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Weston Wagons West - Episode D10 - Kinnick/Pirtle Families in Davis County Iowa

Updated on August 12, 2017
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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.

Most of the Kinnick family members were farmers

Iowa Cornfields
Iowa Cornfields

John and Sarah Kinnick back home in Iowa in early 1870s

After a few years in Southwest Missouri where two of their sons and their families had settled, John and Sarah Kinnick were happy to be back home in Bloomfield and Davis County where most of the rest of their children and grandchildren still lived. William and Mary Clark and their seven young children lived on their farm near Unionville, a few miles to the west just inside the Appanoose County line. Joshua and Margaret Eastburn and their seven children still lived on their farm a few miles south of Bloomfield (Savannah Post Office). Elijah and Eliza Kinnick with their five daughters lived not far from Joshua and Margaret near Savannah. Son William, his wife Matilda, and infant daughter Jennie lived right in Bloomfield where he worked as a plasterer and interior decorator. John Pirtle, a butcher in Bloomfield, with his wife Sarah and five children lived just down the street. Denny and Caroline Pirtle with their two sons and two daughters lived on their farm near West Grove, several miles to the west of Bloomfield.

John and Sarah were happy to be back home. In a few years, however, at age 67, John suffered a tragic death by falling from a load of wood he was hauling for firewood, on January 28, 1876. After his death Sarah Ellen (Mock) Kinnick lived with her children until her death, November 7, 1881, five years later. This occurred at the home of her son, George Kinnick, in Louisburg, Missouri, where she had gone for a visit. She took ill, which resulted in her death, and was buried at Louisburg, Missouri.

By 1876, when John died, Delbert and Diane Weston continued to live and work their acreage and business with daughter, Etta, now 17, and son, Rahm, now 11. Rahm was anxious to start his farrier apprenticeship the following spring. Etta had become very involved with raising and training their Morgan Horse herd, as well as being an excellent student in the local school. In 1875, Delbert and Diane visited Louisburg, Missouri, for a week, visiting their two older sons and their families there.

Family of Andrew Etheridge and Mary Etta (Pirtle) Fenton

From left: Maria Lucy, Andrew E., Blanche Jane, William, John Etheridge, Mary Etta, Ross Kenneth
From left: Maria Lucy, Andrew E., Blanche Jane, William, John Etheridge, Mary Etta, Ross Kenneth

The two Pirtle families grew through the 70s, into the 80s

Over at the John and Sarah Pirtle home, by 1880, Laura Alice was 20; she would marry David Harris in 1884. He was a farmer in West Grove. William Luther was 17. He would marry Eliza Hopkins in 1883. He was a farmer. Grant was 15 in 1880. He would marry Laura Russell in 1886. After farming for a bit, they moved to Oregon where they built and operated a hotel. James D. Pirtle was 13 in 1880. He married Angie Dabney in 1887. He became a butcher and later owned a meat market in Oregon. Mary Ette was 10 in 1880. On Christmas Day, 25 Dec 1887, Mary Etta Pirtle married Andrew Etheridge Fenton (see family photo). In the fall of 1881, John W. Pirtle was elected to a two-year term as Sheriff of Davis County on the Greenback ticket. He had previously been a member of the local school board for eleven years.

Arthur G. Pirtle was born Jun 1872 followed by Estella in Jul 1874. Elijah K. was born in Oct 1876 and Nellie was born in Apr 1880. There were two more Pirtle children born to John and Sarah in the mid-1880s, but neither lived out of childhood. Denny and Carolne Pritle eventually had six children on their farm near West Grove, adding Maud in 1875 and Robert in August of 1880.

Rahm Weston finished his second apprenticeship with his father, Delbert, in the spring of 1881, as he was turning 16. In 1884, he married Joy Day, and their first son, Jason, was born in April of 1887. Rahm’s sister, Etta, 25 in 1884, had taken Normal Training, and was now a teacher in local schools. She continued to work with her family in raising and training Morgan Horses. Rahm was in partnership with his father in the farrier and blacksmithing trade.

Horses were part of farm and city life in Davis County, Iowa

Morgan Horses in the pasture
Morgan Horses in the pasture

The 1880s and 1890s in Davis County

The 1882 History of Davis County contained a biography of Elijah B. Kinnick that included the following: “He now owns a fine farm 6 miles southwest of Bloomfield all in cultivation except thirty acres in timber.” The first five daughters of Elijah and Eliza each married: Amanda married William Hopkins on October 19, Mary C. married John Curl in January of 1888, Etta O. married Edward Earnest in 1890, Minnie E. married LeRoy Emerson on June 1, 1907, and Ida O. married Russell H. Lindsey in 1895, in Bloomfield.

This last wedding was reported in the local Bloomfield newspaper on August 1: “Tuesday evening at the commodius home of ex-sheriff E. B. Kinnick, in the west part of the city, occurred the marriage of his daughter, Miss Ida, to Prof. R. H. Lindsey. There were present a large number of relatives and friends to witness the marriage. At 8 o’clock Miss May Downing began playing the wedding march which brought from the upstairs Rev. Carson followed by Prof. Lindsey accompanied by J. J. Guernsey and Miss Kinnick with Miss Jennie Coffey as attendant. Standing under the arch of the bow window, beneath an evergreen bell, the contracting parties took upon themselves the marriage obligation. The ceremony which Mr. Carson pronounced was beautiful and impressive. The bride and groom were handsomely attired and were beautiful and dignified in appearance. Miss Ida is a highly accomplished and intelligent young lady, worthy the affection of any man. She is a successful and experienced teacher of elocution and has won many compliments upon her work and teaching. She is a useful lady in society and will make Prof. Lindsey on excellent companion. Prof. Lindsey was connected with the business department during the year 1893-94 during which time he made many friends. He is now connected with a Business College in Buffalo New York, where he and his bride will make their home.”

Births, marriage and deaths are always recurrent in every family, of course. Mary E. (Kinnick) Clark passed away on October 26, 1893. Her husband, Alexander Clark, had died earlier, on August 15, 1885. Margaret A. (Kinnick) Eastburn died on September 10, 1884. Hannah (Kinnick) Smart’s first husband, Joseph Henry, had died on November 20 1870. She married second, Pepper Lyman, April 15, 1874, and they had two children, Carrie and Mary. And life went on in Davis County, Iowa.

Historical note by the author

All members of the Weston family are fictional, of course. All the Kinnicks, Pirtles and their relatives were historical figures, used here fictitiously. The relationships between the Kinnick and Weston families therefore were created fictionally for this series. John Kinnick was related to the author as second cousin, four generations removed.

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 North Carolina, Indiana and Iowa.

The author's historical perspective in this hub relied extensively on collaborative research done while compiling the 2003 KINNICK Genealogy Book Online …
This was an update and revision completed on the 50th anniversary of the 1953 publication of: "A Genealogical History of the Kinnick Family of America" by Mrs. Nettie Edna Kinnick Waggener (self-published). Mrs. Waggener was born in 1878, so shared some personal memories as well as memories of correspondents related to these folks.

This episode is the tenth in the Dx series following the Jeremiah Weston and the John and Ann Kinnick branches of the families.

Video Book Trailer

Video Book Trailer

Video Book Trailer


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