John's parents, Jacob and Katherine, and sister, Emily, were all born in Germany/France/Alsace-Lorraine and immigrated to America before the birth of son, John R. Killion, in 1850. The family were settled in Highland Township by 1850, along with additional siblings, Mary, Altoney, and Theadore. Jacob was a farmer. The census enumerator in 1850 heard the name as Killyn and that's how it was spelled.
John Killion apparently had a great motivation to fight for his land of birth. He joined Company B, 68th Ohio Infantry at the age of 14. The official roster noted that he gave his name as John Gillion and his age as 18. He served as color bearer for awhile, at least.
But even more interesting is the fact that he and his father, Jacob, served together in the same unit and company. John Killion's mother, Katherine's, obituary (Defiance Crescent-News, June 22, 1921,) reported this:
"When the Civil War broke out, Mr. Killion (Jacob), who had previously served seven years in the French army, answered the call for men and enlisted, serving four years. Mrs. Killion lived upon the farm alone, caring for her children and attending to the farm work. John, the eldest son, became a soldier when only fourteen years of age."
In the 1890 census, John reported that he had served one year, five months and sixteen days and suffered from disease in the bladder and back. He said he had been treated for these at the close of his service. He mustered out with his unit on July 10, 1865.
John Killion married Elizabeth Warren about 1869 and to them were born six children: Mary H., Perry, John M. Jenny, Gertrude, and Theresa. (Names are from the censuses.) At least one child preceded them in death.
John and Elizabeth settled in Defiance and lived at 320 Hopkins Street for many years. John worked in the stave factory, calling himself a stave cutter or stave maker on the censuses.
His interesting family history was discussed in the Daily Crescent News on May 22, 1909. The Kathryn Killion referred to in the article was Katherine Killion, John R. Killion's mother, who lived next door to him on Hopkins Street until her death. The others are his aunts and uncles.
By 1920, John was a widower and no longer working. He lived until August 6, 1931, when he died at the age of 81. His obituary appeared in the Crescent News on August 7:
John and Elizabeth Warren Killion are buried in Riverside Cemetery.
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