February 17, 2016

Daniel F. Kline of Hocking and Defiance Counties


Daniel F. Kline

Born March 1, 1871, Daniel was the firstborn son of John Wesley Kline and Dora Tena Myers Kline.  He grew up in Good Hope Township, Hocking County, Ohio and was enumerated in the census there in 1880 with his parents and siblings, Caroline - 6, Mary - 3, Christy (Christopher) - 2, and Maria (Mariah) - 4 months.  


Not much is know of Daniel's childhood, other than he grew up in the hills and rocks of Hocking County, near what is now Hocking County State Park.  John Wesley, his father, farmed and their homestead sat in a rather secluded area near Rockbridge.

Kline homestead, Hocking County, 1992

 One story, printed in The Logan Daily News, (unknown publication date) concerned Daniel as a young man of about 23.

"It was Wednesday, July 24, 1895.  It was about 9 a.m.  At his home in the northwestern part of Laurel Township, near Cantwell Cliffs, Joseph Bigham had been digging a well.  He was preparing to build a new house, having made the excavation for the cellar and starting work on this well.  He was being assisted by his brother-in-law, Oliver Benway.  The evening before, they fired a blast in the well in order to get fire to burn in it, but it didn't do any good.  They left the house about seven o'clock on Wednesday morning to work on the well.

Joseph went down in the well, but was overcome by carbonic acid gas, which at the time was commonly called well damp.  He called to Oliver to pull him up, but was too affected by the gas to hold the rope.  Oliver called out for help.  Mary Yantes, who was staying with the Bighams at the time, and Joseph's wife, Anna, came to assist.  Oliver lowered himself into the well, fanning Joseph for a few minutes in an attempt to revive him, but soon felt himself being overcome by the gas.  He called for the women to pull him up; they were able to get him up about 16 or 17 feet, but he was so overcome by gas, he fell back to the bottom of thewell, which at the time was about 35 feet deep. 

Mary ran to the nearest neighbors about a half mile away, and a group of men came back with her to assist.  Dan Kline went down in the well to retrieve the men, but only got about half way before the gas overcame him and he needed to be pulled out.  They pumped air into the well by means of a windmill and sheet, and a burning sheaf of wheat was lowered into it.  Dan went back down in the bucket, tied a rope around the bodies of Joseph and Oliver, and brought them up.  They had been dead for some time, it having been over an hour since Oliver first called for help.  Oliver's head was badly cut from when he'd fallen back into the well.

The funerals took place at Mt. Pisgah, with the Rev. Mather officiating.  Mather's sermon was delivered outside, as the people who'd come to attend the funerals couldn't fit in the church.  People who were there guessed the attendees numbered around one thousand." 

When Daniel was about 26, he became a father to Carl Guy Kline in May, 1898.  On Carl's records, Nellie Stoughten was named as his mother; she would have been about 20 at the time of his birth.  According to family lore, Nellie took the child to Dora and Wesley and told them to raise Carl.  Daniel and Nellie were not married. So in the 1900 census, Carl was listed with his grandparents and enumerated as a son, but he was really a grandson.  Whereas, Daniel had moved north to Hicksville, Ohio, where he was enumerated in 1900 with a cousin, William Kline, and his wife, Cora, and four children.  Daniel worked as a farm laborer on William's farm.

 While in Hicksville, Daniel met and then married Emily Meek on January 19, 1902.  Emily was about 30 at the time and had taught in several of the one room school houses in the Hicksville area.  They purchased a farm in Indiana, just across the Ohio-Indiana state line, in Dekalb County, and it was there, their first son, Boyd, was born on June 21, 1903.  Emily and Daniel were both 31.

Hocking County newspapers reported in 1906 and 1908 that Daniel took Boyd for a visit to his parents, sometimes with his cousin, William.

Daniel, Boyd and Emily Kline - circa 1903-1904

Emily and Daniel would have seven children in eleven years: Boyd - 1903, Hazel - 1904, Ethel - 1906, Mildred and Marian, twins - 1910, Maurice - 1912, and Woodrow - 1914.  Twin, Marian was stillborn in 1910 and Boyd died when he was only 16 of tuberculosis in 1919.  Ethel died in 1926, also of tuberculosis.

