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William H. H. Keltner. The paternal great-grandsire of William Henry Harrison Keltner was Henry Keltner, one of four brothers who came from Germany to America in early Colonial times and settled in Kentucky, in what came to be known as Keltner Township. He spent his life there, a planter of prominence and wealth. He had four sons who served in the long-fought war for American independence. One of the four was William Keltner, the father of J. C. C. Keltner, and grandfather of this subject. This patriot, William Keltner, fought with General Jackson at the battle of New Orleans, and he died in Dardanell, Arkansas, a prosperous planter and mill owner.
William Henry Harrison Keltner was born in Bonham, Fannin County, Texas, July 18, 1852, and is the son of J. C. C. Keltner, born in Kentucky in 1828. In 1844 J. C. C. Keltner came from his native state to the Indian Territory, where he worked for his father-in-law on one of his plantations, and later he became overseer of his wife’s father’s plantation, and in 1851 he married the daughter of Arnus Spring, his employer. Crossing Red River in 1852, he resided in Bonham, Fannin County, where W. H. H. Keltner was born. In that year he came back to the Choctaw Nation, settling near Hugo, thence to near Atoka, and finally to near Leon, Chickasaw Nation, and spent the remainder of his life there, engaged in stock farming. He died there in the year 1910. He was captain of an Indian company of volunteers in 1861-5, and was a staff officer in Gen. Joe Wheeler’s regiment throughout the war. He was a member of the Church of Christ, and in politics was a whig, but after the war became a democrat. He married Nancy E. E. Spring, born in the Choctaw Nation, and a quarter-blood Indian. She died in Wise County, Texas, and William H. H. Keltner was her only child.
Mr. Keltner attended the Spring Chapel School under the tutelage of Doctor Dabney, now a resident of Sulphur, Oklahoma, and when he was sixteen years old he left school and went to work as a cowpuncher, in which he continued until 1874. However, in 1871-2 he found it possible to attend Oplaca Academy, in Alabama, for about twenty months, which was a very valuable addition to, what had been a somewhat meager education. When he left ranch work in 1874 he became a stake driver in a railroad engineering camp, and in 1877, after three years of continuous work in that line, he took a field position as a qualified civil engineer. He followed that work through the Indian Territory, Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas, until the year 1895. During those years he had been accumulating farming lands, and in 1895 he retired from his engineering work to his farm at Hickory, Pontotoc County, where he remained until 1900. In that year he moved to his farm on Red River, continuing there until 1912, when he moved to his farm at Reck, Oklahoma, six miles south of the town of Wilson. This place of 600 acres is the present home of the family. Another valuable farming property of Mr. Keltner’s is his Red River farm of 2,100 acres, and he has title to 170 acres of lead and zinc lands in the Arbuckle Mountains. Mr. Keltner also is interested in certain valuable oil lands in the Healdton fields and in the Madill District as well.
It is perhaps unnecessary to say that Mr. Keltner is a republican of the old school. His name would carry that assurance with it, and it is safe to assume that any man who signs himself William Henry Harrison would vote the republican ticket. Mr. Keltner was a deputy marshal in the Indian Territory, and he served on the election board in Love County in 1911-12 and 1913. In 1876 he became an ordained minister in the Church of Christ, and since that time he has devoted a good deal of his time to the ministry. He is a member of Leon Lodge No. 189, Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
In 1876 Mr. Keltner was married at Pilot Point, Denton County, Texas, to Miss Susie Potter, the daughter of Col. Zack Potter, a farmer, now deceased. He was a colonel in the southern army, serving in a Missouri regiment throughout the war.
Five children were born of this union. Hattie May married John Moore, a farmer, and they live in Hickory, Oklahoma. Nema Pearl married F. E. Kinney, and they have their home in Durant, Oklahoma, where Mr. Kinney is a merchant. J. Arthur lives in Madill, Oklahoma, and is engaged in the real estate business, as well as giving some time to the ranching business. Hazel is the wife of Oscar Babb, a Nebraska farmer. Ruby married Walter Middleton, and they live in Chicago, where he is the superintendent of an electric power plant.
The wife and mother died in 1897 and in 1898 Mr. Keltner married in Stonewall, Oklahoma, Miss Mattie Burns, the daughter of S. B. Burns, of LeFlore, Oklahoma. She has borne him four children. They are named Goodwin, Neroli, William H. H., Jr., and Wallace L. All of them are attending school in Reck, where the family home is located.