THE VALLEY OF HEART's DELIGHT
JAMES MILTON KIDWELL
SURNAMES: EVE, COX, PLUNKETT, MORTON
Hard work, economy and perseverance constitute
the basis for the success of James Milton Kidwell, a rancher on the
Homestead Road, two miles west from Santa Clara. He is a native of
Missouri, born near Newark, Knox County, August 30, 1878, the son of
Lee and Martha (Eve) Kidwell. The father was a native of Kentucky and
removed to Danville, Ill., when a young man and farmed there; later he
removed to Knox County, Mo.. where he farmed near Newark until he sold
the place and returned to Illinois, engaging in farming and stock
raising near Danville, Vermillion County, in time becoming the most
extensive feeder of cattle in that region. He died in 1885, aged only
thirty-five years, leaving a widow and five children, of whom James
Milton is the third oldest. The mother continued on the farm for a year
when she moved to Knox County, Mo. She was also born in Kentucky, but
her brothers were living in Missouri, and there she purchased eighty
acres of land and reared her family. A noble woman, she lived for her
children and did all she could to rear and educate them well. She
passed away at the age of sixty years.
James Milton Kidwell divided his time between attending the local
school and working on the home farm until twelve years of age, after
which he worked out on farms for wages, which he gave to his mother, so
the most of his education has been obtained by self-study, reading and
in the school of experience, and he has become a well-informed man.
Soon after reaching his majority he was married at Shelbyville, Shelby
County, Mo., August 17, 1898, to Miss Lena Cox, a native of Knox
County, Mo.. the daughter of James Howard and Rebecca (Plunkett) Cox.
born in Indianapolis, Ind., and Sangamon County. Ill., respectively,
but were married in Missouri and became well-to-do farmers near Newark,
Mo. The father is now seventy-two years of age and the mother is
Of their six children Mrs. Kidwell is the second oldest,
and she received her education in the public schools in Missouri. Soon
after their marriage they purchased twenty acres at Epworth, Shelby
County, and engaged in general farming, until they decided to come to
California. Selling their holding they arrived at Santa Clara, Cal.,
March 13. 1902. where Mr. Kidwell was in the employ of the Pacific
Manufacturing Company for eighteen months when they returned to Shelby
County, Mo., purchasing an eighty-acre farm. However, their longing and
desire to live in the land of sunshine and flowers became so great that
they sold this farm and on April 7, 1909, they returned and purchased a
home in Santa Clara and Mr. Kidwell returned to his former place of
employment, continuing until 1912, when he purchased an eleven-acre
ranch, a part of the old Woodham place on Woodhams Avenue, later
seventeen acres adjoining, so he now owns twenty-eight acres in a body. The ranch is
amply irrigated and in full-bearing prunes and apricots. He also has
leased a thirtyseven-acre orchard on the Homestead Road and farms this
in connection with his own place. He also owns another residence on
Homestead Road as well as town property in Herald, Sacramento County.
He has been a close student of horticulture and has become one of the
best-informed men in that direction in his section.
Mr. and Mrs.
Kidwell are the parents of two children: Hazel is now Mrs. Morton of
San Jose; Carl, a native son, born April 7, 1912, is at home. Mr. and
Mrs. Kidwell are both stanch Republicans; fraternally Mr. Kidwell is a
member of Santa Clara Lodge No. 238, I. 0. 0. F. They are both
consistent members of the First Baptist Church of Santa Clara in which
Mr. Kidwell is a deacon and trustee, while Mrs. Kidwell has been clerk
of the official board for several years and is a member of the Ladies'
Auxiliary. She is a woman of much energy and business acumen, and Mr.
Kidwell gives much of the credit for his success to her faithful
cooperation, encouragement and assistance.
From Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 902
SANTA CLARA COUNTY BIOGRAPHY PROJECT
SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight