from Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa by Manoah Hedge The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1906
William Lafferty Kissick is a retired farmer of Oskaloosa, whose income is largely received from the coal interests which he owns. He was born in Mercer county, Pennsylvania, on January 27, 1841, and is descended from Irish ancestry. His father, Thomas Kissick, was born in Ireland, March 8, 1807, and came to the United States when seventeen years of age with his parents, Robert and Sarah (Rankin) Kissick, and his three sisters, the family locating first in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. The grandfather was a linen weaver and farmer and Thomas Kissick followed the same pursuit in Ireland. After coming to America he worked in a foundry at Pittsburg, but as times became hard and many industries were shut down, he began work as a farm hand in Columbiana county, Ohio. Soon, however, he returned to Pittsburg and later went to Mercer county, Pennsylvania, and bought a farm, and it was while residing there that he was married. His life was up right and honorable, in consistent harmony with his professions as a member of the Congregational church. Strongly opposed to the institution of slavery he became an abolitionist in antebellum days, and afterward joined the ranks of the new republican party, which was formed to prevent the further extension of slavery. He died September 1, 1869, having lived to see the emancipation of the black race. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Mary Ann Lafferty, was born in Pennsylvania, September 26, 1820, an4 was of Irish parentage. She, too, held membership in the Congregational church and her death occurred September 23, 1860. In the family of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Kissick were eight children: William L.; Robert; Lucetta Jane, the first wife of Dr. N. R. Hook, of Oskaloosa; Araminta, the widow of William Wilson, who was a Congregational minister at Tonica, Illinois, and was lost in a snowstorm in Wyoming about ten years ago; John L., a conductor, residing at Laramie, Wyoming; Florence, the second wife of Dr. N. R. Hook; of Oskaloosa; George L., a merchant of Albia, Iowa; and James L., who died December 1, 1889, at the age of thirty years. William L. Kissick was a public school student in Pennsylvania and was reared upon a farm, where he remained until eighteen years of age. His parents removed to Iowa in 1859, settling upon a farm in Garfield township, Mahaska county, where both died. He remained with them upon this farm until he had attained his majority, when he enlisted for service in the Civil war at Oskaloosa, becoming a member of Company C, Sixteenth Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He served under General Grant at Vicksburg, and under General Sherman, with whom he went on the celebrated march to the sea. He continued with the army for three years and eight months, and was mustered out at Louisville, Kentucky, July 19, 1865. He joined the regiment as a private and was successively promoted to the ranks of corporal, third sergeant, second lieutenant, first lieutenant and finally be came captain of the company in which he enlisted. His first enlistment was for three years and on the expiration of that term he veteranized on the 4th of January, 1864, at Vicksburg, Mississippi, and in April, of that year, was given a thirty days' furlough. After spending that time at home he returned to the front. The first engagement in which he participated was the battle of Shiloh, April 6 and 7, 1862, followed by luka, September 19, 1862, Corinth, October 3 and 4, 1862, and the siege of Vicksburg in May and June, 1863. He was in the Atlanta campaign under Sherman and was captured at the battle of Atlanta July 22, 1864, and taken to Andersonville prison, where Captain Kissick remained in the stockcade for two months but was exchanged in time to march with Sherman from Atlanta to the sea, which march proved that the Confederacy was like an empty shell, the men having been drawn from the interior to defend the border. He suffered many privations of southern prison life at Andersonville and remembers that the last meal provided him there was of raw cornmeal. After rejoining his regiment he had command of his company. He was twice struck by spent balls but was not crippled. That he displayed meritorious conduct upon the field was shown by the fact that he won promotion from time to time until he became captain of his company. When the war was over Captain Kissick returned to Oskaloosa, where he engaged in the grocery business with E. W. Hull, an uncle, continuing in that line of trade for two years. He then returned to farm life and finally purchased the homestead place in Garfield township, where he remained until 1905, when he sold the farm but reserved valuable coal rights. The coal is now being mined and grades high and from this Captain Kissick receives a good income. The mine is being worked by the Bolton Hoover Coal Company, of Oskaloosa. On the 9th of August, 1865, Captain Kissick was married to Miss Mary E. Hook, who was born in Guernsey county, Ohio, and died January 5, 1881. In the family were two children: Corn M., now the wife of O. R. Jones, a wealthy farmer and stock raiser of Fairbury Nebraska, by whom she has seven children; and Lulu O., who married W. R. Thomas, a farmer and stock raiser who is living in Audubon county, Iowa. Captain Kissick married his present wife, Sarah E. Kent, March 6, 1883. She was born in Noble county, Ohio, in 1852, and was a farmers daughter. By this marriage there have been born three children: Emily, now a student in Penn College; Mary, who is engaged in teaching; and William Perry, at school. The parents are members of the Reformed church, and Captain Kissick belongs to the Grand Army of the Republic, and gives his political support to the republican party. He is now connected with no active business interests but has an excellent income from his coal mines. He made a splendid record as a soldier, and has been equally loyal in citizenship in times of peace. His business record, too, although marked by no startling events, has been characterized by the steady progress which eventually reaches the objective point, and he is now one of the men of affluence in the county.
Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy