The Families of Adam Keith

Manufacturers, Merchants, and Artisans


Insurance business and newspaper man


Oscar F. Rakestraw [1849-1922]


Ancestry:  Adam Keith1>Johann Michael Keith2>Barbara [Keith] m. second []John] Orewiler3>John Adam Orewiler4>Barbara [Orewiler] m. [Michael] Cline5>Melissa [Cline] m. [Oscar F.] Rakestraw6

"The 1955 History of Steuben County, Indiana" by Harvey W. Morley p. 591


Biography of Oscar F. Rakestraw


Oscar F. Rakestraw was born in Mahoning County, Ohio, October 30, 1849, a son of Calab and Elezan Rakestraw, who came to Steuben County with their family in 1858, settling near Metz, Indiana. Oscar, the eldest, received his education in the Public School and Hillsdale College. After leaving school, he was engaged in the Insurance Business until 1877, when he entered the office of the Steuben Republican, with which he was connected, as editor, for nearly forty-five years.


Mr. Rakestraw was married on June 10, 1879, to Melissa Cline, eldest daughter of the late Michael and Barbara Cline. Two daughters were born to Mr. and Mrs. Rakestraw; Ruth Elezan, now Mrs. John Hansen of Saddle River, New Jersey; and Dorothy, now Mrs. Perry Hull of Lake James, Indiana.


Mr. Rakestraw was one of the few men who was bigger than his job, and who saw not only the need of humanity, but saw a way to be a benefactor to the community, to religion, and to educational advancement; and, for years, practiced his beliefs, conscientiously and consistently. In the early days of Tri-State College [now Trine University, Angola, IN], he was one of those understanding and sympathetic men who gave much needed help and encouragement to the management and faculty when they were needed most and, also, extended the helping hand, and gave encouragement and financial aid to the worthy, ambitious, and often discouraged student.


He was active in the Republican Party, but never sought office.


For over forty years he was a member of the First Christian Church where for many years he served in the capacity of Elder. He built and maintained a home, and lived many summers at Lake James where many hours were spent fishing.


Following a short illness he passed away at the family residence, January 24, 1922, at the age of seventy-three years."

In the book "History of Northeast Indiana LaGrange, Steuben, Noble and DeKalb Counties" published in 1920.
Volume 2, p. 170

  "Oscar F. Rakestraw. Everyone in Steuben County knows Mr. Rakestraw as the veteran editor of the Steuben Republican. He has been continuously identified with that publication for over forty years and is one of the oldest newspaper men in Northern Indiana.
  "He was born in Mahoning County, Ohio, October 30, 1849, a son of Caleb and Elezan Rakestraw, who came to Steuben County, Indiana in 1858. Oscar Rakestraw finished his education at Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, Michigan, and his first important business experience was as a general agent for an insurance company of Hartford, Connecticut, working much of the time as general agent in New England. He followed that business for a few years, until 1877, when he entered the Steuben Republican office at Angola, and since then has been connected with every phase of the business, most of the time as editor and proprietor.