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Williams County, Ohio
History & Genealogy




Source #3
Commemorative Biographical Records
Northwestern Ohio

including the counties of
Defiance, Henry, Williams & Fulton.
Published at Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co.


  JOHN MILTON KILLITSMr. Killits, who is prosecuting attorney for Williams county, is one of the most talented lawyers of this section, and his success in his difficult and responsible position and in general practice furnishes convincing evidence of his ability. His preparation for his work was thorough, and his keen and active intellect enables him to grasp the most abstruse legal principles, and to apply them effectively to the complicated problems that come under his notice. His gifts as a speaker are of a high order, making his presentation of a case both forceful and pleasing, and his many friends look forward with confidence to a bright future for him.
     The Killits family is of German origin, the name having formerly been spelled Killitz, and for many generations our subject's ancestors made their home near Hamburg, North Germany. In 1805 his grandfather, John Killitz, then a young man, came to America and located at Womelsdorf, Berks county, Pennsylvania, where he married, and established his permanent home. He prospered in business, and was also prominent in public affairs, being especially well known for his able service as ''State armorer'' for the entire militia of Pennsylvania. This position he held for many years previous to his death, which occurred in 1847 from violence, his murderer robbing him and throwing his lifeless body into the Susquehanna river, from which it .was not recovered for some time. His widow died in 1849, and the remains of both were interred in the cemetery at Womelsdorf. They had seven children, of whom our subject's father, Andrew Welser Killits, was the youngest. The other children were as follows: Frederick, married Margaret Arnold; Eliza, married Frederick Clous, of Reading, Pennsylvania; Charles; Henry; Levi; and Caroline, now Mrs. Bash, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania.
     Andrew Welser Killits, the father of our subject, was born in 1836 in Berks county, Pennsylvania, where he attended school in early boyhood and later found employment in a cigar factory. In 1855, when about nineteen years old, he came to Ohio and located at Lithopolis, Fairfield county, where he was employed in a dry-goods store until 1861. During this time he was married at Lithopolis to Miss Clarissa Crumley., and in 1861 he removed with his family to Findlay, Hancock county, where for a time he clerked in a dry-goods store. In 1862 he removed to Kalida, then the county seat of Putnam county, and established a dry-goods business on his own account, but in 1867 he settled at Bryan and engaged in a similar enterprise which he conducted successfully for fourteen years. He then retired from mercantile life and engaged in agricultural work, continuing for about nine years; but in 1890 he removed to Chicago and again became interested actively in business. As he had always been an ardent supporter of Republican principles and had been a valued adviser of the local organi­zation wherever he had resided, he naturally took an active interest in partisan work in his new home in Illinois. His business relations threw him into companionship with many prominent Republicans of that State, who quickly recognized his superior executive ability, and in 1896 he was appointed superintendent of the Illinois Industrial Home for the Blind, a position which he resigned after a year to go into business.
     Our subject is the eldest of five sons, the others being: Charles C, Miner L., George H., and Arthur C, all of whom reside in Chicago.
     The Crumley family originated in South Germany, the ancestral home being in the Kingdom of Wurtemberg. At an early date members of the family, including the great-grandfather of Mrs. Clarissa Killits, came to America and became pioneer settlers in eastern Pennsylvania, while their descendants moved gradually west as the frontier line was pushed in that direction by the advancing tide of civilization, many of them locating in central and western Pennsylvania. They were chiefly engaged in agricul­ture and Mrs. Killits' father, the late Daniel Crumley, was a well-to-do farmer in Fairfield county, this State, where he was also prominent in local affairs, serving as justice of the peace for many years. He was married in Fairfield county, in 1827, to Miss Jane Betser, and both died there some years ago. Of their fourteen children only five lived to adult age, viz.: Israel, who married Celia Baugher; Clarissa, our subject's mother; Martha, wife of C. J. Arnold; Emma, wife of William Stahlsmith, and Miner, who married Miss Lillie Ballentine.
