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Family History

The History of our KINZER family
from Keokuk and Jefferson Counties, Iowa   

The father of this family was Henry KINZER. He was born abt. 1807, a native of Virginia. Henry married Charity Sanders in Hendricks County, Indiana on 15 December 1832. They lived in Hendricks & Morgan county, Indiana from the time of the marriage until early in 1847 (about 15 years) and then they removed to the area near Richland in Keokuk County, Iowa arriving there in early 1847 where Henry purchased land just southeast of Richland. Charity Sanders Kinzer died the following year on 21 April 1848. Charity is buried in Friends Cemetery at Richland. Henry Kinzer was living in Jefferson County with his daughter, Massa Kinzer Gregory and her husband, William Gregory, at the time of the Iowa census of 1895. His religion was listed as Quaker on the census. He died on 22 July 1896. He is buried in Friends Cemetery at Richland. A probate record is on file in the Keokuk county courthouse. Iowa doesn't have Henry's death certificate on file at the state level and Keokuk County does not have a record either. He may have died in Jefferson county but that is unproven.

Henry & Charity Kinzer's family numbered about seven children: Benjamin, Susanna, Hezekiah, Massa, Adam and William H. Susanna died on 21 Dec 1860 and was buried in Friends Cemetery at Richland. Benjamin was in the 1850 census in Keokuk County but does not appear in any later Keokuk county census records. He appears to have been the oldest child. John and Jacob were deceased before 1890 according to William Gregory's biography printed in 1890 in the Jefferson County book but I do not know how they fit into this family.

I do not know anything more about Benjamin or John and only that Jacob is mentioned in William Gregory's bio printed in 1890. Hezekiah, Massa, Adam and William H. were the only children still living when Henry Kinzer passed away on 22 July 1896. They are listed in the probate record for Henry Kinzer's estate.

Our greatgrandparents were Hezekiah Kinzer and Rebecca Ann Lay. They had perhaps six children, John Henry, Bessie, Alice or Lola and Ella and perhaps others unknown. Our grandmother, Ella Perl Kinzer, was born 08 November 1881 in Blackhawk township, Jefferson County, Iowa according to her birth record that is on file in Jefferson County, Iowa.

Hezekiah and his family lived near his sister, Massa Kinzer Gregory. They farmed 40 acres of land in Blackhawk township in Jefferson county, Iowa. They are shown there in the 1870 & 1880 census. They are mis-indexed in the 1880 census on Ancestry.com as KING not as KINZER but it is our Hezekiah Kinzer's family.

Hezekiah was at Colorado City in Colorado Territory in 1863 when he enlisted in the Union Army in McLeans Independent Battery also known as the 1st Colorado Light Artillery and unmarried. He served in the Union Army for about 2 years in Colorado and Kansas Territory during the Civil War.

He was mustered in as a private, made corporal, busted back to private, and mustered out in the fall of 1865 with over two years of military service.

Rebecca Ann Lay was born in Cass County, Missouri about 1839 (no birth record has been found) and lived near Miami in Lykins County in eastern Kansas Territory at the time of the 1860 census. Her father was Jesse Lay and her mother was Fannie (Frances) Isabell Horton. Not much else is known about the Lay family. (Lykins County became Miami County after Kansas became a state). There is a LAY family book but not much is known about Jesse Lay. Rebecca's last name has been mis-indexed as Say or Long on the "familysearch.org" site but her surname is actually LAY and that is what it reads on her death certificate dated 16 November 1916 in Colorado records. Rebecca is buried near her husband in Greenmount cemetery at Durango, Colorado.

Hezekiah and Rebecca sold their land in Iowa after they had left Iowa while they were living in El Paso County, Colorado in 1882. Hezekiah was in the Animas Valley near Durango in 1883. Hezekiah went to Alaska about 1898 and he stayed there until he came back to Durango in Sept. of 1913 and he died on 24 Feb 1914. He is in the 1900 & 1910 Alaska census in the Yukon and near Ft. Gibbons, Alaska.

Hezekiah is buried with a G.A.R. tombstone in Greenmount Cemetery at Durango. Rebecca died 16 Nov 1916 at Durango. Her obituary says that she was living there for about a quarter century. Her death certificate says that she is buried near her husband but she doesn't show on the current Greenmont Cemetery grave plot information. The 1911/12 Durango directory shows Rebecca Kinzer, widow, living at 972 2nd Avenue. That building does not exist today. Rebecca's grave location does show on a 1940 cemetery map. She is buried one grave over from Hezekiah but not right next to him. There is no tombstone.

John Henry Kinzer, their first son, was born about 1869. Not much is known about him. There is a tax listing for a John Kinzer in 1905 Pagosa Springs. He died in 1940 at San Diego, California. He is buried in a San Diego city cemetery. There is no marker. His occupation was listed as a race horse groom. This info is from his death certificate which I have. I have found nothing about Alice although she is shown on the 1880 census in Jefferson County, Iowa. Alice could be Lola Alice Kinser.

