Ireaneus Walter Woodworth was born August 7, 1826, in New Hampshire to George and Lois Hovey Woodworth, the oldest of 12 children. A childless couple, Mr. and Mrs. George Kimball, desired to adopt a son and heir, took to him, and offered a college education. They received the boy into their home and changed his name to Leigh Richmond Kimball. The Kimball’s were abolitionists with a zeal that made life so uncomfortable that they moved to Alton, Illinois in the 1830’s. Instead of improving relations they were made worse and the moved to Bermuda where Mrs. Kimball had relatives and never returned. At this point Leigh chose to shift and began a business career in Springfield Il in the dry goods business with Mr. Ninian Edwards which lead to his acquaintance with Abraham Lincoln. He helped Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln meet as Mr. Edwards, Mary Todd’s brother in law,(she was the sister of Elizabeth ”Lizzie” Edwards) felt that Lincoln was beneath her social standing. Leigh even attended the wedding making comment that the cake was still warm as the wedding was put together so quickly. Leigh was a groomsman in John Cook’s wedding (Ninian’s nephew) to Susan Lamb (Hannah’s sister) in 1847. Again in 1855 he was a groomsman when Caroline Lamb married William Black which we know Mary Todd attended. Finally, in 1862 Leigh and Hannah were wed. They had a daughter that did not survive infancy. And he passed away in 1865 at 38 years of age.
Hannah Palmer was married at 24 for just three years before losing first her daughter and then her husband, went on to be a librarian and marry Governor General John Palmer at 50, as you can read about in last week’s blog and became president of the King’s Daughters at 60 years old and served for 11 years. She was loved for her sympathetic nature, as well as for her many graces of character, her wide experience and her knowledge of men and events. The King’s Daughters Organization was fortunate to benefit from this and continue to draw from her wisdom and many experiences.
Although we were unable to find pictures of Leigh, please see the interesting articles of his life, a letter from Lincoln mentioning “Lee” Kimble, and the questions that remain, thanks to Erika Holst(and Illinois Heritage Magazine). Also please see the excerpts from Caroline Owsley Brown’s “Springfield Society before the Civil War” with an announcement from Hannah’s Journal, as well as Leigh’s obituary and grave where he is buried with Hannah at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/21627194 Special thanks to Mike Keinzler for bringing Leigh Kimball to our attention as well as the staff at the Abraham Lincoln Library and the Lincoln Library Sangamon Valley Collection!