Upon the roll of representative citizens and prominent and influential
business men of Marion county consistently appears the name which initiates
this paragraph. He has been a resident of Salem for many years, during which
time he has gradually won his way into the affections of the people, for he
possesses those sterling qualities of character which commend themselves to
persons of intelligence and the highest morality, so it is no cause for
wonder that he has achieved so high a position in the general estimation of
all who have come in touch with him. For many years he was a professional
man, gaining wide popularity in this manner, but he is now rendering
efficient service at the Salem post-office.
James Henry Kimberlin was born in Richland county, Illinois, January 18, 1860, the son of W. O. Kimberlin, a native of Indiana, having been born February 2, 1826, near Scottsburg, Scott county. He left Indiana and came to Richland county, Illinois, in 1856, settling on a farm where he became known as one of the progressive agriculturists of that community and made a comfortable living until the year 1884, when he was called from his earthly labors by the "grim reaper". His widow, who was Hannah E. Reed, born near Salem, Washington county, Indiana, October 31, 1825, a woman of many praiseworthy traits, is living on the old homestead there at this writing (1908), being eighty-three years old, yet able to do her own house work. Her long life has been one of self-sacrifice for the good of her family and others so that now in her serene old age she can look back over the years without cause for regret. The father of our subject was a soldier in the Union ranks during the great Civil war, having been a member of Company F, Forty-sixth Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He was with Grant at Vicksburg and was in many other important battles. He was in the hospital service for some time, also did general duty at New Orleans, having remained in the service up to January 12, 1866, when he was discharged at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and arrived home February 2d, following which was his fortieth birthday. He had two brothers killed in battle during this war. Their names were Daniel and Jacob. Another brother, Isaac M., went through the service in the Seventh and Eleventh Missouri Volunteer Infantry, having been a member of Company G. Dr. H. L. Kimberlin, another brother of the subject's father, who is now living at Mitchell, Indiana, was a Government Reporter on Governor Morton's staff.
The paternal grandfather of the subject was Jacob Kimberlin, a native of Pennsylvania, who came to Indiana when a young man. He devoted his life to farming and died about 1871. He was well known about Greenfield, where he operated a tollgate, subsequent to the war. The subject's maternal grandfather was Joseph Reed, of Scotch-English ancestry.
Eight children were born to the parents of the subject, only two of whom are now living. George W., the subject's only living brother, is living at Noble, Richland county, with his mother on the old farm. Among the papers held by the Kimberlins is the original land grant by the government for their old homestead made to Joseph Reed and signed by President Franklin Pierce.
James Henry Kimberlin, our subject, spent his boyhood on the parental farm in Richland county where he performed his part of the work about the place from year to year after he reached the age when he could be of valuable service to his father. He attended the neighboring schools in the meantime where he applied himself in a manner which insured a good education. After leaving school and working at various minor employments for several years he finally accepted a position as commercial traveler which he followed with marked success for three and one-half years, giving entire satisfaction to his employers, when, much to their regret he was compelled to tender his resignation on account of temporary ill health. After this our subject took up the study of ophthalmology, which he decided should be his life work, consequently he made rapid progress in this work, having attended the Northern Illinois College of Ophthalmology at Chicago, from which institution he graduated with high honors with the degree of Fellow of Optics in 1892. He at once began practice and his success was instantaneous, having practiced at Olney, Shelbyville and Salem, having established his business in the last named city in 1900, since which time he has been a resident of this city. His work in this line was always considered first class and he achieved wide popularity in the same.
Mr. Kimberlin was, however, induced to give up his profession to become deputy postmaster of this city, which position he is filling to the entire satisfaction of all concerned, showing that he has rare executive as well professional ability.
Mr. Kimberlin was united in marriage to Eva Myers, November 19, 1903, the daughter of the late Theodore Myers, of Iuka, Illinois, and the accomplished representative of a well-known family. One child, a bright and interesting lad, bearing the name of James Henry Kimberlin, Jr., was born to the subject and wife May 4, 1905.
Mrs. Kimberlin is one of a family of five children. One child died after reaching maturity. Theodore Myers was a farmer, and was a soldier in the Civil war.
In his political affiliations our subject is a strong Republican, and he is a well-informed man on political and all current questions. He is a Protestant in his religious belief. He is recognized as a man of sterling integrity and of strong convictions as to all matters affecting the best interests of the community and is always found on the right side of every moral issue.
Extracted 10 Jul 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 110-112.