Henry header


Biographies K

 Following are some biographies of families who at one time or another lived in Henry Co. Illinois. In some cases it is the grandparent,  parent, sibling, spouse or child who was a Henry Co. resident so please read carefully!


KALLSTROM, Charles G., organist and Swedish school teacher, P. O. Stanton; born in Smaland, Katmar, of Sweden, February 14, 1855. When but a few days old he had the misfortune to lose by death his sister (a twin) and also his mother. His father died in 1859, leaving him alone in the world. He lived with his uncle and received a good common school education. He emigrated to America in 1866, coming to Andover, Henry County, Illinois. In 1867 he was taken sick and not being able to support himself, he was taken to the Swedish Orphans' Home, where he remained until 1873, when he came to this state and county. In 1876 he was elected organist of the Swedish church of Stanton, and also Swedish teacher, which positions he still occupies. He returned to Sweden, in 1877, to have his eyes operated on, which was successfully done. April 22, 1880, he was married in Stanton, to Miss Emily A. Nelson, who was born in Sweden, April 20, 1856. Both are members of the church.

Source: History of Montgomery County Iowa, 1881 Scott Twp.


KENT, William H., farmer, P. O. Shenandoah; born March 16, 1828, in Sussex county, New Jersey, and resided there until sixteen years of age, when he moved to Livingstone, Essex county, New Jersey, where he resided until the year 1854. After removing to Peoria county, Illinois, and remaining until 1870, he moved to Henry county, Illinois, and from there to Iowa locating in Fremont county. March 6, 1847 he was united by the marriage tie to Miss Catherine Westfall, a native of Sussex county, New Jersey, who was born January 24, 1828. They have eight children: Floyd G., Willie W., Albert D., Sarah A., George R., Frank E., Robert C., Charles T.; four deceased.

Source: History of Fremont Co IA, 1881


Mrs. Amanda Kerr, widow of the late Thomas W. Kerr, was one of the most beloved women of Henry County. One of her most notable characteristics was her courage, and she was industrious, while truth and uprightness were her watchwords. She was born in Wooster, Ohio, February 123, 1841, a daughter of Jacob and Susan Henninger, very early settlers of Hanna Township, Henry County, to which they came in 1846.

In 1859 Miss Henninger married Thomas W. Kerr and they commenced housekeeping in Hanna Township. After his death, February 29, 1896, she lived with her children, all of whom claimed the privilege of ministering to her, and she died November 11, 1908, at the home of her daughter Mrs. Percy Davis after four years of ill health as the result of a paralytic stroke. Mrs. Kerr bore her husband nine children and all but two grew to mature years, namely: Mrs. Ella Withrow, Mrs. Amy Burton, G. W. Kerry, Mrs. Lena Withrow, Mrs. Mina Davis, J. E. Kerr, and H. Z. Kerr, all of whom attended her funeral with the exception of Mrs. Burton, whose home in Montford, Montana, was too far distant for to arrive in time. Mrs. Kerr's two brothers, George and Fletcher Henninger, and her sister, Mrs. Phoeba Malone, were also at the funeral. The other members of her family who are now deceased are: Mrs. Elizabeth Stanbro, Mrs. Harriet Bacon, John, Hiram and Mrs. Clara Walker.

The services were held at the residence of Mr. And Mrs. Davis the Saturday following her demise, the Rev. F. A. Smiley, pastor of the Presbyterian Church, officiating. The choir rendered her favorite hymns and her remains were interred in Oakwood Cemetery.

Mrs. Kerr during her earlier life worked with tireless energy and faithful love for her family. She ever maintained a deep affection for her home and the duties pertaining to it. In her daily life she set an example of womanly devotion and sweetness of disposition that have helped many struggling to become better and truer wives and mothers, while to her immediate family she was the one who was every ready to listen and assist. Her place can never be filled. In the hearts of her children she is enthroned as long as life lasts, and they look forward to joining her with their father in the land where there are no partings and families will once more be reunited.

Source: "History of Henry County Illinois", by Henry L. Kiner, Volume II, Chicago: Pioneer Publishing Co,  1910

Submitted by: Alice Gless


In the death of Thomas W. Kerr, Hanna Township lost one of its best men and a citizen of whom any community might well be proud for he was upright, fearless and devoted to his home and family. He was a man of the highest integrity, gentle and warm-hearted, and he drew friends to him and held them through life. All who know him respected him and although years have elapsed since he was called to his reward, his memory is tenderly cherished.

