Page 822-824, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


J. L. Kimberlin, of Clifford township, belongs to one of the pioneer families of Butler county, coming to this county with his parents in 1870, when he was six years of age. He is a son of M. D. L. and Winifred (Hourigan) Kimberlin, both natives of Kentucky. The mother was born in Marion county, and was a daughter of James and Susan Hourigan. James Hourigan was a native of Ireland and a Kentucky pioneer. He was the first man to plant an orchard in Marion county, Kentucky. M. D. L. Kimberlin was born in Washington county, Kentucky, in 1824, of Irish and Scotch ancestry. John Kimberlin, his father, was a Kentucky pioneer, settling in that State, not far from the date of Daniel Boone's settlement there.

M. D. L. Kimberlin came to Kansas in 1870, and after spending about a year in Bourbon county, came to Butler county in 1871, and bought a quarter section of land upon which he built a two story house, 20x36 feet, which was considered one of the finest houses in that section at the time. He had more capital than the average pioneer of that time. He had been a tobacco raiser while in Kentucky, and had made considerable money there. Shortly after buying his first quarter sec-


tion here, he bought an additional quarter, and at the time of his death in 1886, he owned a half section of land and was fairly prosperous. He died about the time that the development of Butler county had really begun, and was thus denied the privilege and pleasure of seeing his faith in Butler county fully verified. When he came here, he built his house exactly on the old trail leading from Emporia to the Southwest, and after that the trail made a circuitous route around the place. In the early days, great herds of cattle were driven over this trail from Texas and New Mexico to Kansas City. Old Plum Grove was quite a frontier town then, and had a general store, a blacksmith shop and a saloon, and the cowboys and cattlemen generally camped in this vicinity with their herds, and now and then, after some of them had a plentiful supply of the "oil of joy," they would celebrate the event by shooting up the town of Old Plum Grove in true frontier style. Most of the land in that section at the time was what was known as speculator land, and a great deal of it was owned by Mr. Potwin, after whom the town of Potwin was named, who had bought this land for thirty-two cents per acre.

J. L. Kimberlin was born in Washington county, Kentucky. February 1, 1864, and was one of a family of eight children. After coming to Kansas he grew to manhood, surrounded by the primitive pioneer conditions and had very little opportunity to obtain an education. However, he has been a student all his life and an extensive reader, and is what might properly be termed a thoroughly self educated man, and is one of the best posted men on current events to be found in Butler county. In early life he followed the cattle industry on the open range, more or less, and has been a cowboy in New Mexico and Texas as well as Kansas, and has an interesting stock of reminiscences of the early days and happenings on the plains when he was a boy. One of his first business enterprises was herding hogs for the neighborhood, long before the days of fences. He herded a drove of 400 hogs one season for $12 per month in the early seventies. Another one of his early boyhood enterprises was trapping and shooting rabbits and prairie chicken which he shipped to St. Louis in considerable quantities, which developed into quite a profitable business and the money, which he received in this way, gave him his first real start in life. He invested it in calves, and gradually developed quite a herd. He worked some at the stone mason's trade in the early days, building cellar walls for the settlers, and for a time, rented land and carried on the stock business, and later he and his brothers, Frank and George, bought a half section of land, going into debt for most of the purchase price, which they paid in six years. When they divided their interests, J. L. got the southeast quarter of section 33, which is now a very well improved farm. He is one of the successful fruit growers of Butler county, and has a fine apple orchard as well as an abundance of small fruit. He finds the fruit industry to be profitable and much to his liking in connection with his


other work, and always finds a ready market for his fruit of all varieties. He has made careful study of horticulture, and uses the most modern methods of spraying and caring for his trees generally. Mr. Kimberlin has perhaps the best barn in Butler county. The plan of it, which is entirely his own, is unique in many ways. The building is 56x40 feet with a circular roof, with every convenience for handling grain and hay. His place is well equipped with other farm buildings, affording the most modern and scientific methods of farming.

Mr. Kimberlin was married to Miss Minnie Van, a daughter of J. G. and Evelyn (Adams) Van, the former a native of Missouri, and the latter of Illinois. J. G. Van was a son of William Van, a native of England who was one of the earliest settlers of Butler county and who homesteaded near where Towanda now is. Mrs. Kimberlin was one of a family of six children. Mr. and Mrs. Kimberlin have a wide acquaintance in Butler county, and are well and favorably known.

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