USGenweb Linn County IAGenweb IAGenweb


A  B  C  D   E   F  G   H   I  J   K   L  M   N   O  P   Q  R  S  T  V  W  Y  Z


Among the early settlers of this place, it gives me special pleasure to mention the name of Mr. Arvin Kennedy. He came to this place in April 1848 with his family, consisting of his wife, and seven children, Homer, Jane, Edward, William, Emma, Harriet and Charles. 

Mr. Kennedy was born in New Braintree, Mass. He afterwards lived in New York, and still later in Ohio, from whence he removed to Jones Co. this state in 1844. 

He was a clothier by trade, and on coming here followed his calling in Mr. Brown’s woolen factory. He was plain and unostentatious in his manner of life, but I think he would have been recognized anywhere as a man of solid character and honest purposes in life. Such indeed was the estimate in which he was held, and such the character he bore through all the years he resided in this community. 

He and his wife identified themselves at once on coming here, with the First Presbyterian Church. Mr. Kennedy being elected an elder, and his counsels and advice were highly prized by those associated with him as co-laborers. 

In writing of this worthy citizen of ours, years after his death, Dr. J. F. Ely, who knew him well, spoke of him in these words, “Deacon Kennedy as a business man, was marked for his industry and uprightness; as being honest and conscientious in all his dealings. In the church he was justly esteemed for his faithfulness in every Christian duty, both as a member and officer. He was a fine representative of a typical New England deacon, a class of sturdy Christian men, puritanic, if you please, very rarely met in the early settlement of this region.” 

His death occurred Feb. 28, 1856.  His good wife who always enjoyed the highest respect of the community, being active in every good work, followed her husband to the grave some years later, her death occurring February 25th 1886.

Of the children, William died June 6, 1850, being a lad yet in his teens. Homer, a young man who justly won and held the respect of all who knew him, and whose life was one of great promise, died March 2, 1856, and Harriet who became the wife of Mr. Andrew Van Vleck, and who was a woman of stainless Christian character, loved and honored by everybody, passed away January 2, 1888. Edward is a farmer residing in Woodbury County of this state, Emma the wife of the late Mr. Cornelius Polhamus, lives in California, Jane, now Mrs. Noble, and Charles are still residents of this city. 

Charles the youngest of the family is one of our staunch reliable citizens and in the church a worthy successor of his father, having for a number of years past filled the office of ruling elder in the First Presbyterian Church.

Source: Carroll, Rev. George R., Pioneer Life In and Around Cedar Rapids, Iowa, from 1839 to 1849, Times Printing and Binding House, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1895, page 163-164.

Contributed by: Terry Carlson


Peter H. H. Kepler, deceased, was one of the foremost citizens of Franklin township for many years, and was a man highly respected and esteemed by all who knew him.  He was born in Frederick county, Maryland, May 23, 1836, and was a son of Conrad Kepler, whose birth occurred in the same county January 5, 1811.  His paternal grandfather, John Kepler, was a native of Pennsylvania, and had a family of six children, namely: Rachel, John, Peter, Mary, Conrad and Henry.  On the 16th of December, 1832, Conrad Kepler married Margaret Lingenfelter, also a native of Maryland, and a daughter of John Lingenfelter, who was born in the same state.   By this union were born the following children: John W.; Peter H. H., our subject; Thomas S.; Charles W.; Edwin M.; Howard C,; Annie R., wife of George Riley, of Mt. Vernon; Elizabeth A., wife of Obadiah Cole, of Jones county, Iowa.  In 1843 the father removed with his family to Iowa, the journey being made with four horses and a wagon, carrying their household effects and provisions with them.  They camped and cooked by the wayside, and were forty-five days in making the trip.  The father purchased two hundred and forty acres of land in Linn county, and at once turned his attention to its improvement.  In politics he was a Democrat, and in religious belief both he and his wife were Methodists.  She died December 29. 1879.

The subject of this sketch was about seven years of age when he accompanied his parents on their removal to Iowa.  During his boyhood and youth he assisted his father in the labors of the fields, and attended the district schools near his home.  He remained under the parental roof until twenty years of age, and then commenced farming on his own account on land belonging to his father.  In 1858 he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land in Fayette county and eight acres in Cerro Gordo county, but never located on either place, and sold them both before he had made many improvements.  Three years later he bought fifty-eight acres on section 4, Franklin township on the Marion road a mile west of Mt. Vernon, where he made his home throughout the remainder of his life.  He was very successful in his farming operations and added to his landed possessions from time to time until at the time of his death he owned many acres of well improved land.  In connection with general farming he also engaged in stock raising to some extent.

On the 1st of December, 1861, Mr. Kepler was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth Doty, a native of Defiance county, Ohio, and a daughter of Ephraim and Mary Ann (Snyder) Doty, who was born in Pennsylvania, but removed to Ohio at an early day and settled in Defiance county, where her father engaged in farming until his death.  In 1844, Mrs. Doty and eleven of her children came to Linn county, Iowa, leaving a married daughter, Mrs. Rachel Richart, in Ohio.  Mrs. Kepler’s mother located in Franklin township, where she purchased a tract of government land, which her sons broke and improved.  Upon that place she died at the advanced age of eighty-three years.  Of her twelve children six are still living.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Kepler were born three children, namely: (1) Frank H., who now owns and operates a part of his grandmother’s old homestead in Franklin township, married Isa Kleinknecht, a daughter of George Kleinknecht, whose sketch appears on another page of this volume, and they have two children, Glenn and Myrl.  (2) Hester A. is the wife of Daniel Travis, a farmer of Franklin township, and they have five children: Fred; Clara, deceased; Flora, Jessie and Ruth.  (3) Ada Estella is the wife of Theodore E. Stinger, a prominent farmer and stock raiser of Linn township, this county, and they have two sons Lee and Arlo.

In his political views Mr. Kepler was a Republican, and for many years he served as school director in his township, and a part of the time as president and secretary of the board.  In 1862 he united with the Methodist Episcopal church, with which he retained membership until 1879, when he became identified with the United Brethern church at Lisbon.  He was a devout Christian and his life was ever in harmony with his professions.  He died upon his farm in Franklin township November 23, 1887, and his remains were interred in the Mt. Vernon cemetery.  He was a man of the highest respectability, and those who were most intimately associated with him speak in unqualified terms of his sterling integrity, his honor in business and his fidelity to all the duties of public and private life.  He was faithful to his church, to his country and to his friends, and in his home was a most exemplary husband and father.  His estimable wife now resides in Mt. Vernon.

