Representing one of the oldest and best-known families of Viola township, Audubon county, Iowa, and himself a man of enterprise and sterling worth, Arthur Kitson is well entitled to notice among the substantial citizens of Viola township. Although Mr. Kitson is now living retired, it is with much satisfaction that the opportunity is availed of to place the story of his life before the readers of this important historical work.|
Arthur Kitson is a native of England. He was born on October 24, 1850, at 34 Albert Square. Kennington, South London. England. He is the son of Wils and Hannah (Rhodes) Kitson. Wils Kitson was a government official and received a salary of one thousand pounds (five thousand dollars) annually. He was at the head of a department when his health failed, and he retired on a pension of three hundred and fifty pounds (seventeen hundred and fifty dollars) annually. Both he and his wife died in England.
Arthur Kitson learned the worsted trade and became an expert in preparing wool. He worked for a Mr. Wildman and afterwards a Mr. Saltair, in a mill employing four thousand people. In 1874 Mr. Kitson came to America and joined a cousin, William Fyfe, at Wiota, Cass county, Iowa, where he remained one year. He rented land in Cass county and was a farmer there. He rented land of Roger Robinson for one year, and also rented for one year from J. B. McDermott. In 1877 Mr. Kitson moved to Audubon county, where he purchased land in section 15, Lincoln township, at fifteen and fifteen and one-half dollars an acre. He bought raw prairie land and at this time his nearest neighbor lived three miles away. He was a pioneer in Lincoln township, where the land was very thinly settled and the markets far away. Mr. Kitson "batched" for five years and was married in 1881. In 1906 he left Lincoln township having sold his farm of two hundred acres at thirty-one and one-half dollars and eighty acres at eighty-five dollars per acre. He began with one hundred and sixty acres in Viola township and added eighty acres at twenty dollars an acre. He sold forty acres at twenty-three dollars an acre. Subsequently, he went security on a note and got into financial difficulties. After this incident he moved to eighty acres of land which he purchased at thirty-two and one-half dollars an acre from John Hinch. Here he lived for eight years or until 1907. He sold this farm in the fall of 1906 and bought one hundred and sixty acres in section 34 of Viola township, where he has since resided.
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Mr. Kitson was married in May, 1881. to Julia Carpenter. Six children have been born to this marriage, one of whom is deceased. They are Ethel, the wife of Albert Clevenger, of Minnesota; Annie, deceased; Harry, who is a student at the University at Oskaloosa, Iowa; Walter and Burt, twins, the former a student of medicine at Iowa University at Iowa City, and the latter operating the home farm; and Lillian Marian, who lives at home. Mrs. Kitson was born in Devonshire, England. October 13, 1858, and came to this country in 1875 with her uncle, George Chamberlain. Upon arriving in this country, they located in Cass county, Iowa.
Mr. Kitson is an independent voter in politics but a stanch Prohibitionist and supports measures and men rather than parties and party emblems. He and his wife are members of the Evangelical church and are good Christian people. They are respected citizens of this community and eminently deserve to be included in the biographical annals of Audubon county.
Transcribed from History of Audubon County, Iowa Its People, Industries and Institutions With Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens and Genealogical Records of Many of the Old Families, by H. F. Andrews, editor, Indianapolis: B. F. Bowen & Company, 1915, pp. 544-545.