David Kingery

Carroll County IL Biography

No person of intelligence can fail to listen with warm interest to the citations of the old pioneers in reference to their early experience on what was then the frontier. Northern Illinois was peculiarly fortunate in being settled up by a very intelligent class of men, most of whom were the architects of their own fortunes. The larger portion of them came to this section without other resources than their own industry and perseverance, and the hardships and difficulties under which they labored served to develop within them that self-reliant and courageous spirit which is most needed during “the times that try men’s souls.” In the subject of this notice we have one of the most worthy representatives of pioneer life, one who labored faithfully in the building up of his homestead, and was rewarded by the accumulation of a competence. In 1885 he retired from active labor, and is spending his declining years amid the comforts of a pleasant home in Mt. Carroll, surrounded by hosts of friends, and able to contemplate with satisfaction the years of a well-spent life.

Mr. Kingery was born about one-fourth of a mile from the famous battle-ground of Antietam, in Washington County, Md., Oct. 30, 1822. He there spent his childhood and youth, acquiring a practical education in the common schools, and occupying himself around the homestead until starting out for himself. He then engaged with a farmer of his neighborhood, Jacob A. Thomas, with whom he worked a whole year for $108. Later, he spent eighteen months in a cooper-shop with his brother Daniel, and sojourned in that region until a young man of twenty-two years.

Young Kingery now determined to seek his fortunes in the Far West, and accordingly joined a wagon-train coming to Illinois. He stopped first in Ogle County a short time, and worked for his board for Henry Thomas. His mother and brother had come to Carroll County the spring previous, and our subject now joined them, and entered the employ of Landlord Rapp, of the Stone Tavern. Later he engaged with Mr. Emmert to drive a six mule team with flour to Savanna, for which he was to receive $15 per month during the winter. Later he engaged in splitting rails. He had brought with him a horse, saddle and bridle, and these, with $100 in money, he gave for eighty acres of land in Woodland Township, situated one mile north of Mt. Carroll.

Our subject now entered upon the improvement of his purchase, put up a small house (which was soon replaced by a larger and more commodious dwelling), in due time built a barn, and entered upon the career which ended so prosperously. He invested his capital in more land as time passed on, and lived upon the farm thus secured a period of twelve years. He then sold out, and purchased land near the fair-grounds to the extent of 115 acres. During the following five years he cleared $5,000, and sold his farm at $70 per acre. His next purchase was 186 acres in Salem Township at $70 per acre, with a fine large house and a big bank barn – the finest in the county at that time. This farm he occupied fourteen years, and until his removal into town. He still retains possession of it, and owns land to the extent of 300 acres; some of the very best within the limits of Carroll County.

In the city Mr. Kingery purchased a fine home, where he now lives, and takes solid comfort. He was married, Sept. 9, 1847, to Miss Barbara Emmert, and to them there were born four children; all living. Their son Benjamin owns and operates a farm of 102 acres south of Lanark, which was purchased and given to him by his father; Anna became the wife of Albert Kinney, and was presented by her father with a farm of seventy-five acres, improved, with good buildings; Sophia (Mrs. John Lowe) lives in Conrad Grove, Iowa; Katie is unmarried, and remains at home with her parents. Mrs. Barbara (Emmert) Kingery departed this life at the home in Mt. Carroll Township, in 1864. She was born near Lapham’s Cross-Roads, in Washington County, Md., and came to this county with her mother prior to the arrival of our subject here. She was a sister to the well-known George Emmert, who established the first mill in the vicinity of Mt. Carroll, and which was the only institution of its kind for many miles during a number of years. Her father had died prior to the removal of the family to Illinois.

Our subject contracted a second marriage, Aug. 17, 1865, with Mrs. Elizabeth (Boyer) Smith, widow of Joseph Smith. This lady was born in Washington County, Md., Jan. 20, 1829, and when a maiden of sixteen years came with her parents to this county, they settling three-fourths of a mile north of Mt. Carroll. She was married to Joseph Smith, in 1850, when twenty-one years old. Her parents, Jacob and Susan (Shamel) Boyer, were natives of Maryland, and reared a family of twelve children. They occupied the farm, which the father built up from a tract of uncultivated land, until after his death, which occurred in January, 1866. The wife and mother survived her husband until 1885, and died in Mt. Carroll Township.

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Smith after their marriage settled on a farm northeast of Carroll, and in due time became the parents of four children. Their eldest daughter, Mary, is the wife of John S. Grove, a sketch of whom will be found elsewhere in this work; Susan married James Petty, and they live in Mt. Carroll Township; Augustus is farming in Lanark Township, this county; Albert is engaged in the hardware trade at Albion, Neb.; Mr. Smith departed this life at their farm, Feb. 20, 1857.

Two of the three children born to Mr. Kingery of his second marriage are still living – Andrew and Charles. The first mentioned carries on the old farm in Salem Township, and the latter is at home. Mr. Kingery has been equally generous with all the children who have left home, giving to Andrew, as well as the others, a good start in life; his farm being provided with good improvements, machinery, horses, etc.

The father of our subject was Jacob Kingery, a native of Maryland, where he spent his entire life engage in agricultural pursuits, his farm comprising much of the battle-ground of Antietam. Jacob Boyer, the father of Mrs. Elizabeth Kingery, spent his early days in Green Castle, Pa., and in 1844 came to this county, where he sojourned until his death.

Mr. Kingery has steadily avoided becoming an office-holder, although he has maintained a warm interest in National and State affairs, and given his support to the Republican party. He was for a time, however, persuaded to serve as a School Director in his district, and has always been willing to aid the enterprises calculated for the good of the community. In religious matters both he and his excellent wife are members of the German Baptist Church.

Transcribed & Contributed by Carol Parrish from Portraits and Biographical 1889 Pg 918

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