Keller Family

This is in a sense the family that started it all.  When I began working on my genealogy, in the summer of 1998, one of the first things I set out to find out was 'Where did the name Keller come from?'   It was my father's middle name and was also that of one of his uncles, but all he or anyone else then living seemed to know was that 'It is a family name.'  It didn't take me long to find out that it is also a rather common one among the Pennsylvania Germans.

A first thought was that it must be his grandmother's maiden name, but it turned out he knew both his grandmother's names and neither of them was Keller.  Back a generation.  Aha!  One of his grandmothers was Mary Elizabeth Schultz 1849-1914.  And she was a daughter of William Schultz and Leah Keller.  Now we are getting somewhere.  Leah was my father's great grandmother; she was from Dauphin County, PA, a daughter of Michael Keller and Mary 'Polly' Cassel.

I have yet to find out much about Leah herself; she was born about 1827 (and always resisted telling the census her true age, which wasn't just because she was a woman - both her brothers were the same way - I only know their birthdates from their obits).  Leah married William Schultz about 1845 and had two children, Abner William Schultz born in 1846, and my greatgrandmother Mary Elizabeth Schultz born in 1849.  William Schultz died in 1848, before Mary Elizabeth was even born,  and Leah remarried, in 1852, to a John Jacob Schaeffer.  They lived in Middletown and she had at least two more children with hiim, but after that I lost track of her and did not know exactly when or where she died.  It now appears likely that she died in  1885 and is the "Mrs Jacob Shafer" buried in the Middletown cemetery.

But I have found out quite a lot more about her family.  This is a medical branch of the family; two of Leah's brother's, David Cassel Keller 1814-1891, and Henry Dennison Keller 1825-1887, were physicians, as was her son Abner William Schultz 1846-1939.   Doctors leave tracks.  I have obituaries and wills of both brothers which you can see by clicking on their names or scrolling down on this page.  These cast quite a bit of light on the family, as well as on the 19th century style in obituaries.

Neither of the doctors left any descendants, but in addition to Leah they had several other sisters and I do have some of their descendants in my database.

From the Hummelstown Sun, Friday, 11 Feb 1887:  Obituary of Dr. H. D. Keller

The late Dr H.D. (Henry) Keller of Union Deposit was born Dec 9, 1825 in South Hanover Twp., Dauphin Co., PA and died Jan 9, 1887 at the residence of his brother, Dr D.C. Keller of Union Deposit.  The funeral which took place Jan 13 was probably the largest ever held at Union Deposit, both the Lutheran and U.B. churches being packed, Revs Haines and Zimmerman officiating in the former and Reider and Schaffner in the latter.   The deceased was a graduate of Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and was actively engaged in the practice of medicine for upwards of 25 years.  Several years ago he abandoned his profession owing to ill health, and spent his leisure in the management of his farms which apparently afforded him much recreation.  The Doctor was a man of exemplary character and universally respected by all who knew him.  Dr D.C. Keller, who is engaged in the practice of medicine for 42 years, and is known as the oldest physician in Dauphin County, still survives and mourns the loss of a dear departed brother.  Back

The Will of Dr Henry D. Keller 9 Dec 1825-9 Jan 1887, Date of Letters: 21 Jan 1887

I, Henry D. Keller of Union Deposit in the County of Dauphin and State of Pennsylvania, being of sound mind, memory, and understanding, do make and publish this my last will and testament, hereby revoking and making void all previous wills by me at any time heretofore made.

And first, I direct that all my just debts and funeral expenses be duly paid so soon after my decease as conveniently can be done.

As to such estate as it hath pleased God to intrust me with, I dispose of as follows, viz:

Item,  I give and bequeath to David H. Blough my Raccoon Skin Robes.

Item, I give and bequeath to H. K. Blough one hundred dollars an abatement on principle due me.

Item, I give and bequeath to Sarah Blough, D. H. Blough agent for spouse, one hundred and fifty dollars.

Item, I give and bequeath to Doc. A. W. Schultz all my books and surgical instruments.

Item, I give and bequeath to Kate Daimy twenty-five dollars for faithful service and attendance.

Item, I give and bequeath to Henry Kline Junior my [Stuford robe???].

Item, I give and bequeath to my sister Catherine Stentz  fifty dollars.

Item, I give and bequeath to the children of my brother in law John Seiler each twenty-five dollars.

Item, Whatever property I may have at the time of my decease, whether real, personal, or mixed, I order to be sold at public Sale, and the ... proceeds of the Sale after the payment of the Special bequests and funeral expenses, these be divided equally, as soon as it can be done, share and share alike, among my Brother and Sisters, to wit: Catherine, intermarried with Peter  Stentz, Doc. David C. Keller, Mary, intermarried with George Blough, Leah, intermarried with Jacob Shaffer, Louisa, intermarried with Henry Kline.  And the children of my sister Susan, intermarried with Jno. Seiler, both now deceased. 

And I do hereby make and ordain my beloved Brother David C. Keller, to be the executor of this my last will and testament.

In witness whereof  I, H. D. Keller, the testator, have to this my will written on one sheet of paper, set my hand and seal this Second day of August, A. D. 1884.

H. D. Keller

Signed, sealed, published, and declared by the above named H.D. Keller as for his last will and testament, in the presence of us, who have hereunto subscribed our names, at his request as witnesses thereto in the presence of the said testator, and of each other.