Mr. Kerr was born in Armstrong county, Pennsylvania, March 16, 1830, a son of Zachariah and Margaret Kerr. The family removed from the Keystone state to Ohio and there Mr. Kerr resided for nine years before coming to Illinois in 1857. Arriving here, he located in Hanna Township, Henry County, and in 1859 married Amanda Henninger, who survived him many years. He and his wife had a family of nine children, all but two growing to maturity, and they were with him in his last illness, which resulted in his death, February 29, 1896.

When a young man, Mr. Kerr joined the Presbyterian Church and its faith was a great comfort and support to him during his long illness as well as in his active days. The funeral services were conducted in his late residence by the Rev. s. H. Weed, of Hanna Center, assisted by the Revs. J. H. Skidmore and Rev. S. H. Weed, of Hanna Center, assisted by the Revs. J. H. Skidmore and W. J. Ward, while the Green River Choir rendered some choice selections.

Mr. Kerr is remembered as a man of the highest moral character, and although he was permitted to amass a comfortable fortune it was not through taking advantage of his fellow creatures but as the result of years of industry and economical habits. A good man, he believed others true, and enjoyed his friendship with his neighbors and his associations with his church.

Source: "History of Henry County Illinois", by Henry L. Kiner, Volume II, Chicago: Pioneer Publishing Co 1910

Contributed by: Alice Gless


Geneseo and Henry County know Henry L. Kiner as a representative citizen who, through forty years of his connection with the city, has displayed marked devotion to the general welfare as a public-spirited citizen. Throughout the county he is known as a journalist and writer who has won more than passing notice as a contributor to leading magazines. Mr. Kiner has reached the fifty-eighth milestone on life's journey, his birth having occurred on the 1st of February, 1851, at the foot of Mount Nemo in Schafer's Valley, Perry County, Pennsylvania. His parents, William and Margaret (Calhoun) Kiner, were also natives of the Keystone state.

The founder of the Kiner family in America settled on the James River in Virginia in 1625 and a large monument was there erected to his memory which may be seen to this day. He came to the new world from Germany and in later generations branches of the family took root in other states. Jacob Kiner, the grandfather of Henry L. Kiner, was a native of Pennsylvania where, in early manhood, he followed the occupation of farming. He married Jane Dill, and they moved westward to Illinois in 1854, but the broad prairies, then comparatively uninhabited, brought to this mountain-bred couple a feeling of loneliness and they returned to Pennsylvania, spending their last days in Perry County, near Harrisburg, where both died at an advanced age. Jacob Kiner was a famous rifle shot and served in the War of 1812 with the rank of captain.

William Kiner, one of a large family of children, who was reared in Pennsylvania, where he learned and followed the blacksmith's trade. After attaining his majority he married Margaret Calhoun, a daughter of John Calhoun, who was born in Pennsylvania and was of Irish descent, his ancestors coming to this country from County Tyrone, Ireland, at which time settlement was made in Perry County, Pennsylvania. John Calhoun was a carpenter by trade, being closely associated with building interests in the community in which he lived. He wedded Peggy Ann Dill, and they reared a good-sized family at their home in Schafer's Valley, where they passed away when well advanced in years.

Some time subsequent to their marriage, Mr. And Mrs. William Kiner removed westward with their family, taking up their abode in Ottawa, Lasalle County, Illinois, on the present site of the Clifton Hotel, on the bank of the Fox River in 1854. Subsequently they took up their abode in Otter Creek Township in that county, where Mr. Kiner engaged in farming and continued to work at his trade. In 1864, he removed to Grundy County, Illinois, where died in 1865 at the age of thirty-eight years. His widow long survived him, passing away in Geneseo in 10--. At the advanced age of eighty-nine years both were members of the Methodist Church, and were consistent Christian people who enjoyed the respect of all with whom they came in contact. They were parents of two sons, the younger being Samuel R. Kiner, who died in Washington, D. C., where he had been in the employ of the government for a quarter of a century.