As we consider the deaths of his mother, Dora, in 1914, three of his children, and the loss of his father in 1923, brother Barney in 1927, and brother Christopher in 1928, it must have been overwhelming.  To add to this, the country was thrown into a Depression, and according to one source, one of the banks in Hicksville closed, taking with it all the money there, including the account of Daniel and Emily. Upon the death of his father and brother, Daniel inherited part of the homestead in Hocking County, along with sisters Callie and Eliza and descendants of his deceased siblings, a farm with more than 300 acres.  He desperately wanted to move there, according to his son, but Emily would not move.  Daniel must have been very frustrated as he considered his prospects in southern Ohio, while Emily stayed firm in her desire to stay close to her children and grandchildren in the north.

It is thought that Daniel may have moved in and out of his home with Emily, beginning about 1930.  An interview with someone who knew Daniel as a "bachelor" about that time, stated that Daniel was going back and forth from Hocking County, bringing wagon loads of fence posts to sell in Hicksville. At times, he would also bring up loads of coal, not good coal, but the kind that left "clinkers" after burning that one would use in a driveway for fill.  

Emily's resistance to moving caused a rift in the family that could not be repaired. She stated that the problems had escalated over two years.  Daniel became violent at times, argumentative, threatening, according to the divorce documents, but all to no avail.  In June, 1932, Emily filed for divorce; she and Daniel were both 61 years old and had been married 30 years. 

The Defiance Crescent-News reported on December 2, 1932:

"WINS DIVORCE ALIMONY
Hicksville, Dec. 2 - In the divorce proceedings of Mrs. Emily Kline against her husband, Daniel F. Kline, residents west of Hicksville, in the Dekalb county circuit court, the plaintiff was awarded a divorce and was also given alimony of $1700.  She is also to receive an equal share of a deposit of $18,000 in the Farmers State Bank now in process of liquidation.  This, together, with other property, was divided amicably between the parties.

Mrs. Kline charged cruel and inhuman treatment both to herself and her children.  The couple were married June 19, 1902, and separated June 30, 1932.  They have five children.  Mr. Kline offered no protest in court to the divorce, but resisted his wife's alimony request."
    
Daniel moved permanently back to Hocking County and moved into the homestead with his sister, Eliza, and purchased land from some of the other inheritors so that the three (Daniel, Eliza, Callie) owned the land together.  Eventually, Daniel became ill and Eliza, who never married, cared for him in his last days.  The father of a current Hicksville resident and former renter of a house that Daniel owned in Hicksville, traveled to Hocking County to visit Daniel.  In an interview, he told this story of having trouble finding Daniel in the winding roads of Hocking County:

"...We drove on and on, so I stopped at a house and no one was home, so I went to another house.  There was a big pile of coal there so I thought for sure someone lived there.  I went to the door and knocked and I waited a long time and I finally heard footsteps.  An old lady came to the door.  I asked her if she'd ever heard of Dan Kline.  She said, yes.  Well, I said, 'Do you know where he lives?'  She said, 'Yes, over the ridge a piece.'  She told me how to get there.  The road was so narrow and the trees so close to the road, I had to go pretty slow and finally we went up a lane and found it.  A lady came out, his sister.  She had lived there alone all these years. Dan couldn't talk.  He was very sick...his last sickness."

Daniel died on December 21, 1948 in the hospital in Lancaster, Ohio.  Perhaps it was a surprise to his children back in Indiana that he left his entire estate to his firstborn son, Carl, who was in the Lancaster area.  

In the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette on December 22, 1948:

"DANIEL F. KLINE

Daniel F. Kline, 76, retired farmer of Rockbridge, Route 2, died last night in Lancaster Hospital, where he had been a patient since Sunday.  
Survivors include three sons: Carl G. Kline, Lancaster, and Maurice and Woodrow Kline, both of St. Joe; three daughters: Gladys, of St. Joe, and Mildred and Hazel of Montpelier, O. four sisters: Mrs. Mary Bailey, Rockbridge, Mrs. Minnie Schaffner, Basil; Miss Eliza Kline of the home; and Mrs. Callie Nutter of Gore; and nine grandchildren.

The body was removed to the Frank E. Smith funeral home where friends may call after Thursday noon.
Services are to be held Friday at 2 p.m., at West Pleasant Hill EUB Church, near Rockbridge, with the Revs. H.E. Harwood, Millersport, and Clyde Gibson, Baltimore, officiating.  Burial is to be made in adjoining cemetery." 

Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Hocking County