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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published by Biographical Review Publishing Company in 1896.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JOHN J. KIDGELL, the well-known freight agent of the Boston & Maine Railroad at Ware, Mass., was born in the town of Pittsfield, Berkshire County, October 4, 1853. His parents were John and Mary (McCarthy) Kidgell, the former of whom was born in Limerick, Ireland, in 1825.

John Kidgell came to this country in 1848. On his arrival here he secured work as a laborer in the construction of the Western Railroad, now the Boston & Albany Railroad, and subsequently in a paper-mill at Middlefield, Mass. After his marriage he purchased a farm in that town, and on it he passed the remainder of his life. He died January 18, 1892. His wife, to whom he was married on January 1, 1852, was also a native of Ireland. She came to this country with her widowed mother, brothers, and sisters. She bore her husband eleven children. Four sons and two daughters grew to adult life. They were: John; Frank H., a painter, living at Gardner, Mass.; George, a locomotive fireman; Edward, a railroad employee, residing at Gardner, Mass.; Mary, who died at twenty-four years of age; and Elizabeth, who lived to be twenty-two years old. Their mother, who is now sixty-eight years of age, is living in Gardner.

John J. Kidgell received but a limited education. After reaching the age of ten years, he was able to attend school only during the winter months. When sixteen years of age, he went to work on the Boston & Albany Railroad, where he was employed for three years. He then went to Miller’s Falls, Mass., as a telegraph operator for the Fitchburg Railroad Company. Eighteen months later, in company with a Mr. Conway, he opened a general merchandise store in Middlefield, where they conducted a successful business for two years under the firm name of Kidgell & Conway. At the expiration of that time he sold his interest to his partner, and went to Greenfield as operator for the Fitchburg Company. He was transferred a year later to Gardner, and soon after entered the employ of the Boston, Barre & Gardner Railroad Company as telegraph operator and clerk. In 1882 he secured employment with the Long Island Road at Huntington, Long Island; but in a brief time he returned to Gardner as agent of the Boston, Barre & Gardner Railroad. He had held this position three years when compelled by illness to abandon it. When after four months he was able to resume work, he found employment with the Long Island Company at Manhattan Beach and with the Boston & Lowell Railroad at West Boylston, Mass., for short periods. He then, in 1888, came to Ware to take his present position with the Boston & Maine Railroad. Having slighted none of his opportunities, he has become a most competent railroad man.

On June 10, 1890, he was united in marriage with Miss Catherine L. Curley, of New London, Conn., a daughter of Peter Curley, who is a native of Ireland. Mrs. Kidgell has a brother in New London, Conn., and in New Orleans a sister, named Mary — in religion Sister Anthony, of the Sisters of the Holy Cross.

Mr. Kidgell is a Democrat in politics, and he has been chairman of the Town Democratic Committee for four years. He has also served his townsmen most acceptably as Selectman for three years, for two of which he was chairman of that board. He is a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and has served as Treasurer of that organization for three years. He and his wife are consistent members of All Saints’ Catholic Church of Ware.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published in 1896. 

View additional Hampshire County, Massachusetts family biographies here: Hampshire County, Massachusetts Biographies

View a map of 1901 Hampshire County, Massachusetts here: Hampshire County Massachusetts Map

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