Ella KINZER was living in Pagosa Springs at the time of the 1900 census. Lola KINZER was living in Alamosa, Colorado at the same time. Lola's death certificate tells us that her mother and father are Hezekiah & Rebecca Kinzer. Ella married Joseph Matthew Melrose on 28 May 1901 at Pagosa Springs. I have a copy of that marriage record. Ella died on 24 Nov 1925 at the Melrose home north of Arboles in Archuleta, Colorado.

Lola Kinzer married Al (Alfred) Godfrey at Pagosa Springs, Colorado on 24 January 1904 and died at Durango on 30 March 1905. She apparently had a stillborn baby some days before her death. The newspaper article said that the family suspected that she was poisoned. Al Godfrey died in 25 May 1905 in Silverton, Colorado of an morphine overdose. He is buried in the Silverton cemetery. A June 1905 Durango newspaper article mentions his death.

Bessie and Rebecca are in the 1910 census at Durango. Bessie had a first child, Harry, Young, born abt. 1887 and she later married James A.Harper and had two children by him, Albert James and Bertha Isabell. Both of Bessie's sons served in the US Army during WW1 enlisting in Colorado. Bessie Kinzer Harper died at Flippin, Arkansas on 4 Aug 1947 and is buried in the Flippin Cemetery. Bertha died at Lancaster, Pennsylvania on 24 Sept 1937. She was despondent over separation from her husband, Rodney Eckman, who was living in Detroit at the time. She committed suicide by inhaling gas from a stove. I do not know if she had any children. This info is from Judi Galpin who is researching her Harper and Kinzer families. Albert James Harper is Judi's greatgrandfather.

Albert James Harper married Eva Lois Johnson at Durango in 1920 and had one child, a boy, Wallace Eugene Harper. Eva divorced Albert in 1925 and married Raymond Jack Petty a few days later. His son, Wallace was adopted by his stepfather and did not know his name was Harper until about 1950. Wallace married Rose Mary Singles and they lived in Taos, New Mexico. Judi Galpin and other children are grandchildren of Wallace Harper-Petty.

Both Albert and Harry had medical problems in later life, Albert had melanoma skin cancer. He died in the Army Hospital in Hot Springs, South Dakota on 24 July 1953. Harry's last name was Young not Harper. He was in a Army (Veterans) hospital at Sheridan, Wyoming from 1926 unitl 1958 when he died. He was diagnosed as a schizophrenic. Harry Young is buried in the Custer National Cemetery at Custer, Montana. Harry may have been married and had a son but that information has not been researched yet.

Some information about Massa Kinzer's Gregory family………..

On the 8th of October 1865, William Gregory was united in marriage with Massa Greeson, a daughter of Henry and Charity Kinzer. Massa's first marriage was to John S. Greeson on 3 September 1860 in Jefferson County, Iowa. I do not have any information about a divorce or possible death of John Greeson. Massa and William had three daughters, Ada May, born 1866, Vena Eldora, born 1869 and Mary Emma, born 1872. Ada May married Milton B. Hadley and they had two children, Frankie V., a girl and Don Milton. Frankie married Alfred Raymond Cloyd and lived in the Ottuma, Iowa area all their lives. Don married Louese Abegg and this Hadley family moved out to Yakima valley in Washington state about 1907. A descendant, David Michael Hadley lives in Kenniwick, WA. area today. His mother Berniece McCutcheon Hadley, is still living. Dora Gregory married Oscar Hobson and they had two sons, Gregory A. and George Lee. Mary Gregory married James A. Seaton in 1897 and divorced him sometime later. I do not know if she remarried or if she had any children. I have found nothing else.

William Gregory died in 1918. Massa died in 1922 at Richland, Iowa. William and Massa Gregory are buried in the old Methodist Cemetery at Richland, Iowa.

Adam Kinzer served in the Union Army from Iowa during the Civil War. He married Phoebe Ann Cox. They had two daughters, Myrtle Mae and Cora Belle and a son, Bryon H. Nothing is known about Bryron after about 1905 in Hardin County, Iowa. Phoebe is listed as a widow in the 1920 census for Hardin County but Adam is alive and living in Arkansas. Cora married Jesse Clarkson Harvey. They had a large family. She died in Shasta County, California about 1935. Adam moved to Arkansas about 1910 to live with Myrtle Mae and her husband, Charlie Ross Thomas. He died 4 Jan 1925 and is buried in the Cass Cemetery in Boone County, Arkansas.

William Henry Kinzer was the youngest of the Kinzer family. He served in the Union Army from Iowa. He married Dorothy Sellars soon after the end of the Civil War. They had one child, Robert Henry Kinzer. Robert died at the age of 21 (about 1905). No other children were born to them. William died on 4 June 1927. Dorothy died on 28 Oct 1931. This family is buried in Highland Cemetery at Richland, Iowa.

We have some history of having Cherokee Indian blood in our Kinzer family but I do not know anything else. It could have come from Charity Sander's line. It is possible that her people came from North Carolina up into Indiana as did many of the early settlers in Indiana and they could have Quaker roots but that also is unproven.

Source:  This is a work in progress… Wendell H. Melrose 11 November 2011