Henry L. Kiner, the older brother, was but three years of age when his parents removed to Lasalle County, where he was reared until 1864, after which he resided in Grundy County for five years, or until 18659, when he came to Geneseo, where he has since made his home. While spending his youthful days on his father's farm he attended the district school and later benefited by academical instruction in Farm Ridge Seminary in Lasalle County, Illinois. He made his initial step in the business world as an apprentice in the drug store of J. B. Moderwell in Geneseo in 1869, and continued in the drug trade until 1874. In January of that year he formed a partnership with John Christian and established the Henry County News, the business association continuing for four years, when Mr. Kiner purchased Mr. Christian's interest in the plant and changed the name of the paper to the Geneseo News, which he continued to edit and publish for twenty-four years longer. Mr. Kiner established an enviable reputation by his editorial pen, his writings being widely quoted throughout the United States. They are characterized by a whimsical and humorous style which, nevertheless, enforces the truth of fact which he intends to convey. For a number of years he has also been a contributor to several of the popular and leading magazines of the country, and is today one of the best known men in Henry County, his mental activity constituting a far-reaching influence.

Aside from the field of journalism, Mr. Kiner has done effective work in the City of Geneseo, his last term expiring in April 1909, when he retired from office as he had entered it—with the confidence and good will of the great majority, having given to the city during four terms a businesslike administration characterized by needed reform and substantial progress.

On the 7th of June 1881, Mr. Kiner was married in St. Louis to Miss June Howard, a daughter of Abel and Mary Ella (Hopple) Howard. They have two children: Henry Clyde, a student in the civil engineering department of the University of Illinois, and Howard Dickens, attending the Geneseo High School. Mrs. Kiner holds membership in the Congregational Church, and his political allegiance has been given to the Republican Party. Because of his business activity, his official service, his social qualities and his unfaltering devotion to the general good, he has become widely known, while in Geneseo and Henry County those who do not call him friend would scarcely figure in the census.

Source: "History of Henry County Illinois", by Henry L. Kiner, Volume II, Chicago: Pioneer Publishing Co, 1910

Contributed by: Alice Gless


Perseverance and integrity are the stepping stones by which many men have reached success, but of the early settlers of the west these characteristics were required in greater measure than usually falls to the men of old settled regions. The gentleman above mentioned possesses these attributes in a marked degree and to this fact is due his present success. He resides in section two, township thirteen, range seven, where he has a finely developed farm, comfortable home, and good buildings.

Absalom Y. King was born in New Jersey, January 7, 1842, and was third of eleven children in the family of Charles and Elizabeth (Van Fleet) King, who had nine sons and two daughters. The King family moved to Moline, Illinois, in 1855, and then to Henry county, Illinois, the following year. Mr. King was a farm boy, and farming and stock raising has been his occupation until this time.

Mr. King enlisted in Company C, Ninth Illinois Cavalry, in March, 1864, and was mustered out at Selina, Alabama, in November, 1865. He was out on scout duty most of the time during his service, and was also on patrol and detached skirmish duty.

After his discharge our subject returned to Henry county, Illinois, and in the spring of 1873 came to Merrick county, Nebraska, taking up a homestead on section six, township fourteen, range eight.  Mr. King was married to Miss Susan Artman, in Henry county, Illinois, November 17, 1864, one child being born of this union: John Edward. who is married, has one child, and resides at Lincoln, Nebraska.   Mrs. King died in January, 1866.

Mr. King was united in marriage a second time, when on October 5, 1867, he was bound in holy wedlock to Malinda McHenry, in Henry county, Illinois; and at the time of coming to Merrick county, Nebraska, the family consisted of himself, wife and three children. Six children in all were born to this union, three of whom were born in Merrick County. Of the six children five are living: Daisy, who resides at home; Charles, William, married, has four children, and lives in Merrick county; Annie May, lives at home; Eugene, married, has two children, and lives in Logan county, Nebraska; and Ernest, who resides at home; one child, Nora U., died in infancy.

Mr. King lived on his homestead until 1884, and then purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land in section two, township thirteen, range seven, where he now resides.

Mr. King is a democrat and has in past years filled different precinct offices. He and his family are pioneers of Merrick county, and enjoy the respect and esteem of a large circle of friends.

Source: The Compendium of History, Reminiscence and Biography of Nebraska; Alden Publishing Co, Chicago IL 1912


Upon section 12 of Todd Creek Precinct is one of the best farms in the district, the property of our subject. It comprises 160 acres of  thoroughly improved and highly productive farming land. This has been owned by him since March, 1879, and was purchased within two weeks of his coming to the State. Nearly everything that has been done in the line of improvements is his work. His property is hedged in a very perfect manner, and it is well kept and trimmed,  presenting a fine appearance and effectually serving the design and purpose. Other    improvements, such as grove, orchard, etc., have all found their place with our subject,  and are a credit to his enterprise, good taste and diligence.

