Mr. Kitner was born March 26, 1818, in North Carolina, and that State was likewise the birthplace of his father, Francis Kitner, who was born near Salem, and there grew to maturity. On reaching man's estate he (the father) Married Mary Fiddler; and they reared a family of seven children. In 1838 he resolved to leave the old home and found a new one in the Est, and started for the Territory of Iowa with a four-horse team, taking with that all his family except our subject, who had a two-horse wagon of his own, in which all the household utensils, restricted to only those things that were absolutely necessary, were conveyed. When the weary travelers finally arrived in this part of the country within three miles of Jacksonville, they were so enchanted by the beautiful scenery, and the evident fertility of te soil, that they concluded to make their abiding place here and not seek further and perhaps fare worse. Mr. Kitner, Sr., took up a tract of 120 acres of land north of Jacksonville, all of which he improved in time into a valuable farm. He at first built a little log house for the shelter of his family, and afterward added to it a small frame house. He continued to live on that farm until his death at the age of sixty years, his wife preceding him to the other shore seven or eight years. He was one of the early settlers of the county, and while he lived here was a good, law-abiding citizen, and did all in his power to advance its material prosperity and to elevate its social and moral status, and his memory should be held in veneration with the other pioneers of the county.
The son of this worthy man of whom we write was twenty years old, just entering upon a vigorous, self-reliant manhood, when he came with his parents to Morgan County. He bought a piece of land north of Jacksonville, and his first work was to build a log house, which he covered with clapboards, and in that humble dwelling he and his young wife spent the ensuing fourteen years. He then sold that place and bought his present farm, where they have resides ever since. In 1871 our subject erected a fine roomy house, facing the village, and he and his family moved into it on its completion and still make it their home. When Mr. Kitner first came to Morgan County the country was so sparsely settled that the most accessible markets were far distant, and he and his father had to take their first produce to St. Louis, going by the way of the river, and many times after that they drove hogs and cattle to that city, where they obtained from $1.25 to $2.00 a hundred wight for them, and thus our subject laid the foundation of his present competence.
The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Kitner was solemnized in North Carolina, their native State, in February, 1837, and of the nine children born to them six are living, of whom the following is recorded: Elizabeth married Isaac Kaufman, a farmer of this county, and they have six children; Frank, who lives in the southern part of the county, married Jane Harney, and they have four girls; Mary married Frank Harney, who lives one mile west of her father's homestead, and they have three children; Jefferson, who lives on this road one-fourth of a mile west, married Frances Massey; William, who lives in the southern part of this county, married Lou Tunnel, and they have three children; Edward, who lives on his father's homestead, married Mollie Letton, and they have one daughter, Bessie Marie. Mrs. Kitner's maiden name was Mahala Crouse, and she was born in North Carolina July 26, 1815, and lived at home with her parents, Andrew and Peggy (Alford) Crouse, until her marriage. Her father was a farmer in North Carolina.
Mr. Kitner is in every way worthy of the high regard and veneration that is conceded to him, and it gives us pleasure to present this brief review of his well-spent life to his many friends. His course in life both as a man and a citizen has been honorable to him, showing as it does his persistent industry, guided by discrimination and sound common sense, and his manifest desire to promote the interests of his community to the best of his ability. The wife to whom he was united in marriage, almost before he had reached man's estate, and who has faithfully shared with him life's joys and sorrows for fifty-two years, is, for her many kindly qualities of head and heart, equally esteemed with her good husband by their neighbors and all who know her. Mr. Kitner avoids all political issues, not caring for office, but does his duty at the polls, casting his vote for the Democratic party.