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Benton County, Iowa ~ Biography and Family Information

Augustus Silas Kimm
Watkins Centennial Book - A.S. Kimm (Augustus Silas) born-5 Nov 1856 died-12 June 1946.  Born in Utica, New York to Henry and Mary Klipple (Klippel) Kimm who in 1867 moved by oxen and covered wagon to a farm 2 miles north and 2 miles east of Norway (IA)  Henry, age 21, bought and sold two farms before he bought land on the west edge of Watkins (IA)  This he still owned at the time of his death.  The 203 1/2 acre farm was purchased in 1879 from the Clements Estates of Fayette Co. Penn for $5,500.  The northwestern railroad was issued an easement for a one mile narrow strip of right away from east to west edge of the farm.

A.S. Kimm farmed this place for 2 years before he married Caroline Schneider in 1881, who with her parents migrated from Morgan Co OH in about 1861, to a home east of the Ervin Schmuecker residence in Iowa Co.  "Gus" and Caroline Snyder had two sons, Ira A. July 11, 1882 and Frank Dec 17, 1850.  Frank died of pneumonia Feb 14, 1885.

In 1889, they moved to the east edge of the farm, which made them on the west edge of Watkins.  They rented their farm ground to Bill Martin.  Gus Kimm owned the land that extended the whole mile from railroad to Mineard Smith land.  The school was included in this.  He moved his farm home to the corner lot west of Watkins Savings Bank.  He then built the large home just north of the railroad on the west side of the road in 1900.

A.S. Kimm formed A.S. Kimm & Son Livestock Buying and Selling firm in Watkins which lasted until 1912.  He also helped organize Watkins Savings bank and was director for over 40 years.

Ira, his only living son, attended Cedar Rapids Business college.  On Aug 30, 1905, he married Laura M. Moeller, daughter of the Henry Moellers of Blairstown.  They had six children, 2 sons, Ora and Earl, were born in Watkins.  In 1911, they moved to Blairstown on a farm.  There, a daughter, Helen was born.  In 1912, they moved to Blairstown.  Three more children were born, Irene, Ross and Arlene.  The father, Ira, died of influenza during WWI on Oct 24, 1918.  Irene died in infancy.

A.S. Kimm and wife (grandparents) then moved to Blairstown in the spring of 1919 to help their daughter-in-law, Laura with their son's five children.  June 3, 1920, Laura died, leaving the grandchildren for the A.S. Kimm's to care for.  The youngest, Arlene, was given to Mrs P.A. Snow, of Keystone.  She was a sister of Laura.  The other four were kept together by the grandparents, the grandmother dying in 1943.

The Kimm farm was sold to Charles Coffland and is now owned by Raymond Coffland.  Arlene was killed in a car accident at age 16. 

Ora A. Married Kathryn Brecht, Watkins, now of Norway.  They have 6 children, Flavia Kelly, Marice Dennison, Kayora Duffy, Ira, Lenny and Lynette Voss.

Submitted by Kaye Sanchez, February 7, 2005
© Kaye Sanchez

Justus and Emma Kimm
Justus born 11 Sept 1839 Village of Sand, Germany & died 11 Sept 1931 at Blairstown, Benton Co. IA.; Married Emma Schneider, 26 Dec 1866 at Marengo, IA. Co. IA.; born 26 Feb 1850 Deaverstown OH. & died 30 Oct 1931 at Blairstown, Benton Co. IA.; daughter of George & Rachael Regina Rothenberger Schneider. Children: Mayme, Laura, Emma, Charles, Henry, Ella, Alice, Justus, Arthur, Abbie, Archie, John, Thomas, Albert, Martin, Margaret, & Dehlia.  17 of them! Justus had his own ball team.
Picture of Justus and Emma Kimm

Submitted by Kaye Sanchez, August 6, 2006
© Kaye Sanchez

Justus Kimm in the Civil War
Experiences of One of Benton's Best Citizens in the Great Conflict

Robert Parker Miles, Blairstown Record:

The Hon. Justus H. Kimm is a true blue Republican, embracing the teachings not only of the father of the Republican party, by obeying the call to arms of the great emancipator, Abe Lincoln, but also obeying the instruction of the latest exponent of the Republican party, Theodore Roosevelt, in the anti-race suicide theory, for the subject of this sketch is the father of seventeen sons and daughters, all worthy young men and women, of whom any father might be justly proud.


