Harriet Goodenow Kimball

Honored by:Miriam E. Kimball Colvin
Brick location:C:14  map

Harriet Elizabeth Goodenow Kimball was the fourth child of eight born to Frederick R. and Daisy Humes Goodenow near Battle Creek, Iowa in 1888.

As her mother passed away when Harriet was a young teenager, Harriet and her older sister Caroline had the task of caring for the family as their father left home frequently.

Our mother, Harriet, was first our father's wife. Their marriage having taken place in 1913 was a good partnership of happy living until the great depression hit in 1929. That was a disaster for everyone.

Our Mother was a very ambitious and brilliant person both at home and in the community. She completed high school in three years and taught the local rural school for several years. She was also an avid reader, often reading in the early morning via kerosene or Aladdin gas lamps.

She enjoyed good music and sang hymns while doing the every-day routine activities. The only way that one was aware of her being up-tight was when she would whistle the tunes of the day. A lot of whistling during the depression days!! When electricity was put into their home in the mid 1930s, she became an avid listener to the WOI radio station, both for the excellent music and the books which were read over the air. Mother also had good reading materials available for her family to read.

She was kind and tolerant - always able to manage to re-hab people- our Grandfather Kimball with his broken hip, our brother Russell with both knees broken to correct bowed legs, our sister Phyllis and her severe appendix condition as well as Russell's burst appendix, and caring for her Aunt Netta in her infirm older years when few family members would tend to Netta's needs. Harriet took advantage of Red Cross lessons realizing the need in caring for her family of five children.

Harriet was a great homemaker. She kept a well-organized clean and neat home. She was a wonderful seamstress, making all the dresses etc. from flour or feed sacks or make-overs with perhaps an occasional piece of new yard goods. Many of the patterns were in her head and the treadle sewing machine was surely put to good use. Her ingenuity was boundless - be it in cooking a vegetable in a new way or making garments for her children from virtually nothing. She took advantage of as many of the Extension lessons as possible and often shared the lessons with clubs in the area.

Mother loved flowers and vegetable gardens and enjoyed the challenge of trying to raise exotic plants. The cellar and cave were really filled up in the summer for the winter's meals with produce from the family garden.

Fowl also interested her. At one time she had the beginning of a good barred-rock chicken business, working along with the Extension Service from Ames. They were working for the perfect bar markings on the feathers and she selected and bred the chickens and followed through with records. She operated two incubators in our home's cellar and sold many newly hatched chicks around the neighborhood. That lasted until the commercial hatcheries came along and she couldn't compete with her size of operation. She not only raised chickens, but also had geese and ducks many years while on the farm.

She was a true nature lover and was always glad to pass along her knowledge of such i.e., starting plants and saving seeds for others.

Our Mother was a good community member. She was a 4-H leader and worker with the clubs for many years helped organize the Neighborly Neighbors Club which was not only a social club but the members did many good deeds in the community; along with a committee, she organized a "Sunset Social" which honored the "elderly (age 50 or over) " of the Battle Creek community with a banquet each fall. When she reached the 50-age group, she said she didn't feel that age at all.

Each Sunday was a church/Sunday School day. The latter was blessed by her being a superintendent for many years. Sunday evenings were great family times. It was popping popcorn, games, or Mother telling stories of her "growing-up" years. She related stories of the Indians traveling by their homestead when she was young and/or her school teaching days - trying to educate farm boys much older that she. Among her early cooking efforts was gravy- making with lumps. Later in life an older brother told her he didn't like anyone's gravy except hers as he liked the lumps. Although she had plenty of reasons to "make waves", she remained even-tempered.

Because the era in which she lived included the deep depression, bank failures, drought, grasshoppers, and her spouses' ill health, she was forced to be frugal but from her personality one could never guess the turmoil that she went through; of course, the whole area was in the same situation, but she was a "fortress".

Harriet thoroughly enjoyed people and was a great role model for her family and anyone that knew her. Her morals were high including no smoking or drinking in her home. She was an interesting and fun-loving person.

Harriet passed away in July 1962.

We are proud to honor you, Mother!

Submitted by your children- Marjorie, Mildred, Russell, Miriam and Phyllis

Submitted on 4/15/94