Biography of Frank D. Kiefer

One of the early settlers of Mesa county in the neighborhood of Fruita, and one of its most enterprising and progressive citizens, Frank D. Kiefer has the respect and esteem of all classes of its people and is universally recognized as a leading man in this section and a representative of the best citizenship of the state, he was born on August 20, 1863, in Franklin county, Indiana, and is the son of Dominic and Caroline (Wheat) Kiefer, natives of Germany. The father was reared in his native land and came to the United States at the age of twenty-one. The mother came hither with her parents when she was three. Her father was a contractor for the construction of canals and became an early resident of Indiana. Mr. Kiefer’s father was a tailor by trade, and throughout his life was an industrious craftsman. He died in Indiana in 1869, when his son Frank was six years old. The mother now lives at Fruita. There were nine children in the family, all of whom are living, and Frank was the last born. He grew to the age of nineteen in his native state, being obliged by the exigencies of his situation to go to work at an early age to earn his own living, he had but limited opportunities for education. He worked on farms in Indiana for a number of years, and in February, 1882, came to Colorado, and after passing one season at Gunnison, moved to Mesa county in company with an older brother. He lived at Grand Junction until the Spring of 1884, but during the previous year he and his brother, Benjamin Kiefer, bought one hundred and sixty acres of land on which a portion of the town of Cleveland now stands, and which was plotted by them into town lots in 1889. In 1894 they began to construct what is known as the Kiefer extension of the Grand Valley ditch, building seventeen miles of new ditch, which was completed in 1898. This enterprise brought about ten thousand acres of good land under water, northwest of Fruita, and greatly increased the productive wealth of the region. Previous to this Mr. Kiefer had come into possession of a considerable body of land and now owns about eight hundred acres. He devotes his time to general ranching with all the phases of agricultural life which that term implies. He has done much, not only through the ditch but in many other ways to develop the resources of his section of the county and state and promote their best interests. In politics he is a Democrat, active in the service of his party but not desirous of public office. He is a member of the Woodmen of the World in fraternal relations, and finds interest and entertainment in the proceedings of his camp in the order. On November 20, 1889, he was married to Miss Mabel Clare Steele, a native of Davenport, Iowa and daughter of Joseph L. and Rebecca J. (White) Steele, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of Iowa. They now live at Pasadena, California. Mr. and Mrs. Kiefer have three children, Edith E., Ida F. and Clarence V.

Source: Bowen, A. W. Progressive Men of Western Colorado. Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., Publishers. 1905.

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