Source: The Biographical Record of Linn County Iowa, Illustrated, Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901, pages 69-71.

Submitted by: Carrie J. Robertson of Marion


Dr. Thomas S. Kepler, who is one of the successful physicians and a prominent resident of Mt. Vernon, Iowa, was born in Frederick county, Maryland, November 14, 1838, and in 1843 was brought to this city by his parents, Conrad and Margaret (Lengerfelter) Kepler, also natives of Frederick county, Maryland, where the family was founded by the Doctor's paternal grandfather on coming from Germany to the United States at an early day. In his native state the father followed farming, and after coming to Iowa he continued to follow that pursuit for many years, but is now living retired on a farm in Franklin township, Linn county, west of Mt. Vernon. He was born in 1811, and has now reached the advanced age of ninety years. During his long residence here he has taken quite an active and influential part in public affairs, and has held many township offices. In early life he was Lutheran in religious belief, but now holds membership in the Methodist Episcopal church, to which his wife also belonged. She died at their home in Franklin township at the age of sixty-nine years.

Unto this worthy couple were born eight children, six sons and two daughters, namely: John William, who was formerly a farmer of Franklin township, but is now engaged in the wood business in Mt. Vernon; Peter H., who followed farming in Franklin township until his death, but his widow and children now reside at Mt. Vernon; Thomas S., our subject; Charles W., an attorney of Mt. Vernon; Edward M., who was a soldier of the Civil war and is now a farmer in Kansas; Columbus Howard, who is engaged in farming a mile west of Mt. Vernon; Rebecca, wife of George Riley, a farmer of Franklin township; and Elizabeth, wife of O. B. Cole, a farmer of Cedar county, Iowa.

Dr. Kepler obtained his primary education in the common schools of Linn county, and was afterward a student at Cornell College, Mt. Vernon. Immediately after leaving that institution he took up the study of medicine, and attended lectures at the medical college in Keokuk in 1862 and 1863. He was then engaged in the practice of his profession at Mt. Vernon until 1866, when he formed a partnership with Dr. J. S. Love, and was in practice at Springville, Linn county, for two years, and at Dyersville, Dubuque county, the same length of time. At the end of that period he returned to Linn county and located between Springville and Viola, where, in connection with his profession, he also carried on farming for three years. He then returned to Mt. Vernon, where he has successfully engaged in general practice ever since.

In 1862 Dr. Kepler was married at Mt. Vernon to Miss Anna Grove, a native of Ohio and a daughter of John and Mary (Waln) Grove, who came to Linn county, Iowa at an early day and settled in Bertram township, where the father engaged in farming until his death, which occurred about forty years ago. The mother long survived him, dying about three years ago at the age of eighty-nine. Mrs. Kepler was born of a family of four children, all of whom are still living. Samuel is a retired farmer of Mt. Vernon. George is also a resident of Mt. Vernon, but still retains his farm in Franklin township. Alice is the widow of Dr. Perkins, who studied under the direction of our subject and was graduated from Rush Medical College, Chicago. He engaged in the practice of his profession at Fairfax, Linn county, for sixteen years prior to his death. His widow now resides in Belle Plaine, Iowa.

Unto the doctor and his wife were born four sons and four daughters, namely: (1) Dallas Lincoln was for nine years connected with the Union Pacific Railroad as station agent at Cheyenne, Wyoming. He then for several years conducted a cattle ranch in Colorado, and in the spring of 1901 he returned to Cheyenne and again entered the employ of the railroad. He married Kathryn McFarland and has one daughter, Anna. (2) Nettie A. was graduated from Cornell College in 1891, and the same year went to Kingman, Kansas, where [she] commenced teaching, but shortly afterward she accepted a position as teacher in the schools of East Waterloo, Iowa, where she has been ever since, with the exception of one year spent at the Chicago University. (3) Edna Alice pursued an art course at Cornell College, from which she, too, was graduated. She taught with her sister at Kingman, Kansas, and is now connected with the Waterloo schools. (4) Otis L., who is engaged in the real estate business in Mt. Vernon, under the firm name of Kepler & Travis, married Jennette Travis, a sister of his partner and a daughter of Daniel Travis, deceased, who was one of the early settlers of this county, and a retired farmer of Mt. Vernon at the time of his death. By this union were born two children, Anita and Thomas. (5) Mary A. taught in the district schools for a time, but is now engaged in millinery business at Mt. Vernon, being associated with Miss Randall, a daughter of R. K. Randall, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work. (6) George N. has been a farmer of Cedar county, but is now residing in Mt. Vernon. He married Carrie Miller and has one son, Forrest. (7) Watson attended Cornell College and is now clerking i a dry-goods store at Mt. Vernon. (8) Grace has attended Cornell College and is now studying music at Mt. Vernon.

For forty-nine years Dr. Kepler has been a faithful and active member of the Methodist church; has been leader of class No. 1 for fourteen years; and steward of the church for about the same length of time. Fraternally he is now a non-affiliated Mason. He receives and merits the respect and esteem of all who know him and his genuine worth and many manly virtues are widely recognized.

Source: The Biographical Record of Linn County Iowa, Illustrated, Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901, pages 225-227.

Submitted by: Terry Carlson


Joseph R. Kerns, identified with farming interests in Marion township, his farm comprising a good tract of land of one hundred and twenty acres, was born in Fayette county, Pennsylvania, on the 12th of November, 1848. His. father, Josiah Kerns, was also a native of the Keystone state, but the mother, Mrs. Jane (Brown) Kerns, was born in Scotland. For a few years after their marriage they continued residents of Pennsylvania and in 1849 removed to Indiana where the death of Mrs. Kerns occurred in 1854. The following year the father came with his family to Iowa and settled in Linn county where he purchased land and spent the remainder of his life but died while on a visit to Arkansas in 1888. He was long remembered as among the energetic and representative farmers of this part of the state. The family numbered eight children, but only two are now living, the younger being James Kerns, a resident of Fargo, North Dakota.

