CHRISTIAN B. KEIPER, a prominent physician of La Fayette, is a native of Easton, Pennsylvania, born December 4, 1816, a son of PETER and MARY ANN (BUTZ) KEIPER, who were also natives of Pennsylvania, the father born in Allentown, Lehigh County, and the mother born in Northampton County. Both parents are deceased, the father dying about the year 1867, aged seventy-two years, and the mother about 1880, at the advanced age of eighty-five years. The paternal grandparents of our subject came to America from Bavaria, Germany, and located at Allentown, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. His maternal grandparents were both of German and Quaker origin. His father was a tobacconist, and wished his son to follow the same occupation, but the latter was opposed to it.
He was reared at his birthplace until attaining the age of seventeen years, receiving in his boyhood the benefits of the common schools. He commenced learning the carpenter's trade, but followed it only a few months when he left Easton for Philadelphia with the small capital of $4 or $5. He found employment in that city in a cabinet-maker's shop, and there followed that trade three years, and in 1836 he went to Pittsburgh. In the summer of the same year he went to Cincinnati, Ohio, and in the fall went to new Orleans, where he began work on billiard tables at high wages, but his employer failing the following spring, he lost two-thirds of his wages. He then went to Nashville, Tennessee, and three months later (in 1837) he went to Tuscaloosa, and from there went to Huntsville. He made some money in the meantime, and concluded to enter Marietta College, Ohio.
He stopped on his way thence, at Louisville, Kentucky, and on going down to the river at that place, he met an old friend, a steamboat captain, with whom he had become acquainted at New Orleans, who induced him to accept the position of second clerk on his boat. After running for three months between Louisville and New Orleans he became disgusted with river life, and left for Marietta, Ohio, where he entered college, remaining there a year, working on Saturdays and during vacations to help defray his expenses. He then went to Jacksonville, Illinois, but one year later started again for Marietta. Arriving at Evansville, Indiana, he was advised by a gentleman to go to Greencastle, Indiana, when he went by steamboat up the Wabash River to Terre Haute, proceeding thence to Greencastle on foot.
He entered the college at Greencastle in 1839, which he attended three and a half years, after which he studied law for four months, when he abandoned that profession, and commenced the study of medicine with Dr. Cowgill, and also studied under the preceptorship of Drs. Preston, Talbert and Ballard. He commenced the practice of medicine at Alaska, Indiana, at the junction of Putnam, Owen and Morgan counties, practicing there thirteen years. During this period the attended medical lectures at the University of the city of New York, and later at the New York Medical College, which was afterward merged into the Bellevue Medical College, and graduated from New York Medical College in 1852.
In 1859 he left Alaska for St. Louis, Missouri, where he practiced his profession about a year and a half. About the time of the taking of Fort Jackson he came to La Fayette, Tippecanoe County, where he practiced until 1874. His health then failing he returned to his old home in Easton, Pennsylvania, where he followed his chosen profession until 1881. In that year he went to Minneapolis, but, his health again failing him, he remained there but three months, when he returned to LaFayette, where he has since made his home, engaged in the practice of medicine.
DR. KEIPER was married in Easton, Pennsylvania, May 8, 1862, to MISS MARY ANN FLEMING, a native of Pennsylvania, her parents being among the early settlers of that State. Her father was a native of Germany. MRS. DR. KEIPER died May 20, 1879. Three children were to DR. and MRS. KEIPER--GEORGE F., who graduated with honor from De Pauw University in the class of 1887, and is now attending the medical department of the Michigan State University at Ann Arbor; FRANK graduated from the LaFayette High School in the class of 1887, and is now a student at Crawfordsville, Indiana, and ELIZABETH FLEMMING, who graduated in June, 1887, at the Moravian Seminary at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and is now taking a post graduate course at that institution, preparatory to entering a higher college.
The doctor enjoys good health, and is surrounded with all the necessary comforts of life, having accumulated considerable means. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, belonging to La Fayette Lodge, No. 123, at LaFayette. During the war DR. KEIPER served as Surgeon at the soldiers' barracks at La Fayette.
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