Biography of Governor John Henry Kinkead.
GOV. JOHN HENRY KINKEAD
Was born at Smithfield, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, on the tenth of
December, 1826. Three years after his parents removed to Zanesville,
Muskingum County, Ohio. Some years later the family made their home at
Lancaster, Fairfield County, in the same State, where the eldest living
member of the family now resides.
The Governors father, J. Kinkead, was a native of Chester County,
Pennsylvania, of Scotch parentage; was married in Baltimore, Maryland, to a
lady of German descent, where the elder members of the family were born. He
was also an enlisted soldier and officer in the army of 1812, though not
called into active service. Among the public works of those early days was
the construction of a highway by the Government, known as the National
Turnpike Road, that extended from Baltimore, Maryland, west, through the
populous portions of the country, to Columbus, Ohio. It was projected to
terminate at St. Louis, but never reached that point. The Governors
father was a contractor in the building of that road, and moved along its
line from Baltimore westward, first to Smithfield, then to Zanesville, as
before mentioned, where his Connection with that enterprise ceased. The
scholastic training to fit the subject of this sketch for the pursuits of
life was not pursued into fields higher than were attainable in the
Lancaster High School, an institute in that day under charge of the brothers
Mark and John Howe, bearing a deservedly high reputation. His graduating
educational degrees have been obtained under that practical and finished
instructor only found in acquiring acknowledge of business and of men. At
eighteen years of age he entered a wholesale dry goods establishment in St.
Louis as a clerk, where he remained until his twenty-third year, when he
crossed the plains in 1849, and established, in connection with J. M.
Livingston, the pioneer mercantile house at Salt Lake City, known as
Livingston & Kinkead.
In 1854 be removed to California, where, with his partners, a business
was continued that consisted chiefly of buying, selling, and grazing
stock. On the first of January, 1856, he was married at Marysville,
California, to Miss Lizzie Fall, a daughter of John C. Fall, who now resides
at Wilcox, Arizona. After his marriage, with the exception of one year spent
in New York City in commercial business, he was interested in a mercantile
establishment at Marysville, in connection with Mr. Fall, until 1861. In the
fall of 1859 his firm established a branch house at Carson City, Nevada; and
in February of 1860, moved there to take charge of the new enterprise, since
when he has considered the Silver State his home, though occasionally
absent, and at one time for over three years. His absence, just mentioned,
was from 1867 to 1871, when he visited Alaska, and was one of the parties
who went there to witness the act of transfer by the Russian Government of
the home of the Esquimaux, the icebergs, and seals, to our Government. He
was the first official appointed by the United States to any Governmental
position in that country. It was tendered him, with a commission not quite
as large as a bedspread, duly stamped with the national seal, on which could
have been, but was not, written the ton commandments; his pay was to be
twelve dollars per year, his occupation and title that of P. M.
(which is Postmaster).
As a business man, Governor Kinkead has been one of the most active in
the country. In connection with his associates he built, in early times, the
widely-known Mexican Quartz Mill, located at Empire City; located the
pioneer town of Washoe City, and improved the water-power there; was one of
the original projectors of the now Virginia and Truckee Railroad; built
smelting works at Pleasant Valley, a mill in the cañon below Washoe
City, and another at Austin; has been engaged in milling or mining in
Ormsby, Washoe, Storey, Lander, Humboldt, and Esmeralda counties, in this
State, in addition to his mercantile pursuits.
The Governor was Territorial Treasurer under Governor Nye, during the
existence of the Territorial Government; was a member of both Constitutional
Conventions convened for the purpose of creating a State Organization.
Declining any further political advancement, he devoted himself to business
pursuits, only emerging therefrom upon his nomination and election as
Governor of his State in 1878. He is a gentleman in many respects of
superior attainments, with a fair scholastic education; has read law, and
traveled extensively in the United States and Territories. Officially he has
shown himself to be industrious, honest, and capable. Socially he is suave
and affable in his manner. He would address a prince with dignity, or treat
a tramp courteously, and greets all with a kind word and genial pleasant
smile, making every one whom he meets glad that Nevadas Governor is a
[History of Nevada, 1881, Thompson and West. Pages facing 24-25]