One Man's Ruminations About Faith, Family, and Livin' The Good Life
"If a community, or a section, or a race, or an age, is groaning under industrialism, and well aware that it is an evil dispensation, it must find a way to throw it off. To think that this cannot be done is pusillanimous. And if the whole community, section, race, or age thinks it cannot be done, then... it has doomed itself to impotence." —Twelve Southerners
William Clifton Kimball’s Story
Since I began blogging here almost four years ago, I have learned a lot about my family history that I never knew before. Kin from branches of my family have found me after reading essays I’ve written here, like What My Grandmother Did For Me.
My heritage is largely Scotch & Irish and, as I noted in my essay, My Puritan Roots, English. It was a real delight a couple years ago to receive the gift of a Kimball family history book from my newfound Canadian cousin, Reg Kimball, that was compiled and published by his brother Carroll.
All my life I have known my kin to be from Northern Maine but it turns out that the roots and branches of Kimball and Philbrick (my mother’s maiden surname) family trees crisscross back and forth between Maine and Canada.
Most recently is was my pleasure to hear from a hitherto unknown cousin, Donna, who lives in British Columbia, and sent me the picture above of our common relation, William Clifton Kimball. Donna received the photo from her Aunt Kathleen who is now 96 years old.
William Clifton Kimball was Donna’s great grandfather and he was the brother of my great grandfather, Leverett Gaylon Kimball (who I wrote about HERE). What that means is that Donna’s grandfather, Wendell Lee Kimball, and my grandfather, Dr. Herrick C. Kimball, were first cousins. And if I’m looking at this right, that would make my father, Dr. Philip R. Kimball and Donna’s father, Harry Lee Kimball, second cousins. And so Donna and me are third cousins. (someone set me straight if I’ve got this cousin thing wrong).
As an aside, I would like to note that the father of Leverett and William was Jedediah Kimball of New Brunswick. Great, great “Grandpa Jed” died of a heart attack at 70 years of age, in 1892. He had no will. His widow, Eliza, made an application to the probate court that states in part, “...Jedediah Kimball, late of the Parish of Wakefield, in the county of Carelton, aforesaid, Yeoman, departed his life on or about....”
That little quotation out of an obscure legal document is of particular interest to me because I have long had a real respect for Yeomen of the past. In fact I’ve written of them in my Deliberate Agrarian book (see sidebar at right) and in blog essays here. Now, lo and behold, I’ve discovered that I am the descendent of a bona fide Yeoman (and there were many others). I have the DNA of Yeomen in me. Now it all makes sense.
There is a story about William Clifton Kimball but before I tell it, I need to introduce you to William’s wife, Bertha Jane. Here’s a picture of Bertha: Bertha Jane was born in Blissville, New Brunswick, Canada in 1855. William was born in Jacksontown, Carleton County, Canada, in 1853. They had three children. According to cousin Donna, “William farmed sugarbush and potatoes” as did his brother Bird (Burdon Hannibal Kimball) and Lev (Leverett, my great grandfather). Both brothers had left Canada and settled in Fort Fairfield, Maine, which is where both my parents are from.
That old picture of William shows a healthy, handsome young man. I particularly like his tousled hair. Was that the style of the time? Or was that an insight into William’s character? I have studied the picture of William, trying to find features common to the both of us. I think it may be the forehead. My son James says it's the definately the chin and ears. My son Robert says it's the eyebrows. Marlene says that my hair flips up like that sometimes. If my grandmother were still alive, she would be able to tell me for sure. Grandmothers are good at that sort of thing.
William and Bertha Jane both endured significant hardship in their lives. Bertha lost a leg to gangrene when she was eight years old. William died of Tuberculosis when he was only 37. He left his farm to his son, Wendell Lee (Donna’s grandfather) and Bertha lived there until she died at 96 years of age in 1951.
Donna’s Aunt Kathleen (the woman from whom these pictures came) grew up with her grandmother Bertha in the house and called her “Oldie.” Bertha related to Kathleen that “William was so sick with TB that she had to tie him to the plow lest he fall over whilst she led the horse through the fields.”
Of that recollection, cousin Donna wrote me the following: “What a poignant picture that conveys, a dying man plowing a field, led by a young woman with only one leg! One has to admire the strength and determination of these people. Life was truly hard and if one did not work, one starved.”
So there is the story of William Clifton Kimball
It is difficult for people of this day and age to fully comprehend stories like that. There were few conveniences in the rural frontier of the late 1800s. That must have been tough. But there was no graduated state and federal income tax either. That must have been nice. For more complete historical and cultural perspective, I invite you to read the introduction to my blog, Diary of an 1892 Farmer’s Wife.
I've been blogging here about Faith, Family & Livin' The Good Life since 2005. Browse down this column and you will discover a rich resource of contra-industrial thought, down-to-earth inspiration & useful how-to information.
As of May 2013 I have ceased the regular once-a-month "blogazine" format and gone back to sporadic posting. Please sign up above to receive an e-mail notice when I post an essay to this blog.
CLICK HEREto view the archive of links to past Deliberate Agrarian monthly "blogazines."
Whizbang Gardening is Coming Soon!
Click the book's cover to learn more
Have You Been To Planet Whizbang?
It's my deliberate agrarian home business. Click the beet and check it out.
My New York Times Op-Ed Article
The Jeffersonian Solution (click the man and read the article)
This Man, Now Deceased, Predicted The Economic Decline of America Back in The 1950's.
Click the picture to read about Professor Walter Prescott Webb's Boom Hypothesis of Modern History, and where we are headed from here
Agrarian-Style Economic Self Defense...
I posted this to the internet in early 2008. It is still the most practical advice you'll get for dealing with the harsh economic realities that we face now and will face even more in the years ahead. (click the picture to read the essay)
What Would an Agrarian Monetary System Look Like?
Well, for one thing, it would NOT be based on paper money. Click Andy Jackson for some details.
Thomas Jefferson's Warnings About Government Debt (Then and Now)
Read it and weep (click the president)
How Farmers Became Slaves To The Corporate Masters
Click on the mostly forgotton 1937 book by Professor Walter Prescott Webb and learn the sad story
Delmar Ain't So Stupid...
Click on Delmar and read why I think he's the smartest of the three characters in the "Oh Brother Where Art Thou" movie
It's my new blog. Click the picture and stop on by!
The Deliberate Agrarian Book
(click picture for details)
Have You Seen The Planet Whizbang Wheel Hoe I Invented?
Click The Picture For Details about the hoe and the inexpensive wheel hoe kits I sell
A Christian-Agrarian perspective (click the picture to read the essay)
I Invite You To Read My Online Gardening Essays
Click on that beautiful handful of sifted compost.
Have You Seen Leo Sprauer's Handcrafted Hop Hoe?
Click the picture to learn more.
A Missive On The Prosperity-Driven Life
"The desire to be rich, to have an abundance of possessions and money, is the keystone of our modern, neo-Babylonian culture." (click the picture for my perspective)
Prosperity Gospel/ Prosperity Idolatry
Click the picture to hear John Piper's powerful 2.5 minute condemnation of the modern prosperity gospel
Have You Read Roe?
E.P. Roe, that is. Click on his picture to read some excerpts from this remarkable Christian-agrarian author of the 1800s.
Deliberate Agrarian Archives (From Before The New Monthly Format)