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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



JEROME T. KEPNER, one of the representative citizens of McLean County and a successful farmer and stock-raiser, residing on section 11, Dry Grove Township, was born in Juniata County, Pa., Feb. 20, 1830. He is the son of Samuel and Hattie (Walker) Kepner, natives of Pennsylvania, the former of German parentage and she of German descent. The father was born in 1803, and is yet living, having attained the venerable age of eighty-four years. He is living on the farm in Pennsylvania on which he has labored for the last fifty years. The place consists of 200 acres and is located a mile and a half from the Juniata River. The mother of our subject was born in 1805, and died in September, 1883, in Pennsylvania. The father is a member of the Lutheran Church, and in politics is a Democrat. He became the head of a family of nine children. Those now living are, Jerome, the subject of this notice; Calvin; Samuel; Mary J., who is the wife of Samuel Ritzman; William W. was united in marriage with Miss Hittle, and Matilda, now Mrs. Benjamin Groniger.

The subject of this notice is the eldest of his father's children and was reared to farm labor, receiving his education in the district school, and continued to reside with the old folk until the age of manhood. On becoming his own man he came West in 1854, and located in Peoria County, where he purchased eighty acres of improved land. On this place he located with his wife and two children, and at once engaged in its improvement. A year and a half passed by when death took his loved companion from him, her demise being caused by consumption. Our subject then took his two children and returned to the place of his nativity, reaching there in 1856. Remaining with friends until the following spring, he returned to Peoria County and was there a resident for about three years. He then went back East and was married to Mrs. Rice Stephens, the date of the ceremony being Aug. 11, 1864. She was born June 24, 1838, in Juniata County, Pa., and was a daughter of Samuel and Sarah (Kepner) Rice, of German parentage. Mr. Rice was a dry-goods and grocery merchant at Port Royal, Juniata Co., Pa. He was born in 1803, and departed this life in January, 1859. His good wife was born in 1814, and died in August, 1854. They had ten children, the first of whom died in infancy; Matilda C., Martha J.; Sarah E., wife of our subject, John H., Mary M., Margaret E., Winfield S., Zachariah E. and Frances A.

The subject of this notice moved to Livingston County, Ill., in 1869, and was there engaged in farming for fourteen years. He then came to this county and purchased 156 acres of valuable and productive land, the same being that on which he is at present residing. He is also engaged in the breeding and raising of fine draft horses and is meeting with signal success in both branches of his vocation. He has held the various offices of his township while a resident of this county and while living in Livingston County was Commissioner of Highways for ten years. He is at present one of the Board of School Trustees of this township. In politics he is Republican, and his good wife and five daughters are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 607. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.


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