Weston Wagons West - Ep. D2 - David Weston and John Kinnick families mature in NC.

Updated on October 2, 2017
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Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

They went west by wagon across the Cumberland Gap

Painting depicting a Conestoga wagon in the mid-Nineteenth Century
Painting depicting a Conestoga wagon in the mid-Nineteenth Century | Source

Indiana began to have attractions for members of the Kinnick family

David and Milly Weston, and their son, Jeremiah, worked closely with, and were personally close to, the John and Ann Kinnick family on the west bank of the Yadkin River in Rowan County, North Carolina. By 1815, some members of the Kinnick family were scattered as far as Mocksville, to the southwest, but everyone kept in close touch, by letter, and got together at least annually. By this time, word of good land becoming available in Indiana was getting the attention of the young men. President James Madison signed the papers admitting Indiana as the 19th state in the Union in December of 1816.

In the Spring of 1817, William Kinnick, 24 and his younger brother, Richard, 17, had made their way to Indiana via the Cumberland Gap and through the State of Kentucky to catch a ferry across the Ohio River to Madison, Indiana, a very active entry point to the state in those days. They made their way a few miles west to what would become the village of Bedford in what would, in 1818, become Lawrence County. In the fall of 1819, they returned together to North Carolina, but their plans differed. Over the winter, Richard married his neighborhood sweetheart, Katherine Etchison, and they returned to Bedford, Indiana in the spring of 1820, where they spent the rest of their lives, raising three children.

Richard and Katherine didn't go back alone, however, as his 2-year-older sister, Nancy, and her husband, Henry Riddle, along with their 2-year-old son, Wiley, went as well, taking their Weston covered wagon. When they got to Madison, on the Ohio River, rather than following Richard over to Bedford, Henry and Nancy went north a few miles, to Delaware County (the future Muncie area), to seek their fortune. They only stayed there for a year, however, before moving west to Marion County, where their next two children were born. They were Marion, a girl, in March of 1825 and William K., named after her brother, in September of 1827.

William Kinnick, on the other hand, remained in North Carolina for awhile, although Indiana was still on his mind. In 1825, he and his nephew, Jabez Graham Kinnick, walked to Indiana, this time exploring further north, in Johnson County. Jabez returned home, later in the year, but this time William stayed. In May of 1829, he married a young widow, 25 years of age, with two young children. She was the daughter of one of the first four settlers of Clark Township in Johnson County, Indiana, Alexander Clark, for whom the Township was named. Her name was Sally Clark Ross, the widow of Richard Ross. Robert and Nancy were the two young Ross children William raised as his own. William kept up an active correspondence with David Weston, as well as with his parents, back in North Carolina.

There were still wigwams in the area

Wigwam | Source

David Weston maintained active involvement in his business with son Jeremiah

Jeremiah had met Sarah Yarbrough about this time, and they were married in June of 1824, when 19-years-old and now a full partner with his father. Jeremiah was part of the talk of Indiana, but felt obliged, at this time, at least, to support his father's extensive business operations. And, he was still very young, he told himself.

By 1825, when William and Jabez took off walking to Indiana, David Weston celebrated his 65th birthday. John and Ann Kinnick invited David and Milly over to their house to spend some time together on a Sunday afternoon. They had grown up together in Maryland and now were growing old together in North Carolina. Their two slaves, a man and woman, had been with John and Ann for a long time, and were now showing their ages, as well. They would be freed when the last of John and Ann died, but they just felt like a part of the family.

Jeremiah and Sarah had their first child, a son they named Michael, in April of 1826, followed by a daughter they named Polly, in March of 1828. Their second son, Frank, was born in March of 1830. A third son followed, Delbert, in March of 1833.