J. R. Kerns whose name introduces this review was a lad of only seven years when the family home was established in Linn county. He resided on his father’s farm until he had attained his majority, during which period he acquired a good common school education. He afterward worked as a farm hand until twenty-six years of age and then was married and began farming on his own account. For six years he rented land, during which time he carefully saved his earnings until his capital was sufficient to enable him to purchase the farm of one hundred and twenty acres upon which he now resides. He at once began its further development and improvement and soon was gathering rich crops as a reward for his care and industry. Later he bought a piece of timber land which he has also cleared and developed. He is engaged quite extensively in raising and feeding stock and has met with substantial success in that branch of his business. He is practical in all that he does and earnest, untiring effort is the basis of his prosperity.

On January 13, 1875, Mr. Kerns was united in marriage to Miss Mercy Lacock, who was born in this county in 1855 and is a daughter of Joab and Elizabeth (Bassett) Lacock, both of whom were natives of Indiana, whence they came to Iowa in 1854, continuing their residence here up to the time when they were called to their final home. They were the parents of four children. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Kerns have been born a daughter and a son: Minnie M., a graduate of the Marion high school, after which she engaged in teaching for two years, is now the wife of Claude C. Scott and has two children, - Clifford H. and Helen L. Clifford, the only son of Mr. and Mrs. Kerns, was born February 8, 1881, and died October 16, 1900, his remains being laid to rest in Oak Shade cemetery. His death was an irreparable blow to his parents and a matter of deepest regret to many friends.

Mr. and Mrs. Kerns hold membership in the Presbyterian church and are loyal to its teachings and its principles. He exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the republican party and is at present serving as township trustee and for eight years held the office of trustee. He belongs to the Odd Fellows lodge at Marion and his life has been well spent, his many sterling traits of character gaining for him a high regard, while his unfaltering diligence is the basis of the substantial success which he is now enjoying.

Source: History of Linn County Iowa From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Vol. II, The Pioneer Publishing Company, 1911, pages 337-8.

Contributed by: Terry Carlson


Mr. King was an energetic and intelligent man, and, although he was afflicted with a kind of hip disease that rendered him very lame, he showed himself to be a man of pluck and determination. He established the first ferry across the river which he operated for many years, and until the erection of the first bridge rendered it no longer necessary. The town on the west side of the river for many years bore the name of Kingston, in honor of its first settler.

Mr. King was for some time justice of the peace, an office which he seemed well qualified to fill. He lived to see great improvements on both sides of the river, and by his industry and the wise management of his business affairs, he was able to secure a very comfortable competence of this world’s goods.

He and his wife were members of the Methodist church. He died in the autumn of 1854, leaving behind him the record of an honest man and a good citizen. Mrs. King, venerable with years and highly honored and esteemed by all who know here, still survives, and makes her home with her son, Mr. William King, who is a prominent business man on the west side of the river.

Source: Carroll, Rev. George R., Pioneer Life In and Around Cedar Rapids, Iowa, from 1839 to 1849, Times Printing and Binding House, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1895, page 96.

Contributed by: Terry Carlson

DAVID W. KING (from 1911 history)

While the history of Cedar Rapids is yet in the making, due credit must be accorded those who were the prominent factors in its early development and aided in shaping its history during its formative period. To this number belonged David W. King, a pioneer settler, who arrived in Linn county in the spring of 1889. As one travels over the state at the present time it is very difficult to imagine the conditions which existed in that early day. Much of the land in the state was still unclaimed and uncultivated, and the red men far outnumbered the white settlers. They roamed at will over the prairies hunting deer and having opportunity to capture much feathered game.

Mr. King had come to Iowa from Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, where his birth had occurred in 1808. After reaching adult age he was connected with mercantile pursuits there. In 1836, in his native state, he wedded Miss Mary Ann Singer, who was also born in Westmoreland county, January 6, 1817. Only a few railroad lines had then been constructed, travel being by way of stage, private conveyance or over the water ways. Mr. and Mrs. King made their way westward in a carriage with Michigan as their destination, and for three years they were residents of that state. Two children were born unto them during that period, and in the spring of 1839 Mr. King brought his little family to Iowa, making the journey across the prairies with an ox-team. Thomas Gainor and his family were also of the party. Mrs. King was the first white woman to cross the river at Cedar Rapids, Indian canoes being the only means of transportation at that time. The early abode of the family was a log cabin standing on the west bank of the river. The red men were seen in large numbers but on the whole manifested little hostility toward the white race as the latter extended civilization over the hunting grounds of their predecessors. The government claimed the ownership of almost all the land in this district and Mr. King entered a tract on the west side of Cedar river when it was placed upon the market. Early in the ‘40s he built the first ferry operated at Cedar Rapids, obtaining his material from Dubuque and Muscatine. The cable used was a wire which he brought by ox-team from the former city. At that time most farm products were rafted down the river to a point about opposite Muscatine and then conveyed by team to that city. As the years passed Mr. King invested more and more largely in real estate and in addition to his extensive property holdings in Cedar Rapids he also had about three sections of land in other parts of Linn county. In the early '50's he laid out the town of Kingston upon his land and thereon has been built the west side of Cedar Rapids. Farming as well as real-estate operations claimed his attention but he was never too busy with individual interests to support the plans and movements instituted for the benefit and upbuilding of the city.

Mr. King was also greatly interested in the moral progress of the community with which he had identified his interests. Both he and his wife were devoted members of the Methodist church and took an active part in its work. In his house he built a large hall twenty-four by sixty feet., for church purposes, and therein religious services were held until churches were built. It was also the place of meeting for the Independent Order of Good Templars, Mr. and Mrs. King assisting in organizing the lodge in Cedar Rapids. He was likewise an earnest, and exemplary Mason and was the first person buried under the auspices of the Masonic lodge in Cedar Rapids. The west side of the city was growing rapidly when he was called from this life, and up to that time he had been the chief factor in its improvement and its enterprise. He was justice of the peace and took keen and helpful interest in every project promoted for the public good. His death resulted from exposure while fighting a prairie fire and he passed away in 1854 when but forty-six years of age. There are comparatively few here who remember Mr. King, as a great majority have crossed the river to that undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns. Yet the generation of the present has profited by his labors and his life record forms an important chaper in the annals of Cedar Rapids. Mrs. King died in 1902. Her father, Samuel Singer, was a soldier of the Revolutionary war and remained in Pennsylvania until his death. The daughter was one of the first pioneer women of this section and lived to witness the remarkable development of Cedar Rapids. The efforts required to live amid the ungenerous surroundings of the early days. the necessity to make every good count and to exercise every inventive faculty, developed forces of mind and habit which have established distinguished names along the banks of the Cedar river. Mrs. King could relate many interesting incidents of the early times as well as the story of later day progress, and her name should be engraved deep in the tablets which commemorate the pioneer history of the county.

