Brick Wall: Can You Help Find the David Kinnaird Diary?

In the post, Joseph Geissler: Planting Roots in Prairie, I mentioned that my 3rd great-grandfather, along with two other families purchased the property from James Kinnaird of Prairie Township, Franklin County, Ohio in 1856.

In researching James Kinnaird, I learned that he was born 10 August 1825 in Ohio, United States. I find that he marries Melissa Deans on 13 June 1849 in Franklin County, Ohio. In 1853, James Kinnaird marries Jenny Gray on the 27th of October in nearby Fairfield County.ii At the time of the home purchase, James and Jenny would be the likely inhabitants of the Prairie property, which is confirmed by the 1860 US Census record.iii James would remain in Prairie the remainder of his life.

James is the son of Scottish immigrant David Kinnaird, who also lives in Prairie Township neighboring James’s land in 1860.iv It is believed that James is a wealthy stock breeder, but this could be a business he started with his father David.

In any case, I received a note that indicated that David Kinnaird kept a detailed ledger from 1853 – 1869.  The note looks like this:

Kinnaird, David

These pages came from a ledger owned by Betty Kinnaird George, 216 Lilly Chapel Rd, West Jefferson, Ohio. [This woman died in 2002.]

David Kinnaird Came to America From Scotland in 1817

The book contains accounts from 1853-1869 in the New Rome Area. One of the Family names in the book is Postle. 

Betty Kinnaird was the 2nd Great Granddaughter of David Kinnaird. New Rome is in the eastern portion of Prairie Township in Franklin County, Ohio (where the German immigrants lived). It’s possible this ledger might have some information about the Germans who purchased land and then later sold it back to the Kinnairds. David lived until 1869, which is three years after Joseph Geissler passed away. Here’s a sample page, as indicated in the above note, which is cut off at the edges by the person creating the scan for me.

I am anxious to pinpoint who may have inherited this ledger. Did anyone transcribe this document? Were the Germans mentioned in the book? Rumor has it the Kinnairds did and called them “clean and industrious.”

I’ve also heard a rumor that the Kinnairds were a stop on the Underground Railroad. Does this ledger mention that in any way? Was there anyone in the Kinnard home escaping to freedom at the time of Joseph’s residence nearby? Would Joseph have known of these activities?

I have no idea how to track down this ledger. It might be a pipe dream. Don’t you get frustrated when someone tells you that a record set such as this, or perhaps a photo album, exists but you can’t get your hands on it?!?

I would be very much indebted if anyone could put me in contact with this document and perhaps answer the questions I have.

i. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 8 November 2015), James Kinnaird and Melissa Deans, 13 Jun 1849; citing Franklin, Ohio, United States, reference 437B; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 285,167.
ii “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 8 January 2016), James Kinnaird and Jenny Gray, 27 Oct 1853; citing Fairfield, Ohio, United States, reference ; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 295,269.
iii “United States Census, 1860”, database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 8 January 2016), James Kinnard, 1860.
iv “United States Census, 1860”, database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 8 January 2016), David Kinnard, 1860.

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

4 thoughts on “Brick Wall: Can You Help Find the David Kinnaird Diary?

  1. Dana.. ha, No worries on not being able to help. I posted to Facebook, a few Google+ groups, and twitter. Putting out the wish sometimes make it likely to come to light. Someday. It's all about being patient.

    1. I am the daughter of of Betty Kinnaird George and I have the ledger in my safe. You may contact me if you are still researching. It was never transcribed and I can barely read his writing so have never gotten through much of it. The underground railroad was supposedly in the New Rome house but we could never prove.

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