WILLIAM R. KARSTETER. Among the prominent and influential officials who are most successfully conducting the business affairs of Randolph county, Illinois, William R. Karsteter holds prestige as one whose loyalty and public spirit have ever been of the most insistent order. As a Democrat he was nominated and elected county clerk of Randolph county in the fall of 1910, being sworn into office in December of that year.
William R. Karsteter was born in the Diamond Cross neighborhood of Randolph county, Illinois, on the 11th of August, 1854. His father, Samuel Karsteter, was a young man of twenty-five years of age when he came into Illinois, where he resided from 1848 until 1875, In the latter year he removed to Whitesboro, Texas, where his death occurred in 1897, at the age of seventy-five years. John Karsteter, father of Samuel, was a native of Pennsylvania, whence he removed to Illinois with his family in 1848. Samuel grew to maturity in his Pennsylvania home, and after his arrival in Illinois he turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, later becoming a merchant at Diamond Cross. He was twice married, his first wife having been Miss Martha Stipe, a native of Ohio. Mrs. Karsteter died in 1864, and concerning her children the following brief data are here incorporated, _William R. is the immediate subject of this review; Mary, who is the widow of George Reisher, resides at Hillsboro, Oregon; John died at Portland, Oregon, and is survived by one son; Adelaide was the wife of Thomas King at the time of her death; Nettie is the wife of Joseph Wilkins and lives at Norman Oklahoma; and Belle, who married Will Thompson, lives at Stillwater, Oklahoma. For his second wife Samuel Karsteter married Julia Labrier, who bore him eleven children, eight of whom are living at the present time, in 1911.
On the old homestead farm in Randolph county William R. Karsteter was reared to maturity and he is indebted to the district schools for his early educational training. As a young man he was engaged for a time as a teacher, eventually abandoning the school room in order to devote his entire time and attention to farming. About 1892 he came to Chester, where he was engaged in the real-estate and insurance business for a number of years. In 1897 he was induced to become office manager of the Menard Manufacturing Company, at Menard, Illinois. He remained with the latter concern until 1903, when he established his home at Quincy, Illinois, there engaging in the insurance business and serving as deputy clerk of Adams county for three years. In 1907 he returned to his boyhood community at Diamond Cross and spent the ensuing three years on the farm. In 1910 the political situation throughout Randolph county foreboded evil for the Republican party. Democrats everywhere forecasted Republican defeat at the polls and put their ticket in the field, expecting success. Mr. Karsteter became the party's nominee for the office of county clerk and was elected by a majoirty of three hundred and sixty-nine votes in a county normally Republican. He was sworn into office in December, 1910, as the successor of Charles H. Thies, and his administration of the county's affairs thus far has proved that he is admirably suited for the office.
On the 20th of October, 1875, Mr. Karsteter was united in marriage to Miss Amanda H. Harmon, a daughter of James Harmon and a
descendant of an old pioneer family in Randolph county. Michael Harmon, grandfather of Mrs. Karsteter, came to Illinois from Tennessee in 1811 and established his home in the locality named after himself, "Harmon Settlement." He died in the following autumn, leaving seven sons to maintain the ground he had claimed. Among these sons were Joseph, Abraham, George, John and James. James Harmon married a granddaughter of Jane Lively, concerning whom a bit of tragic history is here related.
John Lively, the father of Jane, was a resident of Washington county, Illinois, about the year 1812. One afternoon, when all but two members of his family were gathered in the cabin, Indians attacked and brutally murdered the inmates of the place, burning the cabin down over their dead bodies. Those to escape the slaughter were William, who was searching for the horses, and Jane, who chanced to be visiting some little friends in the neighborhood. Jane grew up and married William Candle, and through her posterity became the great-grandmother of Amanda H. Harmon, wife of the subject of this review.
Mr. and Mrs. Karsteter are the parents of the following children, _ John married Clara Weinrich and resides at St. Louis, Missouri; Mattie died single, at the age of twenty-three years; Samuel J. is chief accountant of the Iron Mountain Railway Company at Chester; Albert is a civil engineer at Elizabethtown, Ohio; Clarence passed away at Quincy, Illinois, at the age of nineteen years; William R., Jr., is in the employ of Buxton & Skinner, at St. Louis; and Miss Emma resides at home with her parents.
As previously indicated, Mr. Karsteter is a stanch Democrat in his political convictions and in religious matters he and his wife are devout members of the Methodist Episcopal church at Chester. In a fraternal way he is past chancellor of the Knights of Pythias, which order he has represented in the Grand Lodge. He is also a valued and appreciative member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Mr. Karsteter is a citizen whose word is as good as his bond and whose sterling integrity of character commands for him the unalloyed confidence and esteem of his fellow men.