Source: History of Linn County Iowa From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Vol. II, The Pioneer Publishing Company, 1911, pages 841-2.

Contributed by: Terry Carlson


Daniel R. Kinley has through much of his life been in public office and has to his credit four years of valorous service in the Civil war; six years in the office of sheriff of Linn county; four years as deputy sheriff; and is now justice of the peace in Marion. His record is one that has ever been characterized by the utmost fidelity to duty and to a high standard of official service. He was born on the 26th of January, 1842, near Richmond, Indiana, and is a son of Fred and Margaret (Reynolds) Kinley. The father was born in that locality and built one of the first mills in that part of the country. He was the son of Isaac Kinley, who removed from the south to Indiana and became one of the first settlers in the vicinity of Richmond. Again the Kinley family were identified with pioneer interests following their removal to Mount Vernon, Iowa, where they arrived on the 10th of September, 1846, after driving across the country from their old home. Here Fred Kinley purchased land and devoted his remaining days to general agricultural pursuits. His father was killed by the kick of a horse in 1858. At the time of the Civil war Fred Kinley responded to the country’s call for troops and laid down his life on the altar of his country, being wounded at the battle of Missionary Ridge. In his family were two Sons and three daughters, namely: Daniel R., of this review; Oliver C., who is living at the National Home of Tennessee; Mattie L., the widow of A. M. Hinsdale and a resident of Denver, Colorado; Mrs. Fredericka Wadleigh, who lives with her mother in Denver; and Mrs. Louie Ford, a resident of Chicago.

Daniel R. Kinley was reared on the home farm, his early experiences being those which usually fall to the lot of the farm lad. He was only four years of age when the family came to Iowa. He was educated in Knightstown, Indiana, and at an early age became a fireman on an engine. Aroused by the attempt of the south to overthrow the Union, he enlisted in 1861 as a member of Company A, Sixth Infantry, under Colonel McDowell, and served for four years, meeting all of the hardships and incidents which are features in a soldier’s life. He participated in the battles of Corinth, Memphis, Vicksburg, Black Biter, Jackson, Missionary Ridge and Atlanta, and ever proved a faithful and loyal soldier. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant and at the close of the war was honorably discharged.

When the country no longer needed his aid Mr. Kinley returned to Linn county and purchased a tract of land in the vicinity of Marion, after which he gave his attention to farming for a number of years. Later he was called to various political offices and at length was elected sheriff of the county in 1890, being the only republican elected to office in Linn county that year. He ran far ahead of his ticket and received a majority of forty-eight votes. At the following election he received public endorsement of his capable service by being re-elected with a majority of several hundred votes, and at his third election to the office he received a still larger majority. He discharged his duties without fear or favor and his name became a menace to evil-doers and brought a feeling of protection to those who obeyed the laws. He retired from the office as he had entered it — with the confidence and good will of the general public. He is now serving as justice of the peace and his decisions are ever fair and impartial.

On the 5th of December, 1865, Mr. Kinley was married to Miss Lydia Gibson, who passed away August 22, 1909. They had an adopted daughter who has also passed away. Mrs. Kinley was a daughter of William B. and Martha (Willard) Gibson.

Fraternally Mr. Kinley is a prominent Mason, having taken many degrees in the order, and is a member of the Mystic Shrine. He organized the Robert Mitchell Grand Army Post and has ever been a faithful representative of that organization. He belongs to the Presbyterian church and a well spent life has gained him the high regard of all who know him throughout this county.

Source: History of Linn County Iowa From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Vol. II, The Pioneer Publishing Company, 1911, pages 11-2.

Contributed by: Terry Carlson


Joseph Harper Kirby was the oldest son of George W. and Catherine F. Kirby, born March 11, 1843, at Monroe County, Indiana. He grew up on the family farm and learned the trade of wheelwright at the nearby blacksmith and wagon shop. He enlisted in Company E of the 145th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. This regiment was charged with the responsibility of guarding all the railroads and important bridges in the Confederacy as they were captured by the Union forces. Following his discharge at Macon, Georgia, he returned home to join his family on the move to Linn County, Iowa. They arrived in Linn County in late March of 1867, and settled down on a farm near Prairieburg. Joseph claimed his own farm and worked at both the farm and his wheelwright shop in town. 

Joseph met Sarah Amelia Sherman shortly after his arrival at Prairieburg and on February 22, 1869, they were married. Sarah's father had been a cooper on a whaling ship sailing out of Providence, Rhode Island. In more than twenty years at sea he had circumnavigated the globe four times plus numerous other long trips. 

Sarah and Joseph started their family on his farm but early in 1873, they decided to move to Allendorf Township, Iowa, where Joseph took out both a tree claim and homestead. These claims are recorded in Sioux City, Federal Building. Their family grew to five children: Gale B. 3-1872; Minnie Olive B. 12-1875; Alta Catherine B. 1-1877; Guy Wylie B. 1884; Cyrus Burr B. 6-1887. 
Joseph H. was highly successful in farming but early in the 1890s, he was forced to sell the farm and move to Ocheyedan. A war injury made it impossible to continue as a farmer. In town, Joseph built a two story frame building directly across the street from Gole's Store. He started a furniture store and by virtue of being in the furniture business he also became the village undertaker. Joseph operated this business until about 1903, when he retired. This is the business operated by Mr. Frank Boyd until the late 1930's, or early 1940s. 

Joseph enjoyed his retirement and the couple traveled quite frequently to visit their relatives in Nebraska, Kansas, and central Iowa. Both Joseph and Sarah Amelia were very devout and active members of the Methodist church of Ocheyedan. Joseph enjoyed and was an active participant in civic affairs while Sarah Amelia was active in the Ladies Aid Society and several other church affiliated groups. 

