History of Bucks
County, Pa Volume 3 by William H. Davis
LEWIS KELLER, the enterprising and successful merchant of Bedminster, was born in Plumstead township, Bucks county, Pennsylvania, December 26, 1852, being the eldest son of Abraham and Judith (MYERS) KELLER. He comes of good old Pennsylvania German stock who for five generations have been prominent in the affairs of the upper end of Bucks county. The pioneer ancestor of the family was Heinrich KELLER, who was born in Weierbach, Baden, Germany, January 9, 1708, son of Wilhelm and Gertraut KELLER. His wife was Juliana KLEINDINST, daughter of Peter and Anna Maria KLEINDINST, the former an official of Weierbach, Baden. Julianna was born in 1711, and was married, to Heinrich KELLER, October 20, 1728. Heinrich KELLER, with his wife Juliana and four young children, emigrated to America in 1738 in the ship “Glasgow,” arriving in Philadelphia on September 9, 1738. Their eldest child Peter died within a week of their landing, and seven others were born to them in Pennsylvania. Heinrich KELLER was one of the organizers of KELLER’s Church in 1746, and was an elder there until his death on October 18, 1782. He purchased large tracts of land in Bedminster and Haycock, which descended to his children and grandchildren. His children, as shown by the records of the church of which he was one of the founders, were; 1. Johan Peter, born November 20, 1729, died September 15, 1738. 2. Johannes, born January 28, 1733, died 1792, married Maria DRACH. 3. Anna Margaret, born June 2, 1735, married February 3, 1756, Solomon GRUVER. 4. Maria Elizabeth, born November 19, 1737, married October 8, 1756, Philip STEVER. 5. Eliz. Barbara, born April 14, 1739; married, 1760, John NIEMAND, and in 1769 Michael STEINBACH. 6. Anna Maria, born November 5, 1742, married April 24, 1770, Adam LITZENBERGER. 7. Johan Hendrick born June 20, 1745; died in the years 1748. 8. Johan Peter, born July 13, 1747, was twice married and had many children. 9. Dorothea, born September 2, 1749, married Henry STEINBACH. 10. Christopher, born December 15, 1751, died July 8, 1820- see forward. 11. Heinrich, born May 19, 1755, married Catharine FOX, and had many children.
Several of the sons and sons-in-law of Heinrich KELLER were prominent in the Revolutionary struggle, his eldest son, Colonel John KELLER, being probably the most prominent of his nationality in the Bucks county. He was a member of colonial assembly in 1776, and in the same year a delegate to the first constitutional convention, and in 1778 was a member of the supreme executive council of Bucks county. In 1784 he was again returned as a member of the supreme executive council. At the organization of the Bucks county militia, in 1776, he was commissioned lieutenant-colonel of the Third Battalion, and in 1780 was assigned to the command of the Second Battalion. His battalion was in active service during the greater part of the war. His brothers Christopher and Henry, and his brother-in-law Philip STEVER, were also in the service, the first as an ensign in the Fourth Battalion, and the last as a captain under Colonel KELLER.
Christopher KELLER, the tenth child of Heinrich and Juliana born December 15, 1751, died July 8, 1820, was the great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch. He was commissioned an ensign in 1776, and his company was assigned to the “Flying Camp” and participated in the disastrous campaign on Long Island, where so many Bucks countians lost their lives or became prisoners in the “floating hells” in New York harbor. He married, February 17, 1778, Margaret TRAUCH, who was born in 1759, and died February 11, 1811. They were the parents of nine children, and have left numerous descendants. The children were: 1. John, born June 12, 1781, died February 25, 1842, and had nine daughters and two sons; a son Robert and two daughters still survive. 2. Henry, born September 28, 1783, died July 9, 1831. 3. Michael, born December 9, 1786, died November 25, 1853. 4. Elizabeth, born August 19, 1788. 5. Anna Catharine, born July 17, 1790. 6. Samuel, born April 20 1792, died January 28, 1861. 7. Joseph, born November 10, 1794, died February 14, 1877; See forward. 8. Sarah, born November 14, 1797. 9. Daniel, born April 10, 1802.
Joseph, the seventh child of Christopher and Margaret, born November 10, 1794, was the grandfather of the subject of this sketch. He lived all his life in Haycock township. He was a blacksmith and farmer, an active and prominent man in the community, and was an elder of KELLER’s church. His wife was Anna Mary AFFLERBACH, who died in 1876; both are buried at KELLER’s church. They were the parents of nine children, three of whom are still living: 1. Ann Margaret, born November 23, 1822, died 1902; married John SHISLER. 2. Abraham, born September 16, 1823, died December 23, 1880-see forward. 3. Catharine, born November 8, 1825, deceased; married Thomas HULSHIZER. 4. Diana, born November 18, 1827; married Levi STONE. 5. Tobias, born March 3, 1830, died 1897; married a Miss GERHART. 6. Joseph, born March 17, 1832, died 1898; married Lydia AFFLERBÅCH. 7. Sarah, born October 8, 1834; married Jacob HESS; second, Samuel DOTTERER. 8. Maria, born February 17, 1837; married William SAMES. 9. Abednego, born May 14, 1840, married Eliza AFFLERBACH, living in Haycock.