Mr. Kimm was born in Sand, Germany, in 1839, and as soon as he had reached his fifteenth year packed up his worldy [sic] goods and turned his face toward the setting sun.  The glowing accounts that young Kimm sent home of the land of his adoption so influenced his parents that they followed their ambitious son to Cedarville, N. Y., the same year.

Farming in the new country was just to Kimm's liking and his youthful years were spent in western New York.  The spirit that filled the soul of all youthful America, was in the heart of this German-American lad and at twenty-two, just three days after the shot at Fort Sumpter had echoed into every nook and vale of inhabited Columbia, the lad enlisted under Capt. Brown at Herkimer, N.Y., in the 34th regiment of New York in the second army corps.


They drilled from April to July 4th in the old town of Herkimer, then a respectable looking regiment started out to do camp and guard duty at the nation's capital.  Here young Kimm while on duty heard the rumbling and the cannonading of the great battle of Bull Run, thirty miles away.  The regiment was then ordered up the Potomac as far as Edward's Ferry where they were again in camp.


While stationed here, awaiting orders for the real service at the front, some of the boys had been foraging and had brought in a nice fat pig that they had stolen somewhere.  The boys were cutting up about the camp fire as the pig was slowly being roasted to a turn, when out of a clear sky on the eve of the feasting, a big shell whizzed over the group of soldiers.  This was the first time Kimm and his comrades had been fired upon.  There was a shuffle and a sharp skirmish, in the bushes, a retreating bunch of greys and the whole matter was straightened out, and the boys returned to camp to find their feat of pig a lot of burned bones.


Kimm was in the left wing of McClellan's army and how had been ordered to advance cautiously up the north bank of the Potomac.

Harper's Ferry is little more than a ravine or gorge with three steep mountains about it, a regular trap.  To this place which now holds a famous niche in the annals of American History you Kimm was ordered.  It was here that General Miles had opened the eyes of the union to his insincerity, for at such a ferry, a commander who was neither a fool nor traitor, on seeing any army approach would have evacuated in haste or concentrated his men on one of the steep mountains and have awaited till relief came, but General Miles did neither.  The stay was not long at Harper's Ferry, for the New Yorkers were ordered to Fortress Monroe.


Here Kimm saw the famous ironclad Monitor, that seemed to him like a cheese box on a raft.  This was after the heroic encounter with the giant Merrimac.  The turret of the Monitor had been struck nine times, her pilot house twice.  She showed the dents in her ironclad sides, as Kimm looked upon her.

Kimm was under the doughty General McClellan, who had an army of 58,000 men and a hundred guns with him, and as many more on the way.  Gen. Sumner commanded the 2d corps.

Gen. McClellan had been for a month in front of Yorktown and was expecting to open the siege but McGrager had left his works the night before and was now flying somewhere up the peninsular.

Kimm and his boys were sent up the York river to head off McGrader.  This pursuit was full of energy and suffering, men fell by the wayside from toil and hardship and disease but McGrader had too big a start and got away safe.


Mr. Kimm was in the battle of Fair Oaks on May 31.  The battlefield was a mudhole.  The Checkahoma had overflowed its banks.  The rebel army was on the field beating down the Federals, when Gen. Sumner's boys, among whom was Kimm, burst upon the field and saved the day.  The rebels retreated in dismay.  After this battle Kimm slept that night on the muddy field.  When the excitement was hushed and Kimm had time to look himself over, he had been wounded in the face, a bullet had whizzed past, taking a little of the face skin with it.  At Fair oaks or Seven Pines, just on the road to Richmond, our hero had a hard time was under file the entire engagement.

Toward the end of this engagement he ran out of ammunition and he knew the hell of being under fire without the powder to send back his answer.


