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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



It has been well said that the human soul that has never been gauged is like the shining piece of iron ere it is subjected to the tempering process essential to its conversion into invulnerable steel, and certain it is that he who has passed through the crucible of experience without the loss of his finer qualities or of his faith in humanity, is worthy of the highest esteem of his fellowmen. In the varied career of Mr. Kimball, president of the well known firm of Kimball-Upson Co., who are conducting one of the largest sporting goods stores in the West, all the trials and disillusionments inevitable to a man of his courageous spirit and principles of right and honor have been present, yet it is the testimony of all who know him well that his attitude toward mankind is most generous and his optimism regarding life one of his leading characteristics.

Born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, June 23, 1862, Mr. Kimball was the fourth eldest child of a family of fourteen born to Caleb and Frances (Nixon) Kimball, natives of Pennsylvania, and among the early settlers of Iowa. Mr. Kimball is a thorough American, descended from the first Puritan settlers of Massachusetts.

No question as to the validity of his claim to membership in the organization of the Sons of the Revolution could arise, since the direct ancestors of both his father and mother served in the war for Independence. On the paternal side, his great-grandfather. Jacob Kimball, while yet a mere boy, was among the first to enlist in a division formed in Salem, Mass., while among his mother's illustrious progenitors were both Col. Ethan Allen, distinguished in history not only because of his wonderful service in the capture of Fort Ticonderoga, but in numerous other engagements, as well, and John Nixon, president of the first Continental Congress which convened in May, 1775, at Philadelphia.

Mr. Kimball received his early education in the public schools of Iowa and served an apprenticeship under his father, who followed the vocation of contractor and builder. In 1883 he left his home in Council Bluffs to locate in Stockton, Cal., where he resumed his studies for four years in Clark's Commercial College and Normal Institute, graduating from both departments in 1887, after which he came to Sacramento, where he was offered a situation in the Bainbridge Business College, serving efficiently two years prior to entering into a real estate partnership with Charles F. Gardner, who at that time was receiver of the United States Land Office at Sacramento. A year later, in 1891, Mr. Kimball engaged in business for himself at 705 J street, purchasing a bicycle stock, supplemented by a small line of sporting goods, and in 1893, having in the interim taken Mr. L. S. Upson into the company he transferred the business to the building on the corner of Seventh and J streets, where the new bank of D. O. Mills now stands. During the succeeding ten years, they continued their trade upon this site, and in 1903, upon the incorporation of the firm as Kimball-Upson Co., moved to 609-611 K street, where they are still located.

Leaving the care of his interests in Sacramento in capable hands, Mr. Kimball spent most of the eleven years from 1897 to 1908 in Alaska, where he was engaged in mining and speculating, during this time spending seven or eight winters in the frigid north meeting the adventures, hardships, fortunes and misfortunes incident to the northland. Since 1908 he has resided in Sacramento, having resumed his old work in his business house. On December 16, 1903, he was united in marriage with Miss Clara Miller, a native of Georgetown, Cal., whose parents, John H. and Ellen (Spencer) Miller, natives of California, were among the earliest settlers of this state. Mr. Kimball is a member of the Arctic Brotherhood, the Pioneers of Alaska, and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and he maintains a wide interest in both civic and national developments, his special attention centering in his home section which he is most generous in supporting. His wife is widely known for her tact and culture and lends her assistance in many important movements, sharing also her husband's varied interests. 

History of Sacramento County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011