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Weston Wagons West - Ep. J19 - The Third Decade of the Kinnick family in Bureau County, Illinois

Updated on December 24, 2014
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Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

The boys' horse herds grew

Three horses grazing in the meadow
Three horses grazing in the meadow | Source

The aftermath of the Civil War on the Kinnick, Fletcher and Weston families

By 1865, Jasper and Julia Weston had three sons ready to carry on the work to which their father had dedicated his life. They were reaching out from their shop on the western edge of Princeton, to the many small towns and farms of Bureau County, Illinois, to meet the needs of their customers, many of whom had become close personal friends, as well. Peter was now an 18 year old, Everett was 16, just finishing his duo-apprenticeships, and Marcus, a 14-year-old, just entering into his blacksmithing apprenticeship. Each was also building a fine herd of Morgan horses, as well.

Jacob Kinnick, the youngest of the Kinnick sons, and the last to be discharged from Union Army service, in July of 1865, at age 19, was anxious to return to farming. In November of 1867, he married Hattie VanDram, hoping to start his own family. Walter and Mary had a daughter, Nora, in January of 1866, but she died in a little over a month. John and Catharine Fletcher had a son, James Willard, in February. Joseph and Rachel Kinnick had a son, William Walter, in March. In December, Walter and Mary Kinnick had a daughter that they named Emma Estella.

Joseph and Rachel started the next round of children with a son, in March of 1868. They named him John Leach Cook Kinnick. Walter and Mary had another daughter, in December of 1868, Margaret Ann (they called her Maggie, like her aunt). John and Catharine Fletcher closed out the 1860s with a daughter, born in November of 1869. They named her Edna Evelyn Fletcher.

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The family was in court

The gavel represents the court of law and justice
The gavel represents the court of law and justice | Source

As the families matured, serious changes began to come their way

In November and December of 1869, Joseph petitioned the Chancery Court in Bureau County for a partition of the one hundred sixty acres left by his father, Walter W. Kinnick. Susan Kinnick, the widow of the deceased, did not contest the division based on her right of dower, but rather, reached an agreement with the other parties to the case. In essence, Joseph retained the five-eighths interest he claimed (his own, and those originally owned by Sarah, Jacob, Margaret (Maggie), and Susan - he had paid for each of them in earlier years, to help out his siblings), and one-eighth each by Catherine, one-eighth by Thomas Richmond (who had purchased it from Walter) and one-eighth by the Harrison children (granddaughters of the older Walter). It appeared that a part of the agreement was that Susan, the widow, would continue to live on the portion of the land owned by the Harrison children, in a life-estate interest. This kind of court action was not uncommon in families where a parent died under these circumstances.

While the court case was being settled, Ephraim Yarrington, whom the widow Susan Kinnick married in March of 1859, died in February of 1870, at the age of 68. Thereafter, Susan returned to using the name Susan Kinnick in all of her recorded transactions. Susan, at this time, was 61 years of age. In her household were daughters, Maggie, age 20, and Fanny Susan, age 19, along with grand-daughters, Evaline Harrison, age 16, and Mary A. Harrison, age 12. Also, in May of 1870, Joseph and Rachel Kinnick became parents of another daughter. They named her Mary Eppenetes. She acquired the nickname of Mate. Maggie Harrison married Jacob Weise in September of 1871. Their first son, Harry E., was born in September of 1872.

About this time, Walter and Mary and their four children set out on a trip, as he sought and found work with the railroads being built in southern Iowa and northern Missouri, that lasted about three years. Two sons were born to them during this time. Alonzo Palmer Kinnick was born in November of 1870, in Stuart, Adair County, Iowa. George Walter Kinnick was born in September of 1872 in Mendon, Chariton County, Missouri. They returned to Buda, for good, in 1873. [Author's note: Alonzo Palmer Kinnick was the great-grandfather of the author.] Ira Odell Kinnick, a son, was born back in Buda in Bureau County, in July of 1874.

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They gathered the horses for the trip to Iowa

A herd of horses grazing on the hillside
A herd of horses grazing on the hillside | Source

Changes in the families led to further movements and separations

Early in 1872, Jacob Kinnick having not become a father in nearly 5 years, divorced Hattie VanDram. In late April, he married Fannie Fletcher, the younger sister of John T. Fletcher, husband of Jacob's older sister, Catherine. [Note: Jacob and Fannie both lived into the 1920s, but never had any children. The disbursal of his property on his death in 1923 provided an incredible resource to family historians in locating scattered members of all his siblings' descendants at that time.] Later in the year, in October of 1872, John and Catharine Fletcher had another son, Royal W. Fletcher. He was followed by their fourth son, Ora Layton, in October of 1874.

With the partition of the farm, Joseph was ready to sell out and move further west, into Iowa, himself. As he was making those plans, and discussed them with his farrier and blacksmith, Peter Weston, Peter became interested in joining the trek to Iowa. He hoped to establish his own business operation there. Peter had married Matilda Allred in June of 1868. Their first son, Lyman, was born in March of 1870. The family was ready to move. In the spring of 1872, Joseph and Peter led a group of four families, in six wagons, that moved to Madison County, Iowa, a few miles southwest of Des Moines, the state capital of Iowa. Des Moines was located in south central Iowa, at the confluence of the Raccoon and the Des Moines River.

The Kinnicks, Westons, and Fletcher families had arrived in Bureau County, Illinois, in 1844. By 1875, their families were entering their fourth decade in the county. Eveline Harrison married Frank Hornby late in January of 1876. Walter and Mary became parents of another daughter in February of 1876 that they named Katherine Susan. They called her Katie. A fifth son came to John and Catherine Fletcher in Jan of 1877. His name was Samuel Clinton, but they called him Clint, from the beginning. About this time, Thomas and Sarah Richmond, now with eight children, were divorced. Sarah, with her four sons and four daughters, continued to live and work on the farm, as Thomas left for parts unknown. Meanwhile, Everett Weston married Hannah Allen in June of 1870. Their first son was born in March of 1872, and they named him Sherman.

Historical notes by the author

All members of the Weston family are fictional, of course. Each Kinnick, Fletcher, Richmond, Harrison, Yarrington, Schwyhart, Weise, and Hornsby and were historical figures, but were used here fictitiously. The relationship between the Kinnick and Weston families therefore were created fictionally for this story. These families (and the families related by marriage) were historical, but the details of their birth dates and early lives are filled in fictionally. They each played key roles in the life of Walter Watson Kinnick, a 2nd great-grandfather of the author, and Alonzo Palmer Kinnick, his great-grandfather. Each of the relationships within which these historical figures appear in these episodes is totally consistent with known historical facts for each such person in the official records of the State of Iowa and Illinois. Also relied on was continuing family history research as this is a direct line ancestry of the author, of course.

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    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, peachpurple from malaysia. How nice to have you stop by, and to leave a comment. Much appreciated! ;-)

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      great article. Voted up

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, MsDora. Susan (Schwyhart) Kinnick has been a special character, to me. She showed a lot of grit, for sure! ;-)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      This is quite some batch of people to meet. I'm sure as the saga continues, we'll become closer acquainted. I'm already drawn to Susan Kinnick who is in my age group and has been widowed twice.

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      You are too kind. Thank you. They were interesting times, for sure! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Having driven through that area, I can picture it in my mind as I read your fine fictional account...that is the mark of a good writer.