He was in the seven days battles at Peach Orchard, Savage Station and Melvern Hill.  How they fought those seven awful days.  McClellan with a third of the army and Lee with his brilliant generals and his host of followers fought on the swamp, tug of war now charging, then retreating over 1,500 killed 8,000 wounded 9,000 missing, 16,000 in all of our men suffered during that seven days struggle.  It was at Melvern Hill that Capt. Brown of Kimm's company fell, and Capt. J. E. Johnson was appointed to the place.


Kimm can tell his children and to their children, the grim story of Antietam, where hell broke loose, and blood watered the soil of Maryland, where 100,000 greys under Lee showed their teeth to 110,000 boys in blue under Gen. McClellan.  Young Kimm seemed to bear a charmed life in that fight, bullets flew over head, by his cheeks, through his coat twice.  He fought about five yards from the historic Dunkard church and fought through it all.  The scenes he witnessed, as did his comrades, makes the blood boil.  Men fell by his side, praying and crying for loved ones at home, boys whispering the name of mother.

A little fellow near Kimm fell with a shattered leg, the member hung by the skin, the shell had blown the leg completely off.  Young Kimm tore his blanket in to strips and helped the lad the best he could.


In the winter of '62 Kimm camped in Fredericksburg, till they engaged in the bloody battle in that camp about November, when the army of the Potomac went under the command of Gens. Burnside and Hooker.   Down the Rappahannock to Fredericksburg on the line between the capitols of the two armies, Washington and Richmond.  Lee had 80,000 strong men stretched along and behind the southern bluff of the river a mile above the camp, with Jackson on the right and Longstreet on the left, with guns poked on every hill that overlooked our boys.

It was a cold November day and the ground was frozen hard.


A braver set of warriors never smiled at death.  The blues never flinched as they accepted the fire of the rebs as the shot tore through the ranks and mowed them down like wheat.  Never fought men better.  And they bore it all till night and death stopped their hand, and when night stopped this fruitless massacre the hill slopes which led to the rebels works, were covered with dead and disabled men.  Kimm's boys had charged, fell and died.  Young Kimm with a tired, white face, was covered with tattered clothes saturated with the blood of the battle on that day at Fredericksburg.  Fifteen thousand boys in blue were sacrificed.  After the battle that tired mens souls, Kimm was ordered out on picket duty all night in the rain and sleet of that November night.  They promoted him to corporal and color guard.


J. H. Kimm was mustered out on June 29, 1863, at Albany, N. Y.  It was only for a little over a year that he enlisted, but how frought with action and history.  It was a busy year, something doing all the time.  They needed him on the farm at home, his brothers were at the front.

Mr. Kimm came to Benton county in 1865 and has loved here ever since.  He was married in 1866, and has a family of seventeen children, sixteen of whom are living.

For two years he was member of the board of supervisors and during this time he unearthed one of the greatest financial scandals that Benton county has known during its existence and caused the perpetrator of the theft to be incarcerated in the state penitentiary.


Mr. Kimm is responsible for many improvements in the way of bridge building, etc. throughout the county and the offices of the county have been more rigidly inspected by reason of his energy and devotion to public duty.

He has been hated by the criminal classes of the county, and honored and respected by all law abiding citizens.

He is now approaching the allotted time of life, reverenced and honored by all who know him.

He is owner of one of the very best farms in Benton county, well stocked with choice animals, and his granaries are filled to abundance with the fruits of his labors.  Benton county has not been large enough for his farming energy and he has reached out into the Dakota's and how owns about 1,000 acres of the choicest land there.

Vinton Eagle
August 28, 1906

Submitted by Kaye Sanchez, August 6, 2006
© Kaye Sanchez

Silas Kimm
Kimm came to Fairfax, Iowa with the Spellerberg family in 1865, and in a few months bought a farm for $7 an acre in Benton Co. IA.  He married Katharina Engelin 1866 at Marion, IA. and they raised nine children on that farm.

From "Married 50 Years," dated Jan 20, 1916
Picture of Silas and Katharina Kimm

Submitted by Kaye Sanchez, February 7, 2005
© Kaye Sanchez

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