David Shaffner, A. Mader  

David C. Keller, M.D., Obituary from the Hummelstown Sun, 20 Nov 1891

In the death of Dr David C. Keller, Union Deposit has lost a friend as well as physician.  Michael Keller, his father was a citizen of South Hanover then belonging to West Hanover Twp.  He was born about the year 1790.  For a number of years he lived on the farm now occupied by Cyrus Hoerner where the doctor was born.  Michael was a blacksmith at Hoernerstown and later operated a distillery near his farm.  He believed manual labor was the true and only honorable means of securing a livelihood.   The idea of a free school system was distasteful to him.  His wife, Maria, who was a sister to Simon Cassel, dec'd, was a devoted help-meet and became the mother of 7 children, David C. being the second one.  David C. was born Aug 17, 1814.  The free system of schools was not yet introduced and therefore David's school advantages were limited to 7 terms of 3 months each.   As long as David depended upon his father for maintenance, he was obliged to act as helper in his father's blacksmith shop and in the distillery, all special educational advantages being denied him.  At the early age of 12 he sought other means of earning his livelihood.   He succeeded in becoming a driver on the canal and afterwards became a hand on the boat.  He continued in this work about 6 years.  About 1835 he secured a school by the contract method, the tuition being $2 per pupil for a term of 3 months, the teacher binding himself to teach in the English language the following:  Spelling, Reading, Arithmetic and Writing.  His experience as a teacher was extended to 1844, his first school having been taught near Middletown in the building then known as Roop's and Allaman's school house.  The remaining terms were taught in Hoernerstown.  He read medicine, while engaged in teaching, under the direction of Dr Seiler(1) at Harrisburg.  The time had now come when he must attend lectures at some medical institution.  His pecuniary means were insufficient and his father withheld necessary support because of his displeasure with his son for his choice of a profession that to him was distasteful.  Fortunately, however, his uncle, Simon Cassel, furnished the necessary means and David immediately proceeded to Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, where he attended lectures during 1843, '44, and '45.  On his return from college, he commenced practising in Linglestown.   From this date he was known as Dr Keller.  He came to Union Deposit in 1848.  He was married to Kate Whitmer but after a happy married life of 10 years, he was bereft of his help-meet who preceded him to the eternal world by 33 years.  He never married again.  About 1861 he became proprietor of the general store and warehouse but it interfered with is duties as a physician and he disposed of the stock at a loss.  Making a low estimate of his travels and averaging the distance traveled per day since 1850, at 6 miles, we ascertain the number to be 97,500 miles - almost 4 times the distance around the earth.  At the low estimate of two visits per day, he has made 30,000 visits as a physician.  He has registered 2000 births.  He did not use alcohol or tobacco.  His relationship to the public schools, as a director, commenced in 1871 since which time he was continued in office by the people.  He was secretary of the school-board until his death on Oct 19, 1891.  His name will not soon be forgotten.  [Abstracted] Back

The Will of Dr David C. Keller 17 Aug 1814-19 Oct 1891,  Date of Letters 26 Oct 1891:

I, David C. Keller, of Union Deposit in the County of Dauphin, and state of Pennsylvania, being of sound mind, memory, and understanding, do make and publish this my last will and testament, hereby revoking and making void all former wills by me at any time heretofore made.

Item, I give and bequeath to Abner Keller the sum of three hundred dollars for faithful service.

Item, I give and bequeath to Kate Deiming, my house Keeper, the sum of one hundred dollars.

Item, I give and bequeath to my nephew A. W. Schultz my mansion house situate in Union Deposit, with the adjoining two lots and frame house; also one story brick house and lot adjoining lot of Widow Walmer, and an alley, on condition that he pay into my estate the sum of one thousand dollars, five hundred dollars of which shall remain in the above described [can't read word]  as a legacy to my niece Sarah Blough interest on which shall be paid to her annually during her natural lifetime at five perCent, and after her death to revert to my heirs hereinafter named share and share alike.

All the rest and residue and remainder of my estate, real and personal, of whatsoever kind or nature the same may be in the County of Dauphin aforesaid or elsewhere, I order and direct to be converted into money as soon as the same can conveniently be done after my decease, and for that purpose, I do hereby authorize and empower  my executors hereinafter named to sell and dispose all my said real estate either by public or private sale or sales for the best price that can be gotten for the Same, and by proper deed to convey the same to the purchaser or purchasers.  And when the whole of my said residuary estate shall be converted into money as aforesaid, then I will and direct that the same shall be divided as follows, to wit:

I give devise and bequeath the same unto my sisters Catherine (late Mrs Peter Stentz) but now dec'd, Susan late Mrs John Seiler dec'd, Mary intermarried with George Blough, Leah intermarried with William Shultz and afterwards with Jacob Shaffer but now dec'd., Ellen L. intermarried with Henry Kline, share and share alike, to be equally divided between the legal heirs of those now deceased, to wit, Catharine, Susan,and Leah, except that Catharine Shaffer intermarried with _______ [blank in original] Vanostrand shall receive but one half as much as A. W. Shultz and Mary Shultz intermarried with Penrose Frank.

And lastly I nominate and appoint A. W. Shultz and D. H. Blough to be my executors of this my last will and testament.  In witness whereof I, D. C. Keller the testator have to this my last will and testament written on sheet of paper set my hand and seal, this eleventh day of June, A. D. 1891.

(signed) D. C. Keller

Signed, sealed, published and declared by the named D. C. Keller as and for his last will and testament, in the presence of us who have hereunto subscribed our names at his request as witnesses thereto in the presence of the testator and of each other.

A. Mader    Jeremiah Dominy 

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