Weston Wagons West - Ep D4 - The Kinnicks and the Westons settled into Indiana life in the 1850s

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.

The Carolina Settlements in northern Johnson County, Indiana

Northern tier of townships - Johnson County, Indiana
Northern tier of townships - Johnson County, Indiana | Source

The Kinnicks and Westons continued to get settled among the “Kinnick Settlements”

The “Kinnick Settlement” was actually two or three clusters of families across White River, Pleasant and Clark townships, the northern tier of townships of Johnson County, Indiana, in the 1850s. The George Kinnick wagon trail arriving from North Carolina arrived at the Jabez Kinnick farm. Living nearby were George’s son Elijah’s widow, Catherine, and their family. Beyond them were his oldest son, John, and his wife, Sarah, Kininck, and their family. Going the other way, all in Clark Township, were John and Catherine (Kinnick - George’s sister) Eastburn and their family, as well as William F. Kinnick, a nephew of George, son of James, and his young wife and son, Benjamin. Further west, in White River township, were George’s brother, William, with his wife, Sarah, and their extended family. The Barlow and Billeter families from the wagon trail eventually located over closer to them. Kinnick extended families became spread across all three townships along the northern third of Johnson County.

By locating in Whiteland, the Weston family found they could continue to provide services to the members of the wagon train in which they came from North Carolina but also many new clients in the area. They soon discovered that this northern tier of townships was referred to by many of the local residents as the “Carolina” settlement, since so many different families, Kinnick and otherwise, were from North Carolina. Jeremiah Weston let it be known that he could also build wagons, for journeying on to the west. He soon found himself hiring a number of workers to build a steady stream of wagons in addition to their other activities, through the 1850s especially.

Among those making the wagon train trip from North Carolina were newly-weds and about the be newly-weds. Two of these settled on adjoining farms in what was known as the “Glade” neighborhood, about 3 miles southeast of Greenwood (and, only a few miles north of Whiteland). Before leaving North Carolina, Henry Boner had married Penelope Kinnick, the youngest daughter of George and Hannah. They all called Penelope “Nellie.” Their first daughter, Sarah Elizabeth, was born there in January 1853. John Adam “Jack” Kinnick was the son of George’s older brother, also named John Adam, who had died in 1822 when Jack was but 5-years-of-age. Jack married Mary Emmeline Harris, his first cousin, in June of 1951. Mary was the daughter of George’s sister, Susannah and her husband, John Harris. John Harris had died back in North Carolina in 1845. Susannah and five of her children made the trip with the wagon train. Jack and Mary’s first son, John Wesley Kinnick, was born in March of 1852.

Weston built sturdy wagons

Sturdy wagons for the trip west
Sturdy wagons for the trip west | Source

Some folks didn’t stay long and headed further to the west

Although only recently arrived themselves, George Washington Kinnick, Jr, and his wife, Sarah, with their two young daughters, Martha and Mahala, by 1854, decided to move on to Taylor County, in southwest Iowa. They joined some others to go across Illinois and then follow along the “Mormon Trail” across southern Iowa to Taylor County. They located a farm in the northwest corner of the county, not far from neighboring Page County to the west.

Frank Weston had his 24th birthday in 1854, still single, and decided that he wanted to move on to Taylor County, Iowa, as well. He took along his string of Morgan Horses and traveled with “Wash” Kinnick, his family, and the others on the trek across Illinois and then southern Iowa to find new beginning in this new territory.

As the first of the Kinnick clan began to get the itch to go further west, George’s oldest son, John, who had already been in Indiana a few years, did as well. He and his wife, Sarah, prepared to move, with their nine children, to Davis County, Iowa, where friends were already located in Bloomfield Township there. They commissioned a Weston wagon, to their specifications, and left in 1856. Delbert Weston decided to go with them.

The Westons raised fine horses

Raising horses
Raising horses | Source

Michael Weston went west with the William Kinnick family and others

When Jeremiah, Sarah, Michael, Polly, Frank and Delbert Weston arrived in Indiana from North Carolina, they expected to immediately build their farrier and blacksmith businesses as well as continue to raise and sell their Morgan horses. As so often happens, expectations were different from reality. First, it turned out there were already adequate blacksmiths in the area. There was some need for farrier services, but not as much as expected. However, there was high demand for good horse stock, and they could provide that well from the herd they had brought with them. Polly was a big help with this business, as well.

There was also a real demand for wagons, so Jeremiah was quick to respond to that need, as noted earlier. Michael reached out to the extended Carolina/Kinnick settlements, hoping to identify needs for his service. He especially enjoyed working with William Kinnick and his family who had been in Indiana for over 20 years. While there, he also met, and soon married, Vonnie VanDyke, the sister of a neighbor of the Kinnick family. Their first son, Dom, was born in April of 1852. Michael and his family decided to go with the William Kinnick family and some of their neighbors, including some VanDykes, to Dallas County, Iowa, just to the west of Fort Des Moines (later, Des Moines, which became the capital of the state in 1870).

William and Sarah’s oldest daughter, Sarah Ann, had married John Barngrover in 1848. They joined the group going to Iowa, along with William and Sarah’s other children, Kate, 17, John Thomas, 13, Susan Elizabeth, 11, Richard Ross, 8, and William Butler, 5.

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 series. The George and Hannah 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 second cousins, four generations removed.

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 North Carolina, Indiana and Iowa.

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 fourth in the Dx series following the Jeremiah Weston and the John and Ann Kinnick branches of the families.

Questions & Answers


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      • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile imageAUTHOR

        William Leverne Smith 

        4 years ago from Hollister, MO

        Ah, yes, for sure. The mystery deepens! ;-)

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        4 years ago from Olympia, WA

        Will they be moving further west, or is Iowa the end of their journey? I guess I'll have to be patient. :)


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