Biography of John Keck
Posey County, Indiana Biographies

John Keck, manufacturer and man of affairs, president of the Keck-Gonnerman Company, of Mt. Vernon, and one of the most influential men in Posey county, of which he is a native, was born on his father's farm in Marrs township on August 7, 1851, the son of Andrew and Rosanna (Grossman) Keck. Andrew Keck and his wife were natives of Germany, who came to America with their parents and lived in Philadelphia, Pa., where they married. He brought his family to Posey county, Indiana, in 1835, and located on land in Marrs township. He was a farmer, an untiring worker, possessed the frugality common to the German race, and was known as a man of strict honesty. His death occurred in 1876, and that of his wife in 1861. They were the parents of twelve children, seven of whom are living. They are in order of birth, as follows: Caroline, the wife of Christian C. Stilz, a market gardener of Evansville; Anna B., the wridow of Jacob Meyers, who resides in Portland, Ore.; Rosanna, the widow of John C. Woody, who resides in Terre Haute; Christiana, the wife of J. F. Schiela, of Mt. Vernon; John, the subject of this review; Peter, of Mt. Vernon, proprietor of an electrical equipment supply store, and Louis H., secretary and treasurer of the Keck-Gonnerman Company, of Mt. Vernon. The deceased children are as follows: Maria who was the wife of George Maurer, a farmer of Marrs township; Amelia, who married Henry Habenicht, a grocer of Evansville; Andrew, a drygoods merchant of Evansville; Eliza, who was the wife of Benjamin Blakely, of Mt. Vernon, and Catherine, who died in her eighteenth year. John Keck was reared on his father's farm, assisted in the farm work, and acquired his education in the district schools of his home township and Evansville. On attaining his majority, he struck out for himself, secured employment in Evansville, and became a machinist. He initiated his first business venture in 1877, when he purchased a half interest in the foundry owned by his brother-in-law, John C. Woody, at Mt. Vernon. The business was conducted under the firm name of Woody & Keck until 1883, when it became Keck & Onk, this partnership continuing for a few months, when new principals were admitted and the firm, Keck, Gonnerman & Company formed. The business of this firm was incorporated in 1901, as the Keck-Gonnerman Company, of which Mr. Keck has since been president. A review of the growth of this enterprise, the most important in Posey county, is included in the chapter, "Manufacturing and Commercial Enterprises," to which the reader is referred for supplemental information. As a citizen of Mt. Vernon, his place of residence for thirty years, Mr. Keck has been one of its most potential factors as a developer of commercial enterprises. He was one of the active factors in the organization of the Industrial Brick Company, the Home Mill & Elevator Company, and the Sunlight Milling Company, all of which have added to the prosperity of the city and which are reviewed at length in the chapter, "Manufacturing and Commercial Enterprises." He is also a member of the directorate of the First National Bank of Mt. Vernon. With his brother, Louis H. Keck. he is the owner of 865 acres of choice bottom land in Posey and Gibson counties, which are operated under their supervision. He has always taken an active interest in the civil affairs of his county and State, but political office has never appealed to him. He is a Democrat. He is a member of the Masonic and Knights of Pythias orders, and of the Methodist church. Mr. Keck married, on March 20, 1877, Miss Addie Frank, the daughter of Valentine Frank, a market gardener of Louisville, Ky. They are the parents of two children: Frank L. Keck, born June 16, 1882, a graduate of the Mt. Vernon High School, and assistant superintendent of the Keck-Gonnerman Company, and Grover C. Keck, a graduate of the engineering department of Purdue University, class of 1906, who is the assistant secretary and treasurer of the Keck-Gonnerman Company, and manager of the automobile sales department.

History of Posey County, Indiana
John C. Leffel, Editor
Standard Publishing Company
Chicago 1913.


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