Biography of James Kesling

JAMES KESLING. – This gentleman is one of those large-hearted, kindly men who are loved by all the neighbors and by all the neighbors’ children. His life embraces a wide range of interesting experiences, and covers a period of nearly forty years on this coast. He was born in Ohio in 1835, but moved with his folks to Indiana six years later. In 1852 he came with the family of Honorable Luther Elkins, now of Linn county, across the plains to Oregon. Reaching Portland, then a town of shanties and but few good houses, in the woods, young Kesling and a boy companion undertook to turn a few honest dollars by cutting cordwood. Half a day of chopping, however, in the tough, resinous fir wood blistered their hands and determined them upon some more congenial labor. This hot half-day’s work was near the Odd Fellows Hall of the present day. Going to Lafayette, then a city about the six of Portland (of 1852), the young man began blacksmithing, sharpening plows and showing horses until the autumn, and after that chose a home in Linn county, where he lived continuously, still blacksmithing, for twenty years. His next move took him to Old Yakima, where he began at once his favorite work, and was very successful. In 1885 he followed “the star of empire” to North Yakima, Washington Territory, where he is still carrying on his accustomed business, and has acquired real estate. He is also considerably interested in stock-raising.

Mr. Kesling has also served in the capacity of justice of the peace. He is an enthusiastic lover of the Yakima country, believing it to be sure to become the garden spot of Washington territory. Its low elevation and warm climate give it the first great advantage. Its perfect adaptability for irrigation and the presence of unlimited water for the same purpose make the scarcity of rain no disadvantage, and prevent all failure of crops. The twenty feet of snow that falls on the Cascades and Shohatlins will always make green fields and immense root crops in the vales of Yakima.

Mr. Kesling’s domestic life has been happy, and has been blessed with all that a man can desire. He was married in 1853 to Miss Anna McMicken, a pioneer of Linn county, and has four boys and a girl, – Arnold L., Jay, Addison, Bella and Samuel.



History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington. 2 v. Portland, Oregon: North Pacific History Company. 1889.

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