     Our subject was born October 7, 1858, at Lithopolis. Ohio, and his elementary education was obtained in the common schools of the various localities in which his parents resided during his boyhood. He has always been an earnest student, making the most of every opportunity for advance­ment, and at the age of sixteen entered the preparatory department of Oberlin College. In 1876 he matriculated at Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he was graduated in 1880 with the degree of A. B., ranking among the best in the class. In the same year he went to Red Oak, Iowa, to engage in journalism, purchasing the plant of "The Red Oak Express," a daily and weekly newspaper of Republican proclivities. In this venture he succeeded, but his strong inclination toward the legal profession led him to return to Bryan in 1883 in order to begin his studies under the direction of the well-known firm of Pratt & Bentley (the latter being lately Judge Bentley of the Ohio Circuit Bench). In March, 1884, Mr. Killits was appointed to a clerkship in the War Department at Washington, D. C, and this position he held until October 31, 1887, when he resigned. Washington offered special advantages to a student of law, and on going there he lost no time in entering upon a course in the Columbia University Law School, where he received the degree of LL. B. in 1885. Not content with this he took a post-graduate course in the same institution, preparing himself for the higher branches of the profession. In 1886 he was admitted to the Bar of the District, and in December, 1887, having returned to Ohio, he was admitted at Columbus, to practice before the Supreme Court of this State.
     On February 1, 1888, he began the practice of his profession in Bryan, where he has steadily made his way upward, gaining a large and lucrative business. He has never ceased to be a student, his professional reading covering an unusually wide range, and no task seems too arduous in the pursuit of his chosen calling. In 1892 he was nominated, by the Republicans of Williams county, for the position of prosecuting attorney, and was elected by a majority of only fifty-one votes; but so acceptably did he perform the duties of the office during his first term that on his renomination in 1895 he was chosen by a majority of one thousand one hundred and twenty-five votes. His administration has been marked by some important cases which were prosecuted by him against a formidable array of legal talent, including the best lawyers of northwestern Ohio, but he has always succeeded in enforcing the demands of justice. One of the most notable of these cases was that of the State vs. Plummer, in which he secured a verdict of murder in the second degree; and another was that of the State against Elkins, for the murder of Arthur Brown, in which a similar verdict was obtained after a trial lasting twenty-two days and requiring the examination of one hundred and seventy-eight witnesses. In all his dealings Mr. Killits has shown a high sense of honor, and this, united with a most courteous and pleasing address, has brought him an enviable popularity. He is connected with various social orders, being an active member of the K. of P., and of the Masonic fraternity, being high priest of Northwest Chapter, R. A. M., at Bryan.
     In 1887 Mr. Killits married Miss Alice N. Stuart, of Washington, D. C, and two bright and interesting daughters have blessed the union: Alice Milton, born March 28, 1888, and Edith Stuart, born December 4, 1891. Mrs. Killits was born in 1863, near Corpus Christi, Texas, a daughter of Captain Alexander S. Stuart, who was extensively engaged in the raising of cattle and horses in the Lone Star State, and was robbed and murdered by Mexican bandits, while attending to his ranches there. He was a descendant of the famous Stuart family of Scotland, but his ancestors settled in Maryland in Colonial times. The American branch of the family has been distinguished for military valor, members having served in the Revolutionary war, the war of 1812, the Mexican war, and the war of .the Rebellion, during which some fought with the North and others with the South. Captain Stuart himself being an officer in the Confederate army. He married Miss Emily Nourse, of Washington, D. C.
Source: Commemorative Biographical Records of Northwestern Ohio including the counties of Defiance, Henry, Williams & Fulton.  Published at Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co. 1899  - Page 526
  HENRY KIMBLE  - This deceased gentleman was for many years one of the leading and prominent farmers of Pulaski township, Williams county, and was also an honored veteran of the Civil war.  His entire life was passed in Williams county, his birth occurring in Springfield township, December 15, 1842.  His father, Daniel Kimble, a native of New York State, was one of the earliest settlers of Williams county, and died in Springfield township when about fifty-one years of age.  He made the first wooden auger for boring wells in this part of the county.
