Biography of Francis A. Kiene

Francis A. Kiene, of Dover Township in Shawnee County, had lived more than three-quarters of a century. His had been a long life of wholesome industry, strict integrity and more than ordinary achievement and experience. The fruits of such a life are not to be measured in material prosperity alone. He had done his part as a patriot soldier, as a citizen, and as a father and husband. The declining years of himself and his noble wife are being spent in comfort and peace at their fine country home in Dover Township, and they are blessed not only with memories of the long journoy they have made together but also in the lives of their worthy children. One of Mr. Kiene’s sons is now serving as sheriff of Shawnee County.

Born October 5, 1839, in Alsace, France, now a part of the German Empire, Francis A. Kiene is a son of John and Agatha Kiene. His father was a thatcher by trade. In that occupation he had much employment in putting the straw roofs on the dwelling places in Alsace. Such roofs were exceedingly common in Europe at that time, though almost unknown on American homes. John Kiene also served fifteen years as a regular soldier in the French army.

In 1847 the family emigrated to America. A sailing vessel brought them across and was sixty-three days in making the passage. Arriving in New York City they all started west for Ohio. At Buffalo while en route the mother of the family died. After seeing her laid to rest, the others continued on their way, crossing Lake Erie by boat to Toledo, and thence going by canal to Putnam County, Ohio. There John Kiene located on a farm and followed farming until his death in 1882. He and his wife were members of the Catholic Church.

Of the three children that grew to maturity Francis A. was the oldest. Eight years of age when brought to America, he grew to manhood on the Ohio farm and had very limited opportunities to obtain an edueation. From youth down to the present farming had been his one staple occupation.

On September 23, 1861, he volunteered to maintain the Union and the institutions of his adopted land. The love of America and its institutions which he thus so signally manifested had always been one of the strongest traits in Mr. Kiene. He enlisted as a private in Company I of the Forty-ninth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and was in service the full term of three years, going out on September 23, 1861, and receiving his honorable discharge in November, 1864.

Few of these surviving old soldiers of the Civil war had so much campaigning as Mr. Kiene. There were skirmishes almost too numerous to mention. He joined the army in time to participate at the two days’ battle of Shiloh, then took part in the siege of Corinth, from there moved eastward to Chattanooga, and as a part of the Army of the Cumberland his regiment hastened north to Louisville to check the advance of Bragg’s army. During this expedition Mr. Kiene was detached from his regular command and was under the command of General McCook, and thus he participated in the battle of Perryville, Kentucky, an engagement in which his regiment bore no part. After that he was south in Tennessee under General Rosecrans and fought in the battle of Stone River or Murfreesboro. His next important battle was Liberty Gap and then followed the Battle of Chickamauga, the siege of Chattanooga, the battle of Missionary Ridge, and after that his corps was sent to relieve Burnside at Knoxville. He and his comrades returned in time to join Sherman’s campaign against Atlanta. He was in the almost continuous fighting between Chattanooga and that city up to Picket’s Mill. There he received a severe bullet wound in the left elbow joint. The bullet tore away a part of the joint and left his arm practically ossified in the form of a right angle. Being thus disabled for further service he received his honorable discharge.

After the war Mr. Kiene furmed for three years in Ohio during the summer season and taught school in the winters. In March, 1867, he married Rose S. Doriot. She was born in the same locality of France as himself. At the time of this writing only a few months remain until Mr. and Mrs. Kiene will have opportunity to celebrate their golden or fiftieth wedding anniversary.

In the fall of 1882 Mr. Kiene moved with his family to Kansas and bought his present farm in Dover Township of Shawnee County. He had a splendid estate, comprising 640 acres, and there for more than thirty years he had enjoyed the routine of farm management and the love and companionship of his devoted family. Mr. Kiene had always been one of the stalwart supporters of the republican party.

Twelve children were born to himself and wife. Eleven of these are still living, named as follows; Llewellyn L.; Emma, Mrs. William Harris; Carl; Guy; Julian; Albert; Otto; Carey Frances, who died at the age of three years; Arthur; Rose C., Mrs. Ernest Longacre; Ray; and John.

Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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