From the 1885 History of Steuben County, Indiana

page 682-683


Israel Kemery, proprietor of the Russell House, Angola, Ind., was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, April 5, 1830, a son of Jacob and Mary (Loubert) Kemery, his father a native of Pennsylvania and his mother of Germany.  There was a family of six sons; two died in infancy, one was killed at the battle of Jonesboro, Tenn., in the war of the Rebellion, and three are living.  The father died in 1838. Israel remained on the farm with his mother till sixteen years of age, and then began to learn the saddle and harness-maker's trade, serving an apprenticeship of four years.  After completing his apprenticeship he engaged in business for himself in Ohio till 1856, when he came to Indiana and established the second harness shop in Angola.  When he first visited Angola with the intention of locating the outlook was rather discouraging.  The public square was lined with ox teams, there being only one horse on the square.  Nothing daunted, however, he completed his arrangements and soon the scene changed; horses gave place to oxen and his business became a lucrative one.  In 1876 he was thrown from his buggy, receiving injuries which caused him to abandon his trade.  For five years he was employed as a traveling salesman in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, and May 3, 1883, rented the Russell House in Angola, where he has built up a good business.  He is a genial, attentive landlord, and his table is always supplied with the best the market affords.  While engaged in the harness business he was elected and served as Constable two years, Justice of the Peace eight years, and Deputy Sheriff and Deputy Treasurer six years.  He was also for fifteen years engaged in the fire and life insurance business in connection with working at his trade.  He was married in Lancaster, Ohio, in 1850 to Anna M. Willhite, a native of Lancaster, born Nov. 22, 1830, daughter of George and Mary Willhite.  To them have been born eight children--Mary E., wife of Allen Jarvis;  George W. married Ida Phelps; Charles I. married Katie Henning, of Stryker, Ohio, and is now telegraph operator at Anderson, Ind.; Emma J. is at home; Nella died, aged two days; Frank T. married Lillie Chrisley; Effie L. and M. Nora are at home.  Mr. Kemery has been a member of the Odd Fellows' order twenty-one years.  He has passed all the chairs of his lodge, and has represented it in the Grand Lodge of the State twice.  He has served on important  committees twelve years and as permanent Secretary eight years.  He was a charter member of the Angola Lodge, K. of H., and was its first presiding officer and its first representative to the Grand Lodge.  It is mainly through his influence that the lodge has attained its present prosperous condition.  Mrs. Kemery's mother died when she was a child and her father in 1851.  Their family consisted of four children--two sons and two daughters.  A son and daughter are deceased, and George is a resident of Wisconsin.


Submitted by: Kim Davoli