     In his native township, Henry Kimble grew to manhood, early becoming familiar with all the duties which fall to the lot of the agriculturist, and remaining with his parents until his marriage, with the exception of the time spent in the Union army.  Hardly had the echoes from Fort Sumter's guns died away when he enlisted at the call for three months' men, and when his term had expired he re-enlisted, becoming a member of Company D, Thirty-eighth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, with which he served for three years, taking part in many hotly-contested engagements.  He was a brave and fearless soldier, always found at his post of duty, valiantly fighting for the old flag and the cause it represented.
     Returning to the old homestead in Springfield township, Mr. Kimble there engaged in farming for two hears, after which he established a home of his own.  On September 30, 1866, he was married to Miss Sarah Treon, who was born in Montgomery county, Ohio, August 26, 1848, a daughter of Henry Treon, who came to Williams county in 1854 and died in the Pulaski township, January 16, 1867.  Six children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Kimble, namely: Mary L., wife of William Himes; William H., who married Corda Grey; Oris F., who married Della Iferd; Cora B., wife of Chauncey Dohner; Henry B., who died at the age of four years; and Harry E.
     After his marriage Mr. Kimble located on the Treon farm in Pulaski township, where he continued to make his home until called to his final rest on July 31, 1896.  For several years he served as trustee of Pulaski township.  He was a charter member of the Elm Grove Grange, No. 644, of Pulaski township, and for several terms filled the position of master of the Grange; he was also a member of the State Grange, in which he was prominent.
Source: Commemorative Biographical Records of Northwestern Ohio including the counties of Defiance, Henry, Williams & Fulton.  Published at Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co. 1899  - Page 63
  BENJAMIN F. KNIFFINThe world instinctively pays deference to the man who has achieved success, overcoming the obstacles and difficulties in his path until he reaches a high position in the business world.  This is a progressive age, and he who does not advance in soon left far behind.  Mr. Kniffin, by the improvement of opportunities by which all are surrounded, has steadily and honorably worked his way upward, and has attained a fair degree of prosperity.  He now numbered among the wealthiest citizens of Williams county, his home being in Stryker.
     Mr. Kniffin was born April 13, 1825, in Huron county, a son of Benjamin and Bloomy C. (Hobby) Kniffin.  The father on coming to Ohio from Cayuga county, New York, in 1817, located upon an old Revolutionary claim in Greenwich township, Huron county, but afterward returned to Cayuga county.  In 1823, however, he located permanently upon his claim, and upon that place his death occurred when he was eighty-one years of age.  His wife also died there at the age of seventy-five years.
     The subject of this sketch is second in the order of birth in their family of six children, and in the county of his nativity he continued to make his home until forty years of age.  In the meantime, however (in 1850), he made a trip to California, spending two years in gold mining on the Pacific slope, and meeting with a fair degree of success.  On his return to Huron county, Ohio, he engaged in buying and driving stock over the Allegheny Mountains for two years, and in 1854 purchased a farm of one hundred and fifty acres in that county, operating it in connection with stock dealing until coming to Williams county in 1865.  For many years he shipped his stock to New York, doing a large and profitable business along that line.  He is now the owner of one thousand one hundred acres of valuable land in Springfield township, Williams county, also owns two farms in Huron county and some western lands.  He continued to be actively engaged in agricultural pursuits upon his home farm in Springfield township until November, 1893, when he removed to the village of Stryker, where he is surrounded by many comforts and luxuries which honest toil in previous years have brought him.
     At Kalamazoo, Michigan, in November, 1859, Mr. Kniffin married Miss Margaret E. Popino, a native of Richland county, Ohio, and a relative of the late Bishop Harris.  Five children were born to them, as follows:  Josephine, now the wife of R. L. Schaeffer; Arminda C., Benjamin F., Jr., Harry W. and Alta.  The family is widely known, and is one of prominence in Williams county.  Mr. Kniffin has made for himself an honorable record in business, and as a citizen, friend and neighbor, he is true to every duty, therefore winning the high regard of all with whom he comes in contact.
Source: Commemorative Biographical Records of Northwestern Ohio including the counties of Defiance, Henry, Williams & Fulton.  Published at Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co. 1899  - Page 498





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