Buena Vista County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 586-87.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  Charles Kinzie Umphrey

Charles Kinzie Umphrey, who is now living retired in a commodious and substantial home at Sioux Rapids, was formerly actively and successfully connected with the agricultural interests of Buena Vista county.  His birth occurred in Harrison county, Ohio, in 1859, his parents being Samuel and Sophia (Snelling) Umphrey, the former a native of Virginia and the latter of Ohio.  The maternal grandparents of our subject were John and Charlotte Snelling.  Samuel Umphrey, the father, removed to Ohio in early life and remained a resident of that state until 1865, when he took up his abode in La Salle county, Illinois.  All of his brothers participated in the Civil war.  Unto Samuel and Sophia (Snelling) Umphrey were born three children, namely:  Eveline, who is the wife of David Snelling and resides in La Salle county, Illinois; Annie, deceased; and Charles Kinzie, of this review.


The last named was four years of age when he accompanied his parents on their removal to La Salle comity, Illinois, where he acquired his education in the public schools and was reared to manhood.  On the 24th of December, 1879, he was united in marriage to Miss Alma Miller, a daughter of Dennis and Ann (Bremer) Miller, both natives of Pennsylvania.  In the spring of 1841 they journeyed westward to Illinois with teams in company with eight other families, thus making a long caravan.  They established quite a colony in the new and sparsely settled country and that much of the region was still unclaimed and undeveloped is indicated by the fact that they entered their lands from the government.  Dangers of attack by hostile Indians and all the hardships and privations incident to life on the frontier harassed these early pioneers but they remained bravely on and many of them lived to see the district grow and develop into a highly civilized and prosperous community.  Dennis Miller was the second in order of birth in a family of eight children, the record of whom is as follows:  William, who died in early maidenhood; Dennis; Emily, who has also passed away; Andrew, living in southern Iowa; Wesley, who wedded Miss Rebecca Carnahan and is a resident of Compton, Illinois; Henry who enlisted for service in the Civil war as a member of the Union army but died while on his way to the front:  Daniel, who makes his home in California; and Catherine, the wife of James Madden of Omaha.  Mrs. Umphrey is one of a family of six children, namely:  William, who died in infancy; Jerome K., living in Paw Paw, Illinois; Mrs. Umphrey; Nellie E., who became the wife of Arthur Wells and passed away September 6, 1891, when twenty-four years of age; Edith, also a resident of Paw Paw; and one who died in infancy.  Mr. and Mrs. Umphrey became the parents of four children, the first born dying in infancy.  The others are Floy, who was married to Harry P. Helms, December 28, 1908, now principal of schools at Rudd, Iowa; Edith; Edna Beatrice and Annie.


Subsequent to his marriage Mr. Umphrey carried on farming near Paw Paw, Illinois, until 1885, which year witnessed his arrival in Buena Vista county, Iowa.  Locating two miles south of Sioux Rapids, on section 24, he first operated the farm as a renter but after a few years purchased one hundred and sixty acres, which he brought under a high state of improvement and cultivation.  On selling that property he bought a farm near Rembrandt which still remains in his possession.  In 1900, when his intelligently directed energy and capable management had brought him a goodly competence, he put aside the active work of the fields and took up his abode in Sioux Rapids, where he has since lived retired, enjoying in well earned ease the fruits of his former toil.


Since age conferred upon him the right of franchise Mr. Umphrey has given his political allegiance to the republican party, believing that its principles will best conserve the welfare of the nation.  He is a highly respected and worthy resident of Sioux Rapids and is also widely and favorably known throughout the county, where he has made his home for almost a quarter of a century.