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Weston Wagons West - Episode D9 - John Kinnick Family to Davis County Iowa

Updated on August 8, 2017
DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

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

They raised horses as well as babies

He raised and trained horses for sale
He raised and trained horses for sale

John and Sarah (Mock) Kinnick family move west from Johnson County, Indiana (Episode D4)

John’s grandfather, also named John Kinnick, bought his first land in North Carolina from a Mock, in 1795. In 1830, John married Sarah Ellen Mock in North Carolina. She was said to have been “quite small, a true blond, with blue eyes and light hair” who went on to become the mother of a dozen children. John was “a large framed man, tall and erect, had dark hair and eyes, industrious and a good provider.” A son-in-law was later quoted as saying, “a better, kinder man never lived than John Kinnick.” Their children, in the fall of 1856, when the extended family moved from Johnson County, Indiana, to Davis County, Iowa, were: Mary E., 25 (married to William Alexander Clark, with 3 young children), Margaret A., 21 (married to Joshua Eastburn, with a daughter), Hannah Elizabeth, 20 (had just married Joseph Henry Smart before they left), Elijah Brazier, 17, William L., 16, Sarah Jane, almost 14, Elizah Caroline, almost 13, George Henry, 10, John Wishard, nearly 3, and Laura, about six months old. Among others accompanying them on the trip across Illinois and into southern Iowa were Delbert Weston, 23, his wife Diane, 23, and their sons, Willard, 3, and Buford, 1.

Davis County, Iowa, is located along the Missouri border. It is the fourth county west of the Mississippi River. The County Seat is Bloomfield, located in the center of the county. The Kinnick family had purchased a farm 6 miles southwest of Bloomfield. Delbert Weston purchased a 40-acre plot on the southwest edge of Bloomfield to set up his farrier and blacksmithing business as well as raise his Morgan Horses. They added a daughter that they named Etta, in 1859, and a third son, that they named Rahm, in March of 1865.

The Kinnicks and Westons fit in well in the community and were active with their neighbors in common activities. Among their neighbors were the members of the Pirtle family. They had come from Kentucky by way of Indiana and Illinois in 1852. On 29 Jun 1859, Sarah Jane Kinnick married John W. Pirtle at her parents’ home, making the fourth married Kinnick daughter in the community. John was 28 and Sarah Jane was 18. William and Mary Clark had added a son since their arrival. Joshua and Margaret Eastburn had also added a son to their family. Not to be left out, Joseph and Hannah Smart had started their family with a son, as well, named William Alexander Smith, born in July of 1859.

They sought the best farm land they could find

Midwestern farm land
Midwestern farm land

The 1860s in Davis County, Iowa

Elijah B. Kinnick married Eliza Carson, a native of Indiana, on 20 Dec 1960. On 24 Jan 1861, William Luther Kinnick married Matilda Scott. Just a few months later, of course, the outbreak of the War Between the States changed family lives across the nation. Elijah B. Kinnick and John W. Pirtle joined the Iowa 2nd Infantry as it was being organized. William Luther Kinnick also enlisted in the Iowa 2nd in November of 1861 and served until the end of the war. They all fought together in the Battle of Fort Donelson in February of 1862 on the Tennessee-Kentucky border that opened the Cumberland River for the Union, an important avenue for the invasion of the South.

In that battle, Elijah sustained wounds in the head and shoulder but battled on and was at the Battle of Shiloh in April. Because of his earlier wounds, however, he was mustered out in August of 1862. John Pirtle was also injured in the Battle of Fort Donelson, including shot through the hip, wounds that were thought to be mortal. He was discharged in July of 1862, on that account. However, he survived, after much suffering, and a slow recovery. In 1864 he was able to open a butcher business in Bloomfield that he ran until 1871.

In the mean time, on the home front, E. Caroline Kinnick married Denny Pirtle, a brother of John, in 1863 (a case, therefore, of 2 Kinnick sisters marrying 2 Pirtle brothers). Denny and Caroline started their family with two sons, Charles H., in 1864, and John Melvin in 1866, followed by a daughter, Ella, in 1868. Meanwhile, during the 1860s, Elijah and Eliza Kinnick became parents of five daughters, including a set of twins born in 1869. In the Delbert Weston family, son Willard, age 12 in the spring of 1865, began his farrier apprenticeship. Brother Buford followed him in that pursuit in the spring of 1867.

The third Kinnick brother, George Henry, on 28 Feb 1869 married Margaret Brockus. That fall, George and Margaret, along with her father, David, decided to move to the Bolivar area in Polk County, in southwestern Missouri, where other Brockus family members had already migrated. John and Sarah Kinnick, along with son John W, now a 16-year-old, decided to make the move as well. John W. Kinnick and Willard Weston had become close friends, being the same age. Willard Weston had finished his apprenticeships with his father in the spring. With his parents’ consent, 16-year-old Willard joined the Kinnick-Bockus journey to the south into Missouri.

In Missouri, they looked for good land not in the hills

Missouri has hills as well as flat land
Missouri has hills as well as flat land | Source

Kinnick family life split between Iowa and Missouri

Polk County Missouri sits just to the west of Dallas County, a few miles to the north of Springfield, Missouri, in the southwestern quarter of the state. Farmers always seek out the best land they can find. The Kinnicks were no exceptions to that process. After a couple of years near Bolivar in central Polk County, they moved to the east to near Louisburg, a small village in northwest Dallas County, north of the town of Buffalo. There, John Kinnick met Harriett Vanderford.

John Wishard Kinnick married Harriett Vanderford on 11 Aug 1872 near Louisburg, in Dallas County, Missouri, where they farmed for the next decade or so. Their first three daughters were born there in 1874, 1876, and 1880.

Soon after John and Harriett were married, his parents, John and Sarah, decided to move back to Davis County, Iowa. They realized they missed their family and friends, there, after a few years away. At about the same time, Buford Weston got his parents’ permission to visit his brother, Willard, in Louisburg, Missouri, where he had settled near the Kinnicks and Vanderfords. Buford was 17 years-of-age and had finished his apprenticeships. He wanted to see more of the world.

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 … 
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~kinnick/
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 ninth 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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    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 3 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Dora. I really appreciate your comments. I do love to envision happy and healthy families and neighborhoods... guilty as charged! ;-)

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 3 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Yes, Bill, that is the real challenge in this research. Sometimes it is obvious what the motivation is, sometimes very difficult to determine. Advertising by the railroads, family moved there first, why did they go, better land, better opportunities (in their minds, at least)...yes, what fun!! ;-) Thanks again, for your prompt visit and comment!! ;-)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 3 months ago from The Caribbean

      Marriages, close friends and interesting community activities! You create the most desirable neighborhoods.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Why did they move to Iowa in the first place? Same old story...in search of a better life? I always love the personal side to any story, the reasons, the motivations.