Has anybody ever asked you, “Where did YOU come from?”
The year was 1570 and George Kepler lived in Ansbach, Germany. He had a son he named Andreas who had a son he named Johannes Kepler (not the famous one – probably his cousin or something).
Johannes Kepler had a son named Bernhardt, who had a son named Benedict, who went on to have a son of his own. He named him Andreas, after his great-great-grandfather.
By now it’s 1720, and Bernhardt, Benedict and Andreas all got on a ship, along with their families and belongings, and three generations of Keplers came to America! They had heard about William Penn’s big real estate deal and wanted a piece of the action. They settled in Bucks County, PA on land that is now a part of the City of Philadelphia.
Andreas (Andrew) had a son he named Andreas Jr, who grew up to fight in the revolution. He shot at British soldiers…and helped win us our independence. He then had himself a son he named John Kepler. John and his brother loaded up a buckboard and moved their families to Green Township, Ohio, now a part of the City of Canton. John died, along with the horse he rode in on, in a cider press accident (seriously), but not before he got married and had a son himself, John Kepler, Jr.
It’s now 1837 and John Jr. gets a son of his own. He named him Abraham. Another Abraham, surnamed Lincoln was elected President and the War Between the States broke out. So Abraham Kepler did his patriotic duty. He joined the 53rd Indiana Infantry and helped Sherman burn Atlanta. If you look real closely in Gone with the Wind…you won’t see him. That’s a fictional movie. Abraham Kepler was there for the real thing!
Abraham owned property in Indiana, and immediately after he was mustered out in July 1865 he went home and sold his land. Historians tell us that more soldiers died from dysentery than from combat in the Civil War, and Abraham was one of those unfortunate souls. In August of 1865 he died, leaving behind his widow and a son named William Henry Kepler.
William Henry grew up to be a minister. And he had a son named John Franklin Kepler, a shoe repairman by trade but a prayer warrior by calling. John Franklin was my grandfather, although I never met him. My dad told me that his dad, John Franklin wanted grandkids more than anything in the world. But in August 1951 he died, just a year and 6 days before his first grandchild was born.
As I said, John Franklin was my dad’s dad. My dad was named Joseph Kepler. He was a shoe repairman too, and a great man of God. He was my greatest hero, and in August of 2000 I had the honor of standing by his side and holding his hand at the moment he drew his last breath!
That’s where I came from. Thanks for asking.