JAMES MONROE KIMBERLIN
University of the Pacific, at Santa Clara
Bio- Pen Pictures
SURNAMES: DODD, RITCHIE, BATEMAN, TAYLOR, BLAND, PAYTON, REED, ROADHOUSE,
seed-grower of Santa Clara, was born in Botetourt County, Virginia, on the James River, January 20, 1828. He is a son of Jacob and Harriet (Ritchie) Kimberlin, both of English ancestry. They were strict Methodists, consistent Christians, and were pronounced in their views against human slavery. They both died of a fever at Eastport, Alabama, when the subject of this sketch was only eight years of age. After the death of his parents, he was first placed under the guardianship of his uncle, Barclay Dodd, and afterward under that of Samuel Gohlson, of Alabama. His parents' estate being mostly in slaves, himself and four sisters were supported by an income accruing from the slaves being hired out. His sisters are : Mrs. Araminta J. Bateman, wife of Dr. E. B. Bateman, of Stockton, California; Mrs. Isabella A. Taylor. wife of Rev. William Taylor, Bishop of Africa; Mrs. Caroline E. Bland, wife of Rev. Adam Bland, of the California Methodist Conference; and Mrs. Harriet V., wife of V. M. Payton, of Stockton, California. The children imbibing the abolition principles of their parents, the slaves were all liberated in 1852 and sent to Liberia, Africa, Bishop Taylor bearing the expense of the transportation, costing $1,000. He sent them under the care of his father, Rev. Stewart Taylor, which event, subsequently, during the Rebellion, nearly cost him his life, as the act of transporting slaves to Liberia inflamed a sentiment against him among slave-holders. Mr. Kimberlin remained with his guardian, Samuel Gohlson, until his fifteenth year, when he returned to Botetourt County, Virginia, and up to that time he had been educated in the common schools. He then taught school and clerked in a store till 1848, when he entered Dickinson College, at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, at which institution he graduated in 1851. Before entering college, Mr. Kimberlin became converted to Christ, which was the most important event of his life, and which changed his whole future course.
January 8, 1851, he was married, at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to Miss Katie Elizabeth Reed, a daughter of Nathan Reed, Esq., of that place. In 1852 he, with his wife, came by the Isthmus of Panama to California, under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Missionary Board. He came almost immediately to San Jose, and commenced teaching in the San Jose Academy, the first school established in San Jose, and then in charge of Mr. Bannister. The school was held in the old What Cheer House, southeast corner of San Fernando and Second Streets. Mr. Kimberlin taught here two terms, and was then transferred to a professorship in the University of the Pacific, at Santa Clara. Here he remained at a nominal salary for twelve years, trying to keep the struggling institution on its feet; and had it not been for the efforts of himself; Doctor Gibbons, and Mr. Cleveland, this now prosperous and useful college would have been lost to the Conference. But for the income from a piece of ground which Mr. Kimberlin had purchased, he would have starved to death while trying to place the University on a solid foundation. Finally he lost his health, and in 1875 was obliged to retire from the profession of teacher. He went into farming and fruit-growing in a small way, but did not make much of a success until he drifted into seed-growing. Commencing with but a small tract, he has increased his plantations from year to year until he now has 280 acres in seeds and eighty acres in bulbs.
Mr. and Mrs.
Kimberlin have had nine children, viz.: Imogene Taylor, married to J. J.
Roadhouse, of Fresno County; Olin Bland, farmer in Fresno County; Virginia
Peyton, residing in Fresno County; James Edwin, deceased; Ida Josephine,
deceased; Charles Reed, in business with his father; Louis Melvin, attending
commercial college; Herbert Vernon, in business with his father; and Mary Alice,
attending the public schools of Santa Clara.
Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.
SANTA CLARA COUNTY BIOGRAPHY PROJECT