March 20, 1812–October 4, 1908
|On the 20th day of March, 1812, a male child was born in the town of Lyme, New Hampshire. The parents were Mr. and Mrs. (nee Betsy Colburn) Eliaphalet Kimball. They named the little boy Abner. Little Abner was descended in a direct line and the seventh generation from Richard Kimball, who came from England to America in 1634. His grandfather was a soldier in the patriot army of the revolution. Abner was the fifth child of a family of eleven children. All except one sister have passed to spirit life before him. The father of Abner was a sturdy cultivator of New England soil. On his father's farm young Abner grew to manhood, receiving his education from the rural schools of the neighborhood. When "of age" 21 years old he left the parental home and was employed one year in a cotton factory in Nashua, N.H.
The next ten years he was employed in the factories of Cabbotville, a suburb of Springfield, Mass. There is a romance more or less acute in the life of most men, and right here is where the romance in the life of Abner Kimball comes in. Working in the same factory was a young girl, Sara D. Spinney. When two congenial souls are thrown thus closely together, Cupid, the sly fellow, generally gets his work in. They were married May, 1836. Would that all marriages were as discreet as theirs, Sara did not marry him because he was able and willing to "support her" in indolence, perhaps in extravagance, possibly in dissipation. She loved the comely, industrious and moral young man and was willing to join her efforts with his to establish a home and win support for their prospective family. Doubtless he saw in the maiden the budding of those qualities that so richly developed in the matron. The home they established might well be a model for many people much more pretentious than they. Industry was a cardinal factor, but the intellect was by no means neglected. Books, magazines, newspapers, music and art all received a due amount of attention. Three boys and three girls were the fruit of this union. All survive their parents. With such heredity and such environments it could hardly be otherwise than it is. All matured into honorable and useful citizens. About 1843 they removed to Walworth county, Wisconsin, and eleven years after to Green county, Wis. Thirteen years of pioneer life before coming to the then uncultivated wilds of Jones county, Iowa.
The Kimballs were not money grabbers, but they have demonstrated beyond a peradventure that honest industry and prudence not parsimony in expending the fruits of our toil leads not only to competence but to wealth. They leave a large estate.
The parents of Mr. Kimball were Baptists, but the austere tenants of that church were not suited to the sympathetic nature of Abner. He early told his father he would worship a God of Love rather than the God of Calvin. While in Cabbotville he joined the Universalists and was a deacon in that church. When we turn our backs on blind faith and follow reason in our search for truth, sooner or later we come to know the finite can not comprehend the infinite. The liberal views of the Kimballs continued to expand till they reached the agnostic, but still believed in the continuity of life and that the spirits of our departed friends do sometimes communicate with the living. Mrs. Kimball was a thorough bible scholar and possessed a powerful intellect. Many a Rev. has quailed and fallen before her keen and logical arguments. Evangelists sometimes draw fearful pictures of the death scenes of non-believers, but if mortal man ever approached death more placidly than this good old man, I have never seen or heard of it. He died. Fell asleep as quietly as a babe in its mother's arms, at his home in South Madison, October 4th, 1908, aged 96 years, 6 months and 14 days.
The funeral was held from the Kimball home last Tuesday afternoon and was largely attended. Most of the old residents were present. Mrs. Alice C. Barry, a spiritualist speaker, from Comanche, Iowa, delivered an address well suited to the occasion. The music was well selected and nicely rendered. The services at the grave were probably just to the liking of Mr. Kimball had he been living and present. Who shall say he was not?
I have not the space, nor is this the place, to enter into a long discussion of this subject, but I ask the reader to ponder for a little time on the changes that have been wrought in the political, commercial, social and religious world during the life of this one man.
It has been said, "an honest man is the noblest work of God." If this is true, and I know of no means of disproving it, then Abner Kimball is a very fine specimen of the noblest work of Infinite Energy.
Submitted by: Laura Kendall
© Copyright 1997-2013, The Art Department, © Copyright 2014-2018, Richard Harrison.