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History of Madison
County, Iowa, 1915.

Biographical.  Volume 2.


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Herman A. Kinsman.

One of the most respected and well known residents of Douglas township is Herman A. Kinsman, who is farming on section 27.  He was born Mrch 26, 1844, in Williamstown, Orange county, Vermont, a son of Dennison and Mary (Martin) Kinsman, also natives of Williamstown.  The father was born on the 6th of July, 1818, and the mother on the 11th of March of that year.  He began farming in early manhood and became a landowner in the Green Mountain state, but in 1855 removed with his family to Princeton, Illinois, where he became a well known farmer and landowner.  In 1867 he left Illinois and came to this county when there were still many evidences of frontier life.  He was a member of the Congregational church while living in Illinois, but after coming to this county united with the Presbyterian church, in which he served as elder for a number of years.  He was active in all phases of church work and his influence was powerful for good in his community.  He took a prominent part in public affairs and gave his political allegiance to the republican party.  There were five children in the family, three sons and two daughters.  James W. enlisted in the Ninety-third Illinois Volunteer Infantry for service in the Civil war and was many times under fire, participating, among other engagements, in the siege of Vicksburg.  He was also with Sherman on the famous march to the sea.  Jason and Sarah both died in childhood.  The elder daughter, Rosanna, makes her home with the subject of this review.  At the time of his death in June, 1903, the father was a resident of this county.

Herman A. Kinsman attended the district schools in Illinois, and later Mr. Smith's private school, the Princeton Academy and the Dover (Ill.) Academy.  At the age of twenty years he enlisted for one hundred days in Company G, One Hundred and Thirty-ninth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and was made first corporal of his company.  He did garrison duty at Cairo, Illinois, and in answer to President Lincoln's call served extra time and went with his regiment to Missouri to meet General Price's army.  However, he saw no actual fighting.  Upon his return home he resumed his education.

In company with his future brother-in-law, Mr. Kinsman started for St. Joseph, Missouri, expecting to journey west with emigrant trains, but he was not able to make such arrangements and returned to Illinois.  He was there married and in 1870 removed with his family to this county, where he began farming.  Although without financial resources at the time of his arrival here, he became in time the owner of one hundred and sixty acres of fine land, which is still in his possession and he carries on general farming and stock-raising, being considered one of the efficient and successful agriculturists of his township.

Mr. Kinsman was married on the 10th of March, 1870, to Miss Nancy Ward, who was born in Heath, Franklin county, Massachusetts, on the 10th of March, 1849, and died March 25, 1906, many friends mourning her loss.  Her parents, Lysander M. and Priscilla (Avery) Ward, were both born in Massachusetts, the father on the 26th of February, 1816, and the mother on the 12th of December, 1818.  Lysander M. Ward was a merchant in the old Bay state, but upon removing to Illinois, in 1855, settled upon a farm near Mendota.  He lived there until 1882, in which year he went to David City, Nebraska, where he was residing at the time of his death, which occurred on the 24th of April, 1901.  His wife had preceded him to the great beyond, her demise occurring on the 3d of January, 1892.  He was a landowner and a substantial citizen and his life was such that he commanded the respect of his fellowmen.  He was a member of the Congregational church and quite active in its work.  He was married twice and had nine children by the two unions, Mrs. Kinsman being the first born of the second marriage.  To Mr. and Mrs. Kinsman were born three children.  Jennie, who graduated with the Bachelor of Arts degree at Monmouth College, is the wife of Professor Charles Steck, who has the degree of Bachelor of Arts from the University of Chicago and is professor of mathematics in the State College at Durham, New Hampshire.  To their union has been born a daughter, Helen Shirley.  Faith D. has kept house for her father since her mother's death in 1906.  Priscilla is taking music at Northwestern College at Naperville, Illinois.  Mr. and Mrs. Kinsman reared a young man, John B. Tullis, now a resident of Alvin, Texas, who remained with the family until twenty-one years of age.

Mr. Kinsman is loyal in his support of the men and measures of the republican party and has held all of the township offices.  For the past eight years he has served as secretary and treasurer of the Madison County Sunday School Association.  He has also for many years been school treasurer, being thus closely identified with two of the greatest agencies for the intellectual and moral advancement of a community.  In the late '70s, when the Grange was at its height, he was county deputy and took a great interest in the work of that organization.  He is connected with Pitzer Post, G. A. R., of Winterset and has served as vice commander.  Although he is well-to-do, his life has not been devoted to the acquiring of individual success alone; on the contrary he has given much time and thought to many public activities and holds a place in the estimation of the public that mere material success could not give.


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