ABRAM L. KELLAR, M.D. The good old doctor of pioneer days won his way into the good graces of every
family in all the region round about, for his sturdy but kindly character won the hearts of the
mothers and children and his judgment and skill compelled the respect of the hard-working pioneer
men. It is possible that the position of a doctor who has long held sway in a community embodies
an ideal life as far as influence and standing go. Such a life has been that of the well-known
doctor and old settler whose home has been in this county most of the time since 1832 and whose
name appears at the head of this paragraph.
Dr. Kellar was graduated from the medical department of the university at Louisville, Ky., and
began active practice in 1852 at Decatur, but four years later made Sullivan his permanent home,
with the exception of the decade 1865-1875, which he spent at Shelbyville. He is a physician of
the regular school and has been one of the leading men of the county since his settlement here.
His parents were pioneers in Macon County when he was a little boy at a time when that county
was all an unbroken wilderness.
The Doctor was born in Oldham County, Ky., December 16, 1827, and is the youngest member of his
father's family. His father Abraham H. Kellar, was a native of Tennessee and a son of William
Kellar, a Pennsylvanian by birth who grew up among the Dutch farmers and when he had reached
manhood removed to Tennessee and there married Miss Rebecca Netherton, who came of a prominent
family in that region. After their marriage and the birth of some of their children William Kellar
and wife removed to Oldham County, Ky., and there became pioneers, for they made their location
in that State in the last decade of the eighteenth century. In that county they spent the
remainder of their days living to an extreme old age, Mrs. Kellar especially, as she died at
the age of ninety-four. Her husband had been a preacher in the old school Baptist Church for
years and for generations the family adhered to that church in religion and to the Democratic
party in politics.
Abraham H. Kellar, who came with his parents when three years old to Oldham County, Ky., was
there married to Nancy J. Hitt, who was born in the Blue Grass regions of Fayette County, Ky.
This couple with their children emigrated in 1832 to what is now Moultrie County, Ill., locating
near the present site of the village of Lovington, although there was not then a town in the county
and only five families within its present limit. They came with wagons, ox-teams and a horse and
camped out upon the way, passing through a sparsely settled country.
The parents took Government land and here began life in Illinois about the time that the Indians
left this region. The county was thickly inhabited by wild game and last but not least, as the
Doctor says, there were then great numbers of rattlesnakes upon the prairies. He at one time
killed one hundred and thirty-two sizable snakes in breaking ten acres of land. Before the
death of Abram H. Kellar, which occurred when he was sixty-five years old, he had secured a
comfortable home and life had grown easier for the farming community. His widow returned to
Kentucky and her days ended under the roof of her daughter, Mrs. Paulina Hikes near Louisville,
Ky., after she had reached the age of four-score years and four.
Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Kellar were formerly Baptists, but in 1828 they joined the Reformation and became
active members of the Christian Church in whose communion they continued through life. Mr.
Kellar was familiarly known for many years as "Hickory" Kellar on account of his Jacksonian
faith which was Democracy of the deepest dye. The two brothers of our subject are H.Y. Kellar,
a Christian minister at Effingham, Ill., and Joel H., who lives in Scotland County, Mo. The
sisters who are living are Elizabeth, wife of Albert G. Snyder of Elk County, Kan., and Paulina,
wife of Edward J. Hikes living near Louisville.
The subject of our sketch was married in Decatur to Miss Jane E. Cantrill, daughter of William
and Elizabeth (Hall) Cantrill, natives of Kentucky, whose daughter was born in Illinois. They
resided in this State until death and passed away at the ages of eighty- one and fifty-eight
years respectively, being much mourned and deeply respected for their true Christian faith. Mrs.
Kellar is the mother of five children, viz: Charles H., who married Sarah Dilsaver, and is a
painter by trade in Beatrice, Neb.; Addie is the wife of Dr. J.W. Goodwin, City Treasurer of Pomona,
Cal.; Edgar H., married Lyda Stewart and is a minister in the Christian Church in St. Louis, Mo.;
Lizzie M. and N. Pearl reside at home and are receiving at the hands of their parents a liberal
The Doctor and his wife are prominent members of the Christian Church and the ability, intelligence
and zeal of this gentleman has fitted him to do excellent work in the church and he frequently
fills the pulpit with profit, and acceptably. He is known as a fluent speaker and a natural orator
and has a reputation as a logician, and he is frequently called upon to make speeches on various
subjects and is never at a loss for forcible thought and expression. He was formerly an active
worker in the Democratic party but is now alive to the interests of prohibition and votes to put
down the saloon. He is a member of Blue Lodge No. 764 of the Masonic order, and for four years was
Master Mason in the old lodge before the re-organization. He is a man of somewhat portly figure,
striking appearance and has an excellent voice which stands him in good stead in his public addresses.
Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, 1891 - p. 653/654
Transcription copyright 2003/2007, Moultrie County ILGenWeb/USGenWeb