The Kinsman Family

Bronze statue of Rebecca Perkins Kinsman and her son, John, on display in the Kinsman Free Public Library's Reading & Wellness Garden.

Learn more about the Rebecca & John Jr. Kinsman statue.

Bronze statue of Rebecca Perkins Kinsman and son John Kinsman

John Kinsman was born May 7, 1753, in Norwich (now Lisbon, Connecticut) to Jeremiah and Sarah Kinsman. In 1792 he married Rebecca Perkins, daughter of Captain Simon and Olive Perkins also of Lisbon.

John Kinsman became an ensign in the U.S. Navy at  the age of 23 and marched to New York to serve his country under Washington.  In 1797 he was elected to the State Legislature.  Through this connection he became familiar with the Connecticut Land Company and made land purchases from them.  This was the motive that brought him to Kinsman in 1799.

His first task upon arriving was to look for new sites suitable to build a store, a log house, and a mill on the bank of the Pymatuning bank near the bridge. A man of great energy and apt in business, he made many trips on horseback to Connecticut and Pennsylvania for necessary supplies.  He traveled throughout the Western Reserve looking for new sites suitable for settlements and the sale of his lands. All these rough activities took its toll and John Kinsman passed away on August 17, 1813, at the age of sixty.  His vast estate was carried on by his brother-in-law, Captain Simon Perkins, his capable widow, and nine children.  Their first home was built on the east side of the Square, now the site of the local bank.  Later, another home was built near the present  Mini mall once home to an earlier Five and Dime Store.

Mrs. Kinsman, a devoted Christian, gave generously to educational and religious enterprises.  Their son, John, was eleven years old when his parents brought him here.  In 1846 he married Mrs. June Cass of Huntington, Long Island. A farmer and a merchant, he, too, was identified with the early settlement of the Reserve.  His financial aid, in extending credit to the early settlers, was a great boon.  He died in 1864 in his seventy-first year.

Another son of John Kinsman, Thomas, was born in 1804 just after his parents arrival in Kinsman. He married Sophia Bidwell Burnham, daughter of Sophia Bidwell Burnham and Jedediah of Kinsman.  His land comprised around 2,00 acres on State Road and extended westward to the Gustavus line.  The soil was of fine quality, well watered by springs, and a very good growth of timber.  They built the red brick house which still stands on the site of the current McGill Septic Tank property.

To this family six children were born:  Sophia, Cornelia, Ellen, Thomas, Alfred and Mary.  Mary, the youngest died in 1947.  Later the family built a larger home just to the north which is occupied by the Timothy Woofter family.  They also built the home situated on the Gilbert Gates farm.

George Swift married Olive Kinsman and they lived in the house where Clarence Perkins lived, now the home of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Webb.  It was remodeled later and became the home of Thomas Kinsman, Jr., and his wife, Bertha Wilson Smith.  He can be remembered as a State representative in 1900 and later as a Senator  from 1904-1908.

Kinsman Family Tree

Kinsman Family Tree