Joseph died from complications of pneumonia on March 5, 1911, and is buried in the Kirby family plot in the Ocheyedan Cemetery. Sarah Amelia lived by herself in her home under the watchful eye of her daughter Alta Catherine Stewart. She passed away February 15, 1916, and is buried at her husband's side in the Ocheyedan Cemetery. 

Source: Ocheyedan Centennial 

Submitted by Roseanna Zehner


Linn county has quite a number of enterprising and thorough-going farmers who are giving the greater share of their attention to the raising of fine stock, and thus enhancing materially the value of such in this locality. To this class belongs Robert Kirkpatrick, of section 18, Franklin township. A native of this county, he was born four miles south of Mt. Vernon, August 21, 1867, and is a son of James Kirkpatrick, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this volume. He acquired his early education in the district schools near his boyhood home, and later attended the business college at Cedar Rapids. After leaving school at the age of twenty-two years, he devoted his entire time to the work of the home farm. 

Mr. Kirkpatrick was married in Cedar county, Iowa, March 14, 1895, to Miss Jennie Light, who was born December 5, 1873, in Lebanon county, Pennsylvania, in the same house where her mother’s birth occurred. Her parents were Cornelius W. and Rosie A. (Meyer) Light, both natives of Pennsylvania, where they continued to make their home until coming to Linn county, Iowa, in 1882. Her father at first rented a farm five miles north of Lisbon for one year, and for three years rented another place five miles northwest of Mt. Vernon. At the end of that time he purchased a farm of two hundred acres in Pioneer township, Cedar county, five miles southeast of Lisbon, and there he has resided ever since, having one of the best farms in the locality. In his family were six children, namely: George W. married Estella Ballard and resides on a farm two miles south of Lisbon; Joseph, a twin brother of George, died in infancy;  Katie M. married Ernest Johnson and they lived on the old Johnson homestead in Franklin township; she died January 13, 1890, at the home of her parents; Sally A. died February 21, 1896; Jennie, wife of our subject, is next in order of birth; and Eri M. assists in the management of the home farm. Mr. and Mrs. Kirkpatrick have three children: Pearl M., born August 8, 1896; Eugene L., born April 9, 1898; and Clara Lucile, born July 8, 1900. Mrs. Kirkpatrick taught school in Linn, Johnson and Cedar counties, and also one term in Franklin county.

After his marriage Mr. Kirkpatrick bought what was known as the old Scott farm of one hundred acres on section 18, Franklin township, and under his careful supervision it has become one of the most highly cultivated and best improved tracts in the locality, while it has increased in value one-third since it came into his possession. He has made a careful study of both farming and stock raising, and has been eminently successful in his chosen vocation. He breeds a high grade of cattle and Poland China hogs, and also raises horses, and feeds all the grain that he raises to his stock, having never sold but twenty-five bushels, as he believes stock raising to be the most profitable branch of his business.  His attention being wholly occupied by his agricultural interest, he finds no time to devote to public affairs, and has always refused to become a candidate for office. In politics he is a Republican. Both Mr. and Mrs. Kirkpatrick attend the Presbyterian church, and receive and merit the respect and esteem of all who know them.

Source: The Biographical Record of Linn County Iowa, Illustrated, Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901, pages 223-224.

Submitted by: Terry Carlson


Many of Linn county's best and most highly esteemed citizens have come from across the sea, to which class belongs the subject of this article, who is now a resident of Mt. Vernon. He was born in Württemberg, Germany, on the 12th of March, 1839, and was only six years of age when brought to America by his parents, George G. and Barbara (Summer) Kleinknecht, also natives of Germany, where the father engaged in business as a farmer and stock dealer. On coming to this country he first settled at Little York, York county, Pennsylvania, where he also engaged in agricultural pursuits for four years. In 1849 he removed with his family to Muscatine, Iowa, and purchased a farm in Muscatine county, though he never resided thereon, but occupied another farm in the same county for three years. At the end of that time he located in Iowa City, where he bought property, and engaged in general work, teaming, etc., at that place for the same length of time. He next purchased over two hundred acres of land near Solon, Johnson county, Iowa, but shortly after locating there he died in 1853, at the age of forty-six years. He was a hard working man and accumulated considerable property, and also won the respect and confidence of his fellow citizens. Religiously he was a member of the German Lutheran church. Prior to coming to America he served six years in the German army as a member of the King's body guard. After her husband's death the mother resided with our subject most of the time, but died while visiting her daughter in Crawford county, Kansas, at the age of seventy-six years. In their family were seven children, namely: Christian enlisted during the Civil war in Company F, Twenty-fourth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and was killed in the battle of Champion Hills; Dora is the wife of Andrew Graver, a farmer of Kansas; George G. is next in order of birth; Mary is the wife of Samuel Wagner, of Greenfield, Adams county, Iowa; Hettie, deceased, was the wife of Frank Graver, who was also a soldier of the Civil war and is now a horse dealer of Lisbon, Iowa; Charles is engaged in farming just outside the city limits of Cedar Rapids; and Barbara is the wife of George Mason, a carpenter of Greenfield, Iowa.

Mr. Kleinknecht of this review received his early education in the district schools of Muscatine county, and during his boyhood and youth he aided his father in the work of the farm. After the latter's death he continued on the home farm with his mother for a number of years, becoming the mainstay of the family. In 1860 he came to Linn county and purchased a farm of one hundred and sixty-seven acres on section 29, Franklin township, which at that time was only partially improved. There he made his home until 1882, and was successfully engaged in general farming and stock raising. On disposing of that place he bought another farm on section 29, Linn township, and to its cultivation and improvement he devoted his energies for nine years, at the end of which time he removed to Mt. Vernon and purchased his present home on Jefferson street. He has not actively engaged in any certain occupation since then, though he followed the butcher business for a time, and now does some carpenter work. He was marshal of the village for five years, and while living in the country filled the office of school director for some time in a most creditable and satisfactory manner. Socially he is an honored member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Masonic fraternity, and religiously both he and his estimable wife are members of the Evangelical church.

