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Jay County Indiana Biographies


EDWARD BUTLER KIKENDALL, one of the representative citizens of Portland, and the oldest merchant in the town, was born in the State of New Jersey, in 1818, his father, John Kikendall, being a native of the same State, and of German descent. When he was a boy his parents removed to Pennsylvania, and a few years later settled in Stark County, Ohio, coming to Jay County, Indiana, in 1838, the family consisting of the parents and two children -Edward B., our subject, and Catherine. An older son came to the county at a later date. Edward B. Kikendall is the only surviving member of his father's family. He was twenty years of age when he came to Jay County, and here he has since made his home, and has passed through the different phases of pioneer life, and has witnessed the many wonderful changes that have taken place during the past fifty years. Game of all kinds was abundant, and the first year he came he shot a deer on the city lot where his residence now stands. He made his start in life by hard work, chopping wood for 25 to 30 cents per cord. The year following his arrival in the county, he split 5,000 rails, for which he received twenty bushels of cornmeal, and at that time considered himself well paid. His first investment in real estate was the purchase of a lot located west of the present court-house, for which he paid $24, earning the money at labor at 40 cents a day. A young man who had come to the county with the family of Mr. Kikendall being in need of a suit of clothes, and having no money to pay for the same, our subject guaranteed the payment, and having no money, he was obliged to give up his lot to meet the payment. Mr. Kikendall was then variously employed until 1848, when he and his brother-in-law, Frank Hawley, engaged in business with a combined capital of $300, commencing on a small scale in a log house on Water street. About four years after beginning business, our subject bought out his partner's interest, and has since established an excellent trade, his business experience in Portland covering a period of about forty years. Commencing life with no capital, but good health and a determination to succeed he has, by persevering industry and good business management, become one of Portland's wealthiest and most enterprising citizens, and has done much toward building up the town. Mr. Kikendall was married in June, 1855, to Miss Mary Jane Miller, a daughter of William Miller, one of the pioneers of Jay County. They have seven children, six sons and one daughter. One son died in infancy. Mr. Kikendall has long been one of the leading members of the Masonic lodge at Portland.

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