When we state in an initiative way that the honored subject of this
sketch has resided for fifty-six years in Marion county, having devoted his
attention to agricultural pursuits during that time, the significance of the
statement is evident in that it must necessarily imply that he is one of the
prosperous farmers of the community.
Henry F. Kelchner was born in Pennsylvania, September 23, 1828, the son of David and Elizabeth (Follmer) Kelchner, who were the parents of four children: Henry, our subject being the second in order of birth. He has one brother and two sisters. Our subject attended the common schools in his native community in the Keystone state, where he received a fairly good education, assisting his father with the work about the place. As already indicated he came to Illinois in 1852, arriving here in the month of June and after working at whatever he could secure that was honorable and remunerative, he married on January 11, 1855, Lucy C. Lovell, and to this union these children were born: Robert B., who married Belle Ritter, and to whom one daughter was born; Eugene married Hattie Samuels, living in Tazewell county, this state, and they are the parents of one daughter; Ida married George Asher and they have seven children; Katie married G. E. Brandeberry, and is the mother of one son; Harvey F. married Clara Millican, the daughter of Filmore and Maggie (Porter) Millican.
Henry F. Kelchner was one of the sturdy and patriotic sons of the North who believed it his duty to do what he could in suppressing the great rebellion, consequently he enlisted at Springfield. Illinois, in September, 1861, in Company K. Thirty-third Illinois Volunteer Infantry, under Colonel Hovey and Charles E. Lippencott, as captain. His first battle was at Fredericksburg and he took part in many other battles and skirmishes in which this regiment was engaged, always conducting himself as a brave soldier. He was mustered out in Springfield in September, 1864, and as a reward for his faithful services he is remembered by his government with a pension of twenty dollars per month.
Our subject is the owner of a fine and highly improved farm, consisting of one hundred and thirty acres, sixty-five acres of which are in cultivation. He carried on general farming, but now in his old age he is leading a practically retired life at the home of his son, Harvey.
Mr. Kelchner has always been a public spirited man and in 1882 he was nominated on the Union Labor ticket for Circuit Clerk. He has very ably and acceptably filled the offices of Town Clerk, School Director and Township Treasurer.
He votes a mixed ticket, always believing in honesty in politics and preferring to place the best men possible in local and national offices. He is a Prohibitionist at heart, and he believes in a Democratic government. Religiously he is a member of the Christian church.
Although Mr. Kelchner is eighty years old he still has a very bright mind and is well read and keeps abreast of the times. Having during his entire life been closely identified with the interests and development of whatever section of the country he lived in. By close application to the duties which lay before him, he has won his way into the hearts of the people who know him.
Extracted 27 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 520-521.