On the 4th of July, 1860, in Johnson county, Iowa, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Kleinknecht and Miss Laura A. Wolfe, a native of Linn county, and a daughter of John and Annie (Dilldine) Wolfe, both of whom were born in Ohio. The father came to Iowa in 1840 and settled in Franklin township, Linn county, where he engaged in farming and also ran a ferry boat on the Cedar river at Ivanhoe for many years. He held numerous public offices in his township and was postmaster of Ivanhoe for a number of years. He was an industrious, energetic and progressive man, who was upright and honorable in all his deals, and commanded the respect of all with whom he came in contact. His death occurred on his farm in Franklin township in 1848, when he was forty-one years of age. His wife survived him a number of years and died at the age of sixty-two. They had eleven children, but Mrs. Kleinknecht and two others are the only ones now living, these being Melissa, wife of Alexander Gregory, a farmer of Schuyler county, Missouri; and Squire William, a farmer of Franklin township, Linn county. Those deceased were Rhoda M., wife of Dr. John Briney; Sarah Rachel, wife of Wash Harvey; Daniel D., a farmer of Linn county, who died at the age of sixty-two years; and five who died when quite young. The mother of these children was twice married, her second husband being Mr. Rollf, by whom she has two daughters, Isa Binda and Alice Viola.

Ten children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Kleinknecht as follows: (1) William G., born in Johnson county, Iowa, April 21, 1962, owns and operates a farm of eighty acres on section 29, Linn township, this county. He married Lucy Stoddard and they have two children, Mabel and Merrill. (2) Daniel D., was born December 20, 1863, in Linn county, where the birth of the others also occurred, and he is now engaged in farming in Bertram township, this county. He married Alice White and they have four children: Bessie, Fay, Jennie and Pearl. (3) Edith M., born May 4, 1865, died June 10, 1867. (4) Wallace Lee, born November 16, 1866, follows farming on the old home place on section 29, Linn township. He married Carrie Cordes and has three children, Annie, Marvin and Kenneth. (5) Andrew T., born December 14, 1868, was drowned in Cedar river July 7, 1876. (6) Isa, born October 25, 1870, is the wife of Frank Kepler, a son of Peter M. Kepler, now deceased, and a farmer of Franklin township. They have two children, Glenn and Murl. (7) Dessie A., born September 2, 1872, is the wife of Elmer Travis, a liveryman of Mt. Vernon, who was born in this county, and is a son of Daniel Travis, now deceased, who was a farmer of Franklin township. They have one chidl, Earl. (8) Charles A., born May 4, 1874, is engaged in the grocery business in Mt. Vernon. He married Tillie Daubenmier, and they have two children, Ruby and Harold. (9) Emma L., born September 20, 1877, died April 15, 1887. (10) Carrie A., born October 29, 1882 attended Cornell College and is now pursuing her musical studies in Chicago.

Source: The Biographical Record of Linn County Iowa, Illustrated, Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901, pages 228-230.

Submitted by: Terry Carlson


John Kleitsch, a farmer and stock-raiser of Linn county, owns two hundred acres of land in Grant township and also has a tract of one hundred and thirty acres in Benton county, Iowa. His birth occurred in Germany on the 8th of October, 1854, his parents being John and Katherine (Nemmers) Kleitsch, likewise natives of that country. In 1857 they crossed the Atlantic to the United States and purchased and located upon a tract of land in Jackson county, Iowa. Later they took up their abode in Linn county and here spent the remainder of their lives. They had a family of nine children, six of whom are yet living.

John Kleitsch, who was a little lad of five years when he accompanied his parents on their emigration to the new world, attended the common schools in the acquirement of an education and remained at home until twenty-nine years of age. He then purchased the old homestead place of one hundred and sixty acres and later bought another tract of similar size. At the present time he owns three hundred and thirty acres of rich and productive land, one hundred and thirty acres of which lies in Benton county, Iowa, while the remaining two hundred acres comprises his home farm in Grant township, this county. Under his wise and careful management the fields have been brought under a high state of cultivation and annually yield bounteous harvests. The raising and feeding of stock also claims his attention and has proved a profitable undertaking to him.

In 1881 Mr. Kleitsch was joined in wedlock to Miss Mary Hingtgen, a native of Jackson county, Iowa, and a daughter of Theodore and Margaret Hingten, both of whom were born in Germany. The father is deceased, but the mother still survives and makes her home in Jackson county. They reared a family of twelve children, all of whom are yet living. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Kleitsch were  also born twelve children, namely: Elizabeth, the wife of Harry Faber, of Dubuque county; Theodore, likewise a resident of that county; John, Jr.; Nicholas; Susan; Mary; Francis; Margaret; Lawrence; and three who are deceased. In politics Mr. Kleitsch is a democrat and for three terms he held the office of road supervisor. Both he and his wife are faithful communicants of the Catholic church and their genuine worth is widely recognized by a large circle of warm friends.

Source: History of Linn County Iowa, From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Vol. II, Chicago, The Pioneer Publishing Company, 1911, p. 221-2.

Contributed by Terry Carlson


Jacob J. Kocher, now serving as trustee of Fayette township, was born in Switzerland, on the 30th of August, 1857, his parents, Benedict and Louise (Zigerly) Kocher, being natives of the same country, where the mother continued to reside up to the time of her death. Subsequently in 1886 the father came to the United States and located in Palo, Iowa, making his home with our subject. Later he went to Arkansas and bought a farm of two hundred and twenty-five acres and lived there for some years, but finally returned to Palo, where he passed away in October, 1897.

Surrounded by the grandeur of the Alps, Jacob J. Kocher grew to manhood and in the free schools of his native land acquired a good practical education. It was in 1880 that he crossed the broad Atlantic and became a citizen of the United States. For two years he worked in a brickyard in Fairview, Erie county, Pennsylvania, and then came west, becoming a resident of Linn county, Iowa. Here he hired out as a farm hand, working two years for Norman and John Ives upon a farm near Marion. He was next employed for a short time in a creamery in Marion, but the greater part of his time and energies have been devoted to agricultural pursuits. In the spring of 1885, however, he removed to Palo, where he conducted a meat market, but not long afterward he resumed farming and continued to operate rented land until 1900, when he bought his present place of seventy-two acres, on which he has since resided and to the improvement and cultivation of which he has since devoted his time and attention with good results.

