Biography of Henry Herman Kiehl
Henry Herman Kiehl, who had lived in Kansas since the spring of 1870, is one of the foremost citizens of Lyndon. While the days of border ruffianism were past when he came to Kansas, his individual experience covers most of the period of growth and development. As a farmer he had a full share of the hardships and difficulties which the early agriculturists had to encounter and he fully deserves all the prosperity that had come his way.
His grandfather was a native of Germany. His father Eli Kiehl was born in Pennsylvania, became owner of a brick yard and a tannery in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, and his later life was spent as a farmer. Eli and his oldest son were drafted for service during the Civil war, but were released on account of physical disability. His cousins Amos and John Kiehl were both Union soldiers. Eli Kiehl married Maria Uber, also a native of Pennsylvania. They were the parents of eight children, and the fourth in order of birth was Henry Herman, who was born February 25, 1852.
In 1864 the family moved to Wyandotte County, Ohio, where the father followed farming for a couple of years, and then bought 160 acres near Findlay, Ohio. Four years later the mother of the family broke a leg, and becoming restless she induced the family to move west to Kansas. They made the trip by railroad to Cincinnati, and thence took a boat to St. Louis and from there by rail to their destination. They first had a farm in Neosho County, but were unable to acquire title, and Eli then bought a claim of 160 acres three miles northeast of Lyndon. That was about the time the Sac and Fox reservation was opened to settlement. Eli Kiehl used a combination of horses and cattle to break up his land and was industriously engaged in its improvement and cultivation when death overtook him on October 1, 1873. His wife passed away a year later on October 3, 1874. They were active members of the German Reform Church, and also assisted the establishment of schools in the early days of Kansas.
Henry H. Kiehl was about twenty-one years of age when his father died. He had very little opportunity to secure an education, but attended several terms both in Ohio and Kansas. After his parents died he took charge of the old homestead, and soon afterward occurred the grasshopper years when all his crops were destroyed.
In 1875 Mr. Kiehl married Miss Drusilla Hedges, who was born in Illinois, her parents having come to Kansas in 1869. Mr. and Mrs. Kiehl have four children: Frankie, now Mrs. W. H. Harper of Lyndon; Daneta, Mrs. Perry Smith of Osage County; Pauline, who is married and living in Lyndon; and Claude E., chief clerk in the Western Union office at Topeka.
After leaving his farm Mr. Kiehl moved to Williamsburg in 1879, bought and operated a livery stable for five years, and having sold his interests became clerk in a store. In 1891 he bought 100 acres of the old homestead in Osage County, and resuming agriculture lived there and enjoyed much prosperity until 1908. He then sold the farm and had since had his home in the City of Lyndon. Mr. Kiehl helped to build the first telephone line in Kansas. He is an active republican and for many years had followed its fortunes closely. For six years he served as town marshal under L. T. Hussey, then mayor, and for three years was town clerk. Mr. Kiehl fought hard for betterment in his community, and was one of the men who helped to procure the Carnegie library for Lyndon and also a proper lighting of Main Street so as to constitute a white way. He was one of the organizers of the Osage County Light and Power Company, and had ever since held the office of treasurer. This company not only supplies light and power to Lyndon but also to Melvern and Quenemo, both in Osage County. Mr. Kiehl is an active member of the Methodist Church, and had held the chairs in Euclid Lodge No. 101, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.