ROBERT KISSICK, LL. B., b. 4May1843


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

Robert Kissick, lawyer, author, newspaper correspondent and literary critic, has since 1865 resided in Oskaloosa and though formerly engaged in the practice of law is now devoting his entire time to his literary work. He is a native of Mercer county, Pennsylvania, born May 4, 1843, and is a son of Thomas and Mary Ann (Lafferty) Kissick, the former a native of Ireland and the latter of Ohio. Thomas Kissick was born in 1807 and crossed the Atlantic with his father's family at the age of sixteen years, becoming a resident of Pittsburg. By trade he was a molder, but through many years devoted his attention to general agricultural pursuits. His death occurred in 1869 and his wife passed away in Iowa in the fall of 1860, at the age of thirty-nine years. In their family were eight children, of whom the following are yet living: Captain William L. Kissick, of Oskaloosa; Robert; John L., who is living in Denver, Colorado; Florence, the wife of Dr. N. R. Hook, of Oskaloosa; Araminta, the widow of Rev. William Wilson and a resident of Ypsilanti, Michigan; and George L., of Albia, Iowa. Those deceased are: Lucetta J., who was the first wife of Dr. N. R. Hook; and James L., the youngest of the faniily Robert Kissick was a youth of fifteen years when he came with his father's family to Iowa, arriving at Oskaloosa, April 7, 1859, the old home being established in Oskaloosa township upon a farm five miles west of the city of Oskaloosa. He accquired a common-school education and was reared to farm life, assisting in the labors of field and meadow until after the outbreak of the Civil war. On the 10th of August, 1862, at the age of nineteen years, he offered his services to the government and became a member of Company C, Thirty-third Iowa Infantry in which he was mustered in as a corporal. Shortly afterward he was promoted to the rank of second sergeant and later became color sergeant of the regiment at Helena, Arkansas. in April, 1863. He served with the regiment in all its expeditions and campaigns until March, 1864. With his command he took part in the Vicksburg campaign, in what is known as the Yazoo Pass expedition, during February, March and April, 1863. This expedition was perhaps the most unique of any during the war or indeed of the world, going through the state of Mississippi by the way of the Yazoc Pass, the Coldwater, Tallahatchie and Yazoo rivers to Fort Pemberton, with a fleet of some thirty-five, or forty gunboats and steamboats, traveling in all some seven hundred and fifty miles in going and returning. He also took part, in the several campaigns against Little Rock, Arkansas, in August and September, 1863. under Major General Fred Steele, commanding the Seventh Army Corps, that city being captured September 10, 1863, where the regiment remained during the winter. On the 28th of March, 1864, at Little Rock, Mr. Kissick was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant adjutant of the One Hundred and Thirteen Regiment of United States Colored Troops, being at that time but twenty years of age. He was commissioned by authority of Abraham Lincoln and continued to serve with that rank until the close of the war. When hostilities had ceased Mr. Kissick returned Oskaloosa and became a student in Hull & Piper's Classical and Normal School in 1865. He was afterward principal of the high school in Manchester, Iowa, in 1867-8, and has since been a resident of Oskaloosa. Having studied law under private instruction, he matriculated in the law department of the Iowa State University, from which he was graduated in the class of 1872. He then entered upon the practice of his chosen profession and was for many years a learned and able member of the Oskaloosa bar, but ten years ago, on account of ill health, he retired from practice and since 1894 has given his attention almost entirely to literary work. His first published work was "A Philosophical History of the Formation of the American Republic," the first edition of which has been exhausted, and a second work, "Models of American Patriotism," is now in manuscript form. Something of the character of his first publication may be indicated by the following statement of Senator James Harlan: "Your history has placed the people of the whole country under the lasting obligations of gratitude." Professor A. L. Tidd, of Aurora Modern College, Aurora, Illinois, says: "Your work has struck the true chord of history. It is the very spirit and essence of American history and should be read by every citizen and future voter of the republic. Many have given statistics, but you have written history." Mr. Kissick is now preparing a history of the Thirty-third Regiment of Iowa Volunteer Infantry in the war of the Rebellion, 1861-1865, with an introduction on the causes and beginning of the war. He has also prepared an elaborate criticism on Lee's New School History of the United States and Channing's Students' History of the United States. He has written for leading papers of Des Moines, Chicago and Washington, D. C., and prepared and published a symposium on tariff revision in the fall of 1905, which was noticed by the big dailies of the country. Being a stalwart republican, Mr. Kissick is active in the work of the party and as a strong and forceful writer has made himself felt along many questions of political discussion for the good of the country. Mr. Kissick was married at Oskaloosa in November, 1868, to Miss Mary J. Pettitt, a daughter of David and Rebecca Pettitt, who came to Oskaloosa from Ohio, in 1864. They lost one child, Ralph W., while those still living are as follows: Frank P., of Albia, Iowa, who served for six years in the Iowa National Guard, resigning as captain of Company F, Fifty-first Iowa Infantry, in 1897. Guy E., who served in the Spanish-American war with the rank of lieutenant of Company F, Fifty-first Iowa Infantry, actively serving some time in the Philippines. Before this he served about six years in the Iowa National Guard at Oskaloosa. Edwyne R.. serving as a private in the same company with his brother in the Philippines, died on board the United States steamer, Senator, September 29, 1899, in Nagasaki harbor, Japan, when on the trip home, and was buried in Forest cemetery, at Oskaloosa. Norman J., is now second lieutenant in Company F, Fifty- fourth Regiment, Iowa National Guard, at Oskaloosa. Mary Irene completes the family. The sons seem to have inherited their father's military spirit and have become active members of the nation's standing army of volunteers. Mr. Kissick is a member of Phil Kearney post, No. 40, G. A. R., of Oskaloosa, and was the second one chosen to the office of commander, serving for the year 1882, and is now the senior past post commander. For the past three years be has been adjutant. In politics a stalwart republican, his first vote was cast for Abraham Lincoln in 1864 while a soldier at Little Rock, and the same year he was commissioned an officer by the President wben but twenty years of age. While he was seeking the office of a member of the board of control of state institutions in Iowa, in 1900, there were many eminent gentlemen who gave him their endorsement. The Hon. Milton Remley said to him: "He is a gentleman of high character, learned, of general information and a high order of ability," while Judge Remley said of him: "I have been personally acquainted with Robert Kissick for nearly thirty years and have known him as a student and a careful analyzer of causes and effects in affairs which affect the condition of men." Hon. S. M. Clark said: "He is one of the men who has contributed to the large statesmanship of Iowa by his treatment of public questions." Many more favorable letters of commendation were written. The writings of Mr. Kissick show him to be a man of broad mind and scholarly attainment, who has carried his researches far into the history of the country, the purpose and aims of its people, their ambitions and accomplishments.

Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa

Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy

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