|History | John Kitchen biography
|The following article appeared on page 1 of the 20 Sep 1900 issue of The Simcoe Reformer newspaper. It was one of a series called "Some of the Old Settlers of Norfolk County" written by John Charlton, M.P.
Among the oldest and most respectable and worthy of the pioneer settlers of Norfolk County now living, is John Kitchen, Esquire, of Windham, who has been a prominent figure in municipal, political and religious matters in Norfolk County for more than a generation past.
Mr. Kitchen is the son of Joseph Kitchen, who was born in New Jersey February 19th, 1787, and who moved to Canada at the age of twenty-one years, and in the year 1808, settled in the Township of Charlotteville near Vittoria, where he took up two-hundred acres of wild land, consisting of lot 20, concession 12.
This land was Clergy Reserve, and was bought of the Government at the price of $400 for one hundred acres of it, and $800 for the balance. From this wild land, Mr. Joseph Kitchen created a farm and homestead, and he lived upon it until the time of his death -- December 18th, 1868.
Mr. Joseph Kitchen married Miss Miriam Barber, who was born at Schooley's Mountain, New Jersey, April 8th, 1792. Her parents came to Townsend in the County of Norfolk about the year 1800. She was married to Joseph Kitchen the 18th July 1809.
John Kitchen was born December 26th, 1818 at the homestead in Charlotteville. He stayed at home and helped his father clear up and manage the farm until he was twenty-one years of age. He was married to Miss Rebecca Smith, March 24th, 1840. Miss Smith was born in Charlotteville, March 5th, 1824.
Mr. Kitchen moved upon the place he now occupies April 7th, 1840. It is one mile east of Delhi, at that time known as Fredericksburg, and consists of lot 23, concession 11, Windham.
This lot had been settled upon by a man named Hutchison three years before, who had built a small farm house and had partially cleared about twenty acres of land, leaving all the timber standing girdled, and were still green. As in the case of his father's purchase in Charlotteville, the farm purchased by Mr. John Kitchen was a Clergy Reserve. For this property he was to have paid $4 per acre but the lease for one half of it was inadvertently allowed to expire, and David Buchan the bursar of the Clergy Reserve lands put up the price to $8 per acre, so that the aggregate price paid by Mr. Kitchen for the farm of two-hundred acres was $1200.
Mr. Kitchen and his wife entered upon their pioneer experience in clearing up the farm and making a home in the wilderness with courage and determination, and the result of their efforts many years ago was that the farm was cleared up, good buildings erected, and that it was and is one of the finest homesteads in Norfolk County. Upon this place Mr. Kitchen and his worthy wife have lived for more than sixty years. Two daughters were born here, and are still living.
At the time Mr. Kitchen settled up on his farm, and for some years subsequent, the country surrounding him was a dense pinery. Fredericksburg was a little frontier hamlet. Among his early companions and acquaintances were Jacob Sovereign and Walter [Turnull]. The Brantford road had been opened the year before. The Talbot road, the chief avenue for ingress and egress through the country, had been opened for some years.
At this time the woods surrounding Mr. Kitchen's place were well stocked with game. There were plenty of deer, wolves, bears and wild turkeys. Mr. Kitchen was fond of hunting occasionally and was very successful in securing wild turkeys, but did not succeed so well with deer, and had no experience in attack with bears or wolves.
All the streams in the country surrounding him were at that time, swarming with trout. A beautiful little trout stream rose upon his own farm, and emptied into Big Creek, about one-half mile from his Westerly line.
Mr. and Mrs. Kitchen purposed celebrating their golden wedding on March 24th, 1900, but sickness among friends prevented the consummation of this purpose. We hope they may live to celebrate their diamond wedding.
Mr. Kitchen joined the Baptist church in Delhi in the fall of 1893 [sic], and his wife became a member of the same denomination shortly afterwards. The society at Delhi commenced building a church in the spring of 1844. Since that time Mr. Kitchen has been a active and prominent member of the denomination. He is now the only surviving member of those who were members of the congregation at the time he joined it, except for Mrs. Martha Hubbard. For over forty years Mr. Kitchen has been a deacon in the congregation, and for many years he took a deep interest in the Sabbath school work of the church, and was for a time Superintendent of the Sunday school.
Mr, Kitchen is a life-long Reformer. He cast his first vote in Simcoe either in 1841 or 1842 when Isarel [sic] Powell ran against William Wilson, and since that time he has never failed to cast his vote in the Liberal interest at each general election.
For over thirty years Mr. Kitchen has been a Justice of the Peace. He is President of the North Norfolk Liberal Association, he succeeding [sic] the late lamented Richard W. McMichael in that position about the year 1874, and has since continuously and in a most efficient manner discharged the duties of thee office. At each annual meeting of the Association for the last seven years, Mr. Kitchen has tendered his resignation, but his friends have unanimously insisted upon his continuing to hold the office.
Mr. and Mrs. Kitchen are vigorous and well preserved people in their age and Mrs. Kitchen still does her own housework, and does it well, for her house is a model of neatness and comfort in appearance. She makes thee butter from three cows also, and is evidently far from having reached the limit of her usefulness, as a head of a family, and a member of society. Mr. Kitchen has ceased the active management of his farm, and has entrusted his grandson, John E. Wilson, with that duty.
Mr. Kitchen has taken both the Reformer and the Globe since these papers were established. His is a gentleman possessed of wide information, and is thoroughly conversant with public affairs. He is an interesting and instructive speaker, and has a piquant, incisive style, which always commands attention. His career has been a highly honorable one, and he has never failed to command the respect of his fellow citizens, whether of his own or the opposite Party.
He has been a prominent figure in the affairs of the church at Delhi and of the denomination to which he belongs, his own life has been one of usefulness and his example and percept have always been upon the side of truth, virtue and morality, and has been persistently and powerfully exercised for the public good. We wish for him many added days of health, influence and prosperity, and we trust that the succeeding generation may in due time give to the country men of his stamp and character to take the place which he and other worthy pioneer settlers of Norfolk County has so well filled.