|John Kivlin, a well-known and successful farmer of the town of Rutland, is a native of County Sligo, Ireland. His father, Michael Kivlin, was a farmer and fisherman in Ireland and married there Miss Ann Killerlain, bringing his young family with him to America in 1854. They made the voyage in a sailing craft and were more than six weeks en route.
The first few years were spent in Vermont where Mr. Kivlin worked in the slate and marble quarries near Hydeville and Rutland and in 1861, he moved west to Dane county, Wis. and obtained an eighty acre farm in Fitchburg township, which was his home the remainder of his life.
The family numbered five children: John, the oldest; Bridget, the widow of Matt Smith of Madison, Wis., Michael, who makes his home in Fitchburg, Mary Ann the wife of Martin Price of York, Neb. and Catherine, who is Mrs. McDermott of Madison.
John was born in County Sligo, March 25, 1847, went to school when possible in Vermont and Wisconsin, but was early obliged to earn his own way. He commenced by working out on farms near home, at one time on the farm of Dr. W. Fox at Fitchburg. After about ten years of saving and industry, he succeeded in saving enough money to buy the farm on one hundred and eighty acres in section 25, town of Rutland, which is now his home. To this he added from time to time until a fine farm of four hundred and sixty acres in his present property.
Mr. Kivlin carries on a general farming business but is particularly interested in his fine registered Shropshire sheep, with which he has been very successful. In 1890 he bought his first imported sheep from A. F. Fox. He then imported two car-loads from Canada, and in 1905 he imported eight from England. He took the second premium on a Shropshire ram at the St. Louis Exposition, and has the finest flock of sheep in America.
Shorthorn cattle, Poland China and Chester White hogs and Belgian horses are also bred on his farm.
Mr. Kivlin is a Republican nominally but not a strong party man. He believes in securing the best possible administration of local affairs, by whichever party it is offered.
Mrs. Kivlin’s parents were also residents of Fitchburg and natives of Ireland. She is the daughter of John and Mary McDermott and was married to Mr. Kivlin January 23, 1870.
John and Ann (McDermott) Kivlin have nine children. The family have all been educated in the home schools and are devout members of St. Mary’s Catholic church of Oregon. Francis, the oldest son, is a railroad conductor of Lincoln, Neb.; Bernard is a prosperous farmer of Rutland; Mary Ann, William, Charles, Sadie, George, Robert, Leo and Grace, are all at home. The four youngest are students in the Brooklyn high school.
Mr. Kivlin keeps well posted on everything concerning up-to-date farming and in 1903 visited the Buffalo Exposition where he obtained much valuable information.
1906 History of Dane County, Wisconsin, p. 512-513.