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Chicago: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company

Page 204

JOHN KENNEDY KINCAID, one of the most influential factors in the moral development of Menard county, and one whose business record was alike creditable and worthy of emulation, resided for a half century in this part of the state and was respected and honored wherever known. A native of Kentucky, he was born in Bath county, June 30, 1808, and was the eldest in the family of eleven children born unto Andrew and Anna P. (Caldwell) Kincaid. His grandfather, Archibald R. Kincaid, was a native of Ireland and in early life came to the new world. Locating in Virginia, where he resided until 1780. He then removed with his family to Bath county, Kentucky. His son Andrew Kincaid, was at that time four years of age. The latter remained upon his father's farm until 1807, when he was united in marriage to Miss Anna P. Caldwell and established a home of his own. In 1834 he removed to Illinois, locating in township 18, Menard county, on land purchased from Ellis Branson. After a long, useful and honorable career he died in 1872 at the age of eighty-seven years.

John Kennedy Kincaid spent the days of his boyhood and youth in the state of his nativity, pursued his education there and came to Illinois two years previous to the removal of the other members of the family, arriving in this state in 1832. He made his way up the Illinois river to Beardstown and walked from there to Springfield. Soon afterward he removed to Menard county and devoted his time and energies to various pursuits, following carpentering, farming and school-teaching up to the time of his marriage. He afterward gave his attention exclusively to agricultural pursuits and placed his land under a very high state of cultivation. Viewed from a financial standpoint, he was entirely a self-made man, for when he arrived in Illinois he had a capital of only fifty dollars. As the years advanced and his financial resources increased he invested in land and became the owner of a valuable farming property, in the development and cultivation of which he acquired prosperity. He labored persistently, his efforts directed by sound judgment and strong purpose, and he became recognized as one of the most successful, prominent and influential citizens of Menard county.

In March, 1836, Mr. Kincaid was united in marriage to Miss Vienna Williams, a daughter of James Williams, and for more than a half century they traveled life's journey together, sharing with each other its joys and sorrows, its adversity and prosperity. They became the parents of fourteen children, but only five are now living. Mr. Kincaid was most devoted to his family and his pleasure was not in the accumulation of wealth, but in bestowing upon his wife and children the comforts that money could secure. He was also most generous in his support of the church and kindred movements, and the poor and needy found in him a warm and liberal friend. He was sixteen years of age when his parents united with the Presbyterian church and at the same time brought all of their children under the holy ordinance of baptism. The impressive ceremony was never forgotten by John K. Kincaid and it was not long before he made public profession of his faith in religion, remaining to the close of his life a most earnest Christian, whose faith was proven by his works. Almost immediately after uniting with the church he and a young companion organized a Sunday-school, which met in his father's home, and later they did a most meritorious work by forming a Sunday-school for the colored people. He was always deeply interested in the colored race and did much for the improvement of those who lived in his community. He rejoiced in the honor of being personally acquainted with the great emancipator, Abraham Lincoln, and his work in behalf of the black race was attended with good results. He was a frequent and generous contributor to the work of the board of freedmen. On coming to Illinois he joined the North Sangamon presbyterian church, just two years after its organization, and on the 5th of June, 1837, he was chosen ruling elder, which office he filled with marked fidelity and great ability for fifty years. He was active in various departments of church work, was the teacher of the Bible class in the Sunday school for almost half a century and labored not only for his local church, but also supported the various branches of church work, being a liberal contributor to home and foreign missions. The cause of education received his hearty endorsement and he did much for the local schools. He was one of the principal founders of the North Sangamon Academy, which for many years afforded the best preparatory preparation for college in the county. Reform, progress and improvement might be termed the keynote of his character. He departed this life February 16, 1887, and his wife, who was born May 4, 1817, passed away March 29, 1888. Theirs was a most congenial married relation and they were not long separated in death. Some one who knew Mr. Kincaid long and well said: "In him the union of business and Christian life was most beautifully portrayed and lived. He improved his opportunities for material advancement, yet was never neglectful of his duties to his fellow men or his Creator, and he left behind him an example which is an inspiration to all who knew him."

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