THOMAS W. S. KIDD - Few men have a wider acquaintance in Sangamon county than Thomas Winfield Scott Kidd, who for many years has been connected with official service here and has ever been found an obliging, courteous, prompt and reliable, officer, worthy the confidence reposed in him and the respect tendered him by the many friends he has made through the years of his residence in central Illinois
Mr. Kidd is a native of Delaware, his birth having occurred in Newcastle, that state, October 22, 1828. His ancestry can be traced back to Ireland, where his great-grandfather, Thomas Kidd, was born and whence he emigrated to the new world in 1747, landing at Philadelphia after a long and tedious voyage in a sailing vessel. Thus he became the founder of the family in the new world almost thirty years before the Declaration of Independence was written. Thomas Kidd, Jr., the grandfather of our subject, was born in Philadelphia, and Captain John Kidd, the father of our subject, was born in Newcastle, Delaware, November 22, 1802. The last named became a contractor and builder and for many years followed that pursuit. He wedded Ann Smith, whose birth occurred on the same day on which her husband was born, and their marriage was celebrated on the 4th of July, 1824. Nine Years later, in 1833, the wife died, and the husband, surviving only a short time, passed away in 1834.
Thus Thomas W. S. Kidd was left an orphan at the early age of six years. For a time he lived first with one relative and then another, and eventually he went to make his home with his aunt, Margaret Jane McPherson. Just before his death the father had secured a contract for the building stone of the Delaware breakwater, at the mouth of Delaware Bay, and the aunt of our subject removed to that place, where she engaged in boarding the men who were constructing the breakwater, covering a period of four Years. During this time Thomas Kidd attended school at intervals and later he went to Quarryville, Delaware, where he was in school for six weeks. He then started out to make his own way in the business world with no special training for any particular line of work, with little educational preparation and yet with a strong courage and resolute will that has enabled him not only to gain a good living, but to develop a character worthy of respect and admiration. For awhile he followed various employments that would yield him an honest dollar, and at the age of fourteen he went to Philadelphia, where he entered the employ of John Fagan, proprietor of a stereotype foundry. Subsequently he returned to his native state, and in Wilmington he entered the employ of the firm of Hollingsworth & Teas, blacksmith, and machinists, there learning the blacksmith's trade. The west, however, attracted him, and in 1849 he became a resident of Chicago, where for a year he was manager for Allen, Vane & Company, and for John S. Wright, manufacturers of agricultural implements, and after a time he went upon the road as a salesman. In 1852 he came to Springfield in the interests of the business, established his headquarters here, and from this point continued business until the house failed in 1857.
At that time Mr. Kidd accepted the position of deputy sheriff under J. B. Perkins and later filled the same office under W. B. Crafton and Milton Hicks. In 1859 he was appointed by Judge Treat to the position of court crier and for seventeen years acted in that capacity, but in the meantime he established the Springfield Daily Monitor, an independent Democratic paper, which he conducted in connection with the discharge of his official duties. At length, resigning his position as court crier, he was succeeded by Captain Bradford, and upon the death of the Captain Mr. Kidd was appointed by Judge W. J. Allen, of the United States district court, as court crier.
In 1854 Mr. Kidd was united in marriage to Miss Charlotte Janney, a native of Cecil county, Maryland and a daughter of Jesse Janney. Six children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Kidd, of whom two lived to mature years. Presco, who died in Kansas City Missouri, in March, 1883 was a graduate of the Springfield high school and was for sometime a newspaper reporter, regarded by his newspaper friends as a young man of exceptional ability and who seemed to have a bright career as a journalist before him. Lizzie Griffith, the daughter, was graduated in the high school of Springfield with the class of 1873 and died June 22, 1902, while the death of Mrs. Kidd occurred August 1. 1898, in Chicago, whither she had gone for medical treatment. After the mother's death there existed the closest companionship between father and daughter. In speaking of her demise the Springfield Journal said: "Her mind was naturally bright and vigorous, and she continued throughout her life to take a lively interest in all educational matters and to improve her general knowledge in the lines of literature and art. Shortly after her graduation her independent spirit asserted itself and she took up her first work-that of teaching school. Afterward, following a strong natural bent for a business career, she entered the business office of the Morning Monitor, of which her father was editor and proprietor, as bookkeeper, and during the life of the paper continued to be her father's chief assistant and most valued confidante in the business affairs of the paper. She was a facile writer and often contributed valuable feature articles to the paper. Though devoted to her business, Miss Kidd did not allow it to absorb all of her energies, but in social and religious circles she made herself felt as a living force and in her domestic relations she was a model daughter, having at many times the care of her mother, who was in feeble health. Her character was one of unusual strength. Her ideals were high and she was never content with a partial attainment. She was unselfish and generous and many of her kind acts will never be heralded to the world because they were done in a way that even the beneficiaries did not know whence their aid came. In her church, as in business and at home, she was scrupulous in the performance of every work laid upon her, and no outside matter was allowed to interfere with her religious duties. She was a prominent member of the Springfield Woman's Club and a worker in the organization. Many were the tributes of love and affection paid to Miss Kidd, a number of which were published in the Journal in connection with the obituary notice. Of these, we quote that of Lee Matheny, who said: "The sudden death of Miss Lizzie Kidd-for to most of her friends and acquaintances it was wholly unexpected-came as a great surprise and shock. As a former teacher in the Sunday school of the First Methodist church and as a worker in its various societies she was well and favorably known. Miss Kidd was an intelligent, Christian woman, and her influence was quickly recognized by those with whom she came in contact. Some features of her character were, of course, more strongly marked than others. Her filial devotion, more particularly manifested in recent years, was a subject of general notice and comment. Perhaps the most marked feature of her character, however, was her thoughtful consideration of others. On my way home from church this morning I heard the expression, 'How many little acts of kindness she must have done!' One of the last acts of her life, on the very morning-that critical morning-when she was removed to the hospital, when her mind must have been filled with important and serious reflections, she did not forget to send to one of the boy graduates of the high school a token of her remembrance. She will be long remembered by those who knew her, for to know her was to love and respect her, and love and reverence are not forgetful."
Mr. Kidd has now passed the seventy-fifth milestone on life's journey, and for a half century has lived in
Springfield, so that he has been a witness of much of the growth and development of the city, and through
all these years his course has commanded the confidence and good will of a circle of friends which has grown
as his acquaintance has annually increased.