Cary M. KISOR, 1842

Cary M. Kisor, who is successfully and extensively engaged in general farming on section 14, Union township, was born in Knox county, Ohio, March 2, 1842. His paternal grandparents were John and Elizabeth (Bolton) Kisor, who were natives of Rockingham county, Virginia. There were ten children in the family: Mrs. Anna Hayes, deceased; Mrs. Sena Dawson, who died in Texas; Mrs. Christiana Litzenburg, living in Hancock county, Ohio; Emma, who died in Knox county, Ohio; James, who passed away in New Sharon, Iowa; Mrs. Ellen Litzenburg, who died in Knox county, Ohio; Reuben, deceased, the father of Cary M. Kisor; John, who died in Texas two years ago, having gone there when it was an independent republic; David, who died in Union township; and Robert, who died in Iowa City, Iowa. Reuben Kisor, born in Knox county, Ohio, April 29, 1819, died in Union township, Mahaska county, in November, 1897. He married Miss Mary Buckingham, who was born in Greene county, Pennsylvania, and died in April, 1861, in Union township, at the age of forty-two years. She was a daughter of William and Nancy (McClellan) Buckingham, natives of Pennsylvania. The McClellans were of Irish descent and the great-grandfather of our subject, Gary McClellan, was one of Washington's body-guard during the Revolutionary war. The Buckinghans were of English lineage and came from the family who occupied Buckingham palace. The Kisor family, however, is of German lineage and three brothers of the family came from the fatherland to America in 1700, one settling in Maryland, another in Pennsylvania and a third in Virginia, and from the last named Cary M. Kisor is descended. Reuben Kisor and Mary Buckingham were married in Knox county, Ohio, in 1841, and came by rail to Iowa in 1856, traveling in that manner to Iowa City, whence they drove in a wagon to Union township, Mahaska county. Here Mr. Kisor purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 14, the greater part of which was covered with timber although two little log houses had been built. The family lived in one of the log cabins until 1860, when the father erected a frame residence and upon this farm he spent his remaining days, being one of the pioneer agriculturists of the county who contributed largely to the work of early development and improvement. He and all of his family were members of the Christian church. When Cary M. Kisor was twenty-one years of age he went to Colorado, crossing the plains with a freight train, and one winter he drove the overland-mail stage coach. With pony and pack he went to Oregon and worked in the mines on Powder river. In company with others he also whipsawed lumber near Yellowstone Park, built a skiff and in that manner made his way down the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers to Omaha, Nebraska. They lost one of the men on the way and were often pursued and shot at by Indians. From Omaha Mr. Kisor returned to Mahaska county and worked for his father until he was married. It was on the 22d of December, 1870, that he wedded Miss Mary Jane Fisher, who was born in Columbiana county, Ohio, April 24, 1845, a daughter of Dr. Amasa and Judith Fisher, who came to Iowa with their family in 1854, settling in Pleasant Grove township. For a number of years Mrs. Kisor engaged successfully in teaching prior to her marriage. In 1858 she united with the Christian church and was always one of its devoted and faithful members. For six or seven years she was in poor health, caused by cancer of the stomach, and on the 22d of December, 1904, passed from this life. She had been a hopeful and patient sufferer and she was loved by all who knew her, her neighbors saying "a better woman never lived." Mr. Kisor's first purchase of land was made in 1868, when he became owner of one hundred acres, nearly all of which was timber. Upon this farm he still resides and he now owns one hundred and sixty acres. The place is improved with a good frame residence with basement, also a substantial barn and other outbuildings. He carries on general farming and his fields return golden harvests in reward for the care and labor which he bestows upon them. He had but limited educational privileges as it was necessary that he aid his father in the work of cultivating and improving the new Iowa farm but throughout his life he has always been a great reader, being especially interested in ancient history. He is today well posted on all subjects, being perhaps the best informed man in the township upon its early history and the events which shape its annals. The editor of this volume acknowledges his indebtedness to Mr. Kisor for considerable in- formation upon this subject. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Kisor were born four children: Cassie C., the wife of Elmer Gorsuch, a resident of Colorado; Rubie Amazette, the wife of Fred Kirk, living upon her father's farm; one who died in infancy unnamed; and C. Earl, at home. In politics Mr. Kisor is an independent democrat. He is now serving as school director, has been president of the school board and has also been road supervisor. He holds membership in the Christian church and is interested in all that pertains to the material, educational and moral progress of his community. He is a prominent and honored representative of agricultural interests and he says that greater improvements have been made in implements for farming and cultivating the soil than along any other line of business. Mr. Kisor himself brought the first vibrator threshing machine into Mahaska county and operated the outfit for several years. He has a hand sickle that was in common use when he first came into Iowa and this was but little better than such as were used in ancient times. He says that if Methuselah had lived to the time of Mr. Kiser's birth he would not have seen as much improvement in farm implements up to the middle of the nineteenth century as Mr. Kisor has seen in the last fifty years. His first plow was a double shovel, the shovels being of wood and not a nail in the whole plow. The trip to Oskaloosa or Iowa City for marketing or milling were made with ox-teams. Today the country is crossed and re-crossed with railroads and many interurban lines and towns and villages have sprung up, affording excellent opportunities for the farmer to secure his supplies and market his products. Invention has wrought a marked change and the harvester, binder, thresher, the cultivator and the riding plow have replaced the old-time implement. The farmer of today has not the lot of hard manual labor to perform which he once had to do and although his life is a busy one much of his work is now performed by machinery, requiring only his careful direction and close attention to keep his farm implements in good working order. Mr. Kisor has kept pace with the changes that have been made and is one of the progressive agriculturists of the county.


from Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa by Manoah Hedge The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1906

Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa

Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy

Iowa Genealogy

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