Mr. Kocher was married on the 23d of October, 1884, to Miss Mary Tuescher, of Otter Creek township, a daughter of Frederick Tuescher. who was born in Switzerland. Four children blessed this union, namely: Bertha, who is now serving as assistant postmaster at Palo; Della, the wife of Carl McArthur, of Fayette township; and Charles and Louise, both at home.

Mr. Kocher gives his political allegiance to the republican party and has become prominently identified with local politics. In the fall of 1908 he was elected to the board of township trustees and is now filling that office in a commendable and satisfactory manner. He has also served two terms on the school board and never withholds his support from any measure which he believes calculated to promote the moral, intellectual or material welfare of the community in which he lives. Both he and his wife are earnest and faithful members of the Lutheran church.

Source: History of Linn County Iowa, From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Vol. II, Chicago, The Pioneer Publishing Company, 1911, p. 730-1.

Contributed by Terry Carlson


Henry S. Kohl, a well-to-do and successful farmer and stock raiser residing on section 36, Franklin township, was born in Cedar county, Iowa, on the 22d of May, 1853.  His parents, Solomon and Elizabeth (Blessing) Kohl, were both natives of Pennsylvania, but became acquainted and were married at Lisbon, Iowa, having come to this state at an early day.  For many years the father was one of the most active and progressive agriculturists of his community, but his last days were spent in retirement from labor.  He died in April, 1894, at the age of sixty-seven years, and was buried in the Lisbon cemetery, but his wife is still living on the old homestead farm.  They had a family of five sons, of whom our subject is the oldest; Fred married Millie Pfaugh and resides on a farm in Cedar county; Emanuel married Alice Tyson and lives in Cass county, Iowa; John married Flossie Nix and resides in Cedar county; and Samuel married Ollie Mitchell and lives on the old homestead in Cedar county.  The father of these children was for a great many years a minister in the United Brethren church.

During the winter months Henry S. Kohl attended the district schools near his boyhood home until twenty years of age, while the summer seasons were devoted to farm work.  He remained under the parental roof until he was married, in Cedar county, July 1, 1878, to Miss Susan Bittle, who was born in Pennsylvania August 12, 1853, and came west in 1869 with her parents, Henry and Rebecca (Becker) Bittle, also natives of the Keystone state.  Her family located on a farm in Cedar county, where the father still lives, but the mother died in August, 1891.  Mr. Bittle since early manhood has been a minister in the Church of God.  They had ten children, namely: David married Eliza Bucher and lives on the old homestead in Cedar county; Jesse, deceased, wedded Mary Glantzey, now a resident of Franklin county, Iowa; Susan is the wife of our subject; Amelia died at the age of two years; Stephen married Becky Smith, and resides in Shelby county, Iowa; George died at the age of ten years; Clara is the wife of Robert McLaughlin, of Mapleton, Iowa; Rebecca is a resident of San Diego, California; Alexander, deceased, married Nettie Mason and resided in Mapleton, Iowa; and Walter married Lula Briegle and makes his home in Tindall, Missouri.

Mr. and Mrs. Kohl have a family of four children: Laura, born July 1, 1878, is the wife of Fred Huey, a farmer of Cedar county, and they have one child, Harold; Clyde, born January 14, 1880, assists his father in the management of the farm; and Ray, born October 16, 1882, and Clarence born October 21, 1887, are also at home.

After his marriage Mr. Kohl leased a farm which he operated for three years, and then came to Linn county, purchasing one hundred and twenty acres of land on section 36, Franklin township, which was only partially improved.  To the further development and cultivation of his land he has since devoted his energies, and now has a most attractive place, supplied with all the conveniences and accessories found upon a model farm.  In connection with general farming he raises horses, cattle and hogs.  He gives his political support to the Republican party, and for a number of years has served as school director.

Source: The Biographical Record of Linn County Iowa, Illustrated, Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901, pages 178-179.

Submitted by: Carrie J. Robertson of Marion

S. N. Kratzer

S. N. Kratzer, who has won a creditable measure of prosperity in the operation of his fine farm on section 26, Jackson township, is also engaged in stock-raising to some extent. His birth occurred in Winnebago county, Illinois, on the 1st of February, 1850, his parents being Samuel and Malinda (Drake) Kratzer, both of whom were natives of Brown county, Ohio. They first established their home in Winnebago county, Illinois, and in the fall of 1868 came to Linn county, Iowa settling on a farm in Jackson township. Here they spent the remainder of their lives, the mother passing away in 1886 and the father in 1895. They reared a family of ten children, nine of whom are still living.

S. N. Kratzer attended the common schools in the acquirement of an education and remained under the parental roof until he was married at the age of twenty-eight. Subsequently he operated the old homestead place for four years and on the expiration of that period, in 1883, purchased seventy-three acres of the farm on which he now resides on section 26, Jackson township. Later he extended its boundaries to include one hundred and fifty-three and one-fourth acres of land, all of which he has brought under a high state of cultivation and improvement. The well-tilled fields annually yield golden harvest in return for the care and labor which he bestows upon them, and in connection with his farming interests he also makes a specialty of raising and feeding stock.

In 1878 Mr. Kratzer was united in marriage to Miss Artie Gramling, by whom he had one son, Harley, who is now a resident of Marion. The wife and mother passed away in 1881 and on the 4th of January, 1887, Mr. Kratzer was again married, his second union being with Miss Nellie Hicks, whose birth occurred near Rockford, Illinois. Her parents, Joel H. and Thankful (Kingsley) Hicks, were both natives of New York and celebrated their marriage at Rockford, Illinois, where they continued to reside until called to their final rest. Their children were five in number, three of whom yet survive. Mr. and Mrs. Kratzer have two children: J. H., who has a business college education and now operates the home farm; and Floyd N., likewise at home.

In politics Mr. Kratzer is a stanch republican and is now capably discharging the duties devolving upon him in the capacity of township trustee. The cause of education has ever found in him a warm friend and he served on the school board for more than twenty years. His fraternal relations are with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Central City, while his religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Congregational church, with which his wife is also affiliated. He has now made his home within the borders of Linn county for more than four decades and the circle of his friends is a wide one.

Source: History of Linn County Iowa From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Vol. II, The Pioneer Publishing Company, 1911, pages 80-1.

