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George W. Kettlewell 1821-1897

George W. Kettlewell

A short biographical sketch of George W. Kettlewell
Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson, Poweshiek, and Iowa Counties, Iowa,
Chicago: Chapman Brothers,1893.

George W. Kettlewell, the oldest blacksmith in Iowa City, Iowa, an able workman, enterprising and liberal-spirited citizen, has efficiently discharged the duties of public office, and, an energetic member of the City Council and valued Director of the School Board, has been an important factor in the promotion and development of the best interests of his home locality, and as a man of fine character and sterling integrity has won a high place of the esteem of his fellow-townsmen.

Our subject was born in Washington County, Pa., December 30, 1821, and was the son of
Joseph Kettlewell, a native of England, who was born in Plymouth Dock, and reared and educated in his birthplace. He came to America in the British service in 1812, was taken prisoner and remained, locating at first in Pennyslvania, thence removing to Ohio, locating in St. Clairsville. He died in 1837 in Wheeling, W.Va., having removed there in 1834.

The mother Nancy (Wallace) Kettlewell, was a native of Ireland, but came to this country when a young girl, locating in Iowa City in 1856, and passed away in her seventy-seventh year. She was the loving mother of six children, three sons and three daughters. William, the eldest, died in his seventy-first year; Mary E., the wife of Joshua Wiley, died in Chicago in her seventy-fourth year; Rachel, the wife of Hiram Davis, died in Lexington, Ky., in her thirty-third year; George W. is our subject; Catherine was the wife of Philo Haynes, and died in Iowa city at the age of thirty-seven years; Joseph R., resides in California which has been his constant home since 1863.

George W. was the fourth child and second son and remained with his father until his death, and afterward cared for his mother. He first engaged in the blacksmith trade in 1838, in St. Clairsville, Ohio, and served an apprenticeship of four years at the anvil. At the expiration of this time he and his brother William conducted a blacksmith shop in St. Clairsville until 1846, when our subject went to Cincinnati, and worked for two years, assisting in "ironing" the first three locomotives built in Cincinnati.

In 1848 Mr. Kettlewell removed to Lebanon, Warren County, Ohio, where he worked four years and then bought a shop, which he ran successfully until 1856, when, determined to try farther West, he sold out and came to Johnson County. He made his home in Iowa City, here starting a shop in company with his brother Joseph, which our subject still conducts most profitably, and he is widely known as the "Pioneer Blacksmith." Mr. Kettlewell was married in Lebanon, Ohio, January 27, 1853, to Miss Hannah Jackson, born in Yorkshire, England, December 11, 1830. Mrs. Kettlewell was the daughter of William and Mary (North) Jackson, who emigrated to America when the estimable wife of our subject was but six months old. Her parents made their residence in Ohio, and there Mrs. Kettlewell was reared and educated. Eleven children, four sons and seven daughters, were born unto our subject and his wife:
William A. is a citizen of Iowa City and is connected with his father in business
Lucy V died in 1860
Horace died in 1860
George W. died in 1887
Mary E. died in 1865
Hannah J. died in 1856
Alice died in 1883
Minnie died in 1869
Charles J. is a druggist of Carson, Iowa
Eva M. is at home
Edith J. died in 1891.

Mr. Kettlewell enjoys excellent health and pursues daily business with as much interest as of yore, and in two years has been absent from his shop but two days. Politically, our subject is an earnest Democrat and a firm believer in the principles and platform of the party. While a member of the Common Council, he worked for the mutual welfare of the citizens, and was untiring in his efforts to improve the drainage of the city and rapidly advanced needed improvements. Upon the School Board his advice had weight, and his judgement aided in gaining a higher grade of scholarship and instruction for the district schools.

Fraternally, Mr. Kettlewell is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and joined the order in 1848. He became a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1846, and for twenty years was Trustee of the church, and also served as Steward. Financially prospered, our subject has a pleasant home, brightened by the presence of the daughter Eva M.; it also shelters another claimant to the affectionate care of Mr. and Mrs. Kettlewell, Ida C. Haynes, daughter of Philo Haynes, was taken into the heart and home of our subject and his good wife when she was a babe of one month old, and, reared by loving hands, is now attending school.

Few people enjoy the splendid vitality and endurance of Mr. Kettlewell, and few comparatively possess his sterling traits of character. With ability acting well his part in life, and without ostentation ever doing his duty faithfully, he has passed through the ordeal of public office without a stain upon his record, and from the pioneer days up to present time he has ever been the same energetic, enterprising, industrious and upright man, the ardent advocate of right and justice.