Our subject chiefly devotes his energies to the raising of stock, dealing chiefly in high-grade Shorthorns, thoroughbred hogs of the Poland-China variety, graded sheep and drift horses and roadsters. In this connection he is quite widely and favorably  known. His reputation as a business man is marked as being of the most honorable description possible, and his stock is unquestionably good.

The birth of our subject took place on the 26th of August, 1851, in Wilson Township,  Niagara Co., N. Y., and he made his home there until he was about sixteen years of age, when, with his parents, he went to Henry County, Ill., and remained with them until attaining his majority. His education, which was obtained in the common schools, was practical and thorough so far as it went, and embraced the usual subject of instruction.   Schooling finished, his energies were directed to husbandry and the care of stock, which he has continued almost without intermission up to the present time.

The subject of our sketch was united in marriage with Miss Helen E. Taylor, of Kewanee, Ill., on the 14th of October, 1874. Their union has been consummated by the birth of four children, all of whom are living. The subjoined are the names borne by them: Lewis, Clara, Clarence and May. Mrs. King was born in Knox County, Ill., on the 8th of May, 1855. She was educated in the common schools of the county, and is possessed of much innate refinement, which, with her happy disposition, makes her  eminently fitted for domestic or social life.

The father of Mrs. King, A. A. Taylor, was born in New York. While but a young man he went to Pennsylvania, thence to Michigan, and finally to Illinois. He is now a resident of Nebraska. The maiden name of his wife was Susan Hurlburt. They became the parents of seven children, six of whom are still living.

Horace King, the father of our subject, was born in Columbia County, N. Y., and as a young man moved to Niagara County in order to take a farm and begin life for himself.   He married Miss Desire Burton, in Columbia County, N. Y., by whom he became the father of five children, of whom three are living. By an unusual coincidence all three are owners of extensive farms in this county, and are among the well-to do citizens. In 1866 Mr. King moved to Henry County, and there made his home until he came hither.  His death occurred on the 16th of September, 1875; his widow still survives. He was a member of the Free Methodist Church.

The subject of our sketch has won and retained the hearty esteem of the community.   He has been called upon to fill various school offices, and that of Road Supervisor. He is not prominent as a politician, but is always careful to exercise his right of franchise, voting with the Republican party. Both he and his wife are in communion with the Free-Will Baptist Church, and take much interest in matters connected therewith. In that and every other circle of society they are highly respected by all who know them.

Source: Biographical Album of Johnson & Pawnee Counties Nebraska; Johnson Co p 406-407


J. C. KINGSLEY, deceased, who, during all of his residence in York county, contributed much to its financial interests, was born in Indiana in 1839, the son of a farmer. His parents settled in that state during the pioneer days, when agricultural success was attained only through struggles of which the present generation knows little. They made for themselves a comfortable home and remained in Indiana during their life.

Mr. Kingsley was reared a farmer and while yet a young man moved to Illinois and engaged in that pursuit in Marshall county. He soon became prominent in his community and was elected clerk of the county. He successfully filled this office and was continued in the same capacity for nine successive years. From Marshall county he moved to Peoria, Illinois, and for a short time engaged in the marble trade. Having decided to again turn his attention to farming, he purchased a large tract of land in York county, Nebraska, and in 1883 established his home. He became interested in the First National Bank of York and was its vice-president at the time of his death. He extended his financial interests and engaged to some extent in the real estate and loan business.

At the outbreak of the Civil war Mr. Kingsley responded to his country's call and in 1861 enlisted in a company of Illinois Volunteers. He was in many battles during his four years' service and accompanied Sherman on his famous march to the sea. During his army life he received a sunstroke. Although he enlisted a private soldier his faithful attention to his military duties raised him in rank, and when mustered out of the service he was captain of his company.

Mr. Kingsley was united in marriage in 1860, with Mary Bell, a resident of Illinois, To this union were born seven children, four of whom are now living.

Mr. Kingsley's second marriage was in 1885 to Fannie Leavett, a daughter of Anthony Leavett, a native of Massachusetts. Mrs. Kingsley, at the time of her marriage, was a resident of Henry county, Illinois. One child was born to Mr. and Mrs. Kingsley, a daughter, upon whom they bestowed the name of Helen L.

Mr. Kingsley was an honored member of the Masonic fraternity, also the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and an exemplary member of the Presbyterian church. He was a prominent political worker and advocated Republican principles. His success was due to his energy, his natural ability and his integrity.

Source: Memorial and Biographical Record of Butler, Polk, Seward, York and Fillmore Counties Nebraska, p1108-1109