The genealogy of the Southern Family of Kizziar is traced to England where
the records of the ancestry are lost in the maze of tradition. In that
country the family name was Kizziah and then changed to the present form
was made about the time of the immigration to America.
It is known that James Kizziar and his father were Englishmen by birth,
while a son of James, Thomas J. Kizziar, was a native of Tennessee. The
identification of the family with the new world having occurred between
these generations. From Tennessee the family migrated westward to Arkansas
and William L., son of Thomas J., was born in Pike County, Arkansas in
1847. There passed the years of childhood and owing to the poverty of the
family and the scarcity of schools, had the most meager educational
Guerrilla warfare imperiled the lives of the Arkansas people in his boyhood
and the out-break of the Civil War caused grave dangers. Although he was
only fourteen and one-half years old, he thought it a matter of safety to
enlist in the Confederate army. Accordingly he became a private in Company
1, Thirty-third Arkansas Infantry, which went into service with one hundred
and eleven men finally was reduced to but four men. Their service was
particularly dangerous. In the thickest of the most heavy battles these
gallant young southerners were always to be found, fighting with valor for
the cause which they had chosen. After the surrender of Vicksburg he
escaped and found his way back to the Arkansas home, where he again
enlisted at the reorganization of Company 1 and later was sent down to
Louisiana under General Price. At the close of the Red River Campaign his
command was dispatched to Tyler, Texas, and he finally was mustered out at
Marshall, at the expiration of three years service, during which he took
part in some of the most terrific fighting of the whole war.
About five weeks after being mustered out, Mr. Kizziar took the oath of
allegiance to the government at Washington, Arkansas, and then engaged as a
teamster in the employ of the Federal Government. Soon he gave up the work
and returned to the old homestead, where he assisted his father in putting
in a crop. After the same had been harvested he secured employment in
railroading. In this occupation he had his share of danger and
difficulties. At first he worked as a brakeman on the Little Rock & Memphis
railroad, now a part of the Iron Mountain railroad. Next he was made a
fireman and then a freight engineer, from which he soon was promoted to be
a passenger engineer, making daily trips between Little Rock and Memphis.
However, it had been his ambition to be engaged in farming and so he
resigned his position and went to Texas and took an homestead of one
hundred and sixty acres, twelve miles west of Waxahachie, Ellis County. For
almost fourteen years he remained there. He then went back to railroading
again and he became car inspector at Cleburne, Texas, in the employ of the
Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe railroad. While filling that position a most
unfortunate accident occurred and he was almost crushed to death between
two passenger coaches. The injury was so serious that it was almost six
years before he had recovered his health and even until his death he
suffered from the effects of the accident. It being impossible for him to
do heavy work he returned to farming, his children being old enough to
relieve him of the greater part of the work.
Upon coming to California in 1903, Mr. Kizziar secured employment as
stationary engineer in the Kern River Oil Co. For three years he remained
in the employ of the Associated Oil Co. Since then he has superintended his
ranch and also has engaged in buying, improving and selling real estate in
Bakersfield, where he made his home. For years he had been devoted, zealous
member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. At this writing he acts as a
member of the official board, besides filling the office of Sunday-school
superintendent. Fraternally he is identified with the Masons. In politics
he has voted with the Democratic party. In Texas in 1869 he united in
marriage with Miss Neatie Burks, of Ellis County. They are the parents of
ten children and also have thirty-five grandchildren and two
great-grandchildren, of whom they are very proud.
The eldest daughter Arabelle Frances, now Mrs. James K. Blair of Texas has
nine children. Amanda Isabelle, twin sister of Arabelle Frances, now Mrs.
Arch Austin, who lives on a farm north of Bakersfield, has three children.
Mary Jane is the wife of Robert H. Routh, and lives three miles north of
Bakersfield, and three children. William L., a farmer living in this
county, married Ollie Hargett and has six children. Elizabeth is the wife
of Frank H. Newton, a dairyman, living nine miles north of Bakersfield.
John J. married Odessa Lindsey and has one child. Oda now Mrs. George W.
Taylor, has three children and lives on a farm in Oklahoma. Alvin M. a
farmer four miles west of Bakersfield, married Pearl Stancliff and has two
children. Lula married Dewitt T. Goodpaster, of Bakersfield and they have
The mother of this family was before her marriage Miss Neatie E. Burks and
was born in Ellis County, Texas, the daughter of John Wesley and Louise
(Martin) Burks, the former a native of Alabama and the latter of Tennesse.
The Burks family is an old Southern English one. The parents were married
in Tennessee, where the father was a farmer and drover. In 1848 they moved
to Texas and in 1850 settled in what is now Ellis County where they
remained, the mother passing away at the age of eighty-four, while the
father was eighty-six at the time of his death which occurred Easter Sunday
in 1916. His wife survived him but four months. Fifteen children had been
born to them and the parents lived to see twelve of these grow to maturity.
At the time of their death their family included their children,
grand-children, and great-grandchildren and their wives and husbands as the
case might be, numbered five hundred and thirty-six.
William L. Kizziar Family, History of Kern County, California. Copy
provided by Robert Newton, 1988.
Update 03.20.01 David Kelley 1997 BIO-0013.HTM