I am so happy to meet you and glad you stopped by. The subject of this blog is about Amarilla Spracklin Barclay a granddaughter of John and Mary (Delano) Keller. So I did this post with the idea of showing Amarilla’s mother’s family. Elizabeth Keller Spracklin was the first born of this family of John and Mary’s that I know of and introduce deeds I had found about the partition of John Keller’s land. So I did only a summary and did not dig deep into the descendants of John and Mary. My plan is I will do that on my other blog: Solomon Goss of Fearing Twp. In Ohio. You can access it on the right side of this blog. It will be awhile before I dig into John Keller and Mary Delano Keller’s family and ancestors for the Solomon Goss Blog is a big job. I want to discuss them on that blog because it is centered in Ohio and that is where most of the Keller descendants lived. I am very pleased to know where Emma’s family went and I am not surprised about Crawford Co. Her sister Amarilla Keller Barr moved there as well. I am so glad to know they are buried in Fairview Cemetery in Galion. I appreciate that information. I was tracking the children of John and Mary in hopes one of them would tell us more about John Keller and his origins. You might want to study the other blog as well because I did visit some of the Keller sites and posted about my visits. I do not have Emma and John Franklin’s children, actually all I had was J.F. so that is good to have his full name. Please keep in touch.

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