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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Growing up in Naperville – Keller connections

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When you’re young, like maybe 7 or 8 years old, you don’t think much about relatives or where they come from. As I was growing up, most of my aunts and uncles lived no more than five miles from my grandparents and my mom and dad.

As I grew older, I began learning where all my heirs came from and when they came to the Naperville area. My great-great grandfather and great-great grandmother, William and Hanna Winehold, are buried in Naperville Cemetery. Also, buried there are their son, my great grandfather, Samuel Winehold, and his wife, Emma Mentzer Winehold; my grandfather, Arthur Goodge, and his wife, Ida Winehold Goodge; and my grandfather’s mother, my great grandmother, Jane Bush Goodge.

The Goodges came from England in the 1840s. Their son, Frank P. Goodge, was born in Evansville, Ind., in 1852. His wife, Jane, came to Naperville in 1895, and her son, Arthur, married Ida Winehold in Naperville in 1900.

They, along with my parents, Dorothy and Adam Keller, are all buried in Naperville Cemetery. The name Winehold also was spelled Weinhold. The original German spelling is Veinholdt and Weinholdt.

Next came the Keller and the Bapst family names. My great grandfather, Adam Keller, came to Naperville in 1852 from Leimersheim, Bavaria. He was a farmer and forester. Adam married Barbara Weigand in 1860. They had 10 children. Their youngest child was Frank Gustav Keller and he married Eleanora Bapst in 1905.

Eleanora was the daughter of my great grandfather, Joseph Bapst. Joseph was also a cornet player who led the Naperville Light Guard Band in the 1870s and 1880s. He married Margaretha Kreger who ran a bakery and grocery store on the northwest corner of Washington and Benton streets. With the exception of my parents, Adam and Dorothy Keller, all the Kellers and the Bapsts are buried in the Ss. Peter and Paul Cemetery.

Family always was important. We had Thanksgiving at Grandpa Keller’s farm, Christmas dinner at Grandpa Goodges house, New Year’s dinner was hosted by Aunt Edna and Uncle Les Arnett, and my parents hosted Easter dinner.

We spent most Saturday nights at Grandpa Keller’s farm and every summer I would stay on the farm at least a month. Grandpa would assign me chores like feeding the hogs, shelling corn, picking up eggs and helping at milking time. As I got older, I learned to drive a tractor and bail hay. Grandpa Keller and Uncle Frank taught me how to prune grapes.

In today’s world, our daughters live in Nashville, Houston and Daytona Beach. Our closest grandchild lives in Highland, Ind., and the rest are scattered all over, including Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida and Texas. We have a grandson in the U.S. Army, stationed in Korea.
As nearly as I can figure, I’m related to Naperville families including Modaff, Seiler, Wehrli, Kreger, Egerman, Shimp, Drendel, Kuhn and Kocher.

I remember when I went to first grade and my dad said, “Don’t talk about anyone. You’re probably related to them!”

My mother was a really good keeper of family—that is, all the names and their relation to me.

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Ron Keller
Ron Keller
Ron Keller is a lifelong Naperville resident, tuba enthusiast and has been conducting the Naperville Municipal Band for over 50 years.

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