Richland County


The old-fashioned notion that hard work, patient industry, and far-sightedness make for success in the various avenues of life does not seem to be accepted so unreservedly in our day. The spread of pessimism engendered by many phases of our complex life is in a great measure responsible for the lack of faith in the old idea. However, if we observe conditions closely we will find that the intelligent individual, who leads a practical and industrious life, will reach a point of success commensurate with his efforts. The life of the subject of this sketch will afford us an instance of this.

James Marshall Kinkade, of Preston township, Richland county, Illinois was born October 22, 1845, in Hardin county, Kentucky. He was the son of James and Martha A. Kinkade, his mother's maiden name being Veach. Both were natives of Hardin county, as were their parents before them and both came originally of Irish stock. In the fall of 1850, then being five years of age. the subject of our sketch came with his parents from Hardin county, Kentucky. The journey was a formidable one in those days. The wagons of the pioneer had to be requisitioned; the Ohio had to be crossed by ferry at Louisville, Kentucky, camping out was a necessity. Added to this were the usual strain and restless expectation which always attended such journeys. They landed eventually in Shelby county, Illinois, where his father rented a farm remaining on the same for two years. Then they moved to Richland county, where one hundred and sixty acres of government land was purchased at the then current price of one dollar and twenty-five cents an acre. The place was then in the original state of wildness and its appearance bespoke years of hard and unremitting labor to bring it to perfection. Undaunted, the elder Kinkade set about the task, and at once started building a house for his family upon the property, in the meantime placing them for safety under the roof of the log cabin of another family at the next settlement. The house erected was a frame one, being the first of that description built in what is now Preston township. Having added barns and other buildings he moved the family into their new home. This was at a period eight or ten years before the district had been surveyed. There were no roads. People drove haphazardly about over cow-paths and trails. Upon the official survey being made, the elder Kinkade was elected Supervisor and as the township was as yet unnamed the process of christening it was left to the father of the subject of our sketch. He named it Preston township which name it bears today. In the period we are referring to the antiquated horse-mills were in use. It was customary for people to bring "grist to the mill" on horseback, utilizing the horses on their arrival to grind their produce. Whole wheat flour and that of the coarse variety were in use at that time. The process of evolution asserting itself, later on the windmill superseded the horse as motor power. Old time methods ruled in the agricultural line. In the planting of corn it was usual to hitch three yoke of oxen to the plow. At every third furrow corn was dropped in and the soil turned over upon it. The subject of our sketch remembers this process perfectly and many youthful days spent in assisting his father in the operation. As another instance of the backwardness of agricultural life at this time the threshing machine had not yet appeared on the scene. Threshing was done in this manner: The sheaves of wheat were laid upon the ground in a circle and horses were ridden around over them. When one side was threshed, or more literally, trampled out, the sheaves were turned and the process repeated. The elder Kinkade continued to improve the farm all through this time, fencing and erecting outbuildings. He obtained his timber supply from a plantation of eighty acres which stood in his land.

James Marshall Kinkade remained at home on the farm until his twenty-first year. Afterwards, as something of a change he hired out with neighboring farmers. When past his twenty-third birthday lie married Margaret J. Upton, on February 28, 1869, at which time he erected the home he now lives in on the family property, and having purchased forty acres from his father settled down to farm. His parents continued to live in the nearby home until the fall of 1884, when they bought town property in Dundas, Preston township, whither they moved, and where they remained until their demise. The elder James Kinkade was born October 26, 1817, married April 9, 1838, as before stated, in Harclin county, Kentucky, and died August 23, 1893. His wife preceded him February 3, 1891. Both are buried in Dundas cemetery, Preston township. During their married life they reared nine children, five boys and four girls, of which James Marshall Kinkade was fourth in order of birth. Seven of the family grew to maturity, while one died at the age of ten years.

The mother of James Marshall Kinkade was born August n, 1816, in Hardin county, Kentucky. On her marriage she left the home of her parents who were also natives Kentuckians, and who died in their native state. She was one of seven children, all of whom grew up.

Margaret J. Upton, the wife of the subject of our sketch, whom he married in 1869, was born in Richland county, Preston township, October n, 1852, and was the daughter of Isaac and Cynthia Upton, natives of Ohio, whose parents originally came from Kentucky. Her parents married in September, 1851, in Mercer county, Ohio. In 1851, her father and grandfather went to Iowa in search of land, when not finding a suitable location they turned their faces toward Richland county, Illinois, in which they settled on one hundred and sixty acres, paying the government price of one dollar and twenty-five cents an acre. Upon settling in Illinois they sent to Ohio for their families. They remained in the new location for three years when they sold out and purchased another one hundred and sixty acres of prairie and eighty acres of timber which they settled on and where Grandmother Upton died. Grandfather Upton surviving her a few years and dying upon what is known as the Hill farm. He had reached his seventieth year. The younger people, Isaac and his wife, remained on the farm at Dundas, Illinois (Preston township) until the time of their death. Mrs. Upton died at the age of thirty-one, in the year 1866. Her husband survived her several years, dying December 13, 1889, aged fifty-seven years, two months and two days. The couple were the parents of six children five growing to maturity, one dying in infancy. The wife of the subject of this sketch was the oldest of her family.

During his long farming life, James Marshall Kinkade prospered, and he now owns one hundred and five acres of rich farm land and which has been painstakingly improved and admirably cultivated under his supervision. He leads a very happy family life and has had three children born to him. Two grew to maturity while one died in early life. Of his children, Luella became the wife of Allison T. Phillips, a well known accountant in Casper, Wyoming, and James I. has been an employee of the Illinois Central for several years on which road he is a brakeman.

In early life James Marshall Kinkade obtained a better education than many in the township. He spent a term of six months in the subscription schools, after which he attended the free common schools until his twenty-first year. In his school-boy days he was considered a very apt pupil; and his early training has been of much benefit to him in after years.

In politics he is a Democrat and is an ardent admirer of William Jennings Bryan. He has been quite active in township affairs where his ability and practical common sense have received recognition. He has been for some time Road Commissioner, an office for which he is well fitted and which he still holds. He served a term of nine years as Treasurer of schools in Preston township. In religion his wife is a member of the Missionary Baptist church at Dundas. Preston township, Richland county, Illinois.

Extracted 21 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 478-481.

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