Contributed by: Terry Carlson


John J. Kula, a well known farmer of Buffalo township, Linn county, Iowa, was born in Bohemia in 1848, a son of Frank and Mary Kula, who brought their family to America in 1852 and the following year settled in Linn county. The father purchased a farm in Boulder township, which he successfully operated until his death in 1898. The mother passed away the year previous.

Being but five years of age when he came to this county, John J. Kula was practically reared here and is indebted to the public schools of the county for the educational advantages which he received. He remained with his parents until twenty-eight years of age and then took possession of an eighty-acre tract of land in Buffalo township, which his father had purchased. Upon this place he has since resided and as he has prospered in his undertakings has extended its boundaries from time to time until he is now the owner of two hundred acres of very valuable and well improved land. Throughout his business career he has followed farming and the prosperity that has come to him is but the just reward of earnest labor.

In 1873 Mr. Kula was united in marriage to Miss Mary Holub, a daughter of Joseph and Mary Holub, who were also natives of Bohemia and on coming to the United States in 1852 settled in Boulder township, Linn county, Iowa. Her father first acquired a farm of eighty acres, but so successful was he in his farming operations that he was owning three hundred acres at the time he retired from active labor. He divided the property among his children and spent his last days in Howard, enjoying a well earned rest. His death occurred in that place in 1896 and his wife departed this life in 1895. They were the parents of eight children, who are still living. To Mr. and Mrs. Kula have been born ten children, as follows : Mary, now the wife of Adolph Lacy, of Oxford Junction, Iowa; Annie, the wife of Mathias Alas, of Lost Nation, Iowa; Katharine, the wife of Peter Ellis, of Clinton county; Frank, who is married and is living in Buffalo township, Linn county; Rose, John J. and Raymond, all at home; Frances, the wife of George Hartsell; Lilly, at home; and Joseph, who died at the age of three years.

In religious faith the family are Catholics and in his political views Mr. Kula is an ardent democrat, but has never been a politician in the sense of office seeking.. He has always been a stalwart champion of the principles in which he believes and has ever exerted his influence for the benefit of
the community in which he resides.

Source: 1911 Linn Co., IA History Vol. 2 pgs. 85-86

Submitted by Becky Teubner 


In past ages the history of a country was the record of wars and conquests; to-day it is the record of commercial activity, and those whose names are foremost in its annals are the leaders in business circles.  The conquests now made are those of mind over matter, not man over man, and the victor is he who can successfully establish, control and operate extensive commercial interests.  Prominent among the enterprising, energetic and prosperous business men of Linn county is Samuel A. Kurtz, whose whole life has been spent at Lisbon. 

He was born in that place, December 15, 1854, a son of John E. and Esther (Hershey) Kurtz, both natives of Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, in which state the family was founded over two centuries ago.  In the east the father worked at the cabinetmaker’s trade and engaged in the manufacture of lumbre.  It was in the spring of 1847 that he came to Linn county, Iowa, and took up his residence on the present site of Lisbon, where he followed farming for several years and later engaged in merchandising and milling though his last days were spent in retirement from active business.  He built what was known as the Golden Sheaf Mill.  During the Civil war he served as postmaster of Lisbon, and represented his district in the state legislature in 1856.  He died in May, 1900, honored and respected by all who knew him.  The mother of our subject passed away in 1876.  They were the parents of nine children, namely: Christian H., who is represented on another page of this volume; John H., who died in 1860, at the age of nineteen years; Barbara A., wife of Joel C. Ringer, of Lisbon; Henry Clay, also a resident of that place; Abraham E., of Chicago; David H., of Cedar Rapids; Lizzie, wife of J. F. Hahn, of Cedar Rapids; Mary, who died when about nine years of age; Samuel A., our subject. 

Samuel A. Kurtz obtained his early education in the district schools of Lisbon, and later spent two years at Cornell College, Mt. Vernon.  He entered upon his business career as a clerk, and in 1876 became a member of the firm of H. C. & S. A. Kurtz, dry-goods merchants of Lisbon, being connected with that business until 1892.  For several years he was engaged in getting out railroad ties and lumber, during which time he cleared over two thousand acres of timber land within a radius of six miles of Lisbon, and kept constantly in his employ from fifty to seventy-five men, cutting, hauling and piling the wood.  Most of this he sold to the Chicago & Northwester Railroad Company, and furnished to the same company its piling used between Clinton and Jefferson, Iowa, a distance of two hundred miles.  He continued in that business until 1897, and still does something along that line but not so extensively.  He is now carrying on business in Lisbon as a dealer in lumber, wood, coal, sewer pipe, fire brick and fire clay, and has built up an excellent trade.  For the past ten years Mr. Kurtz has also been interested in real estate and owns a large amount of land in the city and surrounding country.  He has improved considerable property in Lisbon which he has sold on contract, and has recently platted one of the finest additions to the city, it being known as Kurtz & Stuckslager’s addition, which embraces about ten acres.  Our subject has several other pieces of property which he eventually intends to lay out in town lots, and has made many substantial improvements in various parts of the city.  He is also connected with the Lisbon Telephone Company, and is a member of its board of directors.  This company is now constructing a line from Lisbon to Solon, and has a large patronage among the farmers of Franklin township. 

On the 21st of February, 1878, at Lisbon, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Kurtz and Miss Ellen M. Auracher, a native of Pennsylvania, and a daughter of Gotlieb Auracher, who was a prominent man of Lisbon, now deceased.  By this union were born three children who are still living, namely: Clara, wife of T. Macey Lee, a druggist of Lisbon; Bessie and Esther, both at home. 

The Republican party has always found in Mr. Kurtz a stanch supporter of its principles, but he has never cared for political honors.  He has held nearly all the township offices, and has served as alderman of the city for several years and is still filling that position.  As a citizen he is pre-eminently public-spirited and progressive, and his connection with various business enterprises and industries have advanced the interests of his town and country in no uncertain manner.  The history of such a man cannot fail to be of wide-spread interest for he ranks high in commercial circles.

Source: The Biographical Record of Linn County Iowa, Illustrated, Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901, pages 100-1.

Submitted by: Carrie J. Robertson of Marion

If you would like to contribute contact the
Linn County Coordinator