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 sixty-five.

 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 The Valley of Heart's Delight