Randolph  County,  Indiana

William  D. Kizer

            One of the most conspicuous figures in the recent history of Randolph county is William D. Kizer, who has long been actively identified with the business and industrial interests of Winchester and vicinity, widely known as one of the leading bankers and financiers of this section of Indiana. Equally noted as a citizen whose useful career has conferred credit upon the community and whose marked abilities and stirring qualities have won for him much more than local repute, he holds today distinctive precedence as one of the most progressive and successful men that ever inaugurated and carried to satisfactory termination large and important undertakings in this locality. Strong mental powers, keen discernment, invincible courage and a determined purpose that hesitate at no opposition have entered into his composition so as to render him a dominant factor in the business world and a leader of men in notable enterprises. He is essentially a man of affairs-sound of judgment and far-seeing in what he undertakes, and every enterprise to which he has addressed himself has resulted in liberal financial returns.
             Mr. Kizer was born March 7, 1847, on a farm one mile north of Winchester, Indiana. He is a son of Thomas W. and Susanna (Way) Kizer. The father was born in Ward township, Randolph county, and the mother was a native of Winchester. Elias Kizer, the paternal grandfather, came from Botetourt county, Virginia, in the year 1821, reaching his destination in Ward township on May 6th, traveling the entire distance by wagon. He was thus among the very earliest settlers in Randolph county, when it was still the home of Indians and wild beasts. He settled in the dense woods, built a log cabin and began clearing the land, of which he made an excellent farm in due course of time, and he became prominent in the affairs of the community in its early history. He remained on his farm, which is now the site of Stone Station, until 1832, when he moved to White River township, locating just north of Winchester, and on this farm he spent most of his long and useful life, dying at his home, located at the north edge of town, now included in the city limits, in March, 1867. He died at the age of sixty-seven years, having been born in the year 1800. His wife, who was known in her maidenhood as Margery Ward, survived two years, dying in 1869. Elias Kizer, besides having engaged in farming, also operated a mill, kept a hotel, and for five years was superintendent of the poor asylum. He was a Republican in politics and his wife was a member of the Society of Friends, but subsequently became a member of the Methodist church.
             Thomas W. Kizer devoted his life successfully to general farming and stock raising in his native county and was a highly respected citizen. About 1848 he moved from his farm into Winchester, where he established the family home, but continued to operate his farm. His death occurred November 28, 1901 , at an advanced age. His wife preceded him to the grave over a quarter of a century, dying January 15, 1874. Their graves are in Fountain Park cemetery, Winchester. To Thomas W. Kizer credit should be given for the making of Fountain Park cemetery, one of the most beautiful burial grounds in the state. When he began his work it was a barren field, but through his untiring efforts was transformed into a cemetery, that for beauty of landscape architecture, is not surpassed.
             William D. Kizer was about a year old when his parents removed from the farm to Winchester, and here he was reared to manhood and educated in the common schools. He assisted his father with the work on the farm during the summer months when he became of proper age. He started in life for himself when nineteen years old and he worked at various jobs about Winchester. In 1866 he invested as a partner in a house moving outfit in which he made a little money, and in the spring of 1868 he engaged with Sol Yunker to sell nursery stock from Rochester, New York, nurseries, in southwestern Missouri. He followed this to the entire satisfaction of his employer for three and one-half years. In the fall of 1870 he rented the old home farm from his father and sowed a crop of wheat that fall. At the urgent request of Mr. Yunker he went to Missouri and helped with the spring sale and delivery of his nursery stock. Upon his return to Winchester, Mr. Kizer was offered a clerkship in the county treasurer's office which he accepted, but a little later he went into the county auditor's office as a deputy, and his farming enterprise was given up and his growing crop relinquished to his father. He served as deputy auditor three and one-half years. He was elected county auditor in the fall of 1874, in the last October election held in the state. He took office November 1st, of that year, serving four years with much credit and satisfaction to all concerned. He then engaged in the sequestered tax investigation business for two years. In 1882 he purchased the business of C. W. Diggs for the collection of officers' foreign fees, and he followed this with gratifying results until 1906, in the meantime frequently traveling over every county in Indiana. Upon the organization of the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Winchester in 1898 he was elected president which position he has held continuously to the present time, the pronounced success of this safe, sound and popular institution being due for the most part to his able management and wise foresight and his personal popularity throughout the county. Upon the death of Frank E. Vestal, September 30, 1909, who was cashier of this bank, our subject became actively connected with the every-day business of the bank. He is regarded as one of the most capable and successful bankers of the county, enjoying the entire confidence of the public. He is a deep student of financial questions and modern banking methods and keeps fully abreast of the times in all that pertains to his business. Since 1908 he has been interested in farming lands and general agricultural pursuits in Randolph county. In 1904 he built the Kizer business block on Main street, Winchester, which is one of the most substantial, attractive and important blocks in the business portion of the city, a part of which is occupied by the post office. He was one of the promoters and organizers of the Peoples Loan & Trust Company, of Winchester. He is also a stockholder in the Randolph County Bank, the First National Bank of Farmland, and the National City Bank of Indianapolis, formerly the Columbia National Bank. He was one of the organizers and stockholders in the Continental National Bank of Indianapolis, and was one of the promoters and organizers of the Citizens Water and Light Company, of which he was one of the first directors and continued a director until he sold his stock. He has become one of the financially strong citizens of the county and is deserving of a great deal of credit for what he has accomplished through his own individual efforts, often in the face of obstacles. He has a beautiful and modernly appointed home on North Main street, Winchester, the presiding spirit of which was a lady of culture and refinement, known in her maidenhood as Louisa C. Dana, whom Mr. Kizer led to the hymeneal altar on October 24, 1872, and who proved to be a most efficient helpmeet, whose sympathy and encouragement was in no small degree a potent factor in her husband's large success in the business world. She was a daughter of Dr. Marcus Dana, a prominent physician of Fostoria, Ohio. She was called to her eternal rest on February 17, 1910. Two children who died in infancy were born to Mr. and Mrs. Kizer.
             Politically, Mr. Kizer is a Republican and has long been more or less active in party affairs, in fact, a local leader in public matters. Fraternally, he belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Encampment. He is a straightforward, broad-minded, genteel gentleman whom it is a pleasure to know and he has no trouble in winning and retaining friends.
Past and Present of Randolph County, Indiana, 1914.
Contributed by Gina Richardson

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