Abraham KELLER, father of the subject of this sketch, was the eldest son of Joseph and Anna Mary (AFFLERBACH) KELLER. He was born in Haycock township, and had only limited advantages in the way of education, but became an active and successful business man, and was an honored and respected man in the community in which he lived. He was a farmer in Plumstead township for a number of years, and later in Bedminster. In 1870 he entered into partnership with J. H. AFFLERBACH, under the firm name of J. H. AFFLERBACH & Co., and the firm conducted the Bedminster store for three years, when Mr. KELLER purchased the entire interest and took his son Lewis into the firm, under the firm name of KELLER & Son. Two years later he retired from the firm and left its control to his sons Lewis and Joseph. He then purchased the hotel at Bedminster, and conducted it for ten years, after which he conducted a feed store and looked after his farm and other property. He was twice married, first on October 10, 1847, to Judith MYERS, who was the mother of all his children. She was born February 3, 1829, and died December 23, 1880. On December 26, 1881, Mr. KELLER married Susanna, widow of Franklin STAUFFER, of Springfield, who survived him. Abraham and Judith Myers KELLER were the parents of ten children: William, who died in infancy; Mary, born November 20, 1850, wife of H. S. DEATERLY¯ Bedminster; Lewis, the subject of this sketch; Joseph, born November 17, 1854, living in Philadelphia; Amanda, born December 23, 1856, died July 26, 1874; Susanna, born March 17, 1858, died October 3, 1866; Abraham M., born March 20, 1860, living in Doylestown; Catharine, born July 8, 1862; married first Harvey SHULL, now wife of Clinton LERCH, of Tinicum; Mahlon, born November 4, 1865, a justice of the peace and business man at Perkasie; Ira M., born June 8, 1868, died 1895.
Lewis KELLER, the subject of this sketch, is one of the most successful and enterprising merchant in Bucks county. He was reared on his father’s farm and received his education at the common schools of the neighborhood. At the age of seventeen he entered the store of J. H. AFFLERBACH & Co., at Bedminster, of which firm his father was a member, and three years later bought Mr. AFFLERBACH’s interest, and for two years was a member of the firm of KELLER & Son. In 1875 his father retired from the firm and was succeeded by his second son, Joseph M., and the firm name was changed to KELLER & Brother. In 1878 Joseph M. retired from the firm, since which time the business has been conducted by Lewis KELLER. He is a born merchant, and early realized the wants and needs of his customers and how to supply them, to the mutual benefit of vendor and vendee. In a few years the business outgrew its modest quarters, and a new and much larger store was erected, including a large furniture warehouse. On October 1, 1887, his store buildings and recently erected dwelling were entirely consumed by fire, entailing a loss of nearly #10,000 above the insurance. Undaunted by this misfortune, Mr. KELLER erected a new and larger store, now the largest in Bucks county, and considerably increased his stock, and by closely studying the needs of the community and the wants of is customers and giving all courteous treatment, has built up the largest general store business in the county; demonstrating that a large business can be done out in the country away from railroad centers. The result is due to the integrity, industry and business ability of the genial proprietor.
Mr. KELLER was married, December 23, 1876, to Emma J., daughter of Amos HARPEL who was born February 5, 1856. They have four children; 1. Hiram, born August 9, 1879, graduated in 1901 from Gettysburg College with the degree of A. B., and in 1904, from the law department of the University of Pennsylvania with the degree of LL. B.; was registered as a student in the law offices of YERKES, ROSS & ROSS, and is now a member of the bars of Philadelphia and Bucks counties. 2. Erwin, born November 30, 1882, a student at the Pennsylvania State College. 3. Elsie, born October 24, 1890. 4. Norman Luther, born February 7, 1896, resides at home.
Mr. KELLER has been postmaster of Bedminster sine 1875. He is a member of St. Mathew’s Evangelical Lutheran church.
Test taken from page 508-510 of:
Davis, William W. H., A.M., History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania [New York-Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1905] Volume III
Transcribed December 2004 by Joan Lollis of, IN. as part of the Bucks Co., Pa., Early Family Project, www.rootsweb.com/~pabucks/bucksindex.html
Published December 2004 on the Bucks County, Pa., USGenWeb pages at www.rootsweb.com/~pabucks/
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