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K. T. Lamb
Born October 19, 1856


K. T. Lamb, one of the prosperous merchants and progressive men of Olin, was born on a farm one and a quarter miles west of the city, October 19, 1856, being a son of Jacob and Mary Jane (Easterly) Lamb, the former born at Greencastle, Lancaster county, Ohio, in 1825, and the latter at Bellville, Ohio, in 1833. In 1848 Jacob Lamb came to Anamosa, Jones county, Iowa, purchasing a farm on what is now known as Strawberry Hill. The following year he went overland to California, joining in the mad rush westward and spending two years in mining. His return was made by the isthmus, up the Mississippi river to Davenport and thence to Anamosa. He sold his farm, buying land in Rome township, Jones county, as well as a large tract in Cedar county and some west of Olin, a portion of which was slightly improved. He placed his land under cultivation and in the winters taught school. It was while doing this that he met his future wife, who was one of his pupils. Her people had come from Ohio in 1852, locating in Rome township. In 1853 they were married and began house keeping on their farm west of Olin, which they developed into a fine property and where Mr. Lamb died in 1863, aged thirty-seven years. He owned three hundred and sixty-five acres of land in Rome township and over one thousand acres altogether. A strong Douglas democrat, he took an active part in politics, party feeling running high at the time of his demise. His widow survived him until August, 1904. She was a daughter of Samuel and Hannah (Watts) Easterly, both natives of Pennsylvania, who came first to Ohio and then to Jones county, Iowa, where they died.
The Lamb family is of English origin and trace their ancestors back to Pierce Lamb who came from Kent, England, some time between 1630 and 1640 and settled on the coast of Maryland. His son Francis had several sons, some of whom settled in Kentucky and some in Virginia. K. T. Lamb's family tree follows his branch down through Maryland, Virginia, Ohio and Iowa.
Jacob and Mary Lamb had eight children, as follows: Florence, who is the widow of John Q. Cronkhite, of Olin, Matilda Katherine, who is the wife of T. W. Moore, of Marion, Kansas; K. T., the subject of this sketch; Siera N., who is the wife of L. M. Carpenter, of Olin; Dora H., who died at the age of fourteen years; Ida L., the wife of F. E. Austin, of Cedar Rapids; Castor who lives at Olin; and Maggie May, who died in infancy. K. T. Lamb was reared on his father's farm west of Olin and received a good common-school education. However, farming did not appeal to him and he began his mercantile career in 1876, when only twenty years of age. His mother had married for her second husband, D. R. Carpenter, and the stepfather took the young man in business with him under the firm name of D. R. Carpenter & Company, the members being D. R. Carpenter, L. M. Carpenter, and K. T. Lamb. This association continued until 1880, when the firm was changed to Lamb, Carpenter & Lamb, with K. T. Lamb, L. M. Carpenter and C. C. Lamb as partners, this Mr. Carpenter being a stepbrother of the Lambs. In 1885 the Lamb boys bought out Mr. Carpenter, and the firm became Lamb Brothers, which continued until 1909, when it was changed to Lamb & Son, C. C. Lamb retiring from active business and K. T. Lamb taking his only son, Roscoe, into the house.
The firm does a general merchandise business and their store is the largest and oldest established in Olin. It enjoys a splendid patronage from a wide territory about Olin. The firm owns the splendid building they occupy, a brick structure, forty by eighty feet, which was built in 1892. Mr. Lamb also owns the old home farm of three hundred and fifty acres where he was born and which he helped to operate during his younger days.
In 1878 Mr. Lamb married Margaret Halsey, who was born near Oswego, New York, in 1857, a daughter of George W. and Caroline (Dickinson) Halsey, the latter of whom was cousin of Secretary Dickinson of President Cleveland's cabinet. The Halsey family is one of the oldest of America's colonial families and is descended from a long and honorable line of ancestors in this country and England. The first to come to America was Thomas Halsey as early as 1637 and all the American Halseys are descended from him. Among the colonial records of New York are the names of Halseys who took a prominent part in the French and Indian wars, while in the Revolution others served. In the wars of 1812 and 1848 were several Halseys and many a "forty-niner" were of this family. In the Civil war many of the name fought, bled and died, one being Frank N. Halsey, an uncle of Mrs. Lamb, who lost his life at Gettysburg. In civil life also many of the Halseys have served the public, some as members of congress, many as state legislators and a greater number as county officials. Mrs. Lamb's parents came to Wyoming, Iowa, at an early day bringing her with them. Mr. and Mrs. K. T. Lamb became the parents of four children: Jessie, who is the wife of Earl Mills, of Des Moines; Frances, who is the wife of Allen Metcalf, of Cedar Rapids; Helen, who is the wife of M. H Crissman, of Olin; and Roscoe, who is junior member of the firm.
Mr. Lamb takes an active interest in politics, being an ardent republican and having held numerous school and township offices. A member of the Methodist church he has ever been faithful in his support of it and is now one of its trustees. Since 1885 he has been a Mason, belonging to Ancient Landmark Lodge, No. 200. He is chairman of the committee on lodges under dispensation, which makes him a member of the Grand Lodge of Iowa. He is also a member of Des Moines Consistory, No. 3, and El Kahir Temple of the Mystic Shrine, at Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Mr. Lamb is a good business man, far-seeing and quick to take advantage of offered opportunities, and yet he is a man on whose integrity there has never rested the slightest stain. Ever ready to advance the welfare of his city, a devoted family man, proud of his children and the business ability of his only son, stanch in the support of his party and church, a loyal and indefatigable worker for his fraternity, he sets an excellent example for others to follow as a representative American of the smaller cities of the middle west.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke, Western Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 312.

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