George Hightower Kinkade was born to John Poage Kinkade and Mary Ann "Polly" Hightower, which was his mother's first marriage. He was the only child from this union, and his mother next married John Riddle in 1825 in Kentucky.
George ended up marrying his step sister, Elizabeth, "Eliza" Jane Riddle, who was also his 20th cousin twice removed! Both George's and Eliza's ancestors hailed back to colonial times. It was common among colonials and pioneers to have a certain amount of intermarriage. The Hightowers are famous for that type of thing. George and Eliza were married January 21, 1839 in Adams County, Illinois and went on to have 3 children.
There has long been some confusion about the maternity of George's children. The confusion derived from the fact that George went on to marry two more women, not one, as was previously supposed. He married one daughter of Joshua Owen, Elizabeth. When she died, he married her younger sister Caroline.
In 1900 Caroline reports that she has only given birth to two children and only one ("Ella") is alive. This is further confirmation that there was a second wife before her marriage to George. In addition, in 1850, Caroline Owen, age 21, is in the census records, living in someone else's household in Ursa, Adams County, Illinois. She is single and is probably working as a live-in housekeeper or companion of some sort. It is her sister ELIZABETH who appears in the 1850 census with George Kinkade on John Riddle's farm in the 1850 census.
George's progeny are as follows:
First wife Eliza Jane Riddle (married Jan 31, 1839 – Adams Co.): Nancy "Nannie" A. Kinkade, 1839 Susan Frances Kinkade, 1841 Mary Margaret "Maggie" Kinkade, 1842
Second Wife Elizabeth Owen (married Jan 10, 1847): Sarah Jane Kinkade, 1847 Jane K. Kinkade, 1852 George Owen Kinkade, 1853
Third wife, Caroline Owen (married 1853-1858): Eldorado "Ella" Kinkade, 1858 John Poage Kinkade, 1859
George was a Christian clergyman with a mission to preach to the pioneers. Sometime in 1862, he moved their family to California and is found in Inyo County, California. It is said that he was first man to preach the gospel in California!
Accompanying them to California was George's half-sister, Frances Ann (Riddle) McLaughlin, who was said to have been "captured by Indians" on her way to California and then miraculously released. For many years, Frances told everyone that she was part Native American, and there are some that suspect that her time with the Indians was simply a bon voyage trip: an opportunity to say goodbye to native relatives.
In 1870, Caroline and George are found in Visalia, Tulare County, California. Their daughter, Ella, is living with them as is George's 1/2 niece, Henrietta McLaughlin, for some reason. (Henrietta's mother had married again, which may have something to do with why Henrietta is not with her.) Joshua Owen, Caroline's widowed father, is also in the household.
In 1880, Caroline, George and daughter Ella are living at the College of Notre Dame, San Jose, CA. George is still a minister of the gospel. His daughter Ella is a music teacher.
In 1900, Caroline and George are still living with Ella, but she is now married to Philip Gerhardy (erroneously reported as "Berhardy.") In this census, Caroline reports that she has given birth to 2 children but only one survives ("Ella.") This is where we establish the maternity of George's offspring.
-------------------------------------- notes from Doreen McDade and the original memorial creator:
Died at home of Mrs. Ellen Gerhardi (daughter) Burial: Rosedale Cemertery, Los Angeles, California Note: George Hightower KINKADE was born to Mary Hightower Kinkade by her first marriage on June 25, 1817 in Campbell County, Kentucky He moved to Illinois with his mother and step-father Col. Riddle in 1831; lived near Old Ursa until 1862 when he came with his family to California. He first came to California in 1850, remaining but a short time. He was a minister of the Christian Church for more than sixty years, and preached the first sermon of the Christain faith ever preached in California. His life was consistent with his teachings. He took a trip through Owen's Valley in 1867 and was here again 1878, at the time of the death of his daughter Mrs. Sue F. Shannon, who was born and raised in Ursa. He leaves to mourn his loss three daughters, Mrs Ella KINKADE Gerhardi of Los Angeles; Mrs. (Jane KINKADE) Valney E. Ratten of San Jose and Mrs. Mary Margaret KINKADE Hutchinson of Bishop, a half sister Mrs. Frances A. RIDDLE McLaughlin Birchim of Round Valley near Bishop; Grandchildren Miss Georgia Ratten of San Jose; and T.K. Hutchinson ( this is an error T.K. was the father of T.F. Hutchinson and T.F. was the grandson to George Kinkade), Allen P and George Ernest Shannon of Bishop; Mrs. Frankie La Berge of Bishop and a cousin Mrs. Susan C. Shannon also of Bishop. (to find Ada Buck we have to find the relationship of Susan C Shannon to George Kinkade. She was his cousin. That means that she is the daughter of a sister or brother to Mary Hightower Kincade Riddle or Mr. Kincade (name unknown). He was also a relative of Mrs. D.N. (Jane) Barnett and Mrs. D.E. (Lizzie Varnier of Ursa, and Mrs. Sarah Watle of Lima and also many others in that part of the country. His wife Mrs. Caroline Kincade died about two years ago, and a half brother, John Riddle, died about one year since. Thus the old stock is passing away. Another gone who in life endeavored to make all better with whom he associated - Inyo Register, Bishop, California
Los Angeles Times January 30, 1904 Death 1-28-1904-
KINCADE - The funeral of the Late Rev. George H. Kincade will be held at 3 o'clock p.m. Sunday, from the First Christian Church, corner Eleventh and Hope Streets. Friends invited. No flowers. San Jose papers please copy. Father: Mr. KINKADE Mother: Mary Hightower b: 3 SEP 1797 in Virginia Marriage 1 Elizabeth "Eliza" Jane RIDDLE b: 1818 in Kentucky Married: 31 JAN 1839 in Adams County, Illinios Children Susan Frances KINKADE b: 1841 in Ursa, Illnois Mary Margaret"Maggie" KINKADE b: 2 AUG 1842 in Illinois Marriage 2 Caroline OWEN b: 1829 in Illinois Married: 10 JAN 1847 in Adams County, Illinois Children Ellen KINKADE b: 1858 in Illinois Goerge O. KINKADE b: 1853 John P. KINKADE b: 1859 Jane K. KINKADE b: NOV 1850 in Illinois [JoshuaHIGHTOWER-c1670-1726.ged] [Hightower, Mary Polly fr S.S.Parnell.FTW FROM DOREEN MCDADE: ID: I0964 Name: George Hightower KINKADE , Elder Sex: M Birth: 25 JUN 1817 in Campbell County, Kentucky Death: 28 JAN 1904 in Los Angeles, California at Mrs. Ellen Gerhardi (daughter) Burial: Rosedale Cemertery, Los Angeles, California Note: George Hightower KINKADE was born to Mary Hightower Kinkade by her first marriage on June 25, 1817 in Campbell County, Kentucky