James Kinnick, and his wife, Martha, by 1830 the parents of 8 children, were the other Kinnick family with two slaves. They were beginning to talk seriously of moving to Indiana, as they continued to get good reports from brother William, who was just two years older than James. As 1831 became 1832, they had decided to sell their two slaves, they couldn't take them to Indiana, to help pay for their trip west. James reported back, when they arrived, that just a mile or so north of their new farm, there were still "three wigwams of a Pottawatomie village" remaining. It seemed the tribe still had hunting rights in the area, and returned for a short period, annually.

In the fall of 1832, matriarch Ann Kinnick died, at the age of 78. She and John had raised 12 children, all reaching adulthood, and raising their own families. The extended family celebrated her life. The following spring, her grandson, Jabez Kinnick returned to Indiana, as well, and married Elizabeth Ann Todd in December of 1834. This was just two months after his uncle, James, had died, leaving his pregnant widow, Margaret, and several children. James, Jr., was born in December. The older children were able to help their mother continue on with the farm in Johnson County, Indiana.

They crossed the Cumberland Gap

Cumberland Gap in winter
Cumberland Gap in winter | Source

George Washington Kinnick became the "head of the family" in North Carolina

With the death of his father, John, in 1838 at the age of 84, George Washington, living and working on the old Kinnick place, became "head of the family" still left in North Carolina. He was 54 years old, his wife, Hannah was 50. Most of George's siblings had died or moved on from their North Carolina "homeland." George had been 9 years old when he arrived there. One son, Jabez, now had a family in Indiana, including two children they had not seen, a boy and a girl.

Still farming near the "homeplace" were oldest daughter, Johanna, and her husband, George John Barlow. Also, oldest son, John, and his wife, Sarah, were still nearby, although they seemed most likely to leave next. Daughter, Nancy, and her husband, Joseph Allen, seemed happy to be in the valley of the Yadkin. Daughter Sarah was age 19 when she married her husband, John Bryant Sheek, in December 1839. George Washington Kinnick, Jr., turned 14-years-of age just before the wedding. He had two younger brothers and a younger sister, Penelope (they all called her Nellie), still at home.

In the spring of 1843, John and Sarah decided they would wait no longer for the others to "make up their minds." They packed up their six kids and a few belongings and headed west across the Cumberland Gap and across Kentucky to Indiana, as well. They also settled in Johnson County, near the others already there. In the meantime, it had been learned that sister Nancy and her husband, Henry Riddle, has also made their way to Johnson County. It was becoming quite a "Kinnick settlement" there.

David Weston passed away on a summer day, in 1840, at age 80. One morning he just didn't wake up. His wife, Milly, and son Jeremiah, and his family, mourned briefly, as appropriate, and then celebrated the great life that David had lived along with the Kinnick family and other friends and neighbors. Milly died the following winter.

Historical note by the author

All members of the Weston family are fictional, of course. All the Kinnicks were historical figures, used here fictitiously. The relationship between the Kinnick and Weston families therefore were created fictionally for this story. The John and Ann Kinnick children are historical, but the details of their birth dates and early lives are filled in fictionally based on best available collected information. Each of the children were related to the author as first cousins, five generations removed. See the link, below, for more information on the author's genealogy blog.

Each of the relationships within which these historical figures appear in these episodes is totally consistent with known historical facts for each such person in the official records of Maryland, North Carolina and Indiana.

The author's historical perspective in this hub relied extensively on collaborative research done while compiling the 2003 KINNICK Genealogy Book Online … 

This was an update and revision completed on the 50th anniversary of the 1953 publication of: "A Genealogical History of the Kinnick Family of America" by Mrs. Nettie Edna Kinnick Waggener (self-published).

This episode is the second in the Dx series following David Weston and the John and Ann Kinnick branch of the family.

Questions & Answers


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      • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile imageAUTHOR

        William Leverne Smith 

        4 years ago from Hollister, MO

        Thank you, very much, for your visit. Episode D3 will be published in the next few days, with any luck, on my part. Thanks again, for leaving a comment! ;-)

      • torrilynn profile image


        4 years ago

        I liked reading this interesting indeed.


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